Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2016
Texts: Proverbs 17:28; Job 13:1-15; James 2:20-22; 1 Corinthians 15:11-20; 1 Peter 1:18-20; Genesis 22:8
“I am more convinced than ever that we are not alone,” Stephen Hawking said in his new online film, Stephen Hawking’s Favourite Places. If the aliens find us, however, “they will be vastly more powerful and may not see us as any more valuable than we see bacteria.” Hawking warns that we probably only have about 1,000 years left on Earth, and the only thing that could save us from certain extinction is setting up colonies elsewhere in the Solar System. If the aliens are aggressive, they’ll see us as a weak enemy with a habitable planet that’s ripe for the taking. And even if they’re non-aggressive, we humans certainly are, so we’ll probably start alien wars.
Hawking's back-up plan—his intimation of hope—is to establish a home elsewhere in the Solar System to jettison ourselves to. “We must continue to go into space for the future of humanity,” Hawking said in a lecture at the University of Cambridge last week. “I don’t think we will survive another 1,000 years without escaping beyond our fragile planet.”1
Fortunately, as Hawking grasps for any straw of hope, Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is working on the mechanisms to achieve that hope. He said in September at the International Astronautical Congress that a self-sustaining colony of people could be living on Mars within 50 to 150 years. Musk wants to make humans an “interplanetary species.” His goal is to bring the price of a ticket to Mars down to around $200,000 per person—about the median price of a house in the United States. Compare that to $10 billion a head, which is what Musk said it would cost to go to Mars using current technology.
He admits “not too many people” will want to head to Mars at first. But on the bright side, he believes there will be plenty of jobs. “Mars would have a labor shortage for a long time,” he added.2
Intimations of hope. Without hope there’s not much reason to live. Our lesson this week begins with this quote: “Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are, and what they ought to be.” Job knew what life ought to be, and he wasn’t living it. He needed hope that somehow life would be worth living again.
Nothing in his life at that time gave Job a glimpse of hope, so he looked beyond his situation and that’s where he found confidence. Even if the Lord Himself found reason to kill him, Job still put his hope in God. Salvation, and the promise of the resurrection, is found nowhere else in this universe. Here is hope: If God is for us, who can stand against us?
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