For “Scripture Sunday”:
God, Science and the Bible: Does Life Exist Somewhere Out There?
“For years people have wondered: Are we alone in the universe? Do other life forms exist out there? Will we ever find them?
Astronomy began to develop as a science in the 15th century, sparked by the discoveries of Galileo and Copernicus that the Earth is not the center of the universe. Based on information gathered by their primitive telescopes, they discovered that Earth revolves around the Sun—not the other way around, as had been supposed for centuries. Far more advanced telescopes of the 20th century revealed billions of specks of light that turned out to be galaxies millions of light years away.
As we learned more about our own solar system, astronomers began to focus attention on Mars, one of the two planets closest to us and the one thought most likely to harbor life. More than 40 years ago America's National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched a probe toward Mars, the 1965 Mariner IV, that sent back faint radio signals showing the planet to be a lonely, pock-marked wasteland, a dead world with seemingly no way to support life.
Eternally curious, scientists wanted to know more. Last August, the attention of millions was riveted on the approach of a spacecraft to the surface of Mars. Its payload was the most advanced robotic rover ever designed to explore the surface of another planet. Through maneuvers of amazing complexity, that rover, dubbed Curiosity, landed successfully on the Martian surface on August 5.
About the size of a tiny car, Curiosity was designed for one singular purpose—to look for signs of life on the Red Planet. A roving laboratory, Curiosity will spend at least two years trying to unlock the scientific history of Mars. Equipped with an array of scientific sensors and other instruments, the explorer will scoop soil and rock samples for analysis to determine if life exists, or ever existed, on Mars. For example, the rover can analyze soil to determine if the soil ever offered the environmental conditions to support microbial life.
Scientists are looking for "biomarkers"—evidence, however faint, that life may have at one time existed on Mars. One of those biomarkers, perhaps the most important one, is the existence of water, a key ingredient needed to support even microbial life.
Even before Curiosity, astronomers noted the similarity between Mars and Earth. Both have an atmosphere, although Mars' is much less dense than Earth's and chemically much different. Both have a surface covered with soil. Curiosity has analyzed soil samples that show Martian soil to be a volcanic type, somewhat similar to volcanic soils here on Earth. Scientists have long puzzled over the presence of Mars' huge polar ice caps, similar in appearance to those on Earth.
Curiosity has lived up to its name. In the three months since it touched down, it has sent back thousands of pictures and hundreds of hours of communications. The scientific world thrilled to the late September discovery of evidence that a stream of water once ran across the area of Mars where the rover is exploring. In early October, a hammer-like device on Curiosity gathered powder samples of a Martian rock that was found to be similar in mineral composition to common rocks here on earth.
In late October and early November, Curiosity experienced dust storms similar to those on Earth. As on Earth, the atmosphere provides some shielding from outside radiation and helps to regulate temperatures. However, because the atmosphere is thinner, the rover detected, as expected, evidence of large amounts of radiation present. And the Martian atmosphere was found to keep surface temperatures within a range of -130° F to about 5°, a difficult abode for even microbial life.
Uniqueness of planet Earth
So one might well ask: Do the various similarities point to the possibility of life on Mars?
Beyond the similarities are huge differences that make the probabilities of life as we know it being found on Mars or any other planet in our solar system quite miniscule.
At more than twice the Earth's distance from the Sun, surface temperatures on Mars seldom rise above 0° Fahrenheit. Life as we know it would not be able to survive in the thin Martian atmosphere (only 1 percent that of Earth), composed predominantly of carbon dioxide with much smaller amounts of nitrogen and argon. The Curiosity scientific team had hoped to find methane, which might be an indicator of life, but none has been detected.
It was reported Dec. 3 that in soil sample analysis Curiosity had detected "water and sulfur and chlorine-containing substances," as well as "one-carbon organics"—which are needed for life—though "it is possible the carbon may be of Earth origin, carried by Curiosity and detected by [its lab's] high sensitivity design" ("NASA Mars Rover Fully Analyzes First Soil Samples," NASA.gov). In any case, in its several months on Mars, Curiosity has not discovered any clear evidence of life.
However, even if no life is found that's not to say that life doesn't exist outside our planet. It does —it's just not life as we know it.
Extraterrestrial life of a different kind
God Almighty, Maker of the universe, dwells in the spiritual abode of heaven. And sometime in the ancient past, God created spirit beings to help Him rule and administer the vast universe. We call these spirit beings angels. In your Bible, Psalm 148:1-5 shows that they, and the physical universe, were created at God's command! There are millions of them (Daniel 7:9-10) and God created them with some of the same supernatural powers He Himself possesses.
