Friday, October 28, 2011

Psalm 8, the Majesty of God, & that Pale Blue Dot

Sunday morning we will be studying Psalm 8 - a Psalm about the majesty of God.  One of the famous verses in that passage is vs. 4 which says, What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? As I study this text, I can't help but think about the difference between atheism and Christianity as we both look up at the skies.  Atheism studies the cosmos and sees our small, seemingly insignificant planet of existence and finds purposelessness.  In other words, atheism sees the cosmos and all they can see is our insignificance.  Christianity, on the other hand, looks up at the skies and is overwhelmed by God's majesty.  In atheism, we are small.  In Christianity, God is majestic. This makes that question in verse 4 all the more relevant, What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?

This is the point raised in world renown astronomer and agnostic (atheist?) Carl Sagan.  The picture above, known as the Pale Blue Dot, portrays the earth taken from 3.7 billion miles away in space.  The earth, in the vastness of the cosmos, is nothing more than a pale blue dot.  Sagan, who encouraged NASA to take the picture, was inspired by the picture to write a book by the same title.  Below is the famous section of the book where Sagan offers the emptiness of atheism/agnosticism.  He sees our insignificance, but Christians see the amazing fact of our worth and the power of our God.

Here is the quote written out:

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known

For More:
Blogizomai - There Is No Such Thing As Atheists: Hawking's Curious Theism
Blogizomai - Before There Was Time: Hawking on the Origina of Everything
Blogizomai - Causation and the Existence of God:  How Scientists Continue to Prove Aquinas's Point
Blogizomai - Just Add Universes: The Foolishness and Motivation Behind Atheism's Leap of Faith
Blogizomai - Creation or Manipulation:  The Limits of Man and the Evidence for God
Blogizomai - Evolution Animated & Refuted 
Blogizomai - Justice and the Implications of Atheism: Doug Wilson Hits the Nail on Its Head
Blogizomai - On Why Darwin Still Matters
Blogizomai - Expelled: A Film About Freedom, Evolution, and Intelligent Design
Blogizomai - Expelled:  A Movie We Must Take Seriously 
Blogiozmai - D'Souza:  Ben Stein Exposes Richard Dawkins
Blogizomai - Collision:  An Important Documentary About Faith and Atheism  
Blogizomai -The Atheist Debates
Blogizomai -Atheism Is Not Great - The D'Souza and Hitchens Debate
Blogizomai -John Lennox: The New Atheism and the Gospel 
Blogizomai - Natural Morality:  The Disconnect Between Darwinism and Morality  
Blogizomai -D'Souza: Are Atheists Cultural Christians
Blogizomai -Survival of the Moral: Can Man Be Moral Without God?
Blogizomai - Re: Survival of the Moral: Can Man Be Moral Without God?
Blogizomai -Freud's Wish Fulfillment: Why Atheism Can't Explain Atheism
Blogizmai - "Why God Won't Go Away" by Alister McGrath
Review - "Why God Won't Go Away" by Alister McGrath  
Review -"Atheism Remix" by Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
Review -"The Delusion of Disbelief" by David Aikman
Review -"The End of Reason" by Ravi Zacharias
Review -What's So Great About Christianity? by Dinesh D'Souza

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