In 1977 NASA and mankind sent two emissaries into the great expanse of the universe. As they travel do they get closer to God?
As each of them sat on the launch pad they were protected inside the fairings of the rockets that were to help them break the bond of Earth’s gravity. Throughout their construction they were touched only by the gloved hands of the engineers and technicians who built them. Held in reverence, looked at in awe, and treated as icons, these two satellites enjoyed the devotion priests give to their holy artifacts. In a manner of speaking, even though they may not have recognized it, these feats of technology were to engineers and even much of the public, a way of getting closer to the truth of creation, the universe, ourselves and ultimately god.
As the spacecraft sat atop the launch vehicles the quiet, conditioned launch fairing protecting the satellite from all outside evils. Temperature, humidity and even oxygen kept away from these monuments to mans questioning spirit. When the rocket left the launch pad it was to be the last time we would ever see the Voyager spacecraft again. The launch fairing separating, booster rockets igniting sending them on their long, infinite journey. Reaching incredible speeds but yet silent, smooth and precise in it’s travel through the vacuum of space. Voyager’s home world shrinking into a smaller and smaller blue dot. Eventually even the sun from which they were born dimming until finally, the influence and warmth of their birth star had no more effect on them than the rest of the stars in the universe. Today, one of our emissaries into intergalactic space Voyager 1, may have finally reached the Helosphere, and left the bounds of our solar system. As it travels on does it get closer to God? Will we see evidence of God as it travels onward?
Many look for signs of God as we travel further and further from our home planet. Recently there was an urban myth about tablets engraved with a message from God on Mars found by the Curiosity Rover. Believers relied on their faith and took this myth as truth. Of course it is these kinds of stories that undermine truth and obscure our vision, actually pushing some further from God. Voyager is indeed helping us understand the universe and learn about our origins. As we do so we are in effect becoming closer to God. Einstein himself marveled at our universe and indeed even at a superior being that could have created it.
“Scientific research can reduce superstition by encouraging people to think and view things in terms of cause and effect. Certain it is that a conviction, akin to religious feeling, of the rationality and intelligibility of the world lies behind all scientific work of a higher order… This firm belief, a belief bound up with a deep feeling, in a superior mind that reveals itself in the world of experience, represents my conception of God.”
Then internet is shrinking the world, even this article will be read by people with many beliefs, many Gods, and also by those who believe in no God at all. One cannot help but look at awe in the images from Hubble, the beauty of the universe and it;s complexity. If you do not believe in a God the mechanics of creation become more and more difficult to attribute to chance and physics. The more we learn the more we cannot help but think there is something else at work assisting, directing and even watching.
Will we see God as Voyager goes further and further into intergalactic space? We may learn more about creation, which in effect brings us closer, but there will be no monolith with a message waiting in space for us. God was just as present when Voyager sat on the launch pad as he is now with it leaving our solar system. Voyager is not “closer to god”, it is just further from mankind. We will learn from the data Voyager sends back, as we do we will awe at the new wonders we have found. We will also face new questions, and seek new answers. All the while gaining an appreciation for the wonder of the universe and it’s workings. Perhaps in this way indeed Voyager, and the other missions that help us understand, do indeed bring us one step closer to the truth of creation, to God.