Scientists say that for most of the Earth's history, millions of years or more, it was a totally barren,
dark planet. Before man appeared, and much later when electricity was harnessed, the place was just a bleak, lonely rock spinning
around in space, captured by the Sun's gravity that maintained Earth's yearly orbit. Viewed from any great distance, the relatively
tiny Earth would mostly be invisible, and, when seen, as only a tiny bluish dot far, far away from anything except the Sun and a few
other planets. Such a small, frail piece of rock and dirt. Isn't it also hard to imagine our Earth when there was no life? And when
water appeared, some kind of life evolved, plants first, and eventually very small living organisms that over time, Charles Darwin
stated, became the animal life on Earth we see today. Where one moment there was no life, the next moment there was? How could life
have appeared out of no life? Something out of nothing, almost spontaneously from one split second to the next.
Also, scientists say there was a time when the Earth didn't even exist, when it hadn't been formed yet, when the pieces hadn't been
put together yet. When cast off chunks of other celestial bodies hadn't joined together to be caught up in the gravity pull of the
Sun. Was there even a time when there was no space, no stars, no Universe, nothing? How did the Universe come to be? Again, something
where nothing used to be. Scientists have one answer, the Big Bang.
Mark a point on the surface of a balloon,
any point. Now blow the balloon up. Notice that every other point on the balloon gets farther and farther away from that one point
as more air enters the balloon, as though the points on the balloon were once at the marked point. And it wouldn't matter which point
was originally chosen to mark. Scientists reason that because all the stars and galaxies are seen, through telescopes, to be receding
from one another, and the farther apart they are the faster they recede, then at some time in the past, all the stars and galaxies,
and all that they contain, must have originally been at a single point. And the scientists wager that at that moment in time all that
now exists must have been contained in a very small, very dense, yes very small and very dense, mass of all the particles that make
up the universe that we know. At that point in time, nothing existed: no time, no space, no object in space. And for some unknown
reason, long, very long ago, that mass erupted and began to spew its contents, forming space for the contents to expand in as it went.
Everything that was necessary for whatever exists today was contained in that mass in some form, and over time evolved into the universe
as we know it today. That is known as The Big Bang.
Christian religions have another answer: God, A scripture
in the Bible says Thomas did not believe until he actually touched the wound that Jesus suffered in the crucifixion. Then how can
most of us believe in a Creator, when we have never and most likely will never have any first or even second or third hand hint of
evidence available. How can we not have doubts and even at the same time long for some concrete evidence or even a sign of any kind.
Do we deserve only that we must believe some super human and all things appeared? The explanation "You just have to have faith, and
if you don't, it's too bad for you" doesn't seem to pass muster. Ay there's the rub. If the story of a Creator and all that is implied
by that belief about an afterlife is false, what do we have to lose if we don't believe? If we did believe and the story is false,
what have we lost? But if the story is true, and we had faith, we are home free. But if it is true and we had no faith, we could be
doomed. We'll never touch the wound, but wouldn't many of us settle for something way less, a clue, some sign, an inkling of the possibility
of immortality? Is that too much to ask, especially if, in His image, we are born "of little faith" to begin with?
Not too many years ago, scientists believed that the Earth was flat and unmoving and was the center of the Universe. That the Sun
circled the earth, not vice versa, and that the Solar system and the Milky Way Galaxy was all there was to the Universe. Each of these
beliefs were supported by the great minds of those days, but in time, as more information was gathered, such theories were dispelled.
Now, believe it or not, we know the distance around the Earth is 24,000 miles as it spins 1000 mph. It is circled every 30 days by
the moon, which spins at 10 mph as it circles the Earth at 2200 mph. And the Earth and moon, in tandem, circle the Sun at 66,000 mph,
once every year. These facts have been universally accepted and can be shown to be conclusively true. And in outer space there are
billions of stars and their planets following these same laws of physics, grouped in billions of galaxies, with no known limiting
number. Nor is there a known end of space itself "out there" as far as our imagination can take us. Can space really be endless? Can
both religious and scientific explanations of creation be believed, or perhaps neither?
Who will be the next Galileo, Isaac Newton, or Albert Einstein to help summarize and explain any future discoveries
or theories that unlock the mystery of what's out there and how it all came to be? Will we ever hear answers to these and other questions?
Will the advent of larger and more sophisticated telescopes that are sent farther and farther out into space clear up some of the
mystery? And, incomprehensibly, could it be that, very subtly, there even exists a microscopic universe, as no smallest structure
has been found. Just as space and its contents seems outwardly endless, as we scan the skies through ever improving telescopes sent
into outer space, is it also possibly endlessly small as we look inwardly, through more powerful microscopes? Could we possibly exist
in an infinitely large and also an infinitely small universe? Is an infinitely large Universe any more likely than an infinitely small
Universe? Comparing the scientific advances of today with those, say, fifty years ago, can we even dream of what technology will unfold
fifty years from now?