by Frank Muller
There may be 100 billion Earth-like planets in the Milky Way, or one for every sun-type star in the galaxy, said Alan Boss, an astronomer with the Carnegie Institution and author of the new book “The Crowded Universe: The Search for Living Planets.”
An artist’s impression shows a planet passing in front of its parent star. Such events are called transits
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland constructed a computer model to create a synthetic galaxy with billions of stars and planets. They then studied how life evolved under various conditions in this virtual world, using a supercomputer to crunch the results.
In a paper published recently in the International Journal of Astrobiology, the researchers concluded that based on what they saw, at least 361 intelligent civilizations have emerged in the Milky Way since its creation, and as many as 38,000 may have formed.
Let me first say that I am a man of Faith. My view is that all Matter, Energy and Time in the beginning had to be created. Simply said, something cannot come from nothing. What is the source of the material and energy for the Big Bang? No one knows, maybe no one ever will?
From this world view comes a belief that the Universe is ordered with laws. The laws of Gravity, the laws of light, natural selection, the essence of matter etc… As we gain an understanding of these laws and how they interact we gain an understanding into the nature of the Universe. Even though this is a belief, I believe it to be based on sound science and reasoning and with each passing month we learn more and more about these laws of the Universe.
Faith is a belief in truths that relate to the behavior and interaction of beings with one another and with the Universe. These laws of morality, truth, honor, fair dealing, kindness and most importantly LOVE all deliver predictable results to both the giver and receiver of these laws of the Universe.
Millions of examples prove out the point that LOVE is in and of itself a powerful force in the lives of people for the better. Countless studies support the thesis that relationships deeply rooted in caring and giving to another result in more happiness and contentment. Money, prosperity, material possessions all fail to deliver that universal desire to find peace and happiness in one’s heart. LOVE, real LOVE – the kind of LOVE not based upon sex or romance but instead based on the universal law that states that giving without being asked is better for the giver than the receiver. Why?
Like the origins of all matter in the first place, we can only speculate. My view is that LOVE is just as real as gravity. It exists throughout the Universe and wherever it is applied it leads to good things in the end.
Our creator, the creator of all things expresses his LOVE in many ways but two strike me as most obvious.
1) Free Will: The Universe is ordered by natural principles, but those principals do not preordain an outcome or an event. The Universe constantly evolves and adapts. Creation and destruction go hand in hand. Life and Death interplay in a constant dance. Everything and everyone are free to compete within the laws of the Universe. Perhaps the greatest aspect of LOVE is to LOVE without any restraints.
2) Sacrifice: To give of ourselves to the world in which we live in the spirit of LOVE has a transcending benefit. It is the clue our CREATOR leaves us to his existence. For Christians, our belief that Jesus is GOD’s son by virtue of his resurrection in defiance of universal laws confirms this FAITH. His sacrifice demonstrates the CREATORS’ insight to his existence.
Does the Universe possess life outside of this beautiful planet? The answer seems to be a resounding yes. Does this change my FAITH? It only confirms it. Hope can and does spring eternal.
Where does the creator exist? Are there parallel universes? Does heaven exist around us, and we simply cannot see it? Are the souls of the departed living in another state and universe that science has yet to discern? I do not know the answers but believe that our exercise of Natural Laws and Free Will through LOVE will lead generations of humanity through the wonderful process of discovery.
Commit ourselves to exploring this, Universe. Capture our young people’s minds and direct them to the sky. Dream of this vast Universe that we are FREE to explore. How I envy the future generations of human beings and pray that they are guided not just by the discovery of the Physical Laws of the Universe but are also guided by the Spiritual and Moral Laws of the Universe and that through science they continue to realize that these Laws are real and powerful and every bit as valid as any other LAW. Once we regard moral truth as foundational as physical truth then our species can boldly go where no human has gone before armed with the greatest virtue – LOVE.