Scientists are forming plans for trips to Mars, though high costs and fragile technologies pose obstacles. God has an awesome destiny planned for humanity, more exciting and amazing than any science fiction story ever written. Your Bible reveals mankind's place in the vast universe!
The vastness of the universe intrigues us. It seems to invite us to venture out into space. Mankind has set foot on the moon, but will we ever reach Mars—or beyond? What will be our future in the universe? Will you ever step out into space?
In 1958, the Soviet Union began the "space race" by launching the satellite "Sputnik." At first the United States lagged behind, but with the July 1969 moon landing, the U.S. took the lead. Now, decades later, Russia, the U.S. and other countries are cooperating on an international space station.
Scientists and astronauts are forming plans to rocket to Mars. Is this what God envisioned us to accomplish? Can we conquer the vastness of space? Your Bible offers some shocking surprises about your ultimate destiny and your place in the universe. You need to know that destiny and why you were born! You need to know what the Bible reveals about mankind's incredible potential! God has an awesome future planned for us, more exciting and amazing than any science fiction story you have ever read. Yet God's awesome plan is not science fiction! And it answers the question: "Will we conquer space?"
In March 2000, Mission to Mars was the most popular movie in United States theaters. According to a Zogby America poll, 38 percent of Americans would like to visit Mars (Reuters/Zogby, March 15, 2000). Another Zogby poll revealed that 59 percent of American adults expect man to land on Mars within the next 25 years. Only 24 percent said that man would never travel to Mars.
NASA's long-term plan for Mars travel assumes four to six month trips to and from Mars, with 18 months of exploration on the planet. Others have their own dreams, desires and even plans. One private organization is advertising via the Internet a five-week manned mission to Mars in July of 2018. Its ticket price is two million dollars!
But do we really understand our limitations? Perhaps we can send a tiny and expensive spacecraft beyond our atmosphere, but do we really think that we, as air-breathing, food-eating, water-drinking creatures can conquer—truly master—space? While Mars may be within reach at a cost of billions of dollars, how might we reach our nearest star? The nearest star is Proxima Centauri, 4.2 light years away. If you could travel there at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second) it would take more than four years. By contrast, the space probe Voyager 1 is now traveling into space at 38,700 miles per hour. At that speed it would need 70,000 years to reach Proxima Centauri. We will never extend our reach throughout the universe, unless we can break through limitations of time and space. At present this seems almost impossible. But, as we will see, there is hope for the future.
How will mankind ever conquer space if we cannot cooperate effectively? One international cooperative project is the International Space Station. Sixteen nations are involved in the project, which began with the launch of the control module Zarya on November 20, 1998. The Russian service module Zvezda saw its original 1999 launch date delayed until July 2000. This $320 million element is but a small part of all that will be spent on the station. Yet what have the world's top engineers and space scientists created? "[After launch], officials conceded they had overlooked something. Though the school bus-size pod will be home to three astronauts for four months at a time, it has been outfitted with only two tiny sleeping berths—leaving one crewman no place to bunk" ("Space Pork," Time, July 24, 2000, p. 24).
Originally planning the station's completion in 2004 at a cost of roughly $12 billion, its international management team now expects a 2005 completion at a cost of $96 billion—eight times the original estimate! And scientists are saying that once the station is built, there may be nothing for it to do, since many of its planned experiments have already been conducted aboard Russia's Mir space station, and others can be performed at far lower cost on unmanned ships. Will mankind ever be able to conquer space? Not this way!
Human beings, unlike all other forms of life, are able to plan, design and build in wondrous ways, because the Creator God has given each of us a mind. In the 20th century, the human mind brought about the development of amazing new technologies. But human nature historically uses technologies not only for good, but also for evil. At the dawn of the 21st century, long-feared nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) weapons of mass destruction are no longer the only destructive technologies. Now a new threat is on the horizon—genetics, nanotechnology and robotics (GNR)—promising new horrors for the new century.
In his startling essay, "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us" (Wired Magazine, April 2000, pp. 238-262), Sun Microsystems founder Bill Joy, an early pioneer of the minicomputer age, contemplates these new GNR technologies' effect on warring humanity. "I think it is no exaggeration to say we are on the cusp of the further perfection of extreme evil, an evil whose possibility spreads well beyond that which weapons of mass destruction bequeathed to the nation-states, on to a surprising and terrible empowerment of extreme individuals."
