Saturday, December 22, 2007

Why on earth look for a planet like ours?

taken from The Daily Telegraph ( )

Why on earth look for a planet like ours? By Jim White
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 12/11/2007

One day last week, The Guardian carried an eye-catching headline on the front page of its review section: "This is Gliese 581c. It's small and rocky and it orbits the sun 20 light years from here.
But scientists say it could support life. Are we close to discovering the new earth?" A day later, the same newspaper had this story on page three: "Could this be earth's near twin? Introducing planet 55 Cancri f. Astronomers discover solar system 41 light years away with similarities to our own."

One paper, two days, two different new earths: if nothing else, it proves that journalists and their editors work on entirely separate planets.
Not that it much matters. Whichever world it is that has been discovered out there, most of us reading of these findings will have felt a surge of excitement.
It was the phrase "new earth" that was the clincher.
This is what we want to hear, that up in the heavens somewhere there is another place capable of sustaining us, somewhere to take up a bit of slack, somewhere we might be able to leave behind the mess we have made of this place and start again.
This urge to explore new lands has been with us since we first took to boats millennia ago. It was what sustained Cook and Magellan, Raleigh and Columbus. It was there in the space programme of the 1960s, in the brave few who flew to the Moon in tin buckets.
And it is there propelling hundreds of thousands of Brits every year to leave these islands and head off to Spain and Portugal, France and Florida.
So it is with this news.
It doesn't really matter that, at 41 light years away, 55 Cancri f is a planet so far from any hint of civilisation that the only future purpose for it would be as an airstrip serving Ryanair flights. The very fact it is out there is cause enough to dream.
Or possibly not. Because what if, by some miracle of physics, Stephen Hawking managed to invent a method of travelling faster than light, we sent a manned flight to check up on Gliese 581c or its equally romantically-named twin and, upon arrival, the space travelling pioneers discovered not some box-fresh new world but a parallel universe?
What if they landed in a vast cityscape gridlocked by bendy buses, with shopping malls lined with chain stores selling stuff nobody needs to consumers up to their gills in debt?
What if their radio communication devices were jammed by mouthy personalities shouting about how they'd gone out last night and got absolutely bladdered on 10 pints and won't be able to give out accurate time checks this morning as they're suffering from a hangover the size of Canada?
What if they found themselves in a place working itself up to a right old lather about the prospect of a bunch of pneumatic models, rentagob former footballers and superannuated pantomime dames being marooned in the jungle for a month?
What if they sought elucidation from the local print media and found themselves confronted by headlines like "Now doctors say it's good to be fat", "Cottage cheese consumption linked to skin cancer" and "Are health check-ups bad for you?"
More to the point, what if they were arrested on arrival and put in a transit camp because they didn't have the requisite documentation, to be sent, once a judge could be wrested from his bed, back whence they came, without even so much as a souvenir copy of Heat magazine?
The hope that a better place lies out there has sustained migration throughout the centuries (except, to be fair, in the early days of Australia, when the migrants were dispatched in the hope that their departure would make things better for those left behind).
But oddly our imaginative responses to boldly seeking out new worlds have generally undermined that optimistic response.
Remember how, in Star Trek, the infinitive-splitting Captain Kirk and his spandex-clad colleagues were forever landing on planets run by Nazis or Chicago gangsters or leggy Amazons who drained the life from any man they snogged (usually Kirk himself).
Remember how even the unremitting misanthropist Gulliver couldn't wait to get home from his travels after encountering what lay writ large and small beyond his natural boundaries. And let's not even think about what happened to the cat-loving Ripley in Alien.
Ultimately, the best thing to come out of learning more about Gliese 581c and 55 Cancri f might be this: the discovery that what we have right now is as good as it gets. And, instead of deserting the place for some assumed better elsewhere, maybe we should just get on with living here.


Isn't it amazing how the people, regardless of where they live, are always looking for a better place to live. They think all of life's answers are on the other side of the fence (or universe). Is it really logical (no, I am not Spock), to think that we can leave behind the mess we have here and begin anew? While it sounds nice and dreamy, we ultimately would take our sinful nature with us. Lust, greed, covetousness, murder and adultery, thievery, idol worshipping would all follow us. It's not that we need to look for a new earth (for those living today), but rather that we should be preparing for the day when Jesus returns to judge the quick and the dead. Jesus said he goes to prepare a place for us. Why would we want any other landlord? Do you wish this world was better? Tell it to God. But be prepared...

What have YOU done to make it better?

Do you know that the crime rate would drop if we would each just reach one person and show them the consequences of their sins?

Do you know that abortions would stop if we would practice what we preach and actually get out to reach the lost girls in the city (and within our own churches)?

Do you know that adultery and passive sex without marriage would drop considerably if our teens new that God looks at our hearts and says that lust is the same as adultery and that adulterers are headed for hell unless they repent?

Do you realize that when we stop crying, "oh my, they took prayer out of the schools, that's not fair" that the children have NEVER been stopped from praying in schools? They can pray anytime they want and so can you. So why blame atheist for something that many Christians do not do anyway?

Do you realize that if all pastor's would start preaching all of God's Word (ie. Ten Commandments, wrath, repentance, judgment and then combine it with God's grace and mercy and love), that much of what is wrong in our land would be eliminated? When the fear of the Lord directs our paths, we will understand that God is holy and just and must judge us for our sins. When we understand that, then we will come to accept the free gift of grace that God offers us.

Yes, man (and woman) has pretty much destroyed our land. Sex, booze, crime are all ways of man. Righteousness, peace and joy are ways of God. When pastors finally get it, maybe then we will see a difference in our land!


Roland said...

Looks like you're thinking what God has been telling us.
Bring heaven to earth. (Mt. 6:10)

pastorbrianculver said...