Why beauty, wonder, awe?
Animals, as far as we know, have little or no appreciation of anything aesthetic, finding mountains, stars, storms, oceans, tigers, forests, or puppies pleasing is not really in their gift. Seemingly such feelings have scant evolutionary purpose. Perhaps an argument against evolution, perhaps not. We humans also find wonder and awe in understanding how a cell works, in how atoms and quarks work. We can be impressed and inspired by the works of other humans – bridges, dams, paintings.
Rosetta is NASA’s wonderful ambitious mission to get information from a comet. Wonderfully it worked. We have breathtaking images of a tiny little, fragile and temporary world. It was called Rosetta because the Rosetta stone was an archaeological object that helped us translate previously lost ancient languages and tell us something about the past.
NASA hopes that by understanding a stone in the sky, the comet, it may tell us about the past of the solar system. Evolutionary biologists wonder if it could tell us if chemical building blocks for life came from outer space.
Well I think it has already told us something different. I think we sent Rosetta because we are curious. I think we find the work of the people who made Rosetta brave and edifying because we can admire creators through their creation, and that what the mission found, a grey rock, beautiful not because it is pretty but because we are seeing something God made for the first time. I think we humans share a love of beauty with God because we have souls that are given us of God.
I think Rosetta is a key to understanding that we love Creation because we recognise there is a Creator, who created us in His image, and that curiosity and aesthetics are uniquely human because He made us.
I watched the moon landings, I have even done some work for NASA connected with them. Rosetta is, in my opinion, as a space nerd and child of the space age, the bravest loveliest mission since the moon. Not the most colourful or expensive, but the most ambitious and successful example of how we reach out to better know our universe, and inevitably then our Creator.
NASA did not intend any such thing, but God put that high rock there for us to one day climb, on our journey to better knowing Him.
WELL DONE NASA!
Exploration leads us to the Creator. The crew of Apollo 8 read from Genesis on Christmas Eve 1968 as they orbited the Moon. The recognition of God such awe of being in His incredible creation brings is inescapable. We have all felt that feeling. It is God calling you. Look at a newborn baby and feel it. You are feeling what He feel as He sees that baby, that He made in His image, that through Him we make in our image.
Psalm 143:5 NIV
I meditate on all your works
and consider what your hands have done.
I had a vision of looking into Jesus’ eyes and seeing the beautiful blue of earth from space. He is the light of the world, our maker.