When I look at Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet. Psalm 8:3-6
That Bible passage, and others like it, let us know we are valuable because of God's love and His Son, who has come to rescue us.
Still, years ago, the uniqueness of humanity was shot down when the science-popularizer, Carl Sagan, announced a planet needed two things to support life: the right kind of star, and for the planet to be the right distance from that star. Sagan said with one octillion (that's 1 followed by 27 zeros) planets in the universe, about one septillion (1 followed by 24 zeros) of them ought to have life.
Those numbers made Christians feel small and scientists feel confident. They were pretty sure if they listened hard enough, one or many of those inhabited planets ought to say something we could hear. That's why Congress funded SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Using radio telescopes they tuned into the universe and waited for someone to say, "Hello! I'm here."
Congress stopped paying for SETI in 1993. They stopped paying because, after all those years, the listeners never heard anything that indicated there is life out there.
That was disappointing, but what was more disappointing was this: Carl Sagan had been wrong. His checklist of the items needed for a planet to support life went from 2 to 10 to 200. The increase in those numbers meant a decrease in the number of life-sustaining planets.
Today, the number of planets that mathematically can contain living creatures is not in the thousands, or hundreds, or tens. It is not even at zero. It is less than zero. It is a negative number.
All of this means it is impossible for you and me to be here.
One scientist said the odds against us being here are about the same as flipping a quarter and having it come up "heads" 10 quintillion times in a row. Folks, that's 10 followed by 18 zeros.
So, what do all these big numbers mean? Fred Hoyle -- that's the guy who came up with the term the "big bang," said, "A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with the physics, as well as the chemistry and biology .... The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question."
In other words, some scientists are forced to conclude, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1).
Now, when they also can say, "Jesus is Savior and Lord," that will be something.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I pray the wise of the world may be brought to a knowledge of Your love and the Savior's sacrifice. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
P.S.Thanks to my brother, Tom, for sharing the Wall Street Journal article, which was the source for this devotion.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries