I’m going to say some things that will sound weird, leaving many scratching their heads. But if you think through this to its metaphysical roots, you see that I’m talking about something essential.
Tomorrow the NASA Mars lander, the Perseverance, will land on Mars and for me, it will be a sacred day. I will try to explain.
I am profoundly curious about the world around me. I’ve watched every movie on Curiosity Steam (about 300). If I had the time and money, I would love to get a PhD in archeology, physics, math, art, marine biology, and the list goes on. My curiosity is intimately tied to my Christian faith, not in contrast to it.
I really think the Christian church made a big mistake a long time ago when they chose the metaphysical position that divides all of creation between the seen and the unseen, and only the unseen has value. Within that mindset, you are not to be curious about the seen (including the universe) because it is unimportant, opposite to God at worse.
Most people would never admit that their belief in the existence of God is on a continuum. On one end of the spectrum is the certainty of God’s presence and on the other end, the certainty of God not existing. This is a dynamic spectrum where a person can move from one point to the next from one epoch of their life to another, and even from a moment in a day to the other. For me to say what I just did, makes some Christian people uncomfortable. Often Christianity considers 100% certainty in God’s existence at all times as a requirement. That “certainty” is usually on an emotional basis, “God is real because I can feel him.” The problem with “certainty” of God built emotionally is that it is built on straw and can easily collapse. That is why most kids raised in Christian homes … eventually leave that faith.
I’ve been most certain of God’s existence at the end of a long tour through a fine art museum, such as the Louvre, listening to a classical piece of music performed by a full orchestra, arriving at the end of a long equation that helps to explain more of the universe, watching a great act of selflessness to save another person. That’s where I hear God’s voice the loudest. The other places where I hear God are when I look at tremendous monuments of nature’s beautify, listening to poetry, reading a well-written novel . . . and sometimes a sermon. Our pastor has a lot of wonderful sermons.
The places I sense God the least is when I hear people lying, see endless wars, watch people trying to manipulate other people for personal gain as some pastors do, especially TV preachers. One hour of Jimmy Bakker would move me far along the spectrum away from God and Christianity being true, especially if he is selling buckets of food to survive the coming “Democrat apocalypse.”
It may seems strange that a machine landing on Mars brings me closer to God, but it does, for two reasons. The first reason, just the science of getting a 2200 pound piece of machinery 292.5 million miles, hitting a window of a few feet square. I’m in awe of the minds that God has given the scientists and engineers, and I’m in awe of the fabric of math upon which the universe has been written, which makes this possible. If the universe was chaotic, space travel would not be possible because of the unpredictable nature of chaos. That fabric of order screams to me of God. It’s at that junction that I become a mystic. I’m not a mystic based on the unseen . . . built on emotions. But I’m a mystic on the complex, yet profoundly breath-taking seen. If God made the seen, then who had the nerve to declare it insignificant?
There’s this weird concept in some religious circles that if you have awe about people or people’s minds, it is a sacrilege. That makes no sense to me because those same people, and those incredible minds, are made by God . . . if God is really there, and I believe he is.
I wish I could watch the landing live. I, like most of you, have waiting weeks for my COVID vaccine and mine is scheduled tomorrow exactly at the same time as the landing, 11:30 am. In a moment of insanity, I considered canceling my vaccine to watch the landing live. It is an incredible feat of engineering, placing that SUV-sized rover on the surface of Mars so far away. I’m so excited to see what we find. It is my hunch that one day we will find life. But to explore Mars, Pluto, stars, or the inside of our minds tells us more and more about this wonderful universe that God has made. Thus it tells us more about God in the same way that people study scriptures to know more about God.
For the rover mission check here.