In Gratitude for the Blue Planet

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Earlier this year, my family and I had the opportunity to visit the Space Center. It was sort of like taking my inner nerd out for a field trip.* I don’t think I could ever work in that field because math isn’t my strong suit, but I am fascinated by the unknown and vastness of the heavens. I learned a ton about the new developments in space exploration. Did you know that NASA is now sharing space with private space exploration companies (like Blue Origin and SpaceX)? SpaceX has a rocket that comes back to its landing spot. It’s freakishly sci-fi movie-like. Blue Origin is working on a thrill ride for the ultimate adventurers. This includes going up to space, experiencing a few minutes of weightlessness, and returning to earth. Wow, I wonder if they have a fast pass for that roller coaster?

The big push these days is to visit, inhabit, or even colonize Mars (I prefer to call it Malacandra). We’re working hard to find out what’s up there. (I think Lewis offered a warning about the problems with man becoming an interplanetary species in The Space Trilogy, but ya know, what could possibly go wrong?)

Along with searching for another planet for man to inhabit, we are also in a search for life on other planets. From an untrained armchair observer, it seems the cosmic search for life revolves in one way or another around finding a particular life giving and sustaining substance: water. If H20 is found, the rest can be managed, or so it seems. Interestingly, just this week, I hear there’s new hope that there is water on the moon. Amazingly, man hasn’t been up there since 1972 but it seems there’s a new motivation to do so. (We may need those amazing ladies from Hidden Figures to lend a hand.)

I have no idea what the cosmic pioneers will find. I’ll curiously watch like everyone. In contrast to the seemingly barren “out there”, the earth has the opposite situation. Ever since the first grainy images of Earth came to us from the vantage point of space (1946), man has seen in a more clear way just how overwhelming and distinct this planet is. Here we sit on a sphere, 2/3 of which is water! Life is abundant namely because water is abundant. In places where water is scarce, life is scarce.

Now isn’t that interesting? Here we have the world with water all over it. It’s almost like someone made a place specifically with the intent of sustaining life! Page one of the Bible declares Yahweh’s creative work that took place, not coincidentally, with the presence of water.

The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. (Gn 1:2)

Now that we have a wealth of pictures of the earth from the vantage point of the heavens, the blueness is hard to miss. The earth is identifiable on a solar system model, not just as the 3rd rock from the Sun, it’s the blue planet, the life sustaining planet.

for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers (Psalm 24:2)

Interestingly, from the heavens, it sure looks like the earth has been founded upon the seas. In a world rife with chronological snobbery, where the new trumps the old (almost unquestioningly), it’s time to recognize the wisdom of God on the first page of the Bible. He created a habitable place for his creation by his wisdom.

Is it any wonder that water has a way of reminding us of our smallness? Standing at the edge of the ocean, or a mountain stream or a peaceful lake has a way of stopping us in our tracks for a moment of awe and wonder. Next time, don’t just stop and think, “what a beautiful ocean.” Take a moment and think “what a wise and powerful creator.”

 

* You don’t actually want to go to any sort of theme park with me. I don’t love crowds or over priced food and I mutter about worldview while we wander around. My gracious wife usually tries to make sure there is at least a buffer of one child between us. Bless my patient bride. But the Space Center is top notch!

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Allen Cagle

About Allen Cagle

Allen serves as the Lead Pastor at Sunrise Community Church in Atlantic Beach, FL, in the Jacksonville area. He graduated from The Master's Seminary (MDiv) in 2005 and from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (DMin) in 2017. Allen is married to Mindy and has three awesome kids.