Cosmic theater

This is an artist's impression of supernova 1993J, an exploding star in the galaxy M81 whose light reached us 21 years ago. The supernova originated in a double-star system where one member was a massive star that exploded after siphoning most of its hydrogen envelope to its companion star. After two decades, astronomers have at last identified the blue helium-burning companion star, seen at the center of the expanding nebula of debris from the supernova. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope identified the ultraviolet glow of the surviving companion embedded in the fading glow of the supernova. Links: NASA Press release Spiral galaxy M81 Supernova 1993J in spiral galaxy M81 Supernova 1993J Scenario for Type IIb supernova 1993J

Terrorism, e-mail scandals, and police shootings are cosmic theater.

When a terrorist kills a single citizen, it captivates an entire nation.

When a police officer kills a single innocent black man, it arrests us all.

This is out of proportion to crimes committed in private or local circumstances. People steal, lie, and murder in our own cities. Why are the public sins so captivating, even more than supernova or passing comets? Why do we feel so right to be *especially* outraged?

Maybe we’re really upset because if none of that matters, if public evil can’t be identified and condemned, then maybe goodness and justice and beauty aren’t real and don’t matter at all. It’s all meaningless star dust.

Maybe cosmic theater matters because God designed us to pay attention to epic stories of cosmic significance, and justice and righteousness matter more than exploding stars.

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