Will these technologies, and their potential for evil, be unleashed as warring mankind seeks to control space? What is your prediction? There is no question that until the Creator God intervenes, mankind's drive for evil will continue, because "…the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes" (Romans 3:17-18).
Will there be space wars? Military weapon designers are planning nuclear-powered space-based lasers and particle-beam weapons. In an article titled "Waging War in Space" The Nation magazine explored this topic:
In 1996 the [United States] Space Command's commander in chief, Gen. Joseph Ashy, put it bluntly. "It's politically sensitive, but it's going to happen.... we're going to fight in space. We're going to fight from space and we're going to fight into space.... That's why the U.S. has development programs in directed energy and hit-to-kill mechanisms. We'll expand into these two missions—space control and space force application [military jargon for control of Earth from space]—because they will become increasingly important. We will engage terrestrial targets someday—ships, airplanes, land targets—from space. We will engage targets in space, from space" (The Nation, December 27, 1999).
History should teach us the profound lesson that human governments and institutions, apart from the government of God and the way of God, will only lead us to total cosmocide—total destruction! As Jesus Himself said, "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened" (Matthew 24:21).
The good news is that God will intervene and save the earth from cosmocide. Jesus Christ will come back to judge the nations in the dramatic Day of the Lord and the climactic end-time battle. He will need to do that to save humanity from total extinction!
We have seen mankind's desire to venture into space, and the frailty of human efforts to do so. Yet even though we are infinitesimal by comparison, we feel we are part of the vast universe. But before mankind can truly conquer space, we must conquer self—selfish human nature. Only then can converted individuals come to understand their place in this vast universe. In his years as a shepherd boy, King David spent many months under the night sky, wondering about his place in the universe. He stood in awe of the starry heavens, and recognized their Source as the Creator God. David wrote in Psalm 8:3-4: "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?"
What was his answer? "For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen; even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth!" (Psalm 8:5-9).
God is "mindful," as David put it, of human beings. He cares for us! Why? Because He created us for a wondrous purpose—to have a personal relationship with Him! Just think about that profound truth! God said, "'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them" (Genesis 1:26-27).
Human beings were created in God's likeness to have an eternal and loving relationship with Him. But it is God who first demonstrated His love to us! Nearly every Christian is familiar with the "precious verse" or "golden verse" of the Bible: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
God is love! And He has given the greatest gift of love that any of us could receive—the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay for our sins. Sin brings the death penalty upon us. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). Our sin has earned us the death penalty, but God sent His Son to pay that penalty, so that we can be reconciled to God. Redeemed by God, we can walk in a new way of life and have a new relationship with our Creator! Mindful of God's great love, and His sacrifice of His Son, we should want to follow the Apostle Peter's admonition, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). In doing so, God and the Christian are no longer separated—a repentant, baptized Christian, yielding to God's law of love, has direct access to God through the Savior, Jesus Christ. Through Him we can conquer selfish human nature (cf. Philippians 4:13).
God created the human family, and He wants us to be a part of His divine family. The Apostle Paul wrote: "For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named" (Ephesians 3:14-15). Yes, God is the Father of a family—and He wants you to be a part of a creative family that will experience activity and joy for all eternity! He wants you to enjoy the earth, the planets, the solar system—and the entire awesome universe.
True Christians are even now the begotten children of God. "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!… Beloved, now we are children of God" (1 John 3:1-2).
God's children, brothers and sisters in Christ, are now preparing for the coming Kingdom of God. Are you preparing for the soon-coming Kingdom of God? We read in the first chapter of Genesis that human beings were given the responsibility of governing our environment. God said, "Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth" (Genesis 1:26).
Have we, as human beings, been faithful stewards of our power, dominion and authority over the earth? All over the world we have polluted our air, our water and our environment. We have misused our potential for good by inventing weapons of mass destruction. And we have not conquered violence, terrorism and abuses of all kinds.
