Matthew 24:34
"Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place."

June 22, 2008

A Pale Blue Dot

Have you ever seen the Earth from 4 billion miles away? Thanks to Carl Sagan's suggestion to NASA, you can:

In 1990, the Voyager 1 spacecraft took a photo of the Earth from 4 billion miles away. You'll notice the Pale Blue Dot in the upper-center of the image.

The following is excerpted from a commencement address delivered by Carl Sagan on May 11, 1996.

"We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.

"The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.

"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It's been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known." 

Paraphrasing the character Nelly from the Sagan book Contact, "The Christian God is far too small for the Universe that I know".

As a Christian and after seeing this image, how can you continue to believe that we are all created especially by God? Or perhaps my question is more appropriately phrased, "Why do you continue to believe that we are all created especially by God"?

I've linked to a few more items below which lend perspective to our existence on this inconsequential planet we call Earth.