A Pale Blue Dot

November 4, 2017

On October 13, 1994, Astronomer Carl Sagan addressed an audience at Cornell University. He showed them this picture of earth from 3.7 billion miles away taken four years earlier by the Voyager I spacecraft.

Part of what he then said that day are these now famous words:

 

That's here. That's home. That's us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there--on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam...It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.

 

We're a small planet orbiting one of a trillion known stars that have been formed over the last 13.8 billion years. Compared to the vastness of the universe, we're a spec on a spec on a spec on a spec... However, as Chris Folmsbee writes, "The God of the universe sees us as we are: limited and beautiful. Flawed yet full of amazing potential."

 

You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered!

I can't even count them;
They outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up, you are still with me!
                 Psalm 139:16-18 NLT

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© 2016 by Charles D. Jones