Space Mission Statement: The Promise to Isaac
והרביתי את־זרעך ככוכבי השמים ונתתי לזרעך את כל־הארצת האל והתברכו בזרעך כל גויי הארץ׃
I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed. Genesis 26:4, New International Version
There are about 1e22 (10 sextillion) stars in the sky. If the earth can support 10 billion people, with 100 million born each year, only 50 quadrillion people can live on this planet before the sun overheats in 500 million years (50e15 = 1e8*5e8 ). Obviously, humanity and its offspring must expand into space for the promise to Isaac to be fulfilled.
The promise makes no reference to "visibility"; even so, the few thousand stars visible to Isaac's naked eye promised an awesome number of descendants, in times when survival for another season was uncertain, and family lines frequently ended in war and starvation. Those stars gave Isaac the courage to found a nation, whose worldwide descendants continue to bless the earth with wisdom and scholarship and inspiration. In a few hundred generations humanity will thoroughly intermarry, and all will be descendants of Isaac (and everyone else as well). The promise to Isaac is a promise to all of us.
Scientists continue the task given to Adam ("So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field..." Genesis 2:20 N.I.V.) by discovering lifeforms on earth, and discovering stars and planets where someday life will be found (even if we must bring it there). Through science, and our dawning realization of the vastness of the Universe, we begin to comprehend the vastness of the promise to Isaac, and the vastness of the Universe created to fulfill it, and the vastness of any entity capable of such a creation. This enormous, quantum-structured universe could not be created by a being confined to a cloud of smoke, a temple, or a book.
Those who misinterpret the Christian bible to claim the end times are coming soon are ignoring Matthew 24:26:
- No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (N.I.V.)
The universe is big, and mostly lifeless, and we have a duty to bring life to it. The universe is a vast creation, a vast "land", and is the birthright of the children of the mind and the word. To refuse that gift, to waste the Earth before we participate in the spreading of life beyond it, to cut short the mind's tenure in a trillion year universe, that is the ultimate blasphemy against the generosity and vast power of a creator.
Perhaps we are doomed and damned, life on Earth will end in a cosmic eyeblink, and other minds circling other unimaginably distant suns will inherit the promise to Isaac. But that is not consistent with the message of Genesis 26:4. Such despair springs from the arrogance of those who would unilaterally abandon our stewardship of the Earth, and usurp the authority to destroy it.
Full Disclosure: I am not Jewish, nor a Christian in any widely accepted sense, though I find varieties of inspiration in the Christian bible that many Christians seem to avoid. In God's house are many mansions. Those who restrict themselves to one small room in it, and fling their excrement through the doorways to the other rooms, are missing an "awe-full" lot.