Albert Einstein, reflecting on human nature, commented, "It is easier to denature plutonium than to denature the evil spirit of man" (Disturbing The Universe, Dyson, 1979, ch. 5). Left to our own devices, we have shown ourselves incapable of proper stewardship. Only by yielding to God—repenting of sin and allowing His Holy Spirit to work through us—can we overcome the sinful human nature that, since Adam, has kept mankind apart from God.
Why, then, has God given fallen human beings dominion over the creation? The answer may astound you. God has given us the opportunity to train for greater authority and stewardship in the future! He wants to share the universe with us!
The author of the book of Hebrews quotes David's psalm: "You have made him [mankind] a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, and set him over the works of Your hands. You have put all things in subjection under his feet" (Hebrews 2:7-8).
Here the quote from Psalms ends, and the author of Hebrews makes a comment. "For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him" (v. 8). Nothing in the universe is excluded from mankind's dominion or rule. Yet the verse concludes, "But now we do not yet see all things put under him" (v. 8).
The Greek phrase translated as "all" in this verse is ta panta—which literally means "the all." As Greek lexicons explain, ta panta in the absolute sense means "the universe." God wants to give you, along with billions of others, dominion not just over the earth, but over the universe! Yet we can only do that when we inherit eternal life—only when we become God's immortal children to reign with Christ in His Kingdom for all eternity!
Just when will Christians become God's immortal children? Here is what the Apostle Paul wrote: "Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed; in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory'" (1 Corinthians 15:51-54).
Our hope is the resurrection! It takes place at the last trumpet, when mankind hears the great announcement of Christ's Kingdom replacing this world's governments (cf. Revelation 11:15). This seventh trumpet occurs during the prophetic time period known as the Day of the Lord, when Christians are changed from mortal to immortal. Only then are we born into the Kingdom of God as His glorified children. Hebrews 2:10 states that the Savior, Jesus Christ, is to bring "many sons to glory." Christians will be those sons. Romans 8:29 states that Jesus is the "firstborn among many brethren." Christians are to become His eternal brethren.
As God's children, we are His heirs. What will we inherit? As a part of God's family, we are promised a great inheritance. "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together" (Romans 8:14-17, KJV).
We have the awesome privilege of being "heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ." What will we inherit? The list is impressive! In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5). Our inheritance includes the earth. The patriarch Abraham is called "the heir of the world" in Romans 4:13. Revelation 2:26 explains that the overcomers will rule over nations. The parable of the talents (cf. Luke 19) reveals that faithful Christians will also be ruling over cities in the coming Kingdom! Yes, the meek shall inherit the earth!
What else will we inherit? Chapter 25 of Matthew describes Christ coming back to earth in his glory. All the nations are gathered before Him as He sits in judgment. And see what He says to His faithful servants. "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world'" (Matthew 25:34).
As heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, we will inherit the earth! We will also inherit the Kingdom of God! That is a part of your incredible future! Some religious people believe that Christians have already inherited the Kingdom! Is that true? Not according to the Apostle Paul. "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption" (1 Corinthians 15:50). If you are flesh and blood, the Bible says that you have not yet inherited the Kingdom.
The good news is that faithful Christians will inherit the earth and the Kingdom of God. Our ultimate inheritance, revealed above in Hebrews, is also indicated in an amazing passage in Revelation. "He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son" (Revelation 21:7). As incredible as it may seem, God is willing to give us all things—even the entire universe.
Imagine being able to travel about the universe instantaneously! One galaxy will be as close to you as another. God, as the Creator of the heavens, wants to share all of His creation with you.
But before Christians venture out into the universe, there will be a crucial mission to perform on the earth. Bible prophecy explains that the saints, immortalized Christians, will need to educate billions of people about God's way of life—the Way taught by Jesus Christ of Nazareth. In the Kingdom of God—the real "millennium" yet to come—faithful resurrected Christians will be kings and priests (cf. Revelation 5:10), ruling on the earth under the King of kings, Jesus Christ, helping billions of human beings into the Kingdom of God, into God's Family.
Will we conquer the universe? Not by our own efforts. The Creator God, who owns the universe, will give it to His children as an inheritance. You can be one of those future inheritors of the universe. As an immortalized child of God, you can look forward to that day when you will rule space as part of God's royal family for all eternity!