The amazing thing is that every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust. You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded, because the elements – the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution – weren’t created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars, and the only way they could get into your body is if those stars were kind enough to explode. So, forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today. – Lawrence Krauss
Every nebula, every giant cloud of stardust, is the remains of a star. A star which has erupted in a giant fireball far larger and more powerful than we could ever imagine, shaped by forces far beyond the understanding of the common man. Forces twist and spin the elements into great fountains of matter gushing into space, as magnificent rings explode outwards at speeds which would tear our mortal bodies apart. As it settles, edifices of creation, we can see the great colours of creation, the twinkle of new life, as the remains of the old are drawn in to create the life of the new. New stars blaze into life, the crushing forces of the gigantic newborns sparking into great fires of the heavens. About them, spinning just out of reach of the new light in the darkness, lie the beginnings of the planets upon which others like us may someday live.
In these great fields of space, in the spiralling dust of a cremated giant of a nature we cannot even begin to comprehend, lie the very makings of our lives. Smashed together in the spinning clouds to form the massive spacecraft upon which we live. Dozens of elements forged into being by the eruption of a life which had met its end in fiery fury form the first steps of our creation.
As billions of years pass, these elements are fused and slammed together by the burning solar winds and the pummelling of rocks from far beyond. Amongst the chaos, the second step of life begins to take shape, amongst the liquids not scoured from the Earth by the burning of a new sun. Shells formed of the first oils shield the delicate strings of acid twisted and formed by the energy blasted across space. One amongst them takes the third step, splitting and forming anew, a new brother with which to share its incredible shell beneath the burning skies.
In time, as the great sphere of rock hurtles across the skies, the brothers divide afresh, distorted by the blaze of the great fireball which gave them life. One amongst the many siblings is stronger, newer than the others, and divides itself faster and more perfectly than ever before. The new family spreads across the great pond, lit by the great mountains of fire spitting smoke into a new sky, one shielded from the anger of a growing sun. But still they are distorted, growing stronger and more perfect through time.
As they spread upon their home, multiplying into a horde of new beings, each greater than the last, they leave their humble origins behind. They begin to take the next step, growing closer, seeing strength in numbers with which to protect themselves and more perfectly divide again and again. They grow shells to shield themselves from the heat of the skies and some form long whips to drive their new communities across their home, seeking fuel to keep themselves alive. Soon great cities are formed from the strongest of the new families of this new world, more powerful than the first life could have ever imagined. The cities formed huge walls about them, long suburbs which drag them across the floors of the rich and diverse seas.
One day, the first of these cities would drag itself to land to make a new home under a kinder sun. One day they would stand and hunt one another as they compete to rule the plains once burned by fire from beneath their feet. One day they would look to the sun and wonder, wonder what could have placed it in the sky. One day they would look back and not remember their humble beginnings.
And they could never have imagined, thinking as one amongst many, that another sun should have died that they may have life.
The most beautiful deaths are those of creation. So look to the stars, and imagine that one day they may give their lives so that those like you could look up and wonder.
Originally printed on CRCrucifix.