Following yesterday’s post on the galaxy, blogger buddy Bette Cox—who was also my predecessor as Secretary of the Florence County (SC) GOP—shot me an e-mail with links to some of her own writings on astronomy, the galaxy, and faith. I wanted to share a few of those pieces with you today.
Bette is a prolific writer, and maintains a dizzying array of blogs. She contacted me with some excellent feedback on my first Nehemiah essay, which prompted a follow-up incorporating her remarks. She writes beautifully about faith at Esther’s Petition, and about the fulfillment of end-times prophecy at Tapister.
What I did not realize, until yesterday, is that Bette writes extensively about space—one of my favorite topics—at another blog Speaking of Heaven (her main blog, Bette Cox, is also dedicated to space). Her writings about the intersection of space exploration and faith are particularly thought-provoking.
Bette sent me a couple of pieces, “Other” and “Heaven and Space, shared interest,” with some fascinating points. In “Other,” she writes about what “conversion” truly means. We think of conversion as a purely spiritual transformation; Bette argues that it’s a physical—almost atomic-level—change, preparing our future selves for an eternity with God—and among the stars.
To quote at length from “Other,” with some excerpting:
Eternity is a concept we have trouble understanding. It’s a long time. Distance is another hard concept. Light years. Not to mention dimensions….
… I began to slowly realize and understand why conversion is necessary. We believers think of that word conversion as having a purely spiritual definition. Changing a person’s allegiance, his behavior, his character. His essential nature – from what he is naturally, to something other.
But the word also has a physics application and definition. Converting an engine to run on diesel fuel instead of gasoline, a simple example we can visualize.
A more “elemental” example of conversion, however, would be that which occurs when uranium becomes plutonium in a nuclear energy plant. Here the physical atomic structure has been fundamentally changed.
That’s more like what happens to a human being when God changes him….
And it might do one or more of those things, but they would be in addition to the molecular change that takes place, the one that will allow human beings to survive in an off-world environment… will allow them to survive, adapt, thrive, explore and discover for many times the normal earth lifespan.
Surviving as a human being after this planet has undergone major geologic stressors will be challenging. Surviving a thousand years and a global insurrection following that will be more challenging. Conversion to something other will come in very handy, no doubt.
That’s a lot of mental meat to chew on. Eternity is a long time, and the universe is massive; would it not make sense that in our heavenly bodies we would have boundless potential to explore… heavenly bodies?
Father Bob‘s homily this past Saturday actually touched on this point: we are not purely spirit, but will have transformed bodies in Heaven. That said, they will be our bodies (just better—Father Bob said he would have his hair back!).
It’s easy to forget the glory of that transformation in Christ. When I was a kid, I would dream of using my celestial body to explore Saturn—and the rest of the galaxy. I’ve come to think of Heaven more as a never-ending worship service in the presence of God, but I suppose it could be both.
In the other piece Bette shared with me, “Heaven and Space, shared interest,” she touches upon a point that always blows me away:
But speaking of heaven, I was thinking out loud in prayer the other night and commented on how important, how big, how complex the universe is. And the Lord commented right back to me, “Man is my most important creation.” Wow.
That’s a hard point to accept in our limited capacity for understanding. I struggled with it yesterday. But God’s Understanding is far beyond our own. Thank God for that!