Thursday, May 17, 2012

Our Exploding Sun

I just heard of the music of black holes.
When they move past each other, black holes create sound like a penny bouncing on a drum. So I want to talk about the Really Big Picture.

Black hole distorting the look of a galaxy because it sucks the light

The vision of Christianity, The end-times prophecy stuff, the goal-oriented teachings, all assume that the Kingdom of God will replace our Earth. George Washington's bones will rise out of a Mt. Vernon graveyard and converse with us about leadership and democracy. (that's a ridiculous simplification so that we can enjoy this picture:)

Truly this is salvation.

But the natural final destination of Earth is being consumed by the Sun as part of the sun's death.

How can we reconcile the cosmic end of the end of Earth and the Christian vision of final salvation?

(someone please find me a hilarious picture of this)

First the facts, as I understand them. All of our matter - the sun, planets, our planets, the calcium in our bones - is the result of a few generations of suns exploding and pulsing forth elements forged in their core. We are a second generation solar system, meaning there was the Big Bang (which may or may not have been 'the beginning') and then there was another star that exploded, and now there's us. And our sun will explode, too, eating up all our calcium and making new cool stuff out of it. The exploding sun planet thing is just how stars and planets and matter works. The only force strong enough to manufacture elements is an exploding star, and they just so happen to have lots of element-rich planets hanging out nearby when they explode. Old planets are pulled in, crushed, and shot out as raw materials. Later, the materials form clouds and eventually planets.

This should really change our perspective of our relationship with our planet. We are minuscule passengers on a cosmic rock whose destiny we apparently cannot change. Environmentalism an ecological stewardship is all for our survival, not the survival of the planet. The planet is always dying, and living, without being  terribly affected by us.

Humans have not changed the gravitational pull of the sun, nor its effectiveness at blowing up.

It will probably look like this, if we were around to see it, an we could see xrays

This is not Nihilism.
This understanding gives us a context for the values of faith and hope and love. We have faith that the Christ-event is, if not an unique, an important event in space and time. Christ says that the Earth is important, people are important, and our actions and prayers affect the history of salvation. You are my people and I will be your God, says the Shoah.We are the people of God, created in (one of) God's image(s). So we can feel important in the face of boggling scale.

And we have hope for a future that is not nihilistic but important, unique, and positive: The Kingdom of God. Even if the Final Horizon, the Omega Point, is beyond our solar system's history, that is, even if Salvation comes after the explosion of our Sun, we have hope that our world is not vain, but important to an ongoing history.

Now, I ma be telling tales to preserve my sanity. But if religion is nothing else, if all our faith is ridiculous, is it not still worth it? This is the definition of denying mortality - denying the finality of a supernova. Is that good enough? When taken at this scale, has Christianity ever been anything else? Are we ready to call this necessary to humanity?

The hand of God or just a pulsar? Which would be cooler?