Pause for Thought – a five minute read – 32

Genesis 1 v 1 – 31

I have always had a quiet fascination for astronomy; I say a ‘quiet’ fascination because I never have fully understood it. I mean its one thing to be standing in your back garden looking up at the sky and the stars, but it’s something else to actually know what it is that you are looking at.

It’s a bit like modern art, all the information is there but I still don’t know what it is.

I can stretch my knowledge to the formation of stars that make the Plough and the North Star, and of course I was around in 1969 when man walked on the moon, ‘One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.’

It was the year that I got married and changed my job so I can’t help but remember that.

But generally life in the Universe for me is a bit of a mystery;- until, Professor Brian Cox burst onto our television screens. I believe that he has redefined the rules for demonstrating how the galaxies were formed and why they are as they appear today.

His illustrations using pebbles and boulders on a beach explain the positions of the planets in great detail, and his use of balloons to demonstrate how planets have bumped into each other millions of years ago and send each other off in tangential directions are mind blowing, It is like an inter galactical game of snooker, and throughout all this turmoil the earth has quietly got on with its own business and developed into what it is today.

Thanks to Professor Cox I can now tell you that in our galaxy, Mercury is the planet nearest to the sun and has an iron rich core, Venus is next with a liquid core, then comes Earth with a rocky metallic core, then Mars also with a iron rich core, then Jupiter which is liquid gas at its core, then Saturn with again liquid gas, followed by Uranus with gas and rock, Neptune is just a ball of gas, and finally the smallest planet in the galaxy, Pluto which is a ball of ice.

Come on you must be impressed.

But if that does impress let me introduce you to something that really impresses me, please meet the New Horizon Voyager1 and Voyager 2 Space Crafts. Nothing new, they were launched early 2000 with a primary purpose of a fly- by of Pluto, (smallest planet see above) which was completed in 2015, after which they were sent off where no one has been before , to infinity and beyond, taking pictures as they went.

It’s now 2020 and New Horizons are still travelling at speeds of over 36400 miles per hour, (600 mile per second, Land’s End to John O Groats in one second) and are now reaching the outer limits of our galaxy in an area known as The Kuiper Belt. This is the farthest any probe has ever been, some 5 billion miles away from Earth, so far that it can take twenty months for signals from the crafts to reach earth. Soon (possibly 2021) the on board batteries will die and contact will be lost but the probes will keep on going.

You have to admit that it is impressive, but it’s not the space crafts that impress me. I’m impressed by the fact they are so far away from earth, travelling for so long at such great speed and still going, but they have not yet found the edge of God’s creation, and they never will.

We tend to think that when God formed the world, he created our planet, but we don’t appreciate that our world is a small part of the full extent of God’s total creative plan. God created the entire universe with all its planets and galaxies, those we know and those still to be discovered.

The more we learn and discover of the universe and the other galaxies the more we understand the greatness of God’s creative hand, and how God so loved us and our world to make it as beautiful as it is. The wonders that we see around us are not replicated anywhere else in the universe including the wonders of the human race. God so loved the world that he gave his only son so that we can live.

No other planet has been found that can support life as we know it in all it’s beauty and miracles, should we not be protecting and caring for it more than ever knowing it is unique and without comparison?

As in all things in life God gives us the gift of making our own decisions but always gives us all the information necessary for us to make our choices. The evidence on what is happening to our environment is clear and we must decide what our individual actions will need to be and live accordingly to maintain our world as a special and unique place in all creation, let us make it last as God intended.

Derek T.