In all my studies about the Universe, and Earth in particular, I have been awed by how persistent is the drive toward adventure, surprise, and ever-increasing Self-revelation through complexity — “Self”, of course, referring to God.
What I’ve not thought about is that this does not always happen.
Take Mars. It came into existence much as Earth did: molten rock soup that eventually formed a crust which gave birth to rocks as we know them.
But Mars is smaller than Earth and a bit farther away from our mother star, and so the conditions necessary to further the journey toward life weren’t there. Swimme and Berry [The Universe Story] describe the problem: “Mars … continued to build magnificent mountains until finally the thick rock crust of the planet choked off the dynamism of the interior heat of radioactivity. A planet whose crust is stronger than its power to generate currents of materials is in its finished form.”
Well, now, there’s a mental show-stopper for you. If you don’t know when to quit, your development will eventually cease. You will achieve your finished form, and that will be that.
The danger of an out-of-balance condition isn’t limited to planets, of course. The human species has managed to work way past quitting time when it comes to reproducing and using up the life-giving resources of Earth.
The big difference between Mars and humans is that Mars didn’t have any options. We, on the other hand, have a brain that gives us the ability to recognize when we’ve missed the closing whistle and do something about it.
Our marvelous brains give us the ability, by choosing to change our ways, to alter our future.
Whether the “magnificent mountains” of our consumer culture have grown so high that we cannot change things before time runs out on us is a question with no useful answer — “no” will lead to complacency, “yes” to despair.
The real question is about faith. Jesus tried to awaken in us a fuller grasp of our real capacities: “The simple truth is that if you had a mere kernel of faith, a poppy seed, say, you would tell this mountain ‘Move!’ and it would move. There is nothing you wouldn’t be able to tackle.” [Matt. 17:20 The Message]
So what are we waiting for? Time to go out and tackle a mountain or two.