Will America Conquer Space?

 

By Garner Ted Armstrong

 

From time immemorial, man has gazed heavenward, mesmerized by the stars; the sun, moon and planets. Ancient civilizations built elaborate worship systems and societies based upon worship of these bright, fascinating lights in the nighttime sky; constructed calendars which calculated the movements of the bodies in our solar system; sacrificed their own children to their ignorant concepts of “gods” who they believed controlled the heavens, and were therefore responsible for our seasonal variations and the weather.

 

Man has built towering edifices which appear to reach heavenward; soaring buildings, obelisk, towers and statues whose hands appeal to providence above to express his awe of the heavens; his fascination with its beauty and power; his desire to extend his reach away from earth and into the vastness of space.

 

One such attempt to build a wondrous tower which would appear to reach into the heavens was said to bring about the wrath of God the Creator on a sinning, presumptuous society — that of ancient Babylon.

 

The Babylonian kingdom was established by Nimrod, the alleged eponymous ancestor of  hunters. He is credited with first gathering humans together in cities for mutual protection: “And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.

 

“And it came to pass, as they journeyed from [toward] the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar [modern-day Iraq]; and they dwelt there.

 

“And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime [bitumen; a kind of crude oil, very prevalent in the region] had they for mortar.

 

“And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

 

“And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.

 

“And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

 

“Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.

 

“So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.

 

“Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth” (Genesis 11:1-9).

 

These ancient Babylonians were not stupid enough to believe they would build a tower which would actually give them access to heaven. There were mountains about; some of them soaring to impossible heights. They were building in a plain. Their intent was to build a tower which would be at once a national symbol, visible from many miles away, and an object of worship. Was it a symbol of national fatherhood? The Washington monument is patterned after “Cleopatra’s Needle” from Egypt, an obelisk, and is named after the “father of the country,” after all.

 

The tower would appear to “reach unto the heavens,” thus expressing man’s yearning for understanding the mysteries of the stars; his desire to reach out into his stellar neighborhood.

 

Today, tall buildings are called “skyscrapers” in the English language. They are called “sky scratchers” (rascacielos) in Spanish. But they neither scrape nor scratch the sky. The proposed replacements for the Twin Trade Towers in New York include a tall spire-like building which would be the world’s tallest building — again, a monument; a symbol, but also an expression of soaring desire and hope.

 

The Bible says man would have reached the space age in a much shorter period of time had not God scattered the races by dividing and confusing their languages. Technology has grown by vast leaps and bounds since the Industrial Revolution. My own father was born in 1892, years before the Wright Brothers flew at Kittyhawk. He lived to watch man land on the moon, and to fly around the globe perhaps forty times in a Grumman Gulfstream jet before dying in 1986 at the age of 93.

 

In World War II, begun when many nations still had fabric-covered bi-wing aircraft in their combat fleets, jet engines were being developed, and actually placed into combat service by the Germans and the British before war’s end.

 

Today, jet and rocket propulsion routinely carry hundreds of thousands all over the globe in trans-ocean flights, and have carried man to the moon and back. The launching of men and women into space had become so routine, so commonplace, that shuttle flights scarcely received the notice of most Americans until Columbia broke apart upon reentry on February 1st, 2003.

 

This they begin to do” said the Creator. “...Now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.”

 

But there is a subsequent caveat; an addendum to those words uttered by the same Being: “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?

 

“Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:

 

“Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him” (Hebrews 2:6-8).

 

Not yet! Does this mean God Himself is aware of America’s space program? Does it mean God knows about the aspirations of men?

 

Are there “no trespassing” signs in the heavens? Will man ever use the moon for a forward base to launch missions to Mars, and beyond? Actual plans have been made for just such an eventuality.

 

For all the emphasis on scientific exploration and experimentation; for all the analogies between Lewis and Clark and discovery, the purely military aspects of the space program are lost on no one. If scientists can send huge vehicles into space on a routine basis, then bring them back to a specific landing strip, then they can easily load such rockets with multi-megaton nuclear devices, and land them directly in the heart of a large city.

 

Not only is some future “star wars” possible, in which major powers are fighting wars half a world away with ICBM’s and orbital vehicles (the Chinese expect to send manned vehicles into space in a couple of years; a Russian rocket may have to bring our astronauts home from the space station), but at this moment, hundreds of spy satellites orbit the earth, or remain in stationary positions over such places as Iraq, Iran, Libya, North Korea and elsewhere.

 

From the beginning, America was in competition with the Russians, who managed to launch “Sputnik” back in 1957. Of this event, NASA says, “History changed on October 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik I. The world's first artificial satellite was about the size of a basketball, weighed only 183 pounds, and took about 98 minutes to orbit the Earth on its elliptical path. That launch ushered in new political, military, technological, and scientific developments. While the Sputnik launch was a single event, it marked the start of the space age and the U.S.-U.S.S.R space race.”

 

Nationalism, the Cold War, pride, competition, military advantage and world prestige fueled the space race, not benign scientific inquiry. Another major reason was the “God factor.” Is there a God? Did God create the universe, or did it begin with an accidental “big bang?” Is man the result of a chance strike of lightening on a primordial soup of methane and ammonia, or was he created in God’s image?

 

A major part of America’s reach into our solar neighborhood has been nebulous musings about man’s origins. Did we come from beneath the rocks on Mars, and are we really Martians? This has been proposed, as a result of the discovery of a meteorite which was allegedly the result of an explosion on Mars.

