Just how big is God's creation? Does God's creation include only our Planet Earth? Does God's creation include the entire cosmos?
When we re-read that gospel-in-miniature, John 3:16, look carefully. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life" (John 3:16, NRSV). That word for "world" is "cosmos." God loves our entire cosmos, a universe God is still creating and still plans on redeeming.
Will this include brothers and sisters living on other planets in space? Since the mid 1990s, scientists have confirmed almost 2000 exoplanets orbiting other stars within the Milky Way. Some are earthlike. Might they have life? Might that life be intelligent? Might we soon learn we share our cosmos with space neighbors?
What will we do? I forecast that the United Methodists will invite the space aliens to a hymn sing. The Norwegian Lutherans in Lake Wobegon will invite our space neighbors to a covered dish pot-luck, and serve them jello. The Episcopalians will serve tea and biskets. Eventually, of course, we'd all like to serve them communion.
It is because God loves the cosmos that Jesus Christ is given to the creation. It is because God loves the cosmos and all creatures that the promise of salvation has been given us. If we share this love with God, perhaps we too can love our cosmos, our possible neighbors in space, and even our neighbors around Planet Earth.
The Day1 Faith & Science Series project was made possible through the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The opinions expressed in these documents are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation.