What Others Say

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To open a newspaper and see references to God, Scriptures, Kindness, Peace, Loving one another is what our whole world needs now more than ever. -John D. Galveston, Texas

Monday, May 16, 2016

Exoplanets: Other Worlds

Exoplanets.  It is a new word for me, but scientists are beside themselves.  Apparently the term has been around a long time, just not in my vocabulary. Exoplanets are planets that orbit a star other than our sun.  On May 10 The Kepler Space Telescope verified 1,284 new exoplanets bringing the total to approximately 3200. 
                                
Every star is expected to have at least one planet.  With 200 billion stars in the Milky Way the number is, well, astronomical!  But what scientists are really excited about are earth-like planets, those that orbit in the “habitable” zone of sun-like stars, the so- called “Goldilocks zone.”  21 of Kepler’s planets fit this category and there could be 11 billion habitable Earth-like planets in our galaxy alone! 

Elen Stofan, chief scientist for NASA Headquarters in Washington said, “This gives us hope that somewhere out there we can eventually discover another Earth.”   Just imagine, there could be other planets filled with beauty: oceans with waves breaking upon the shore, trees and forests, rivers and snow-capped mountains, clouds drifting across the sky, birds and beasts and living things.

C. S. Lewis posed this possibility in his science fiction novel, Out of the Silent Planet.  But Lewis went a step further. He proposed that these “habitable” planets in the universe were different in one respect. They were planets without sin.  Only on Earth, he suggested did sin exist and, as a result, it had become the “silent planet” cut off from all the rest of creation.  It is an interesting proposition.

Imagine again, a planet like the earth filled with life, including human life, where sin does not exist.  A planet like our own where there is no corruption, where no one lies, or steals, no deceit, no suspicion, no fear. A place where there is no violence. Everyone looks out for the welfare of others.  Love rules.

We may never know if there are other planets like our earth. The closest star with a possible habitable planet is about 14 light years away. Most are more than 40 light years.  Even if we could achieve the speed of light, this is not exactly commuting distance.

But the Bible assures us there is such a place as we have imagined, not in our galaxy or in our sphere of time and space.  It exists in another dimension, eis aionos, or “into the age,” as Jesus said. “I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am, there you may be also.”  (John 14:2-3)

Revelation describes this place “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” 

Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:4-8).

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