Astronomer Carl Sagan famously described the faint image of the Earth taken by the Voyager spacecraft from 3.7 billion miles away as a “pale blue dot.” This also became the title of his bestselling book that takes readers on an amazing adventure through the Solar System.
But first, the late astronomy expands on the pale blue dot theme by driving home the proposition that earthlings have exaggerated their importance under “the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe.”
We are Here
The Earth is “a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena,” but, as we shall see, its dimensions and coordinates do not diminish its value. Although Voyager’s pale blue dot image strikes a blow against the folly of vain human conceits—vain imaginations as the old King James Version has it in Romans 1:21—it also illuminates the miraculous. We live on a speck floating on the vast cosmic sea. But for that very reason, our species is anything but insignificant. We are here, and not aboard some conspicuous celestial body in the center of the universe. Yet, we are here.
Here on this unlikeliest of places, a creature lives that gave us the pyramids of Egypt, the great cathedrals of Europe, the classic prose and poetry and paintings of the masters, magnificent cities, machines that have traversed the Earth and explored space, to say nothing of the miracles of medicine and the discoveries of other sciences.
Against All Probability
The probability of such an advanced form of life existing on this little blue planet is incalculable. We find the only explanation in the opening lines of humankind’s crowning work of literature—the Holy Bible.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1).
God also made countless other celestial bodies that dwarf His little blue planet. But it’s smallness against the vast backdrop of the cosmos does not diminish its purpose but glorifies its Creator (Psalm 19:1).
A Planet with a Purpose
On this pale blue dot, God chose the smallest of nations, Israel, through which to reveal Himself to the world. And the smallest of its cities as the birthplace of His Son, the Messiah (Micah 5:2).
That Voyager’s camera caught the pale blue planet in a reflected beam of sunlight may have been more than an accident of geometry and optics. How perfectly it illustrates this little speck called Earth bathing in the light of divine purpose. It’s small and insignificant by cosmic standards, but our pale blue dot has a significance above all the rest. The Creator loves this little place, and that makes all the difference in the world.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him (John 3:16-17).