As you read this, the temperature has gone back to normal and you may unbutton the back flap in your long johns and put away those woolens for the time being. One day — in the distant future — you will talk to your grandchildren about the freeze back in 2014 when you had to stay inside for two whole days without golf or direct sunshine. How cold was it? Why, Sonny Jim, it was so cold that the ice cubes froze in our tea.
I digress. The latest Time magazine printed an article about, "Finding a Second Earth." Right now, it would be easier finding a hobbit than an inhabitable planet suitable for earth-like life. "You need to be just the right distance from the right star — not too close, not too far, not too hot, not too cold." I almost left out, "A billion or so years to have that planet with just the right mixture of biological stuff to somehow create a living organism."
According to the theorists, about 3.9 billion years ago our earth wasn't much more than a spot in the universe with no hope of life. In a cosmic blink of an eye, that's about a hundred million years ago by my calculations — do not respond to my brilliance in Soundoff — oxygen from someplace started the process leading to life as we know it.
If that were not difficult enough to digest, there was a credible — I use that word loosely — story that seemed to be supported by good material that our government has had and continues to have a program to be executed if and when we are attacked by aliens. I kid you not! How those aliens from way way off — that's like driving from here to Alaska — found us, let alone had enough bathroom supplies to last from one end of the universe to the other, is hurting my brain just thinking about it.
What all this speculation, regardless of how scientific it may be, has done for me is that I go outside and pick up a small handful of soil and look at it very carefully. I weep at what I see in my hand. I know that I can take this handful of dirt and give it to some laboratory and ask for an analysis. I suppose I'll get a printed sheet of paper that will list all the properties, in alphabetical order, and a closing sentence saying, "What you have here is a pile of dirt. Nothing more and nothing less."
It's time for two more things to be done: a trip to the nearest mirror and read Genesis 2:7. In the so-named second creation, also called the Yahwistic account, we read, "The Lord God formed man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being!" In the mirror, I see one of God's creations, and I am astonished!
Allow me to leaf through some of the stuff I just wrote. I am an alien living on a ball of cosmic stuff kept together by forces beyond my understanding that orbits around a massive sun and this earth of mine is not too far and not too close, and not too hot and not too cold. Without laboring over ideas and theories that are far beyond my limited intelligence to understand, I can read the first five words of Genesis, "In the beginning God created...." and I am satisfied.
The second part of this rambling is the toughest part for me. This great planet is all I have to support my existence. I am standing in a space about two feet square and I could be upside down or right sight up depending upon one's point of view. Here's the rub. If we don't take care of our earth's resources, there is no place in our known universe to replace what we have. Even if there were a planet out in deep space, we don't have enough lifetimes or capabilities to survive the trip.
If that's the situation — and I'll stand by it until proven wrong — we'd best be concerned with salvaging and saving what we have.
I am humbled by the intelligence and hard work of these exoplanet investigators and fascinated by extraterrestrials and sci-fi stories. However, we need the best minds we have to look at the here and now in order to make way for a there and when long after most of us have, "Given up these mortal coils..."
In the meantime, read with wonder Psalm 8, "When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars which you have put in their places, who am I that you care for me? Yet, you have made me in your image and have given me all this! I do not have the words to express my deepest praise!"