Life Beyond Earth: could there be more?

If you are a ninety’s kid, you will probably recall or have some sort of memory of one of Spielberg’s famous classics: Extra-Terrestrial- most commonly known as E.T. The film captures an unlikely friendship (an “out of the world” camaraderie) between a little boy and an alien being. What appeared to be fantasy (and somewhat nonsensical) in the world of grown-ups, was something tangible to a little boy in western suburbia: aliens!

“the seemingly unanswered question: could there be more?”

Whether it is movies, books or the six o’clock news, there has been a budding interest exploring the phenomenon of “life beyond earth.” As the sun sets behind the hills, the blue sky gives way revealing a world were billions of stars blink silently and were mystery births wonder: the universe! The magnitude and grandeur of our universe is indescribably huge. Earth is but a tiny microscopic mass suspended in the vast vacuum which we call space. Though history tells of men who have set foot on the moon, space largely remains undiscovered. With untampered, unseen, and untouched areas comes the seemingly unanswered question: could there be more?

During my end of school year break, I came across a news report on the television: an honorary scholar, and academic giant, aided the search for “cosmic companionship” by donating millions of dollars to a known research group in the spirit of philanthropy. Sure and confident, the researchers are determined to reach new scientific “heights” (no pun intended) in finding alien civilizations beyond the borders of planet earth. The sky is the limit? Well…you be the judge.

At some point in our lives we may have amused our fascination with the idea of alien life. Unidentified flying objects (UFOs), strange glowing blue people and bizarre markings on maize fields (otherwise known as “crop circles”), are just but a few examples of what has caused this stirring in peoples minds. Perhaps you may be of the camp that has never toiled with such concepts. That’s okay. One thing is for certain though. Whether it is the universe and space or the daily involvements with existence on earth, we all stand at the edge of life’s cliff asking this crucial question: could there be more? This second question, however, is not inquiring of extra-terrestrial life. No. It is seeking for a much deeper truth…

“Could there be more?… there should be more… I know there is more!”

From the beginning of time mankind has been on a huge conquest. The human thirst and hunger to know more, find more and be more reveals a deeper truth to what lies within: a void- yes, a void. The question “could there be more?” slowly evolves to “there should be more” finding its plateau in the desperate words of “I know there is more!” This inner sense of a grand adventure awaiting us beckons us each moment as we pass through life- others swiftly, yet others (and many others) grudgingly. We find ourselves looking for the “more” in all the seemingly right but wrong places. With tragedy our feet linger back to square one accumulating more questions than answers. Could the longing to find extra-terrestrial life be a hidden cry to find the “more”- to find the big adventure that screams within us? Could our pursuits (even our good pursuits) be a cry for a deeper chase?

standing-on-the-edge-of-the-world

“He has planted eternity in the human heart…”

“Many of you may be familiar with the well-known writer and novelist Jack Higgins. One of his best known books years ago was entitled ‘the Eagle has landed.’ Somebody was interviewing Higgins and asked him the question: ‘what is it that you now know that you wished you had known when you were a young man?’ Jack Higgins did not have to think long and hard. He answered immediately and he said this: ‘I wish somebody had told me then that when you get to the top there’s nothing there.'” (Sermon excerpt: Ravi Zacharias- Disciplines of a Godly Man)

The words “there’s nothing there” echo loudly within our being as we climb the never ending ladder that promises to reach the skies- yet in our alleged upward motion we find ourselves moving in circles. What is amusing, yet saddening, is that we know, to the deepest part of our core, that there is more! So we proceed making circles hoping (and hoping some more) that meaning will spring forth as the rising sun.

Ravi Zacharias- as quoted earlier before from his sermon ‘Disciplines of a Godly Man’– continued to speak. This time, however, he spoke of a different man: “one of the well-known players of the Dallas Cow-Boy teams was being interviewed by a press reporter. The reporter looked at him in the eye and said to him ‘something has happened to you in recent times. What is it?’ The man looked at the reporter and said, ‘I have committed my life to Jesus Christ.’ The reporter looked at him and said ‘when did this happen?’ And the man said very clearly, ‘I can tell you exactly when it happened. It was the night we won the super bowl a couple of years ago. I went back home and I lay in bed that night and I thought to myself ‘I have won every coveted award I ever set for myself and yet I am lonelier and emptier than ever.’ I knew I needed something more than a super-bowl ring. I knew I needed God.'”

Could there be more? The answer unfolds in the One who placed the question in our hearts. As the preacher said, “He has planted eternity in the human heart [1].” The mysterious longing that groans within us finds its refuge in God: the Maker of the universe, stars and galaxies; the Maker of all the cosmic hunters and researchers who seek for extra-terrestrial life; the Maker of the individual players of the super-bowl; the Maker of you and me. It is only when we stop chasing the wind, and the vanities thereof, and look to the God who extends His mercy by His rich undying love that our hearts truly settle at home- in Him, in Christ. His death on the cross and His resurrection was and still is an invitation to the biggest chase of our life: a chase where you will find Him- and upon finding Him you will want to find some more!

So again I ask the question that stirs me up each and every single day. Could there be more? Yes!

“And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for β€˜In him we live and move and have our being.'” [2]

[1] Ecclesiastes 3:11 (New Living Translation)

[2] Acts 17:26-28a (English Standard Version)

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13 thoughts on “Life Beyond Earth: could there be more?

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  1. Wow!!! That was great and very thought provoking. I’m itching to hear more. God bless you Gareth for this great work you’v began.

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