President Bush has said, “We are proud of our space program....We have undertaken space travel because the desire to explore and understand is part of our character....Using the Crew Exploration Vehicle [CEV–not yet built], we will undertake extended human missions to the moon...living and working there for increasingly extended periods....[W]e will then be ready to take...human missions to Mars and to worlds beyond...we’ll develop new power generation propulsion, life support, and other systems that can support more distant travels...human beings are headed into the cosmos!”
It was an inspiring speech cheered by NASA. But a little honest reflection reveals the simple truth: the vast distances in the cosmos present an impassable barrier to our grandest ambitions. The Voyager I “space probe” travels about 335 million miles per year. If it survived, it would take it about 162,000 years to reach Alpha Centauri, the nearest star system in our galaxy where there might be some planets. It would take our space craft about 1.3 billion years to reach the closest galaxy outside our Milky Way, the Sagittarius Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy, and more than three billion years to reach the next closest galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud Galaxy.
How could such distant dreams benefit anyone alive today? Shouldn’t we admit the humbling fact that vehicular “space probes” are hopeless outside our Solar System? “Headed into the cosmos”? Bold words, but utterly ridiculous!
Well, we’re sending radio messages into space, and they travel at the speed of light, 186,000 miles per second. That’s fast, but not fast enough to “head into the cosmos.” At that speed, it would take 100,000 -150,000 years to cross our galaxy, the Milky Way, and thousands to billions of years to reach other galaxies, of which there may be a trillion. Why continue to delude ourselves?
Radio reaches Alpha Centauri in 4.3 years, so we could theoretically have a reply in less than 9 years. We’ve been listening for intelligent radio sounds since 1960, and nothing so far. There are only three other star systems with the possibility of a radio reply in less than 100 years, and then the distances mount rapidly: 130 years for Aldebaran (brightest star in Taurus), 150 for Regulus (brightest star in Leo), over 500 years for Spica (brightest star in Virgo), nearly 800 years for the Pleiades, 3,000 for Orion, 12,000 for the Crab Nebula, etc. Most of the stars in the Milky Way are many thousands of years away by radio contact. In 1974, a radio message was aimed at a huge cluster of stars known as M13, but it will take 25,000 years for the message to get there and another 25,000 to receive a reply.
Do such projects represent time, effort, and money well spent? Refusing to acknowledge the Creator, who offers instantaneous access to Him, science persists in attempting to explore the impossibly vast universe it won’t admit He made. Our strongest telescopes can’t even show us the universe as it is today but as it was long ago when the reflected light we see began its journey toward us. What blind pride drives this madness?!
Some astrophysicists argue that gravity seems to act instantaneously throughout the universe; and therefore, if we could achieve gravitational propulsion systems, we could travel almost anywhere in the universe in a moment of time. But most space scientists (and NASA) agree that the speed of light, which has proved to be the maximum for particles in accelerators, cannot be exceeded by physical objects.
Much science fiction (even by professed Christians such as C.S. Lewis) has popularized the idea that intelligent beings similar to man populate other planets in the universe. Billy Graham, who accepts evolution as one way God may have created man, has said: “I believe there is life on other planets....I can’t imagine that we’re the only one [planet] that has life. That would be an...egotistic thing for us to say.” As for preaching the gospel on other planets, Billy said, “I’d love to, but nobody’s invited me...I don’t think I could speak their language....” What gospel would that be?
Billions of dollars are being expended to contact intelligent life “out there” in the hope that “we are not alone.” The Voyager spacecraft carried this message from President Carter, dated June 16, 1977: “Of the 200 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy, some...may have inhabited planets and space faring civilizations. If one such civilization intercepts Voyager...here is our message: We...hope some day...to join a community of Galactic Civilizations. This [is] our determination...in a vast and awesome universe.” That is absurd according to the Bible, yet the scientific and academic community—and many Christians—take it very seriously.
Carter claims to be a Christian. Yet the hope he holds out for earthlings is to “join a community of Galactic Civilizations”? That’s hardly what Jesus meant by His Father’s house of “many mansions” (Jn:14:2,3)! Carter’s “hope [and] determination” caused me to title a book, Whatever Happened To Heaven?
