By Jack Sheedy
Anytime now we’re going to discover evidence of life on Mars.
Over the past nearly forty years, NASA landers and rovers have sifted the Martian soil, turning over red-hued rocks to see what might be lurking underneath, and with each news report of late we seem to be getting closer and closer to a major discovery. Closer and closer to that day when we will know for certain that we are not orphans in this vast universe. That we have cosmic cousins. Even if microbial.
So, what happens next? What happens when life is discovered? And on the very next planet to boot. Just 50 million miles away. Does such a discovery suggest that life is teeming and tumbling and tripping over itself throughout the universe?
And if so, what does it mean for humanity? For the species Homo sapiens? What does it mean for those on the good Planet Earth who grew up being taught that we were created in God’s image?
Which leads us to the next question: What exactly is God’s image?
Upon the walls and ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo’s God is depicted as a white haired, bearded, older gentleman in a poorly-fitting bathrobe, pointing here and there with an extended index finger as He creates heaven and earth, daylight and the darkness, and Adam and Eve. This is the traditional view, and if we could invent a powerful telescope that might look back 13 billion years to the very instant of the Big Bang, His image is probably exactly what we would see up there in the far reaches of space and time, at the moment of Creation – a white haired, bearded, older gentleman in a poorly-fitting bathrobe, pointing here and there.
But what would God be comprised of? In an atomic sense, that is. After all, God may be the Almighty Creator, but He has to be made up of something. He has to have some form, some substance, some type of elemental makeup.
In an atomic query: What are the building blocks of the Almighty?
One might imagine that God is made up of very nearly the same stuff that makes up the rest of the universe. The universe, in terms of atom count, is comprised of something like 90% hydrogen – the simplest element, Atomic Number 1, with just one proton and one electron. Next is helium, Atomic Number 2, making up most of the remaining 10% of the universe, followed by oxygen, neon, nitrogen, and carbon.
So, the universe looks something like this (with each symbol accounting for 1% of the total):
Oh sure, theoretical physicists will speak of dark matter and dark energy, but we’ll leave this undetectable stuff out of the God equation for now. After all, how can you seriously believe in the existence of something you can’t see or prove? We’re only interested in baryonic matter, the stuff made up of protons, electrons, and neutrons that can be readily detected. The God stuff.
Meanwhile, human beings, Homo sapiens, are made up of nearly the very same elements, nearly two-thirds hydrogen, one-quarter oxygen, and one-eighth carbon, followed by numerous trace elements accounting for the last 1% or so. Again in terms of atom count, a human being looks like this:
Everybody we’ve ever known – that we’ve ever loved, disliked, admired from afar, envied, wanted to be like, couldn’t stand – or have read about down through the march of history, everyone has had the same atomic makeup, accounting for the full human spectrum, from Jesus Christ to Adolph Hitler.
So, if we are made in God’s image, and if God is of this universe, then it’s a fair guess that He is comprised largely of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon, along with various trace elements, perhaps including helium since there is such a large amount of it in the cosmos. After all, the atomic symbol for helium is He, and as Genesis reads:
“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them…Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all the work which He had made. And so He flopped into His recliner, cracked open a beer, and switched on the ball game.”
Jack Sheedy is the author of six books, including Cape Odd and Cape Cod Harvest.