It was late and I’d spent a long day in productive thinking, discussion and prep for my several tomorrows. The soft purr of my wife's sleep accompanied my typing as two West Highland Terriers took up an exorbitant amount of bed space, once again. A thought came shooting through my mind as I finished reading a science article on space exploration.
We know more about the heavens than our oceans. Is this great search just in the name of science or is there something much deeper driving us, and we won’t admit it!
Humanity has been searching for extraterrestrial life or another planet to inhabit for as long as I can remember. However we have yet to discover, with any kind of certainty, either extra-earthly beings or another place to live. We know more about the heavens than our oceans and there's definitely life there! Is this great search just in the name of science or is there something much deeper driving us, and we won’t admit it?
Why have we searched, with ever increasing intensity, for that which is so elusive? If there was ever faith in the scientific world, it's certainly showing itself with the quest for a galactic neighbor and more apartment space. I have a theory, but before you roll your eyes, hear me out. It's a postulation that shifts us from an outward gaze to an inward meditation of the heart.
I believe that our seeking is due to a truth that most refuse to embrace; it requires us to deny ourselves. It requires embracing the God of the Bible, physically manifested in Jesus of Nazareth - a quite historical figure I may add - disavowing the humanistic focus that's become so pervasive.
Imagine with me if you will, a spectacular, perfect place, holistically fulfilling and so very real. A place that we all long for, perfect, unadulterated, pristine, where no evil dwells and no tears are shed. What if our seeking intelligent life and a sphere to pitch a tent on are simply expressions of our internal cravings far more than external curiosities? Sounds a little like Rod Serling’s, The Twilight Zone, meets John Milton’s, Paradise Lost, doesn't it?
As a launching point, let’s talk about love. Love is a non-tangible. We can’t touch it, see it or feel it, but we know it “exists”. We see evidence of it, perhaps have even personally been affected by it. We go through great pains to find love. And even though we face great sorrows both in love and space, we press on. In the immortal words of Alfred Lord Tennyson:
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
For many, seeking love becomes an all consuming occupation. So, what if our search for other life and our search for a complementary atmosphere are genuinely connected to the Gospel of Jesus of Nazareth and love? What if they’re both tied to an unknown desire to reconnect ourselves to the love of God?
What if we’re lost and we don’t even know it?
Allow me to be blunt- Jesus came to seek and reclaim people who were wandering away from God. By the way, that's all of us! In our wandering like sheep, we've forgotten that we lost our relationship with God, something apart from ourselves. What if we’re lost and we don’t even know it? What if our searching is evidence of the existence of God, much like our craving for love is evidence of it? But the profound thing is this, God is seeking us! This is the foundation of the Gospel of Jesus. We walked away from Him, yet He calls us back to Himself. All the while we unknowingly desire, but ferociously fight our reconciliation.
Additionally, what if our great search is profoundly propelled by the promise of Jesus that He would prepare a place for us to dwell forever? What if we are scientifically trying to find that place but can only truly be satisfied by seeking it spiritually? What if we’re looking in the wrong place and using the wrong method?
What if our heavenly adventures with rockets, probes and space stations are really expressions of our "faithlessness" in light of God's faithfulness?
Are we truly driven by scientific method or is our hidden craving for faith simply proving God to be correct and all others false? Are we trying so hard to avoid God that we’ll spend billions of dollars searching the stars instead of looking to Jesus? What if our heavenly adventures with rockets, probes and space stations are really expressions of our "faithlessness" in light of God's faithfulness? Perhaps no one truly is an atheist after all.
I’m not suggesting we shut down the space program - we have a lot to discover in the universe we’re part of. But perhaps, we should become painfully aware that our searching the galaxies for other life and a place to live really could be a substitute for the longing of our hearts to be reconnected to God through Jesus? I leave you with Jesus' words from of the Gospel of John.
Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. John 14:1-3