Evolutionists reason that if life could happen by chance on earth, it could have happened on millions and perhaps billions of other planets—and the challenge is to find it. But life could never happen by chance. This fact is backed by overwhelming scientific proof, although most scientists ignore it in their desire to escape accountability to the Creator.
This scientific evidence demands an inescapable conclusion: the earth is uniquely fitted for life, and the universe is designed to sustain it. During the first-ever manned orbiting of the moon, William Anders announced, “For all the people on Earth the crew of Apollo 8 has a message we would like to send you...‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth....’” Anders, followed by Jim Lovell and Frank Borman, broadcast back to earth the first ten verses of Genesis (though Anders inadvertently skipped verse 3).
After their return to earth, a reporter asked Borman whether he had seen God out there. He replied, “No...but I saw His evidence.” Wernher von Braun, German World War II rocket scientist, who became the father of America’s space program and first director of NASA, put it like this: “One cannot be exposed to the law and order of the universe without concluding that there must be design and purpose behind it all.” In a letter to the California State Board of Education (9/14/72), von Braun wrote:
My experiences with science led me to God....Prove the existence of God...? Must we really light a candle to see the sun...? The better we understand the intricacies of the universe...the more [we] marvel at the inherent design upon which it is based.
While the admission of a design...ultimately raises the question of a Designer (a subject outside of science), the scientific method does not allow us to exclude data which lead to the conclusion that the universe, life and man are based on design.
To be forced to believe only one conclusion—that everything in the universe happened by chance—would violate the very objectivity of science itself.
It is in...scientific honesty that I endorse the presentation of alternative theories for the origin of the universe, life and man in the science classroom.
God created Adam and Eve to populate the earth (Gen:1:28). When they rebelled and had to be expelled from the Garden, God didn’t moan, “They let me down. I’ll try again on another planet.” God knew that Adam and Eve would sin—and He knew how He would redeem mankind. Christ is called the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev:13:8). As von Braun said, “God deliberately reduced Himself to the stature of humanity in order to visit earth in person, because the cumulative effect over the centuries of millions of individuals choosing to please themselves rather than God had infected the whole planet.”
Any intelligent, morally responsible beings with the power of choice would inevitably sin. It would therefore make no sense for God to “start over” with other Adams and Eves on one or thousands of other planets. That would only fill the universe with more rebels. Because “God is love,” He would be compelled to redeem sinners by paying the infinite penalty for sin in the place of finite creatures who would otherwise suffer His just judgment eternally. In order to pay for their sins in their place, the Creator would have to become one of them. Obviously that fact limits redemption (and thus creation) to one race of intelligent, morally accountable beings. There could only be salvation for man, so God would not create others.
Christ became a man to redeem mankind. He couldn’t also have been born as other creatures on other planets to redeem them. God has only one Son to give, and He gave Him to this world (Jn:3:16). He promised to take those who believe on Him to His Father’s house of many mansions (Jn:14:2,3), bringing “many sons unto glory” (Heb:2:10) “in his image” (Rom:8:29; 1 Cor:15:49; 2 Cor:3:18; Col:3:10). He can do this only for the human race, of which He eternally is a member.
The vastness of this universe and the mind-boggling numbers of galaxies and stars make it all the more astonishing that one tiny planet is the focus of God’s attention. And the more we learn of the universe, the clearer the amazing fact becomes that God created it all for earth and its inhabitants! (See The Privileged Planet .)
Most staggering of all, the Creator himself became a man on this earth through a virgin birth in order to reveal Himself to mankind, knowing full well that they would reject, mock, and crucify Him. Von Braun said: “When God became a man...the stage was set for a situation without parallel in the history of the earth. God would visit creatures and they would nail Him to the Cross!” Yet, in loving response to man’s heartless rejection and hatred, Christ asked the Father to “forgive them,” and He gave His life to personally pay the penalty even for the sins of those who crucified Him! What love! What mercy! What grace!
