December 5, 2011, NASA announced the discovery of a planet they’re calling Kepler-22b, “the first planet the Kepler spacecraft has discovered in the habitable zone, an area with a distance from a star where temperatures will permit the existence of liquid water” according to an article posted on The Huffington Post that same day.
The discovery brings up some interesting notions about whether or not anyone could be finding God in the New Planet: Kepler-22b. Scientists believe they are now “closer to finding a planet that could possibly harbor life,” the article said.
The newly discovered planet, Kepler-22b, is 600 light-years away from Earth and orbits at a distance from its sun that scientists estimate would give it a pleasant 72 degrees Fahrenheit temperature.
Douglas Hudgins, Kepler program scientist, is quoted in The Huffington Post article saying:
“Kepler’s results continue to demonstrate the importance of NASA’s science missions, which aim to answer some of the biggest questions about our place in the universe.”
I once knew an author of Christian fiction who wanted to write a story about people of earth traveling to other planets and discovering other races of human-like beings. But he was discouraged from writing such stories because there were too many questions:
Did the beings on those planets sin? Do they need a Savior from God like Earth did? Did Jesus go there, too, because of God’s love? Did He die as a sin offering for them, too, because it was God’s will to satisfy His justice requiring death for sin? Is there “salvation” on their world? There couldn’t have been another Savior for them if Jesus is God’s only Son, right? Would the sacrifice of Jesus on our planet Earth cover the sins of beings on other planets?
Too many hard questions put an end to this author’s space-travel stories, as far as I know.
Are there other worlds out there that sustain life similar to ours? Scientists continue to search for answers.
Steven Howell, as scientist at the NASA Ames Research Center who’s on the Kepler team, told the Huffington Post about viewing planets orbiting other stars and searching for planets similar to earth. He said, “We’re moving out to orbital periods that are nearly and equal to the Earth, and that means very soon we’re going to be finding [planets] very near the earth, what we’d call true earth analogs. We’ll be there. We’ll be there probably within a year, very easily.”
This one thing I know, sin will take this earth to such a state that it will be destroyed, or nearly so. But that is not the end, for John, in his Revelation of the end tells us:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:1-3, NIV).
We know God is here among us and working among us on Earth. But pondering hard questions might be leading some to be finding God in the New Planet: Kepler-22b.
© Dianne E. Butts (www.DianneEButts.com) has over 275 articles and short fiction in more than fifty publications including Enrichment Journal, and Encounter, and Clubhouse and eighteen books, and is a frequent contributor to Finding God Daily.
Others are finding a bit of humor in comparing conditions on earth to a new hope, as you can see in this YouTube video: Earth vs Kepler 22b Funny Comparison. Thankfully, we who anticipate heaven already have something greater in store for us!