I saw this quote and image shared on Facebook the other day. I wonder what you made of it?
“From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives.
The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner.
How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.
Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate.
Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world.
To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”Carl Sagan. J ‘Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space’ (Book, 1994) –
It’s all rather bleak isn’t it. Actually, if we are just this tiny dot in an expanse of darkness, then there isn’t really any motivation for us to do anything to resolve our differences and overcome our problems. What does it really matter if the bad guys win?
The Gospel offers an entirely different vision. This world may be unique and the only place where there is life but we are not alone. There is the God who created us. He views us not from a distance as per a certain dreadful song. Rather, he is the God who knows us intimately and has been closely, continuously sustaining this world through his providence. In the person of Jesus, he stepped into this world to bring light in the darkness, forgiveness for sin and life instead of death.
The same Jesus will return one day to bring an end to all conflict, to take away tears and sorrows and to dwell with his people for ever,
That’s a better hope.