In 1977 NASA launched the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft. They are the longest operating spacecraft in history and now, travelling at 10 miles per second, are both billions of miles from earth. They have passed by Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune and sent photographs back. In 1990 Voyager 1 took a photograph of earth, from a distance of 3.7 billion miles, which is called the Pale Blue Dot. Each Voyager has only 68 kilobytes of computer memory.
The smallest iPod is 100,000 times more powerful. They are still sending signals back to earth, which take 16 hours to arrive. It is anticipated that soon they will leave our solar system and enter interstellar space. One of the men who worked very hard on planning the project, and who is now 76 years old, said, “We’re anxious to get outside and find what’s out there.”
The Voyager missions make it clear just how big the universe is and how small the earth is. Our planet is unique in the billions of miles the Voyager spacecraft have explored. Earth is very special with its abundance of water and teeming life. We human beings are also unique. In half a human life time of travel the Voyager spacecraft have found no evidence of other living beings. As they enter into the unknown darkness of interstellar space it seems unlikely they will find any there either.
The most important thing for us all is not so much to find out what’s out there, but to know who is out there. The Bible tells us about the great Creator God. In the opening verse of the Bible we read, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The account of creation which follows tells how God created the earth with all its beauty and how he created men and women to experience his love and to enjoy fellowship with him.
God has also sent his Son, Jesus, to this earth to live our life and to die so that we might be forgiven and know God. Finding God does not depend on messages from ancient spacecraft billions of miles away in space. In Jesus God has drawn near to us and shown us what he is like. He is not far from any one of us. The youngest child and the frailest adult can talk to him and he hears, for in him we live and move and have our being.