The Man on the Moon is the supposed image of a man‘s face that some cultures believe to be visible on the surface of the full moon. The face is said to be formed by a series of dark areas imitating two eyes, a nose, and an open mouth. Legend goes that the Man in the Moon is an actual man. The oldest traditions claim the man to be Cain, who was sentenced to ‘circle the Earth’ and watch forever what he could not have because of his betrayal.
This week we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing. Turns out the only man on the moon was… well Neil Armstrong (followed by Buzz Aldrin). The Man on the Moon is actually just some of the Moon‘s seas, such as the Mare Imbrium and Serenitatis, which with people associate the Man in the Moon‘s eyes.
One of the goals of space exploration was to investigate the possibilty of other life forms in the universe. You remember Niel Armstrong’s famous words. One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. This was to usher in a whole new era of planetary exploration.
40 years later the dream has all but been forgotten. We have not been back since 1972 and to date only 12 people have ever walked on the moon. Hardly colonization, let alone becoming an interplanetary species. I guess we have enough problems of our own on planet earth. Still, the fascination with finding life in outer space has not left our imagination. Carl Sagan once speculated that the universe had other life forms, perhaps entire alien civilizations. Movies like Star Trek and Star Wars have only proved to reinforce the belief that we are not alone in the universe. After all, they found water molecules on Mars, meaning there was possibly life there at some time.
But overwhelmingly science is actually telling us a different story. In 1961 astronomers noted that there were certain characteristics about our universe and planet Earth in particular (like the ratio of the gravitational force constant to the electromagnetic force constant) that were so specific that if they were altered even slightly the universe could not contain human life. It later became known as the Anthropic Principle and states that the universe appears “designed” for the sake of human life. Today 150 finely tuned characteristics have been identified. If there was any slight change in the way the universe exists, it could not sustain human life. The chances of there being life in the universe at all, including us, is one trillionth of one trillionth percent. So the odds that any given planet in the universe would possess the necessary conditions to support intelligent physical life is a number so large it might as well be infinity. We are breaking all the odds. There are 100 billion solar systems like ours (the Sun and nine planets) in our galaxy the Milky Way, and there are 100 billion galaxies in the universe, and yet our planet is the only one that can sustain life.
Simply put, science is now strongly suggesting that we are not a fluke of nature and that the entire universe was designed so mankind could have a place to live. This just confirms how some of your friends have been living anyway…acting like they were the centre of the universe. But seriously, to the bible believing Christian this really is something we have suspected all along.
The bottom line is the universe exists for the purpose of sustaining human life. God created the heavens and earth and stars. He made the universe stretch out, all 13.67 billion light years of it, and put us right in midst of it. That is why King David as he laid under the night sky cried out;
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? (Psalm 8:3&4)
We should live everyday in this same sense of awe.