Thursday, January 24, 2013

Christ the Redeemer of ET?

More and more exoplanets beyond the borders of Solar system including many within the habitable zone have been discovered as the methods of exploration have evolved and can accurately measure the tiny vibrations caused by gravitational forces.

As Professor Paul Davies has discussed in his book The Eerie Silence (2010) SETI is assuming that out there may be many intelligent creatures, some perhaps much smarter than us with quantum brains!

Accordingly, exoplanets are probably habited by many species created in the image of God. This fact indicates on the basis of the Bible that they are sexual and have male and female forms
So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27
unlike angels, who according to Jesus are asexual
Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.
Mark 12:24-25
We ask, do these inhabitants of exoplanets also need redemption by Jesus Christ?

Or is Christ only the Redeemer of this insignificant spot of dust in the vast Universe?

Or is Jesus Christ a Cosmic Redeemer, whose death on the hill of Golgotha two thousand years ago paid for the sins of the entire Cosmos and the good news of the events in Holy Land on planet Earth are proclaimed to the inhabitants of exoplanets in Andromeda and Magellan Clouds and everywhere in the deep space?

Freedom to sin
Holy Bible gives as an important point and allows us to see the creation from the point of view of the Creator Himself in the light of divine revelation

The word sin does not appear at all in the first creation story in the Bible. The entire creation is well done in the eyes of God. The Creator is satisfied with His own work!
And God saw that it was good.
1 Ms 1:10
Also the second creation story about the Garden of Eden does not use the word sin. However, it sets Adam created by God under a rule, the first law, and tells that God has ruled a severe punishment for the breaking of that prohibition.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
Genesis 2:15-17
The Garden of Eden was full of wonderful good tasting fruits and there was only a single prohibition - "do not eat from this particular tree".

This is a most radical text that does not only tell about the character of man - of course he must eat from that particular tree - and relation between man and woman - "she told me to eat" - and thus the pettiness of Adam created by God. No, the story tells us about God Himself.

God sets to the man He has created a deadly testing stone, a trap, into which the wise snake easily led Adam.

Strange Garden of Eden  
Humanity living upon planet Earth is sinful because the will of God is that man has the freedom to break His holy will. Even most distant galaxies obey exactly the will of His Majesty. But man has the freedom to break it at will.

To point out the strangeness of the Garden of Eden let us consider this story.

A loving father builds for his little children a wonderful playroom. It is filled with things the children love and that are good for them, toy kitchen corner, toy fire station, dollies, cars, TV and iPad and little freezer full of ice cream and all kinds of sweets and fruits and favourite food of the kids.

In the midst of this wonderful room the father sets a small table in prominent place, covers it with white linen and sets a small beautiful glass of delicious looking drink on it. However, in that drink is deadly poison.

Dear father then tells his children: "I am leaving for a while, enjoy your games, eat and drink and have fun. However, do not drink from the glass on the table - if you do, you will die."

Father then leaves the room and stands behind the door watching through a glass window what the kids do.

Why, oh why?
With the story I try to describe the enormous and totally disgusting setting in the second creation story showing the responsibility of our Heavenly Father.

Why would a father do such a test with his beloved children and in criminal manner place a poison glass for their easy reach?

Why the Tree of Knowing Good and Bad in Paradise with the exciting prohibition?

In my opinion the only answer to this riddle is that God tests in this way whether or Adam obeys Him, is obedient to His will.

Is obedience to God's will this crucial, matter of life and death?

According to the letter to the Hebrews Jesus learned one thing from His awful suffering - obedience.
During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
Hebrews 5:7-10 NIV

All beings created in the entire Universe in the image of God and even the angels in heaven have been given freedom to sin, to break God's will revealed to them in expressis verbis in a language they can understand.

Otherwise it would not be possible to love God from free heart.

What about God's images living in exoplanets?
This is the situation upon Earth according to divine revelation. The solution is the only son begotten by God who was born in Bethlehem according to the Scriptures.
Glória in excélsis Deo
et in terra pax homínibus bonae voluntátis.
Luke 2:14
Divine revelation tells us nothing about the arrangements elsewhere in the Universe.

But still we ponder whether also other images of God living in distant planets have been given the dark history of fall and sin and salvation into eternal life through faith.

Yes, we wonder how it is!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Paul Davies: the Eerie Silence

Professor Paul Daves The Eerie Silence Reviewing Our Search for Alien Intelligence (Bargain Books 2010) is a summary of current research trends at SETI. The book explores the possibilities of intelligent extraterrestrial life, and its potential consequences.

The broad introduction to human curiosity of ET and possible impacts of Encounters of Third Kind is very interesting.

I find it very refreshing and significant that Professor Paul Davies discusses Alien Intelligent life also in the context of the religions of Earth's most intelligent inhabitants. For Christianity one question of encountering other creatures with religion is,for example, whose saviour Jesus Christ is?

Professor Paul Davies
image wikimedia
Paul Charles William Davies, AM (born 22 April 1946) is an English physicist, writer and broadcaster, currently a professor at Arizona State University as well as the Director of BEYOND: Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science. He is also currently affiliated with the Institute for Quantum Studies at Chapman University in California. He has held previous academic appointments at the University of Cambridge, University of London, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, University of Adelaide and Macquarie University.

