The Drive to Discover
By Marcia Lee Laycock
We all remember that little rhyme, memorized
in grade school - 'In fourteen hundred and
ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue.'
What we could not perhaps understand, as we
recited that rhyme as children, was that Columbus
was not just setting off on an adventure at
sea as many others did before him. He was
setting off under a completely new banner
of faith. Columbus believed that he would,
in fact, not fall off the earth, as was commonly
believed at the time. He believed there was
more beyond and he was driven to discover
it. We all know the outcome. Columbus and
his crew survived, discovered a new land and
returned to tell about it.
I thought about Columbus and the many other
explorers the other day as I watched a video.
The scientists on the video, who spoke about
what they were discovering in the solar system,
were in some ways, just like Columbus. They
were driven to discover what lay beyond.
The video, called The Privileged Planet,
explains how, for many centuries, man believed
the earth was unique in the universe. But,
as exploration of the stars moved from a pastime
to a science, it began to seem that the earth
was, in fact, only a small dot like billions
of others. Laymen and scientists alike began
to believe there had to be millions more out
there, just like earth. They began listening
to the stars, hoping to hear something that
would tell them there was intelligent life
out there. They studied solar systems and
black holes and stars that appear like tiny
pinpricks to the human eye. They sent exploratory
devices to land on far-away planets, looking
for evidence of life. They have discovered
much that has been useful.
To date, they have been astonished to discover
that the earth, in fact, does appear to be
one of a kind. None other is placed within
a solar system in such a way that it can sustain
life. As the astronomers began to understand
the finely-tuned balance of the system and
our planet's place in it, they deduced that
the chances of another planet like earth existing
are astronomically remote.
Their deductions beg a series of questions.
The question, why, is perhaps the most obvious.
Why is our planet so unique? Why is it situated
so perfectly that it can sustain life? Why
is it situated so perfectly that the living
creatures on its surface can observe and marvel
at the universe around them? Why, indeed.
The Apostle Paul enlightens us in Romans
- "For since the creation of the world
God's invisible qualities - his eternal power
and divine nature - have been clearly seen,
being understood from what has been made,
so that men are without excuse." (Romans
God has done it all so that we might recognize
Him and glorify Him. Our drive to discover,
to learn, to understand the world around us
and the world within us, originates in God's
desire to be glorified and to be known.
Look at the stars tonight, if you can. Or
look at the snow falling from the clouds above.
Think about the incredible patterns that make
those normal yet awesome natural occurrences
possible. Think about our round globe, unique
in the universe. And ask yourself, Why?
Marcia is a freelance writer
and speaker, living in Ponoka Alberta where
her husband pastors The Church of the Open
Bible, a member of the Associated Gospel Churches
of Canada. Her new devotional book, Focused
Reflections, has garnered praise from noted
authors Mark Buchanan, Phil Callaway and Janette
Oke. You can contact her at Marcia@vinemarc.com
Peace with God