If we go back a few years, the Earth was all we knew. We saw the stars but did not understand what they were. We called the planets “wandering stars.”
It was easy then to think that the Earth was all there was, all that was important, that we were all that was important. It was easy then to think that God must have made all we could see just for us. Our star is one of hundreds of billions in our galaxy. We are finding that most stars have planets around them. Based on planets found so far they estimate 50 billion that could harbor life in our galaxy alone.
And there are hundreds of billions of galaxies. This not debatable. We see it.
So did God make all this just for us? That does not seem like anybody’s God. This does not mean God did not orchestrate the whole thing.
Now the question: Would God have made all those planets that could harbor life (hundreds of billions of them) and not put anything on them? It does not seem likely.
All this leads us to an inescapable conclusion: There is life all over the universe. It may only occur on one in a billion planets, but that leaves hundreds of billions of planets with life and surely many with intelligent life.
If God has made what we have found to be true — that the universe is either infinite or nearly so, that our Earth and sun are the tiniest specks imaginable in this vastness — then our God is God over a lot more than just us.
Seems like that ought to make us a bit more humble and a bit less arrogant about our claim to know all the answers. It is quite incredible that most of the wars in the past have had their roots in religious differences, and in most cases claiming the same God. Look up at the sky some night and imagine a world out there with life on it, intelligent life. Realize that somewhere out there it is bound to exist. Your God is God over that world, too.
We are just beginning to understand our place in all this. Maybe the difference between Methodists and Baptists begins to look a little silly, or even between Muslims and Christians. Perhaps all of us, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, atheists and all the rest, should realize that we have a lot to learn. Unfortunately no one wants to say, “I don’t have all the answers.”
That is the real sadness in the world. And it’s also a real sadness in our politics. We are becoming more and more polarized with no room left to think. Try listening to the other side of something sometime, and imagine how much we don’t know. You don’t have to change your core beliefs to listen, or change them to compromise to get the best possible practical outcome.