His research interests are in the fields of cosmology, quantum field theory, and astrobiology. He has proposed that a one-way trip to Mars could be a viable option. In 2005, he took up the chair of the SETI: Post-Detection Science and Technology Taskgroup of the International Academy of Astronautics. He is also an adviser to the Microbes Mind Forum.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Galactic year

All humanity uses the light signals our good Lord has set up in the heavenly firmament also for time keeping.
And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so.
Genesis 1:14-15 NIV
Today we know that these great time signals work on the principle of rotation:
  • Day is one rotation of Earth's axis
  • Month is one round of Moon on its orbit around Earth
  • Year is one round of Earth on its orbit around Sun
This works fine in all human cultures and days follow nights and vice versa. In modern times humanity has learned to calculate these rotations very accurately.

The problem with Solar system based time units is that they create enormous figures in Cosmology and Astronomy. Our earthly distance measurements are not all that practical in Astronomy and also our earthly time measurements are not so helpful in trying to figure out Cosmic time scale.

Astronomers have adopted a a variety of distance measurements from astronomic units to light years and parsecs as alternative to our daily kilometers and miles. However, no alternative unit exists to replace in the same manner our tiny days, months and years.

We can say that according to modern estimates the Universe known is about 13.77 billion years old. But what does that enormous amount of zeros really tell us - who can imagine billion years?

Galactic year
Well, what if we apply galactic time to express cosmic time spans?

Let us be consistent and use rotation of celestial bodies as the basis: astronomers estimate that it takes Sun about 225 million years to complete one round around the center of the Milky Way.

Let us call this a galactic year (gy)- 225 million human years.

The estimated age of the Universe is about 137.700.000.000 solar years
Galactic year is about 225.000.000 solar years
137.000/225 = 60.9

The age of the known Universe is thus 60.9 gy (galactic years).

The Sun and solar system was created about 4.500 million years ago
4.500/225 = 20

The age of the Sun is thus 20 gy (galactic years). 

Neat, eh!

(well, someone already noticed that before me... see wikipedia)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Huygens descent

Huygens probe on Titan NASA APOD

The time lap movie is out of this planet!
Another Space Theology bookmark Huygens: Titan descent movie

Friday, January 18, 2013

Asaph Hall and the Stickney Crater

Stickney Crater
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter March 2008. 6000 km
image: NASA APOD
Astronomy Picture of the Day combines in very effective educational manner absolutely stunning astronomic photos with compact expert explanations. Because these images appear daily and the library is huge I bookmark in this blog some of these exceptional images for future reference. The site itself has an online archive and photos can be searched by subject - but not by any Wow! count (FB "like") that could be given to them by us visitors.

Asaph Hall
Professor Asaph Hall (1829-1907)
image wikimedia
The story goes that American Astronomer Asaph Hall (1829-1907) had been looking for possible Mars moons for quite a while and was about to give up. His wife, mathematician Chloe Angeline Stickney Hall (1830-1892) strongly encouraged him to continue with the increasingly frustrating search.
(Angelo Hall. An Astronomer's Wife: The Biography of Angeline Hall. Baltimore: Nunn & Company, 1908.)
In 1875 Hall was given responsibility for the USNO 26-inch (66-cm) telescope, the largest refracting telescope in the world at the time. It was with this telescope that he discovered Phobos and Deimos in August 1877. Hall also noticed a white spot on Saturn which he used as a marker to ascertain the planet's rotational period. In 1884, Hall showed that the position of the elliptical orbit of Saturn's moon, Hyperion, was retrograding by about 20° per year. Hall also investigated stellar parallaxes and the positions of the stars in the Pleiades star cluster.
Hall found Deimos on August 12 and six days later on August 18, 1877 he discovered Phobos. The moons are named after the sons of Ares. In Greek mythology, Deimos was the son of Ares and the goddess of love, Aphrodite.  Phobos was the son of Ares and goddess Enyo who accompanied her husband to battlefields. Deimos personified terror and Phobos fear both so vividly present in war.

At some point in the history of the Solar system an enormous object smashed into Phobos. The impact almost destroyed the moon leaving a huge crater named Stickney Crater in honor of Angeline Stickney Hall.

But never before has humanity seen the curious surface features of Phobos in such glorious detail as in the images taken by the HiRES cameras of the Mars orbiter in 2008.

Open the APOD image and see - the Moon of Fear is like a beautiful jewel, isn't it!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Einstein Cross

Einstein Cross
Image cropped from an  APOD NASAimage
The rare image of an Einstein Cross taken by professor James Rhoads (Arizona State University) shows a galaxy in unusual light. According to current theory, the large black hole in the centre of the galaxy is hidden from our sight by bright light emitted from a quasar behind the galaxy and on the same axis of view as the black hole. Gravity field is so strong that it bends the tracks of photons creating this amazing cloverleaf of light.

Gravitational lensing
A gravitational lens refers to a distribution of matter (such as a cluster of galaxies) between a distant source (a background galaxy) and an observer, that is capable of bending (lensing) the light from the source, as it travels towards the observer. This effect is known as gravitational lensing and is one of the predictions of Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity.
Although Orest Chwolson is credited as being the first to discuss the effect in print in 1924, the effect is more commonly associated with Einstein, who published a more famous article on the subject in 1936.
Fritz Zwicky posited in 1937 that the effect could allow galaxy clusters to act as gravitational lenses. It was not until 1979 that this effect was confirmed by observation of the so-called "Twin QSO" SBS 0957+561.

Gravitational lens
Image wikimedia
Spacetime around a massive object (such as a galaxy cluster or a black hole) is curved, and as a result light rays from a background source (such as a galaxy) propagating through spacetime are bent. The lensing effect can magnify and distort the image of the background source.
Read the entire article on gravitational lens wikipedia