God refers to these angels in several ways. Job 38:7 calls them "morning stars" and says they sang and shouted for joy when God created the earth. So the angels have been around for eons.
Over the past 35 years, millions have flocked to the Star Wars movie series. They've thrilled to the adventures of Jedi warriors Luke Skywalker and Yoda in their struggles against Darth Vader and the evil Sith. It's the classic struggle between the forces of good and evil.
You may be surprised to learn that a true cosmic battle between the forces of good and evil did take place in the universe! This cataclysmic event occurred before human beings existed. The pockmarked surface of the moon and other scarred planets, moons and asteroids of our solar system may be evidence of that battle. But what led up to it?
One of the archangels God created, referred to as Lucifer in translations of Isaiah 14:12 was, as Ezekiel 28:17 shows, a being of immense beauty and perfection—and entrusted by God with vast responsibilities. But Lucifer became dissatisfied and led a rebellion of one third of the angels against God (Revelation 12:3-4)
Does this sound like fantasy? Isaiah 14:13-15 reveals that Lucifer planned to "exalt [his] throne above the stars of God" and "be like the Most High." In other words, this being led an angelic rebellion to overthrow God!
So there was what we might call an original "star wars," a literal war in heaven among supernatural beings. "And war broke out in heaven. Michael [another archangel] and his angels fought with the dragon [Lucifer now having become Satan, meaning "Adversary"]; and the dragon and his angels fought" (Revelation 12: 3-4).
Revelation 12:9 shows that Satan and his angels, since their rebellion referred to as demons, were defeated and hurled from heaven back to the earth (see Revelation 12:4) Jesus Christ said of that time, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven" (Luke 10:18) Again, that great cosmic catastrophe may be why we see such scattered debris—in the form of comets, asteroids and other such wreckage—in outer space.
That may well be when Mars was likewise left a wasteland. Was Mars created a barren wasteland, or did it become that way? We don't know. But nothing Curiosity has discovered on Mars has changed the reality of its desolate condition.
God will expand life throughout the universe
So what do we know at present? We are certainly familiar with life on Earth, including the seven billion human beings who call this planet home. Your Bible says God created angels to be His servants. Despite the fact that a third of them rebelled, we know that two thirds still serve God as His messengers and servants.
And here is the exciting good news: God is not finished with the universe He's created! He reveals there will be more life throughout the universe. And what many may find astounding is that human beings are part of that plan!
It will come as a surprise to many religious people to learn that the reward of God's followers is not just to float off at death to live in the spiritual heaven of His throne. Notice what God says in Matthew 5:5 "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." Those words are Christ's own, from the Sermon on the Mount. John 3:13 further tells us, "No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven."
But if going to heaven at death is not the reward of the saved, then what is? Let's pose this question: Does it make sense that a God who endowed human beings with the desire to know more about the universe, and the ability to explore it, would not have a higher purpose for mankind than to merely live a brief physical life and then die?
While science strives to find out if life exists on planets other than Earth, God's Word reveals—if one is willing to look—the incredible potential of human life. In the book of Hebrews we read this: "What is man, that you are mindful of him . . . you made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor, and put everything in subjection under his feet" (Hebrews 2:6-8).
Did you catch that? Man's current status is "a little lower than the angels"—or "for a little while lower," as some versions translate this—but God reveals that in time everything will be put in subjection under man!
We begin to get a clue about our future and our place in the universe in recognizing that the "all things" God has promised us in various verses includes everything—the earth, heaven, the entire physical universe! God says that, for those willing to believe what He says, the vast universe, with all its billions of galaxies, its innumerable stars and planets, will be put under our dominion.
Romans 8:22 is quite revealing: "We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time" (NIV). All of our exploration has revealed this to be true—that the planets we have been able to observe other than our own are lifeless, dead places with conditions hostile to life. But notice Romans 8:21 of the same chapter: "The creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God" (NIV).
No evidence has yet been found for life on other planets. But even if some form of physical life—bacteria or something more complex—were to be found elsewhere, that would only mean that God created it too—not that it somehow evolved there on its own. However, other than the wishful thinking of some, we have no reason to think there is any physical life at all beyond the earth.
In any case, there is indeed certain "life out there" already—and there will yet be more in the wonderful future God has in store for us!” From: http://www.ucg.org/god-science-and-bible-does-life-exist-somewhere-out-there/ Article by Mike Kelley
1 comment, Submitted on Jan 15, 2013, 12:42 pm By linda effenberger
“I cannot imagine God creating the universe with uninhabited planets without some plan for the future. There are billions and billions of planets out there (beyond a number we cannot fathom). I do believe one day, when He makes everything new, these planets will be made habitable for human life, as well as for animals and plants. The story of Adam and Eve is just the beginning of an eternal process of populating the universe. In the future, the second Adam and His Bride will be active in caring for God's Great and Expansive Kingdom.”
