After hurtling through 352 million miles of space for 8 and ½ months, carrying a 2.6 billion dollar Mars rover, the space-laboratory named Curiosity survived seven minutes of terror to make an amazingly ingenious landing on the red planet.
Why curiosity? Because in yet one more attempt, NASA scientists are trying to find evidence of how life formed on earth, and whether we are alone in the universe.
Writing for the Los Angeles times, science writer Scott Gold writes, “Are we really a 1-in-a-gazillion accident?” asked Matthew P. Golombek, a senior research scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. “That’s almost a theological question. And we need to run it down.”
There’s a familiar story behind such a comment. Even among scientists who assume the evolution of life as we know it, many believe it was only possible if there was a God behind the process. Others rise to the challenge of the question, “How could a world like ours come out of nothing?” with their own question, “How could your uncreated God come out of nothing?
There’s enough mystery and wonder to go around. Worship too. It’s hard not to bow our knee to an enchanted material world, a Spirit behind it, some other imagined being, or ourselves.
So is the greater wrong found in trying to find the natural process that just happened to explode into magical molecules of life that morphed into elephants, tigers, and butterflies—and their daily bread? Or is it to take such an amazing life for granted—as if it were not one continual “miracle” of existence after another?
Every once in a while I am amazed at my ability to take the wonder of any given moment for granted. Not often enough do I find my curiosity stirred to the point of worship at the nail scarred feet of the One of whom John wrote, “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.” (John 1:3-5).
Only occasionally does it seem so overwhelmingly clear to me that everything that is good, and noble, and courageous, and beautiful, and true, and self-sacrificing, and loving find their source and fulfillment in him.
In some of those same moments I sense that everything that is evil, and hurtful, and self-centered, that gasps and grasps for more than we’ve been given– explains why he came not just to live– but to die in our place. In his death we find life. In his life we find the answer to death. In his love we find the reason for our an existence so amazing it gives us meaningfully real answers to our curiosity.