Archive for March, 2010

h1

Cloud room

March 29, 2010

I asked God a question one night. Are there any other “people” – not human beings, not angels or demons, but some other intelligent species – in heaven? *

I didn’t really expect an answer.

Having read a great deal of science fiction growing up, and now reading about space scientists and astronomers discovering myriads of new galaxies they never suspected before, it seemed illogical to me and to many other people to suppose no other intelligent creatures existed anywhere.

And if they did, in whatever universe or dimension they call home, do they have religions, some version of right and wrong, conscience, awareness of sin or knowledge of God?

“Is that one question or many?” he responded. “Is that a serious question?”

Well, if we can actually discuss this, yes, it is a serious question, I said. If they exist, are some of them in heaven?

“Yes. Next question?”

In a phone conversation recently, my son commented that my descriptions of heaven are all from a physics-physical human viewpoint. Yes, up to now I have limited my descriptions here to the easily describable.

But I do understand why apostles John and Paul and prophet Ezekiel had such trouble describing what they saw and heard. Why some of those things were “unlawful” for them to share with others.

How do you describe a cloud room?

One of my follow-up questions had to do with whether it was possible to interact with non-human species in heaven who do not look, speak, understand, exist, operate, move, breathe — in other words, who do not function in any way, shape or form like human beings.

Angels good and bad are spirit beings who can appear in physical form. They can exist in our dimension, our galaxy, our universe. Sometimes they look like ordinary people. Sometimes they look like scary supernatural creatures, but interaction with them isn’t a problem for human beings.

But suppose an entity moved an inch a year when crossing a room? Or was composed of atoms so far apart that their arm was a thousand miles long and invisible to the human eye? Or their lifespan was a fraction of a second, in human time?

Suppose they had a crystalline structure and looked like a hunk of rock or grain of sand? Or had a plant-like form such as algae, or existed only in liquid or fire?

Suppose when they spoke, even if the language could be translated, the sound resembled the mere memory of an echo?

God didn’t say or show me what any of them looked like or operated like so I have no real idea. But he did tell me that the differences made ordinary interaction impossible, therefore he had created what I call a cloud room.

Now, it’s not an actual cloud or even a room; it’s an inter-dimensional area that somehow obliterates the differences between species and makes communication feasible. Cloud room is the closest I could come to describing that place.

It removes horror, and repugnance, and even morbid curiosity. It suspends the barriers of time and size and space in order that learning can occur. The only reason for its existence is discovery and education, innovation and invention.

He gave me a glimpse of this location, and all I can say is – it was like extremely nearsighted me looking at something or someone at a distance without my glasses. Nothing focuses. Everything’s blurry.

Not everything I have seen and heard of heaven can be described in purely physical, human terms. This is one example, and one reason why I don’t include some other things here. But I thought it was fascinating.

———————————–

* FYI – I’m not going to argue theological questions this question and answer is bound to raise with some.

Advertisements
h1

“Light be…” still being

March 20, 2010

From http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/

The immense Andromeda galaxy, also known as Messier 31 or simply M31, is captured in full in this new image from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. The mosaic covers an area equivalent to more than 100 full moons, or five degrees across the sky. WISE used all four of its infrared detectors to capture this picture (3.4- and 4.6-micron light is colored blue; 12-micron light is green; and 22-micron light is red). Blue highlights mature stars, while yellow and red show dust heated by newborn, massive stars.

Andromeda is the closest large galaxy to our Milky Way galaxy, and is located 2.5 million light-years from our sun. It is close enough for telescopes to spy the details of its ringed arms of new stars and hazy blue backbone of older stars. Also seen in the mosaic are two satellite galaxies, known as M32, located just a bit above Andromeda to the left of center, and the fuzzy blue M110, located below the center of the great spiral arms. These satellites are the largest of several that are gravitationally bound to Andromeda.

The Andromeda galaxy is larger than our Milky Way and contains more stars, but the Milky Way is thought to perhaps have more mass due to its larger proportion of a mysterious substance called dark matter. Both galaxies belong to our so-called Local Group, a collection of more than 50 galaxies, most of which are tiny dwarf systems. In its quest to map the whole sky, WISE will capture the entire Local Group.

This infrared image taken by NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, shows a star-forming cloud teeming with gas, dust and massive newborn stars. The inset reveals the very center of the cloud, a cluster of stars called NGC 3603. It was taken in visible light by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

WISE, which is surveying the whole sky in infrared light, is particularly sensitive to the warm dust that permeates star-forming clouds like this one. In this way, WISE complements visible-light observations.

The mission also complements Hubble and other telescopes by showing the ‘big picture,” providing context for more detailed observations. For example, the WISE picture here is 2,500 times larger than the Hubble inset. While the Hubble view shows the details of the hot young star cluster, the WISE picture shows the effects that this stellar powerhouse has on its neighborhood.

The cluster contains some of the most massive stars known. Winds and radiation from the stars are evaporating and dispersing the cloud material from which they formed, warming the cold dust and gas surrounding the central nebula. This greenish “halo” of warm cloud material is seen best by WISE due to its large field of view and improved sensitivity over past all-sky infrared surveys.

These WISE observations provide circumstantial evidence that the massive stars in the center of the cluster triggered the formation of younger stars in the halo, which can be seen as red dots. The dust at the center of the cluster is very hot, producing copious amounts of infrared light, which results in the bright, yellow cores of the nebulosity.

Ultimately, this turbulent region will be blasted apart by supernova explosions. Other star-forming clouds in the Milky Way have experienced such eruptions, as evidenced by their pockmarked clouds of expanding cavities and bubbles.

Massive star clusters like this one are an important link to understanding the details of the violent original epoch of massive star formation in the early, distant universe. Astronomers also use them to study distant starbursts that occur when galaxies collide, lighting up tremendous firestorms of brilliant, but ephemeral, stars in the wreckage. Because NGC 3603 is so close, it is an excellent lab for the study of such faraway and momentous events.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The mission’s principal investigator, Edward Wright, is at UCLA. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

More information is online at http://www.nasa.gov/wise and http://wise.astro.ucla.edu.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA
Image Addition Date: 2010-02-17