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.
The late astronomy expands on the pale blue dot theme by driving home the theme that earthlings have exaggerated their importance under “the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe.”
The Earth is indeed “a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena,” but its dimensions and coordinates do not diminish its value. Voyager’s pale blue dot image strikes a blow against the folly of vain human conceits. We are but a speck floating on the vast cosmic sea, but it’s for that very reason, our species is anything but unimportant.
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, the miracles of medicine and the discoveries of other sciences.
The probability that such an advanced form of life exists 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 the myriad celestial bodies that dwarf His little blue planet. But it’s smallness against the backdrop of the cosmos does not diminish its purpose but glorifies its Creator (Psalm 19:1). 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 was 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 perfect to illustrate this planet called Earth bathing in the light of divine purpose. Insignificant by cosmic standards, but our pale blue dot has a significance above all the rest. The Creator loves this speck of dust we call home.