September 2018: Thought For The Month

September 12 2018

The truth is out there

In 1977 NASA launched the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 space probes on a journey to explore our solar system. That was over 40 years ago and most people have forgotten about their missions, but they are still sending back data about what’s out there.

They are the longest operating spacecraft in history and now, travelling at 10 miles per second, both are billions of miles from earth. They have passed by Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune and sent photographs back. In 1990 Voyager 1 took a photograph of earth from a distance of 3.7 billion miles, which is called the Pale Blue Dot. Each Voyager has only 68 kilobytes of computer memory. The smallest iPod is 100,000 times more powerful. 

They are still sending signals back to earth, which take 16 hours to arrive. They have now left our solar system and entered interstellar space. One of the men who worked very hard on planning the project and who is now in his 80’s said, “We’re anxious to get outside and find what’s out there.”

The Voyager missions make it clear just how big the universe is and how small the Earth is; yet our planet is unique in the billions of miles the Voyager spacecraft have explored. Earth is very special with its abundance of water and teeming life. We human beings are also unique. In half a human lifetime of travel the Voyager spacecraft have found no evidence of other living beings. As those two probes hurtle through the unknown darkness of interstellar space, it seems unlikely they will find any answers there either. In fact, their discoveries only seem to raise even more questions.

The most important thing for us all is not so much to find out what’s out there, but to know who is out there. The Bible tells us about the great Creator God. In the opening verse of the Bible we read, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The account of creation which follows tells how God created the universe in all its vastness, the earth with all its beauty, and how he created men and women to experience his love and to enjoy friendship with him. 

Finding God does not depend on decoding data from ancient spacecraft billions of miles away in space. In Jesus Christ, God has drawn near to us and shown us what he is like. He is not far from any one of us. The youngest child and the frailest adult can talk to him and he hears, for in him we live and move and have our being.