Tag Archives: carl sagan

I’m Sorry, Mr. Sagan, You Have It Perfectly Wrong

“To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it.  Yet the Lord set His affection on your forefathers, and loved them, and He chose you, their descendants, above  all the nations, as it is today.” Deut. 10:15

Caveat: this is sort of a repost, but it’s worth saying again.

In the closing moments of the movie “Contact”, based on Carl Sagan’s book of the same name, Jodie Foster’s character, Ellie, proposes the idea that…well, I’ll let you see it for yourself…

By the way: this really is a great movie, one of the faves in my library of DVDs

This idea, that if we’re the only ones in this great big universe, then it’s a waste of space was a common theme with Mr. Sagan. I have no idea if there are other “beings” out there. I do find it hard to believe that considering all of the billions of galaxies with millions of stars that each have planets orbiting them that there isn’t at least one other planet capable of supporting life as we know it. If you include all of the planets that might support life other than as we know it, well the odds are stacked against us being the only creatures in God’s creation.

However, in spite of all of this, I disagree with Mr. Sagan’s premise and I do believe that we are the only ones. My thinking is that if the universe really is as big as it appears with billion stars in billions of galaxies, then it’s not an awful waste of space. To the contrary, it’s an awesome display of extravagance that God would give us such an amazing “backyard” to explore!

Isn’t it just like the Father of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the same God that treasures us so exorbitantly  as to save us from ourselves through Jesus; to lavish us with something completely beyond our imagination.  He’s a creative God who created us with a wonder of creation.  What better place for us to chase the imagination that He has given us.

No, Mr. Sagan, the vastness of space, and the lack of life in it, wouldn’t be proof that God doesn’t exist. It’s  On the contrary, it’s not only evidence that He does indeed exist, but that He loves us so much as to create such an amazing place just for us.  What a marvel it is, so let’s get out there and explore it!

That’s why worship!

What’s Your Story?

“…they [the priests, captain of the guard and the Sadducees] were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say.” Acts 4:13-14

What’s your story? Your personal story…your personal experience? What has God done for you? How has Jesus radically changed your life?

People can argue with your opinion. They can refute your facts. But they can’t change your experience.

The priests, et. al. couldn’t understand how “unschooled, ordinary men” could speak with such boldness and authority and “courage.” They were “astonished.” Then someone remembered, “Oh, I get it, now. They were with ‘him‘.” It was probably whispered under their breath with a certain condescending derision.

But,the”authorities”didn’t want to be thrown into that brier patch again. In some ways they had learned their lesson well; don’t get into a power struggle with this bunch.

There’s something different after someone who’s been with Him. The experience turnstimidity into courage, fear into valor, apathy into passion. Actually, not just something is different, everything is different. An experience with Jesus brings life out of death. It turns logic inside-out, obliterates reason and destroys the status quo. An experience, let’s call it an “Encountering”, with the person of Jesus is wonderful, overwhelming, passionate unreasonableness! Nothing is the same and nothing can ever be the same.

All around usare those that don’t get it (the Sadducees, priests, et. al. in v.1); those who want it (the people who came to listen to Peter and John in v.4); and those thatget it (those that were “praising God for what had happened” in v.21).

For those of us that get it, we have an indelible effect on every one of these. We disturb those who don’t get it; we attract those who want it; and we encourage those who do get it. When we have an encounter with Jesus, when we experience Him bring our old, dead lifeless self to vibrant, passionate life it changes everything!

Nothing can change our experience…our “Encountering.” No arguments, no logic, no force, no reason, no thing can separate our experience from us. It’s the story He gives us to tell. The whole purpose of Jesus encountering us, the inevitable result of our experience with Him, is to makethe lame to walk…todance; to complete theincomplete; to finish the unfinished, to bring the dead to life. It’s completely unreasonable!

In the movie “Contact” (based on the book of the same name authored by Carl Sagan) a prominent scientist and SETIresearcher, Ellie, (played by Jodie Foster) is afforded the chance to be the first human to travel to a distant planet to meet extra-terrestrials. Trillions of dollars are spent to make a traveling machine that isbased on plans sent via a radio signal from the previously mentioned extra-terrestrials.

When the machine is “launched” it appears to never leave earth. All of the ground controllers, government officials, even Ellie’s friends view it as a failure. Everyone that is except for Ellie who experiences an incredible journey through the cosmos and an encounter with a being completely different yet somehow familiar. It’s an experience that destroys all of the logic that she once held dear; an encounter that exposes her to how insignificant she is in the universe but also how she is never alone.

Ellie’s journey is perceived as a fraud. There is absolutely no evidence to support her fantastic stories of a journey to the center of the universe. Only her story. Even the recording device Ellie used to chronicle her journey reveals only static.

Offering testimony before the inquiry committee Ellie is confronted with the complete unreasonableness of her claim. I’ll let the script speak for itself:

Committee chairman:Dr. Arroway, you come before us with no evidence. No records, no artifacts — only a story that — to put I mildly — strains credibility. Over two trillion dollars was spent, hundreds of lives were lost, many more may be in jeopardy due to the almost incalculable worldwide psychological impact… Are you going to sit there and tell us that we should simply take this all on faith?

Prosecutor:”Answer the question, Doctor. As a scientist — can you prove any of this?”

Ellie: ”No.”

Prosecutor: “So,why don’t you admit what by your own standards must be the truth: that this experience simply didn’t happen.”

Ellie:”Because I can’t. I had… an experience. I can’t prove it. I can’t even explain it. All I can tell you is that everything I know as a human being,
everything I am — tells me that it was real.

“I was given something wonderful. Something that changed me. A vision
of the universe that made it overwhelmingly clear just how tiny and insignificant — and at the same time how rare and precious we all are. A vision… that tells us we belong to something greater than ourselves… that we’re not — that none of us — is alone.

“I wish I could share it. I wish everyone, if only for a moment — could feel that sense of awe, and humility… and hope. That continues to be my wish.”

Does that sound familiar? Oh, how I wish that every Christian would be so bold to talk this way about experiencing Jesus.

So, what’s your story…what’s your experience…what about your “Encountering” with Jesus? What is it that others call a fraud but you can no more recant than be separated from yourself? What completely unscientific, illogical, unreasonable, unprovable experience have you had?

That’s what the world needs to hear! And it can’t be taken away. It’s yours and only yours.

By the way, I won’t ruin the movie for you (and you should really see it…it’s great) just like the man who was healed stood as evidence of what had happened there’s evidence of Ellie’s trip to the center of the universe that appears at the end of “Contact.” Evidence that even her accusers must recognize.

But, I’ll let you rent the movie.