Set aside the ugly twins of politics and funding, and we can all agree that the mission to Mars is inspiring. NASA’s biggest-and-best unmanned spacecraft has safely landed on the red planet. The size of a compact car, Curiosity has traveled 154 million miles to reach its destination. The scope of the mission is dizzying, the accomplishment thrilling. This is a feather in the cap of human ingenuity.
So feel free to be impressed. Take delight in the creative capacity that God has endowed in us. Let your imagination soar. Pump your fist in the air and be festive. Curiosity is something to be savored. Just be careful what you swallow.
The purpose of Curiosity is to hunt for the molecular ingredients of life. Over two years, the craft is to scour the surface the Gale Crater looking for evidence that Mars can sustain life. Even this is agreeable to me. I would be fascinated to know if rivers coursed the surface of mars. NASA’s Curiosity promises to stimulate my own curiosity.
But beware the inevitable sleight of hand. Any evidence that points to the possibility of life on Mars is going to be presented as a probability. The more enthusiastic will show even less caution and simply proclaim it proof of life. These bold pronouncements betray a deep-set, philosophical bias. Devotees to evolution, they believe that if conditions allow, life spontaneously occurs. Get the building blocks close enough together and buildings will rise.
But this confidence is an awful reach. It’s like a pioneer discovering a field of wheat and declaring it is evidence of cupcakes. Wheat only becomes delicacies when a sentient being (baker) organizes the ingredients. Likewise, molecular elements only become life when a sentient being (God) arranges them. Everything that has a beginning has a cause, and life began because of God.
Let’s credit Curiosity’s scientists and engineers with the genius of their accomplishment. Their task was likened to hitting a golf ball in Los Angeles and having it land perfectly in a designated hole on a Scottish green. Well done. Likewise, let us credit God with the genius of his accomplishment. Through the power of his word, he spoke into emptiness and granted life. Well done. Very well done!