Banannery Public

Part of this complete breakfast.

The Best of All Worlds #1: Earth — December 14, 2014

The Best of All Worlds #1: Earth

The Best of All Worlds

We’re #1!

OK, so maybe I’m a little biased and just a touch geocentric. I’m old-fashioned that way. But I think I’m being fair when I say that Earth is the best planet in the Solar System, and it’s not even a close call.

The most famous photograph in the world: "The Blue Marble" taken on the Apollo 17 lunar mission in 1972.
The most famous photograph in the world: “The Blue Marble” taken on the Apollo 17 lunar mission in 1972.

Blue waters, swirling white clouds, rainy temperate zones, harsh deserts, snow-capped mountain peaks, deep ocean trenches. Every nook and cranny of Earth is bursting with life, from desert ecosystems to subterranean Antarctic lakes to undersea reefs to tropical rainforests. The plants and animals and single-celled organisms of our planet stabilize its temperature and its atmosphere, preventing it from turning into the ice planet Hoth and replenishing it with life-giving oxygen that is all but absent on any other planet we know.

Circling our planet is a massive Moon that generates ocean tides and stabilizes Earth’s tilt, ensuring regular seasonal cycles and ocean currents that circulate nutrients throughout the planet’s ecosystems.

We as humans have thrived on this planet, multiplying across it and finding ways to survive in just about every niche and ecosystem above sea level. Some of us have accessed a planetary information network called the Internet and voted on this very blog that Earth is the worst planet in the Solar System. This is because we are sometimes ungrateful and dumb. Every day we see and hear beauty all around us, and we take for granted the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat, neither of which we can find on any other planet in the Solar System.

Earthrise as viewed from Apollo 8 as it orbited the Moon in 1968.
Earthrise as viewed from Apollo 8 as it orbited the Moon in 1968.

In a thousand years, we could not exhaust the richness of Earth. Our planet is not merely the crown jewel of the Solar System; it is the greatest wonder of the universe.

So here’s our final ranking of all the planets in our Solar System, from worst to first:

8. Venus
7. Mercury
6. Uranus
5. Neptune
4. Mars
3. Saturn
2. Jupiter
1. Earth

Thanks for reading! Next week I will return to blogging on whatever I feel like. I’m committing to increasing my blogging rate from once a year to once a week, which is a big step up. While you wait for that, go ahead and cast your vote for the best and worst planets in the Solar System.

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Out with the old, in with the new — December 21, 2007

Out with the old, in with the new

Yes, I know it’s not New Year’s yet!  Heck, it’s not even Christmas.  However, here are some more thoughts from Colossians.  A theme from this book is our new nature as Christians as opposed to our old nature before we were saved.  When sin is driven out of our lives, it must be replaced with something.  Paul developed this theme in four different ways:

  1.  A tale of two kingdoms (1:12-14).  The first kingdom is “the domain of darkness.”  This is a land characterized by evil, blindness, and hiddenness, where we neither see God nor wish to be seen by Him.  The king of this domain is the devil; he was our king, and his fate was ours as well.  The second kingdom is “the kingdom of [the Father’s] beloved Son,” characterized by light.  This kingdom is one of righteousness, vision, and openness.  Our King is Jesus Christ, who is loved by God as His Son.  His blessing is our blessing, and the present and future prosperity of His kingdom is our inheritance as well.  We must remember how we came from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light.  God qualified us, delivered us, and transferred us to the new kingdom.  This was all His work—to Him alone be all glory and honor for this marvelous act of grace!
  2. Dead or alive (2:13-14).  Once, we were dead.  We were living in our trespasses; we had not been circumcised from our flesh (the sinful nature which once dominated us and lay at the core of our being, see v. 11).  We were dead to God, rejecting Him and His glory, preferring our own sins.  Now, we are alive, together with Christ.  Sin’s condemning power has ended.  We have been made new, “raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead” (v. 12).  We should take more time to rejoice in this—simply to enjoy being alive with our Savior, Jesus Christ!
  3. Heaven and earth (3:1-2).  We have been resurrected with Christ.  Therefore, our thoughts should be fixed on “things that are above”—things of heaven, where the will of God is being done.  Our minds should be captivated by the victorious Christ, approved and loved by His Father.  To delight in “things that are on earth”—the sins of the present domain of darkness—is to be satisfied in pathetic, wretched treasures.  To glory in earthly things is to glory in a field of…well, cow pies (see Philippians 3:8).  How much greater, how much richer, how eternal is our life, “hidden with Christ in God” (v. 3)!  Jesus is our priceless treasure, our source of purest pleasure.
  4. Old man and new man (3:9-10).  The old self—literally, the “old man”—is something we have rejected; it is to be replaced with the new man.  We are new people when we become Christians!  Moreover, the renewal doesn’t stop there.  The new man is “being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”  Those who are truly believers grow more like Christ, reflecting His glory, equipped by His knowledge to live a new life. 
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