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Thursday, September 29, 2011

What Is The Meaning Of Life?

The answer is simple to understand but difficult to face. We're here on earth to be refined and purified, much as gold and silver are purified.

Ah, but some people say, "What importance can we possibly have, being so small in the scheme of things? We're nothing compared to the vast universe." But consider this: We value rare objects highly, and the rarer they are the more we value them. It wasn't very long ago that astrophysicists - such  as the famous Carl Sagan - said, "The universe is brimming over with life!" He oversaw the initial SETI Program (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) which has been active for more than thirty years. Powerful radio telescopes all over the globe have been continually scanning the cosmos looking for radio waves that would mark any advanced civilization. To almost everyone's surprise there has been no sign at all. Turns out the universe is an incredibly violent and hostile environment for life as we know it. Huge Gamma Ray Bursts periodically sterilize and roast whole regions of our Milky Way galaxy.

This has led to the formation of a new theory of life in the universe known as the Rare Earth Hypothesis. We on earth may very well be the only advanced life forms of our type in our galaxy; or within any reasonable range of communication. It's a sobering and lonely thought, that we're alone. On the other hand, that means  we're incredibly valuable, a miraculous anomaly. The kind of miraculous creation only God could perform.

Look what's happening outside of earth in the rest of the universe. The Hubble Space Telescope has been able to see back in time, 13.5 billion years, capturing light at the far outer reaches of our physical universe - left over from its creation. Everywhere Hubble looks the same physical laws apply - gravity, inertia, momentum, thermodynamics - and the materials are the same: hydrogen, oxygen, helium, iron, nickel, and so on.

The refining process unfolding in the trillions of stars in all the trillions of galaxies we see produces hierarchies of elements from the lightest hydrogen to the heaviest uranium and the garbage disposals which are black holes. They're so heavy and have such powerful gravity that  nothing can escape from them, not even light.

No doubt other mysterious things are happening out there in the unimaginably vast universe, but there's no dispute about the refining processes. All the heavy metals on earth we know - such as lead, silver, and gold - were created from dying stars that exploded billions of years before the earth was formed.  Materials are recycled and purified constantly.  The process is eternal and we are a part of it. Our suffering has a real purpose, just like the heat of a furnace; to force our consciousness into shape. If we have character, and can bear it, a moral conscience can be born in us. Just as gold and silver emerge brilliantly through heat and strife, so can we. God is the forger, the craftsman, and the purifier.
"You have wearied the LORD with your words. "How have we wearied him?" you ask. By saying, "All who do evil are good in the eyes of the LORD, and he is pleased with them" or "Where is the God of justice?" "See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty. But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years. "So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me," says the LORD Almighty. "I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed." -  Malachi 2:17-3:6