Death ends physical life, but not our existence. If it did, we wouldn’t need a Savior and should rather follow the philosophy, “Let us eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” But the Bible says that after death comes judgment (Heb:9:27). That’s why we need salvation—to rescue us from eternal punishment for our sins. As von Braun said, “Everything science has taught me...strengthens my belief in the continuity of our spiritual existence after death....”
The Bible repeatedly declares that the universe gives proof of an infinite Creator to every thinking person, and that everyone’s conscience knows God’s laws and that we all have broken them repeatedly (Rom 1, 2). Common sense also tells us that the penalty for breaking the law even once cannot be paid by keeping it perfectly in the future or by any number of good deeds. Defying this obvious fact, religions offer various schemes (really scams) for appeasing God through ritual or good deeds. Those who persist in such religious dishonesty violate their own consciences and reject the forgiveness they inherently know they cannot merit but that only God could provide. Therefore, they cannot be excused because they never heard that Christ paid the full penalty for their sins when He died. They have rejected what the universe and conscience plainly tell them.
The Bible provides hundreds of prophecies (which we have given in detail in the past) concerning the coming Messiah/Savior: His ancestry is foretold; the place of His birth; the very day He would ride into Jerusalem and the beast upon which He would ride; His rejection by the Jews, and by the world; His crucifixion; His resurrection and ascension to heaven; the resurrection and Rapture of the redeemed to heaven; His return to earth to reign, etc. These prophecies identified without question Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah. Those who knowingly deny these facts and reject Him are doubly condemned.
It was on Planet Earth that Christ was born as a man, lived, died, and it is to the earth that He will return. According to the Bible, this earth is the center of the universe. All of God’s future plans involve mankind. Man was made in the image of God (Gen:1:26,27). Redemption is all for him. Scripture declares, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus...” (1 Tim:2:5).
Christ offered “one sacrifice for sins for ever” (Heb:10:12)—His work of redemption was forever completed. That cosmic event, which defines all of history, happened on earth to redeem mankind. It is through Christ’s death on this planet and through “the blood of his cross” that peace was made, enabling God to “reconcile all things unto himself...in earth [and] in heaven” (Col:1:20). It is in Christ (by virtue of His death and resurrection) that God will “gather together in one all things...which are in heaven, and which are on earth” (Eph:1:10). It is through Christ’s death on the Cross that Satan has been defeated, that heaven itself has been cleansed, and that a new universe will be created without sin—and there God will dwell with man, on earth, forever.
To earth Satan came to destroy God’s creation, and to earth the “great dragon...that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan” (Rev:12:7-10) will be cast down from heaven. The final battle between God and Satan will be fought for earth’s destiny, and the enemy of God and man will be confined to “the lake of fire...and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” along with his followers (Rev:20:10-15).
Most astonishing of all is the fact that on this miniscule planet is a tiny city that is very precious to the Creator of this vast universe. That city is Jerusalem, mentioned 811 times in the Bible and not once in the Qur’an— a fact that exposes Muslims’ claim to Jerusalem as a brazen lie. In this “holy city” (Neh:11:1; Isa:48:2; 52:1; Mat:4:5, etc.), Christ was welcomed as the Messiah by hundreds, and perhaps thousands, lining the road from the Mount of Olives as He made His triumphal entry through the Eastern gate—an event celebrated ever since as Palm Sunday. Four days later, the same mob cried “Away with him, crucify him, we will not have this man to reign over us”—and He was nailed to the Cross on Jerusalem’s outskirts.
This is the city God loves and wants to bless, but which has rebelled against Him repeatedly. This is the “city of God” (Psa:46:4; 87:3), the city to which God sent prophets day after day, week after week, year after year, pleading for repentance. This is Zion, “the city of David” (2 Sam:5:7; Neh:12:37; Isa:22:9, etc.) over which Christ wept, and which God finally destroyed because of its wickedness, but has promised to fully restore.
God still watches over Jerusalem. For denying its place in His plan for the universe, He will punish all nations. This is the city that, in fulfillment of prophecies uttered thousands of years ago, has become a burden to the entire world. It is to Jerusalem that (God willing) we will turn our focus more fully in July’s article . TBC