 

But evolution and Darwinism have been exposed again and again as unscientific and irrational, if not deliberate hoaxes. Yes, there is a God, and His existence can be proved scientifically. There are absolutes. The speed of sound and the speed of light are two of them.

 

There are seven broad categories which represent proofs that God exists:

 

(1) Creation; the existence of matter, requires a Creator.

(2) Law requires a Lawgiver.

(3) Life requires a Lifegiver.

(4) Design requires a Designer.

(5) The Sustaining of laws; the upholding of absolutes requires a Sustainer.

(6) Fulfilled Prophecy requires Divine Intervention.

(7) Answered Prayer proves God exists.

 

Of course, no atheist would ever admit prophecies have been fulfilled, or that answered prayers are anything more than coincidence or a placebo, but they have no answers for the other five proofs, each one of which would require complete encyclopedias to adequately explain.

 

One absolute is the speed of light. Astronomers know that the speed of light plays a central role in physics and astronomy. According to the Einstein's Theory of Relativity, nothing in our universe can exceed the velocity of light; thus, it is a kind of cosmic speed limit against which all other velocities may be measured. More generally, light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum, including gamma rays, X-rays, infrared radiation and radio waves, all of which, while actually a form of light, are different kinds of energies which are invisible to our human eyes. Yet, they are bound by the same speed of light, which is a known constant, and therefore an absolute.

 

God says He created all things: “ To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.

 

“Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth” (Isaiah 40:25,26). These words were paraphrased by President George W. Bush in his somber address to the nation immediately following the Columbia disaster. Not only is God the Creator of all things, He is the Designer, Sustainer and Upholder of the things He has created.

 

Among them is the speed at which matter can be propelled through space. Nothing is known which is faster than the speed of light. A NASA technician who now spends his time in research concerning interstellar travel said, “Ever since the sound barrier was broken, people have been asking: ‘Why can’t we break the light speed barrier too, what’s the big difference?’ It is too soon to tell if the light barrier can be broken, but one thing is certain -- it’s a wholly different problem than breaking the sound barrier. The sound barrier was broken by an object that was made of matter, not sound. The atoms and molecules that make up matter are connected by electromagnetic fields, the same stuff that light is made of. In the case of the light speed barrier, the thing that’s trying to break the barrier is made up of the same stuff as the barrier itself. How can an object travel faster than that which links its atoms? Like we said, it’s a wholly different problem than breaking the sound barrier.”

 

The same scientist admitted, “One of the consequences of ... Special Relativity is the light speed barrier. Here’s another way to look at it. To move faster, you add energy. But when you get going near the speed of light, the amount of energy you need to go faster balloons to infinity! To move a mass at the speed of light would take infinite energy. It appears that there is a distinct barrier here.” Indeed. Infinite energy? He is describing the energy of God Himself, not energy available in any material form to man.

 

The truth is that while man may at some future time develop the ability to send a manned mission to Mars, he will never be able to leave our Solar System and journey to the stars. Nor should he, when he has not yet learned to live on this earth in peace.

 

Our astronauts must take with them all the things necessary for the sustaining of life; food, water, oxygen, protective shielding from the harsh, inhospitable environment in which they travel. Each of those things is taken aboard in finite limits, and must either be replenished (as trips to the International Space Station accomplish routinely) or the mission curtailed once their supplies are exhausted. 

 

But we live and work on our own space station; “spaceship Earth,” which provides not only protective shielding from the thousands of meteorites which burn up in our atmosphere, but an inexhaustible supply of those elements necessary to sustain life. We humans, traveling around our sun each year, with those nearest the Equator traveling in a revolving motion approximately 25,000 miles each 24 hours, do not realize we inhabit our own beautiful space ship.

 

We seem not to recognize that we are on a journey through space, and that our journey has a “terminus ad quem” and a “terminus ad quo,” a beginning and an end. The beginning and end is our human life span. Is there a purpose for our journey? Is there an ultimate goal toward which we press?

 

Far from yearning to “go into the heavens” in man-made, dangerous space ships, we should be yearning for the ultimate destiny of man, which is so mind-boggling, so fantastic, so incredibly wonderful that it is breathtaking.

 

Yes, God is “out there.” You and I are His creatures; His own handiwork, made in His own image. While He has “not yet” put all things under us — simply because we are not qualified, and do not deserve such incredible power — He intends in the future to do so. The promise follows the scripture you already read: “But now we see not yet all things put under him.

 

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

 

“For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (Hebrews 2:8-11).

 

Sons? Glory? What is this, mere “spiritual salt and pepper” to savor? Or the actual promises of God? Christ was propelled upward to God‘s throne following His resurrection. He needed no man-made capsule, or rocket, or space ship. He was propelled by the same spirit power which created light itself. Why are so many human beings afraid of their own potential? Why are the “religious” leaders the first to fiercely deny their own divinely-revealed destiny?

 

Notice further: “For both he that sanctifieth [Christ] and they who are sanctified [you and I, if we have repented, been baptized, and received God’s Holy Spirit] are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren [”brethren?” that is a family term!],

 

“Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.

 

“And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me” (Hebrews 2:11-13).

 

Bringing many sons to glory. To eternal life. To the heavens. To all space. To the conquering of gravity. To unbounded energy. To the Kingdom of God.

 

The scientists need to forget trying to get into the heavens in a man-made device that can come apart and kill them. Instead, they need to focus on the purpose for their life here on spaceship earth.

 

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