Wow, I don’t know where to start this column, so I’ll use a favorite method of operation of mine, song lyrics. In 1987, the group The Nylons released a song, “This Island Earth.”
My pal Jonathan Edwards uses this song often in gigs of his I’ve attended. He masterfully performs it a cappella. The words on which I would like to concentrate are: “Well I know we can touch the stars one day. Kick up the dust on Mars one day, or trip the light of the Milky Way. We’ve got to find our way. If you’re lookin’ for a miracle open your eyes; there was one this morning just about sunrise. Dawn came breakin’ like a wave on the sea, and it’s there for you and me.”
This island Earth is indeed filled with miracles; miracles that, while appearing tiny to some, provide inspiration and hope — hope that God has everything under control — despite what we hear and see daily from the “news” media.
But I don’t think it stops there. Mankind can’t be so arrogant to think that we are the only ones God has created. And that was incredibly illustrated by the images released by NASA on July 11 from the mind-blowing Webb Telescope.
I know I’m not alone on this. I was transfixed by what I saw — to the point where I cannot come up with the words to explain just how beautiful the images are.
As I’ve mentioned in prior columns, since I was a tadpole I’ve been a space geek. I wrote to the NASA astronauts in the 1960s for their autographs, and each one came through. With my dad, I watched on TV Neil Armstrong step on the moon 53 years ago this July 19. And I included my name along with Denise’s, Emilie’s and Igor’s on a microchip aboard the last two Mars missions.
But what I saw last week was beyond my comprehension. If those images do not prove there is a great, powerful and loving God, nothing will.
Nothing I have seen illustrates the vastness of God’s universe — a universe filled with myriad galaxies comprised of millions and billions of stars “held together” by gravitational forces.
Our tiny Solar System is just a drop in the bucket of one such galaxy, the Milky Way. But beyond our minuscule spot in the universe there is so much going on.
Three images from the Webb Telescope filled my mind and imagination. The “Cosmic Cliff” of Carina Nebula appears to be a magnificent mountain range that is in fact a gaseous cavity.
“Stephan’s Quintet” is an image of five galaxies in relatively close proximity, containing old stars and the birth of new ones.
And the “Southern Ring Nebula” shows a star that over countless years has emitted rings of gases, creating a spectacular scene.
The colors in each are stunningly beautiful.
All of this exists hundreds and thousands of light years from our little world.
I have always been a believer in extraterrestrial life, and I do more so now than ever after seeing the Webb images.
A God that can create stars and gases and particles and stars that number more than the grains of sand on all the beaches on this island Earth, could surely create life forms as easily as we came along.
While I feel certain there is life out there, and not just microscopic, I don’t know if we will ever meet up in this lifetime.
I do believe that Earth has experienced “Close Encounters” with extraterrestrials, but only God knows if we could handle face-to-face encounters. Perhaps that’s why it hasn’t happened — to the point where the public knows. It may be too mind-bending for us.
But when all the smoke clears at the end of this time, and the beginning of forever, I hope to meet all of God’s children, from this galaxy and the millions of others God has masterfully fashioned.
Plus, the beauty of the Webb Telescope mission is that 20 countries are involved with it. Overseen by NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, the Webb was launched, fittingly enough, on Christmas Day 2021. From the birth of our Savior to the birth of a God’s-eye view of creation.
The project first thought of and worked on in 1996 has brought us that much closer to the beloved angels we have heard on high. Believe it or not. I certainly do.