“And each land was called earth”

“And each land was called earth” January 9, 2022


Exoplanet with dim star
This public domain artist’s impression shows an imagined view from close to one of the three planets orbiting a dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth that were discovered using the TRAPPIST telescope at the European Southern Observatory’s facility at La Silla, Chile. These worlds have sizes and temperatures similar to those of Venus and Earth and may be the best candidates found thus in the search for life outside our solar system. They are the first planets ever discovered around such a small dim star. In this view, one of the inner planets is seen in transit across the disc of its tiny and dim parent star.




Over in the largely atheist angry ex-Mormon compound that I sometimes call the Peterson Obsession Board, one commenter has demanded that he be shown an atheist suicide bomber.  (Plainly, he assumes that there are none.)  I’m happy to suggest some reading for him:


“Polemical atheist crusader, meet the facts about suicide bombing!”




I was recently struck by an article that I ran across online:


“NASA Has Enlisted Theologians To Prepare for Alien Interactions”


Coincidentally, I’ve been thinking for the past week or more about the magnificent revelatory experience recorded in the first chapter of the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price.  For your convenience, I’ll cite a few verses from it, selected to illustrate a particular subtheme that is obviously relevant to the link above:


And it came to pass that Moses looked, and beheld the world upon which he was created; and Moses beheld the world and the ends thereof, and all the children of men which are, and which were created; of the same he greatly marveled and wondered.  And the presence of God withdrew from Moses, that his glory was not upon Moses; and Moses was left unto himself. And as he was left unto himself, he fell unto the earth.  And it came to pass that it was for the space of many hours before Moses did again receive his natural strength like unto man; and he said unto himself: Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed.  (Moses 1:8-10)


Moses is already overwhelmed simply by a vision of the earth and its inhabitants.  But much more is on the way:


And it came to pass, as the voice was still speaking, Moses cast his eyes and beheld the earth, yea, even all of it; and there was not a particle of it which he did not behold, discerning it by the Spirit of God.  And he beheld also the inhabitants thereof, and there was not a soul which he beheld not; and he discerned them by the Spirit of God; and their numbers were great, even numberless as the sand upon the sea shore.  And he beheld many lands; and each land was called earth, and there were inhabitants on the face thereof.  And it came to pass that Moses called upon God, saying:  Tell me, I pray thee, why these things are so, and by what thou madest them?  (Moses 1:27-30)

And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.  And the first man of all men have I called Adam, which is many.  But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.

And it came to pass that Moses spake unto the Lord, saying: Be merciful unto thy servant, O God, and tell me concerning this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, and also the heavens, and then thy servant will be content.

And the Lord God spake unto Moses, saying:  The heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine.  And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words.  (Moses 1:33-38)


In 1966, Walter Sullivan (1918-1996), who was the science editor of the New York Times at the time, published a prize-winning best seller entitled We Are Not Alone: The Search for Intelligent Life on Other Worlds about the possibility of contacting such extraterrestrial beings and about whether they existed in the first place. I found his book at my high school library shortly after it appeared, and I read it with fascination.  In his book, Sullivan discussed the tremendous impact that such contact would have, should it occur, upon humankind.  Moreover, citing the passages above from Moses 1, he specifically commented that there was one group of religious believers who would be at least partly prepared for such an event would be the Latter-day Saints.  That comment caught me by surprise, and I’ve never forgotten it.


Still on the same theme, here are three additional links that caught my notice and intrigued me:


“Interstellar Travel is Hard”

“The Fermi Paradox points to an apparent contradiction – the universe is a big place, and the laws of physics that have allowed life to evolve on Earth are the same everywhere. Therefore, the universe must be humming with life. Yet, we have not detected any evidence of extrasolar life so far. . . .  So where is everyone?”


“Will aliens look like us? The answer involves ergodicity and the predictability of evolution: In movies and TV shows, aliens look like pointy-eared humans. Is this realistic? If evolution is predictable, then it very well might be.”


Is Terraforming Mars and Venus Actually Possible?

“Terraforming Mars and even Venus may be possible, says a four-decade veteran of NASA. In fact, the former director of the agency’s planetary science division says he is working on just such a plan that would employ a giant magnetic shield to help each of those planets to start terraforming themselves. And it is a plan he says is doable.”


I’ve long wondered (and the thought is not original to me) whether what is being described in Genesis, Moses, Abraham, and elsewhere — which we Latter-day Saints know is not creation ex nihilo, might be something akin to terraforming.  A possibility to ponder.



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