Can Apple Make You Happy?
“Can happiness be found in an electronic gadget?”
“The Word of God tells us to fear God and honor the king (Proverbs 24:21, 1 Peter 2:17). We have witnessed mob action in a number of nations including our own. Mob rule usually results in confusion and ruin. Some seek change for the sake of changing, not to improve things. Unless clear plans are in place for the result of a change, chaos and calamity can rise as it has in a number of nations.
Mob action is driven by emotion rather than brain power. The end is never clear and the path of action taken is usually ill conceived and dangerous. Godly people do not associate with mobs or those given to change at all costs. His people are to respect authority and, if change is needed, work patiently to bring that about. That is the action God supports.” From: http://www.ucg.org/this-is-the-way/mobs-are-dangerous/
Roe v. Wade - 40 Years Later
“Division created by legislation allowing the murder of unborn life continues to divide America. 40 years after the fact, what is your approach to this social blight?”
This morning’s program on WGN-TV: Jesus Fasted: Should You?
On This Day:
National Geographic Society founded, Jan 27, 1888:
“On January 27, 1888, the National Geographic Society is founded in Washington, D.C., for "the increase and diffusion of geographical knowledge."
The Society used its revenues from the magazine to sponsor expeditions and research projects that furthered humanity's understanding of natural phenomena. In this role, the National Geographic Society has been instrumental in making possible some of the great achievements in exploration and science. To date, it has given out more than 1,400 grants, funding that helped Robert Peary journey to the North Pole, Richard Byrd fly over the South Pole, Jacques Cousteau delve into the sea and Jane Goodall observe wild chimpanzees, among many other projects.
Today, the National Geographic Society is one of the world's largest non-profit scientific and educational institutions. National Geographic continues to sell as a glossy monthly, with a circulation of around 9 million. The Society also sees itself as a guardian of the planet's natural resources, and in this capacity, focuses on ways to broaden its reach and educate its readers about the unique relationship that humans have with the earth.”
Baird demonstrates TV, Jan 27, 1926:
“On January 27, 1926, John Logie Baird, a Scottish inventor, gives the first public demonstration of a true television system in London, launching a revolution in communication and entertainment. Baird's invention, a pictorial-transmission machine he called a "televisor," used mechanical rotating disks to scan moving images into electronic impulses. This information was then transmitted by cable to a screen where it showed up as a low-resolution pattern of light and dark. Baird's first television program showed the heads of two ventriloquist dummies, which he operated in front of the camera apparatus out of view of the audience.
Baird based his television on the work of Paul Nipkow, a German scientist who patented his ideas for a complete television system in 1884. Nipkow likewise used a rotating disk with holes in it to scan images, but he never achieved more than the crudest of shadowy pictures. Various inventors worked to develop this idea, and Baird was the first to achieve easily discernible images. In 1928, Baird made the first overseas broadcast from London to New York over phone lines and in the same year demonstrated the first color television.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) inaugurated regular high-definition public broadcasts in London in 1936. In delivering the broadcasts, Baird's television system was in competition with one promoted by Marconi Electric and Musical Industries. Marconi's television, which produced a 405-line picture--compared with Baird's 240 lines--was clearly better, and in early 1937 the BBC adopted the Marconi system exclusively. Regular television broadcasts began in the United States in 1939, and permanent color broadcasts began in 1954.”
Jay and Claudia’s little Yorkie, Maddie, and their neighbor’s dog, Muffie, came to stay for the day while their ‘parents’ went to a casino.
Miss Priss would liked to have played with them, but I wasn’t about to let them meet except through a screen door, they aren't my dogs and I am responsible for their wellbeing. If they had got in a tangle, Miss Priss would have come out victorious, she’s a spunky little kitten.
Miss Priss is going for ‘socialization classes’ soon, as she never had a feline mom or siblings to teach her that biting and scratching hurt. I try, so when she plays too rough, I tell her ‘no’, and put her back in her room. Prime was teaching her by giving her a quick ear boxing and just walking off. But Prime was adopted before Miss Priss had learned her lessons. I managed to trim her claws yesterday, they were like little needles. All cats should get used to having that done.
Maddie actually ate some dog food, which she won’t do at home. Maddie and Muffie ‘killed’ a stuffed animal and scattered it’s innards all over my living room floor. But they had fun here.
Maddie and Muffie both have doggie doors at home, so I took on the role of doorman to three dogs for most of the day.