Most of us can’t even pronounce 700,000,000,000,000,000,000, much less count there. For people who aren’t math geniuses, it’s 700 Quintillion. According to recent research in Sweden, that’s the number of planets in the cosmos. But the scientific team learned something else from their epic research project: amid those 700 quintillion planets, the Earth is one of a kind!
Astrophysicist Erik Zackrissen and his team developed a massive computer model to simulate the development of the universe. They entered everything we know about exoplanets and then programmed in the laws of physics. They recreated 13.8 billion years of history. The results demonstrate that life on earth defies all the odds. Here’s how the article sums it up: “His research indicates that, from a purely statistical standpoint, Earth perhaps shouldn’t exist.”
The writer for Discover concludes that “Earth appears to have been dealt a fairly lucky hand.” That’s funny! Three Aces and two kings is a lucky hand. The scientists believe we were dealt five Aces! (Read the article here.)
The Bible never argues that the Earth is the only planet where life is possible. But scripture is clear that the staging and adornment of our planet happened near the end of the Creation process, with the climax drawing near. Genesis emphasizes the loving care demonstrated by God as he fashioned Eden as a splendid home for his masterpiece: men and women.
Last night I finally watched The War for the Planet of the Apes. I was entertained but saddened. The script is emphatic that all men and women are hopelessly destructive. Except for one innocent child, every human being in the movie comes to a tragic, well-deserved end. Hollywood finally agrees with the Church: all have sinned, and the wages of sin is death.
But in sharp contrast to the blind despair of Tinsel Town, the Gospel foresees a happy ending for people of this planet of apes. The same God who so carefully crafted the planet with all the resources for life has also intervened to rescue his wayward sons and daughters. Amid all the grief and confusion of the current age, we believe there is more here than meets the eye.
Step back and watch the Creator working in stardust and DNA. You can see it every day in the beauty of fall foliage; in the mystery of tiny black seeds bearing giant, sweet watermelons; in the mystery and wonder of a child in the womb. You can experience it when you read the Bible slowly enough to allow the pulse of Eternity to restart your heart.
We are unique in this dark, sprawling, mostly empty universe; but we are not alone. We are in the presence of our Father.
To hear the companion sermon, click Awe and Reverence.
Lift up the Cross!