Summary: Science recently found the 1st and smallest planet they think "might" have water and possible life. But their discovery’s weaknesses only highlight the uniqueness of the world God created for us. Why did God create our world, and what does that mean to us
OPEN: Back in London’s Hyde Park in the 1940’s, there was a “”Speaker’s Corner” where different people could speak in the open air. One of the regular speakers there was a Catholic author and publisher named Frank Sheed. On one particular day, Sheed had spoken on the beauty and majesty of God’s creation. He described how intricate and extraordinary the universe was and how it proved that it had been created by a loving and powerful God.
As often happens in these kinds of events, there was a heckler in the audience. And this heckler repeatedly challenged Sheed by pointing to all the suffering and injustice in the world. Then he ended by saying: “I could make a better universe than YOUR God did!”
Sheed paused for a moment and said “You could make a better universe than God has?”
“You heard me,” the man replied
“Well, I tell you what.” Sheed answered :”I won’t ask you to make a universe… but would you mind just making a rabbit… just to establish some confidence in your abilities? Then I’d be satisfied that you MIGHT be able to make good on your claim.”
APPLY What Sheed was saying to that man was this:
If you’re going to pass judgment on God you had better be better than He is.
And when it comes to making a universe no one is better than God is.
And there’s a reason for that. The Psalmist said:
“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? Psalm 8:3-4
God created the heavens and the moon and the stars.
And He created it for you and for me.
He created it the entire Universe because He loves us.
The answer to the Psalmist question of “what is man to God?” is “Man means A Lot to God”. It didn’t make any sense that God would love us… but it was true nonetheless. And the proof of God’s love is displayed in the care He took in making our world.
Psalm 136 put it this way
”Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever
to him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever.
who by his understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever.
who spread out the earth upon the waters, His love endures forever.
who made the great lights— His love endures forever.
the sun to govern the day, His love endures forever.
the moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever.
Over and over again, the Psalmist is telling us: “Just look at what God has created. Then you’ll begin to realize just how much ‘His love endures forever’”.
Paul tells us in Romans that
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities— his eternal power and divine nature— have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Romans 1:20
The repeated message throughout Scripture is this:
God not only is “there”, but “He cares.”
And one of the proofs of that is the beauty and majesty of the world God created for us to live on.
Just as an example of this, allow me to take you out into the Universe.
A couple of years ago, Astronomers found a new planet.
It was the first and smallest planet on which they suspect they might one day find life.
They named it Gliese 581 C.
Gliese is 15 times closer to its sun than our earth is to ours, but that’s ok because Gliese’s sun is 50 times dimmer than ours.
(We showed a graphic of the size difference between our earth and Gliese. A good site for this would be http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gliese581cEarthComparison2.png)
Gliese 581 C is 50% bigger than our earth and 5 times more massive and it is speculated that the gravity on Gliese is similar to ours.. (adapted from Space.com April 2007)
Scientists are so excited about this discovery that there have been various artists have portrayed how they think the planet’s surface must appear
(We showed a couple of graphics on the screen)
One artist even visualize life
(We showed another graphic, followed by a cartoon such as the one found at http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_M5bBKfTxp6s/R1SGnkCfZOI/AAAAAAAAALM/OJRjoGyV6fI/s1600-R/05-03-07-Cartoon-CLR.gif)
So scientists are all excited about finding life on this “earthlike” planet.
But, of course, there is one small problem with this Gliese 581 C. It never turns as it orbits it’s sun. One side of the planet is always faces its star and the other side is always facing away. This would make the sunny side unbearably hot and the dark side freezingly cold.
This leads most astronomers to speculate that whatever water and “life” may be found on the planet would be found around the edges where the dark side meets the light.