Earth Day Redux

Earth Day brings to mind the ideas of looking at the world around us and remembering how important it is to live on the planet we live on. We hardly have any perspective on this however. What other planet have we lived on? If we lived on the moon or on Mars, we might have a much greater appreciation for the planet earth. Recently I have been watching the Expanse on Amazon, trying to catch up over the last few seasons. One of the characters, Bobbie, is a Martian marine who comes to earth for the first time. her first impressions are that 1) it’s too bright, I have to wear sunglasses, 2) I don’t have to worry about breathing because there is plenty of air, and 3) gravity, ouch. Her character gives me a bit of perspective about the world I live on. I take for granted every day that I have air to breathe. I never give it a second thought. There is always plenty of air. I don’t have to worry about the air recycling system because it always works on this planet. I could be exploring in the deepest parts of the earth and I don’t have to worry about wearing scuba gear, because even in the caves of the earth, there is air.

Have you ever thought that the earth is so ideally suited to our needs, and that it always has been so, maybe it was designed that way? There is an idea floating around in astronomy that all of the universe was suited ideally to our species, a kind of androcentrism. That you changed the laws of physics or the rules of matter even a little bit, you would not have human life. It’s like we were meant to be after all.

If you read the Christian Bible you find that this is central to the creation story. Man is created last, but seniority apparently isn’t important, because it is God’s last creation who is to be in charge of the former, “to have dominion” over the whole earth and be its steward, God’s manager. God alone has ownership over the earth. While we as human beings may run things down here, God is the owner.

So what is the earth? Should it be something that we celebrate or even honor? Or should we simply be grateful that our heavenly Father created for us an ideal place to live, especially suited for our life, which we have found nowhere else in the universe? We have looked and examined alternate places to live, like life on Mars or the Moon. Scientists keep looking for earth-like environments elsewhere in the galaxy, but we are simply unable to find any. All the while, we continue to breathe without worry or thought for it.

If earth day is to be anything, it ought be a day where we are grateful to the Lord above for making us such a magnificent home. We need not worry about air, which we depend on constantly. And we can also thank Him for the other blessings we receive through the planet He has created, like the physical beauty He has built into it. Consider that He could have made the whole world a wasteland (with plenty of breathable air), but He didn’t. He created a whole host of environments to which different people have found pleasing and desire to live in. I love beaches, long stretches of sand and shore and the many variations God has created on that theme. I also appreciate mountains, plains, valleys, skies and seas. I am thankful for each one.

Thank You Lord for everything.

The Witness of Space

Need a lift? Look up. The awe and wonder of the expanse above us is often enough to silence any critic. We cannot fathom the vastness above us. A look into the night sky shows us the twinkling of a thousand or so stars visible to the naked eye. It’s beauty and majesty is often enough to give us a sense of awe.

But if you took a simple optical instrument, like binoculars, you see a little bit more. Then a telescope, and it’s a bit more. Then a bigger telescope, and a it’s even more. Then you take an array of radio telescopes, and our awe only increases. And then observations from satellites and the Hubble telescope, and we soon realize that the universe is bigger than we can comprehend. We learn that our stellar neighborhood is vast, but the galaxy is bigger, and the galactic neighborhood is millions of light years across, but incomparable to the trillions of light years seen in the deepest parts of space of other galactic clusters. Like everything, the closer you study and the harder you look, there is always more to discover. Why is that?

Because “the heavens declare the glory of God”. God’s glory isn’t just something shiny and pretty to look at. The glory of God is the wonder of his handiwork. Your own accomplishments are your own glory, and speak to the kind of person you are. The heavens are God’s glory, and speak to the kind of person He is. What do the heavens tell us about God? Space is big. God must be bigger, since nothing made can be more than the one who made it.

There are places in the universe that keep running without our involvement. Places we will never see, like the surface of planets galaxies away. God knows all about them. He’s been there and He keeps them running, though our eyes will never witness it. Why?

Because that’s God. He is everywhere. Our God can keep the universe in working order. I am thinking He knows a thing or two about your problems and how to solve them. Look up. Know that God is in control, especially when you are not.

God bless you today!

0010 – Source Code 2 – Are You Beautiful?


It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And many understand the wisdom of that sentiment. We tend to see beauty in those similar to ourselves, and only begin to see beauty in those unlike ourselves when we mature. Yet beauty is a quality we recognize without realizing it. We are engineered to recognize beauty (often as symmetry of design) as perfection. We often pair the word “flawless” with beauty, as a way to describe it. If something is faultless or flawless, we more likely recognize it as beautiful. We also recognize order as beauty. A house free from clutter with well-trimmed landscape would be considered beautiful. Well-brushed hair and manicured nails are beautiful.

Even small children do not have to be taught beauty, for they automatically recognize it. Our eyes recognize symmetry, perfection, and order without having to be taught what they are. This is part of our source code, for God is the ultimate Perfection, Order, and Designer of all things. Truly beautiful subjects remind us of awe and wonder. Yet God refuses to let others take credit for His work.

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Exo 20:4-6)

If it is built within us to recognize beauty, then we are also designed to react to beauty. We react with awe and wonder. And we react with adoration. When we look at the night sky, we are amazed at its vastness, in awe of the power it took to create it, and we just gaze at it, adoring such mighty handiwork. When we see a spectacular piece of art, we are in awe of the skill of the artist and adore the artwork. It is a short step from awe and adoration to worship.

God not only recognizes our propensity to be in awe and adore beauty, but warns us off of worship when our adoration calls away from Himself to someone or something else.

Aspiring to beauty sometimes comes at great personal cost, and can lead to anorexia, bulimia, and even suicide. We have our own personal ideal. I recall in the Matrix some years ago when Neo first enters the computer world (after having escaped it), Morpheus tells him that what he sees of himself is his “residual self-image”. It is how he sees himself. I know exactly what he is talking about, because the guy I see in the mirror every morning isn’t the guy I see myself as (and that’s probably a mental issue right there). But each of us has a “residual self-image” or an ideal self-image that we feel is the way we ought to look. This sometimes leads to making ourselves the idol, an unrealistic obsession with the way we look and how we feel, which is definitely a mental illness called narcissism.  And yet even this “illness” can be rectified with a proper understanding of who we are before God.

Anyone can make an idol of anything, including themselves. It is an idol when it takes our focus off of God. Idols of our own making make few demands of us. Our favorite musicians or movie stars, atheletes or even preachers may only ask for time, some cash, or a donation. That’s far easier that re-ordering your life after the perfection of a perfect God.

“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mat 5:48) or “since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”” (1Pe 1:16)

God makes demands on us. He is not content to let us wallow in our imperfection. He calls us to Himself, through His son Christ Jesus. Jesus is the one who renews us and washes us to be pure and holy.

that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Eph 5:26-27)

Christ wants to make us beautiful in His sight, not just to make us beautiful, but to cleanse us from sin:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1Jn 1:9)

God is just as interested in our beauty as we are, to restore us to the beauty we had before the Fall in the garden, when we had a perfect relationship with Him. God love us so much that he molds us, like clay, into vessels worthy of His use. He molds us, refines us, perfects us through trial and sometimes through suffering, until we are beautiful vessels, so shiny He can see His face in us.

We may recognize beauty in others and in things, but God sees our beauty when He sees Himself in us.

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. (1Pe 3:3-4)

This is why no image, no graven image can ever be formed before God. All of them are meagre and stupid before the holiness and beauty of the Almighty God. No idol, no Greek statue, no modern Olympian, no self-made man can even hope to be compared with the awesomeness that is God.

Are you beautiful to God?