Gas Giants: A Favorite among Teens!
***Sandra and Maureen are taking a week off from blogging fun. They’ll be back to their usual schedule next week. In the meantime, please enjoy this guest post by RTB’s Outreach Manager Ken Hultgren.***
Before working at Reasons To Believe, I spent over 10 years in youth ministry and I can honestly say I never taught a lesson or preached a sermon on “gas giants” (though it was a common topic of conversation among the junior high boys!).
Gas giants, however, is a key topic in one of RTB’s student devotionals titled Impact Events: The Solar System. In this booklet, astrophysicist Jeff Zweerink and I discuss the amazing ways in which God perfectly fine-tuned our solar system in order that life could exist here on Earth—and ultimately so that we humans could have a personal relationship with Him.
Our solar system contains four gas giant planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Most people can identify the two largest—Jupiter with its red spot and Saturn with its magnificent rings—but many people don’t realize how important gas giants are for our survival. Literally the survival of all life is dependent on the existence of these planets.
The importance of these planets was evident even as recently as a few weeks ago. On September 12, 2012, a meteor slammed into Jupiter causing a flash of light captured on video by amateur astronomers. This event—posted on YouTube—is amazing, but not just for its cool-factor. Some researchers believe this meteor could have eventually crossed Earth’s path, possibly colliding with our planet and causing massive destruction. Remember the mass extinction of the dinosaurs? Yep. Meteor impact!
When Jeff and I wrote about these gas giants in Impact Events: The Solar System last year, my (scientifically ignorant) understanding was that Jupiter has protected Earth in the past. For instance, I knew about Jupiter taking the hit for us in 1992 with the Schoemaker-Levy impact, but aside from that, I thought these events were rare, with most occurring millions and billions of years ago. However, not only did Jupiter take a hit for us this month, but it also took significant hits for us in 2009 and 2010!
God seems to have placed these gas giants in the just-right place in our solar system so that we don’t have to worry about being pulverized by cosmic stuff flying around. And that’s a perfect example of what God does in our spiritual lives. There are many passages in Scripture that talk about God’s protection over His people.
Psalm 5:11–12 says, “But let all who take refuge in you [God] be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in You. For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.”
So what would happen if Earth “decided” to stray off course, outside of the protection of our gas giants? That’s right; major damage. The same is true in our spiritual lives. If we wander from God’s path, we open ourselves to spiritual attack and possible damage.
Consider how you’re living your life. Are you giving God first priority in your life or are you allowing the things of this world to pull you out from under God’s protection? Remember, our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the dark forces in the spiritual realm. Only God can protect you from that!