From the first walk on the moon to the space station: our expanding infinite
A Christian Science perspective: Humanity yearns to know more of the infinite than our finite earth-bound perspective can give us.
On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first men to walk on the moon. Just little kids at the time, my brother and I watched history in the making.
Another little boy watched that TV broadcast too, 9-year-old Chris Hadfield. Years later that Ontario farm boy fulfilled his dream and grew up to be commander of the International Space Station. During his five-month stay there, he became an online celebrity, posting videos that shared insights into his life and work in space. His most popular video, though no longer posted, had more than 22 million views on YouTube. It was a performance of David Bowie’s song, “Space Oddity,” showing Mr. Hadfield singing and floating with his guitar in space, while awe-inspiring views of the earth go by in the background.
Many things point to humanity’s yearning to know more of the infinite than our finite earth-bound perspective can give us: the 22 million views of Hadfield’s video; the surge of interest in private space travel, asteroid mining, and Mars in general; the jaw-dropping beauty of two decades of images from the Hubble Space Telescope; and, of course, the never-ending theories about the origin and makeup of Earth and the universe. I suspect the weightlessness we see the astronauts experiencing entices us to think that maybe even a glimpse of infinity might cut us loose from the burdens that weigh us down. What can be more liberating than a true view of our infinite nature as God’s creation?
Although not all of us want to be space travelers, who hasn’t gazed up to the heavens on a dark, starry night and wondered about the magnificence of it all? We look to the broad expanse of the heavens for profound answers. Even in Bible times, the shepherd boy David, who would one day become a king, lay on the grass and wondered, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man, that You are mindful of him ...” (Psalms 8:3, 4, New King James Version).
Who are we in the grand scheme of things? Author Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, said, “The divine Mind supports the sublimity, magnitude, and infinitude of spiritual creation” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 511). Since the creator is Mind, Mind’s creation must necessarily be idea – and what grand ideas we are!
The splendor of the cosmos, the planets in their orbits, the grandeur of the celestial bodies, point to the beauty and harmony of spiritual reality. As part of God’s, divine Spirit’s, vast creation, we are at one with the harmony of God’s universe. To Mind, we are each as radiant and gorgeous as the most awesome galaxy in all its swirling glory. Knowing this spiritual connection we have with the grand creator frees us from the limitations of material existence. Mrs. Eddy foresaw this when she wrote, “The astronomer will no longer look up to the stars, he will look out from them upon the universe; …” (Science and Health, p. 125).
In the 1920s, astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered that the universe continues to expand. It makes sense, then, that finite limitations – illness, decrepitude, lack, and decline – don’t fit in the infinitude of Mind, an ever expanding, infinite universe in which you and I are included. Nothing short of limitless and eternal living is part of Mind’s plan for His loved creation. Mrs. Eddy said, “God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis” (Science and Health, p. 258). Just think, your vibrant potential is expanding and is boundless.
Before Hadfield departed for his mission on the space station in December 2012, he said, “To be able to command the space station, yes, it’s professional, and yes, I’ll take it seriously, and yes, it’s important for Canada, but for me, as just a Canadian kid, it makes me want to shout and laugh and do cartwheels.” I share his exuberance and desire to shout and laugh and do cartwheels when I think of the unlimited, eternal, and spiritual splendor of man and the universe.