Flying into space… and falling back again
When I get fascinated by something I really get fascinated. When I was a kid I wanted to be an astronaut, not like for a day or month or year but from the time I was 5 until I was 11 it was all I really wanted to do. I had books, posters, even a very rare astronaut Cabbage Patch Kid. (no its not a doll its a collectible!) It didn’t hurt that I lived on the Space Coast of Florida and got to see quite a few launches as a kid. Anyway…even though the desire to strap myself to a rocket and travel around the Earth at over 17,000 miles an hour has past, the fascination with space science and its technology hasn’t. I mean I love to watch the launches and search for random videos pertaining to the space shuttle. I keep up with what the crew is doing and any developments NASA is working on. The reason that I am so fascinated now by space and the sciences is because to me they demonstrate how truly great our God is and how much He must love us. Check this out from Psalm 8-
1 O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!
Your glory is higher than the heavens.
2 You have taught children and infants
to tell of your strength,
silencing your enemies
and all who oppose you.
3 When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—
the moon and the stars you set in place—
4 what are mere mortals that you should think about them,
human beings that you should care for them?
5 Yet you made them only a little lower than God
and crowned them with glory and honor.
6 You gave them charge of everything you made,
putting all things under their authority—
7 the flocks and the herds
and all the wild animals,
8 the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea,
and everything that swims the ocean currents.
9 O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!
There are alot of really cool things about this Psalm (which might be my favorite by the way). First, when you look at creation… the stars, moon, the clouds, the animals…you experience the greatness of God. Even Romans 1:19-20 says that God is obvious by what He has made. Now there are quite a lot of atheists out there who look at creation and say they don’t see God but merely impersonal forces acting upon one another in randomly selected ways that evolved over time to create life. But when it comes down to it they cannot account for even a fraction of all of the millions of trillions of things that had to randomly come together perfectly to maintain and sustain life on this planet. For instance, the Earth is the perfect distance from the sun to gain all the light and heat that it needs to sustain plant animal life. If it were closer everything would be scorched, if further away permanent winter. A lot of Christians say that we should ignore scientific developments because they only serve to challenge our faith. But in actuality science does more to confirm our faith than deny precisely because God created it all anyway. There has been no scientific development that has conclusively disproven Christian/Biblical claims about God. And the ones that cast doubt for some people means they have misunderstood what they have observed. I could go on and on and bore you to tears with details, but I simply want to say that when I see the views on television that the astronauts beam back to Earth all I can say is “O Lord, You are pretty flipping awesome!”
The second thing we see in Psalm 8 is that God has a very special place for human beings. Initially, we seem tiny, insignificant, totally irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. I mean, everyday we find that the universe is far bigger than we expected, and every time we think we have discovered the smallest of all the building blocks of matter (like the atom) we find something more basic and smaller (like protons, neutrons, etc). It’s easy for us to feel like just one small cog in a very vast machine, but the beauty of this Psalm is that in the midst of all the greatness and massiveness and hugeness that is God we have a special place. In Genesis 2 we are created in the image of God. No other creature is given that distinction. And the proof of that is space travel. You don’t see giraffes, or lemurs, or dogs building rockets and heading to the edge of Earth’s orbit and just cruising around. Because we have attributes that are like God in many ways He has given us the ability to explore, and create, and have a purpose and meaning in life beyond mere existence.
The caveat is what we do with those great abilities. Do we use what God has given each one of us to demonstrate how great we are? Or do we use them to demonstrate how awesome He is?