Sunday, June 10, 2012

Taking Life a Thousand Years at a Time

Like I said in last night's post, a thousand years is a long time: for individuals and cultures, anyway. (June 9, 2012)

A thousand years ago, my ancestors were vikings; folks who supported vikings; and folks who either traded with, or were raided by, vikings.

A thousand years before that, a Roman military commander and natural philosopher named Pliny the Elder headed a rescue mission during an eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The mission succeeded, but he died.

Another thousand years back, and David was Israel's second king.

Overwhelmingly Huge

Then there's the geologic time scale, where the passage of a thousand years is a 'blink, and you'll miss it' sort of thing. This creation is huge, in terms of both space and time, and change happens.

Over the last 13,730,000,000 years (give or take a bit) quite a lot of change has happened. I put a timeline at the end of this post, showing a few major events.

I might not have designed, built, and maintained a creation on such a grand scale: but God's God, I'm not. I'm quite willing to take God's handiwork 'as is,' even if we've learned that the scale of God's creation is overwhelming.

I've been over this sort of thing before:
There's more, at the end of this post.

Still Declaring the Glory of God

We've learned a bit more about the sky that "proclaims its builder's craft," since Psalms and Sirach were written:
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky proclaims its builder's craft."
(Psalms 19:2)

"The clear vault of the sky shines forth like heaven itself, a vision of glory.

"The orb of the sun, resplendent at its rising: what a wonderful work of the Most High!

"At noon it seethes the surface of the earth, and who can bear its fiery heat?

"Like a blazing furnace of solid metal, it sets the mountains aflame with its rays; By its fiery darts the land is consumed; the eyes are dazzled by its light.

"Great indeed is the LORD who made it, at whose orders it urges on its steeds."
(Sirach 43:1-5)

"The beauty, the glory, of the heavens are the stars that adorn with their sparkling the heights of God,

"At whose command they keep their place and never relax in their vigils. A weapon against the flood waters stored on high, lighting up the firmament by its brilliance,

"Behold the rainbow! Then bless its Maker, for majestic indeed is its splendor;

"It spans the heavens with its glory, this bow bent by the mighty hand of God. "
(Sirach 43:9-12)
What we've learned about vast depths beyond the sun, makes me more impressed at how "great indeed is the LORD who made it," not less. I've been over what the Bible is before, too:

6,000 Years: Briefly

The vast scale of God's creation helps me put the events and concerns of the 'now' in perspective. Even the comparatively brief moment that's elapsed since writing was developed can serve as a reminder that "immediate" may not be "important."

On the other hand, what happens next depends on what each of us decides now.
  • 5,000 years ago
    • Egypt developed a calendar
    • Sumerians developed the cuneiform writing system
  • 4,000 years ago
    • Stonehenge completed
    • Horses domesticated
  • 3,000 years ago
    • Zhou Dynasty established in China
    • (King David of Israel )
    • Phoenician culture at its height
  • 2,000 years ago
    • End of the Roman Republic
    • (Jesus)
    • Maya civilization growing
  • 1,000 years ago
    • Viking traders and raiders
    • Great Seljuk Empire founded
  • Now
    • United Nations founded
    • Internet developed
  • 1,000 years from now
    • Depends on what we do now
This post is the last in a series of four:
  1. "The World isn't Flat"
    (June 9, 2012)
  2. "Catholics, Families, and Hope"
    (June 9, 2012)
  3. "Population Explosion, Birth Dearth, and a Changing World"
    (June 9, 2012)
  4. "Taking Life a Thousand Years at a Time"
    (June 10, 2012)
Related posts:

"3 Terrible and awesome are you, stronger than the ancient mountains."
(Psalms 76:5)
I do not think the awe with which I regard God is diminished, now that we've got a better idea of just how old the "ancient mountains" are.

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.