Like many, I took a break last Saturday from the now numbing news of corona virus and the acute pain of the death of George Floyd and its aftermath to watch the launch of the Space X Dragon carrying two American astronauts to the International Space Station. The first space launch from American soil in close to a decade.
It took me back years as I felt the same excitement and nervousness I had when I watched the Mercury (I think), the Gemini, the Apollo, and the Space Shuttle launches. I followed the NASA duo while they jettisoned the first two stages and were safely into orbit. I would have kept watching, but it was a nineteen hour ride, so I opted to tune back in the next morning and watch the docking.
Ironically, that same day (Saturday), my sister-in-law sent the family a link to a YouTube video based on the book The Privileged Planet:The Search for Purpose in the Universe by Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Richards. I procrastinated opening it because I thought I knew what it was going to say . . . and I did . . . to a point.
In contrast to Carl Sagan’s assertion that Earth is merely an insignificant blue dot in a vast universe, Gonzalez and Richards claim that Earth is unique and rare. It exists in the only habitable zone in our solar system and has the twenty necessary factors needed for life, in the exact configuration needed, and all occurring simultaneously. Any variance at all, however slight, would be catastrophic. The probability of that occurring is infinitesimal.
I knew that. I had heard that before. I hadn’t, however, heard the next part.
That our position in the universe was also unique. That Earth is positioned in the only habitable zone in our galaxy. Not only that, it is perfectly positioned between two spiral gaseous arms to allow us to see the universe clearly, and it is located central in the galaxy to avoid the hazards of the dangerous middle and outer edges.
Because of its location, Earth is the one place that allows for scientific discovery at all levels––from geology to intergalactic exploration. The final irony? This vast universe is understandable to humans. Therefore, it begs discovery. And humans are driven to explore.
Neither Gonzales nor Richards believe this is by chance. Humans do not need to know this information in order to survive. These discoveries are beyond that. So why? What’s the purpose of it? Were we just lucky, or were we placed here by design?
I strongly encourage you to watch the hour-long documentary. It has so much more to say, and is fascinating. The additional thirty minutes are excerpts from the interviews with scientists that were not included in the documentary. That information is fascinating as well.
But let me leave you with a few verses that point to the reason we are where we are.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:3-4)
Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing. (Isaiah 40:26)
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)
As the documentary asserts –– because we are where we are, we can glimpse the mind of God.