Debate: Is space exploration contrary to God's will?
As a fan of space exploration, I've been giving this question a lot of thought lately. From a number of perspectives, it seems as if there's strong evidence that man was not meant to explore space.
If we accept the Bible's account as authoritative, it's quite clear that man was not meant to venture into space. Consider the following verses:
Genesis 1:28 establishes the boundaries of man's dominion: it is give to us to "have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." We are NOT given dominion over things beyond the earth.
Psalm 115:6 tells us that "The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s: but the earth hath he given to the children of men." A clear distinction is set: Earth has been given to men, but the heavens have not.
In Acts, it's again made clear that God has set boundaries on human habitation, and that those boundaries are confined to this Earth: We are told that He "...hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation" (Acts 17:26)
Further, consider the entire story of the Tower of Babel: Man was punished, and punished harshly, for seeking to build a tower that reached to the heavens. Clearly, this was displeasing to God.
And what of Lucifer's initial sin? Isaiah 14 tells us that he was punished for seeking to ascend into heaven and exalt his throne above the stars of God!
Many Creationists and design advocates have pointed to the way in which natural laws and conditions on Earth are fine-tuned to support life as evidence of divine design. By the same logic, of course, we must take a good hard look at conditions elsewhere in the universe and question what the intent of the designer was there. It goes without saying that the overwhelming majority of the universe is NOT designed to support human life; in fact, it's fantastically hostile and would be almost instantly lethal to any form of Earthly life.
What can we conclude about God's Will from that fact?
--Benp 13:08, 31 December 2012 (EST)
Not sure if there is enough evidence to say it is contrary
To my knowledge, the only times the God has explicitly hammered any type of knowledge seeking as sinful, evil, or antithetical to His will, it was when the knowledge seeking was because of the vocation of a sinful act. The Tower Of Babel, which was built by arrogant humans seeking access to Heaven (as if it were a physically accessible realm coexistant to the Earth and the rest of the material universe) was an evil act because of the intent was Man trying to become like God, so they were punished for the arrogant presumption they could pull that off. The actual building of the Tower itself was harmless, as they merely could not complete it when the builders were stricken with a confusion of tongues.
Had the mere act of building the Tower been evil in and of itself, it would have been outright destroyed by God, but only the builders were punished because of their intentions. The structure could have been made for any number of benign purposes and was thus a neutral party in the commission of an evil act, much like a weapon is inherently harmless unless used or abused due to evil, incompetence, or madness.
As applied to exploring space, the same could be said of underwater exploration. We were not meant to live underwater, but God has never issued any law against the exploration of the waters anywhere in Scripture, so if the act itself is not evil and the intent is merely to understand more about the area below the surface of the water (which does not run counter to any of God's laws to my knowledge), then the exploration of space should also be considered harmless as long as the intent is not one to commit evil with that act.
When a man set foot on the Moon, it was merely to prove that Man could put a foot on an extraterrestrial body, not, to my knowledge, done as an attempt to defy any limitation set down by God, so I would consider such an act harmless in a moral sense as long as the intent is not in contravention of His will.
PatrickMarion 14:36, 31 December 2012 (EST)PatrickMarion
Patrick, it's very difficult to say what people's motivations are, and certainly what God's reasoning may be. All we can say for certain about the Tower is that humans attempting to reach heaven was displeasing to God; we cannot say for certain whether it was displeasing to him because they were attempting to reach the spiritual heaven, or whether the physical act of attempting to reach the heavens was offensive in and of itself. Nor can we say whether everyone involved in the space program has a motivation different from those who built the Tower. What we can say is that He found a physical attempt to reach the heavens displeasing--and space travel is a physical attempt to reach the heavens. Taken in and of itself, this might be ambiguous, but when coupled with the other verses I pointed out, and with the fact that space is so exceedingly dangerous that exploring even the tiniest bit of it immediately beyond our own planet is fraught with risk? I think a picture begins to emerge, don't you?
Nor, I think, can you reasonably compare sea exploration, as the sea is part of the dominion explicitly granted to man in the Bible. Man was given dominion over the fish of the sea, and by extension, over the sea. By that same token, those who object that travel by airplane would be objectionable to God are not taking the boundaries of the dominion into account. We are also given dominion over the birds of the air; thus we may conclude that travel through the air, at least as high as birds can fly, is permissible.
Space, however, is not "the air," and no such mandate of dominion is granted with respect to space. As I pointed out above, Psalm 115:6 says that earth belongs to man, but heaven and the heavens (note the repetition there!) are Gods. As for the idea that space exploration is done without the intent to defy God--is defiance of God's strictures morally acceptable if it's done through ignorance? We accept the precept that ignorance of the law is no excuse; is ignorance of God's Law an excuse?
--Benp 14:47, 31 December 2012 (EST)
Good points, Ben, but your argument presumes space = God's Heaven, as in, they are mutually coexistent (which I don't believe). If they truly are, your argument stands. If not, they it seems likely God was alluding more to those who were trying to encroach on the spiritual plane of Heaven.
On a related note, it would seem that God may be allowing space travel to occur to illustrate the futility of living outside the dominion granted Man. I admit that is conjecture, not knowing the mind of God on the matter, but that's all I can offer on this point.
However, you do bring up an interesting point: What about satellites in space for telecommunications? Do they count as a sin against God? If so, I have sinned, since many internet providers and television companies use sattelites to provide their signals, and I have used and still use both.
PatrickMarion 15:02, 31 December 2012 (EST)PatrickMarion