Monday, February 16, 2009

Go Kepler!

What a beautiful image, huh? Our home. Earth. I get the goosebumps every time that I see a picture of Earth from space. From this viewpoint, you can't see any borders, no state lines, not one road sign. You can't see any garbage or pollution and would probably never know that we are doing our best to ruin the balance that our Creator designed into our ecosystem. Everything looks so peaceful. There are no signs of tanks, warships, guns. No rioters or picket lines or protesters. You can't see anyone begging for food, any child rummaging through a garbage dump for a meal, any mothers dying of AIDS. There are no whites or blacks or Hispanics or Americans or Chinese or French or Russians. You only see a pristine blue ball, suspended in space, strikingly beautiful; upon whose shores lie the hopes and dreams of an entire race of intelligent, eternal beings.

I didn't intend to start out this post so...heavy...but trust me, there is a method to my madness. Look at the picture again. All you see is astonishing beauty. No blemishes, no scars, no stains. That, my friends, is how God sees you...if you know His Son. He looks at you from his throne above and sees His Son in all of His beauty. Clean, unblemished...perfect. He can't see that you lost your temper with your kids this morning. He doesn't notice the fact that you cheated a little on your history test. Or flipped someone the bird on the freeway. Or stole from the cash register. Or lied to your boss. Or cheated on your husband. You get the point. Just like we are doing with our planet, we humans tend to make a mess out of our lives. We cheat, lie, steal, murder. We are selfish and arrogant and prideful. Put a microscope to our lives and the picture is gonna be ugly. But not to God. Because of Jesus, He looks at our dirty lives and sees...look at the picture again.
Wow. Pretty cool, huh? Seriously, that is not how I intended to start this post. I just can't look at a picture of our beautiful home without being moved. There's nothing quite like planet Earth, is there? Well...actually there probably is. Billions of 'em, in fact.

What are you talking about, Jeremy? Check it out - in just days now, NASA is going to be launching one of its most exciting missions yet. They will be putting the new Kepler telescope into orbit and Kepler will be the first satellite telescope with the capability to find Earth size and smaller planets outside of our solar system. According to Dr. Alan Boss, there could be billions of Earth-like planets in our Milky Way galaxy alone! He says that a large proportion of the stars in the Universe probably have an Earth-like planet orbiting them and that with a few dozen solar-type stars within about 30 light-years of the sun, there is a good chance that we will find several more 'Earths' just in our own general 'neighborhood'.

I've talked a bit in this blog about our Creator's creativity. One look out into the Universe around us and you are overwhelmed by His artistry. I have always maintained that a Creator who is this creative surely did not make our Earth and then just stop. That would be like me paddling out into the surf, catching just one of the best waves of my life, and saying, "Well, that's enough. I caught my wave, time to go in." Not...gonna...happen. Earth was probably not even close to the first planet He created, and it was certainly not the last! He's been around forever. He's had eternity to come up with new ideas and an entire Universe for a canvas. It boggles the mind to think about what is out there.

The Bible talks about how someday there will be a 'new heavens and new earth'. I think that our grasp on science and astronomy at this point definitely backs this up. It seems as if 'new heavens' and 'new earths' are being created all of the time! I hate to be repetitive with my blogging, but once again we are smacked-upside the head with scientific evidence that the Bible's claims are true. Like I said, thinking about what is 'out there' makes me feel very small. No one knows for sure what God has waiting for us when we leave these mortal bodies, but His Word tells us that we couldn't even begin to comprehend what's next. Am I the only one who's excited? Billions of Earths...just in our galaxy. With billions of galaxies in this huge Universe, that a lot of 'new earths' existing in 'new heavens'. You think that you're gonna sit around on a cloud and play a harp in Heaven? Forget about it! We have an eternal soul. And it's a good thing - it's gonna take all of eternity to experience the grandeur of what our Creator has put out there.
Folks, it's OK to take the Bible literally. Science is telling us that every day. We try to make it so hard. We try to separate the 'spiritual' and the 'literal', when in reality they are one and the same. At every turn, science points us toward God and vice-versa. Sure, believing in an eternal Creator takes a certain leap of faith. But for anyone who is smart enough to pick up a book or do a little research, not believing in Him takes a LOT more faith. I for one am looking forward to seeing images from the new Kepler telescope. Looking at new Earths will only reinforce what I have believed all along. I hope the images are real clear - I wanna scope out some new surf breaks for later on in Eternity!

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