The Value of Stardust
The following quote is from Arizona State University, Professor of Physics Dr. Lawrence Krauss:
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 and for life – weren’t created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars, and the only way for them to 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. 
I can’t remember if I first came across this quote from the Miley Cyrus controversy or a Facebook post from Juice, but I’ve thought about it frequently over the last few months in either case. Here is what I’ve concluded.
Stardust in Awe of Stardust
We are stardust. We see the brilliant and beautiful bright light that is the product of stardust being “created.”  The awe that is created in us by this heavenly view is translated to us by the “fact” that we are stardust—the product of countless stars. Plainly stated, if we are in awe of that stardust then we should be in awe of ourselves since we are stardust. In short, we are stardust in awe of stardust. But the question remains, from whence comes the awe? More clearly, how does stardust even get the ability to experience awe over itself?
Dirt in Search of Value
The mere fact that Dr. Krauss must come up with a means to provide meaning, value and “poetry” to life likely means he realizes that his athiestic worldview inherently lacks this ability. After all, aren’t we all just stardust?
The problem is, however, that the “most poetic thing” isn’t that we are stardust.  It is that we can even value such things as poetry, prose and literature; that these things have meaning and value. We are moved by unique ideas and the manner in which they are expressed and we look to the authors for inspiration. None of this is explainable by physics or chemistry. He leans on the concepts of value and poetry to support his notion of human value, but lacks the ability to explain them or the idea of truth in them.
The “Death” of Stars
I know that Krauss’s little “forget Jesus” quip is only rhetorical wit and shouldn’t be taken literally, but I believe it is instructive to do so. First, stars don’t have life. If they did, I’d be willing to bet that the stardust up there would have more awe for the animated, creative, poetic and loving stardust down here, than the other way around. But that is beside the point. Stars aren’t alive so they can’t die for us. (Again, I know Dr. Krauss doesn’t actually believe stars live, but I think it is important to make the point anyway.) Secondly, Jesus didn’t die so we could “be here today.” He died so that we could be with him for eternity. There is a big (and critical) difference.
This life isn’t produced by death—it is cursed by it. And that curse has been born by Christ, so that in the next life we will be free from it. We must never “forget Jesus.” His life is the most valuable to ever observe the stars; a life to which the stardust above and below all must bow; a perfect life that was given for the rebellious lives of the many; a life that is the author of the poetic life we know.
That’s true poetry. Stardust in awe of stardust? Is simply “awe” without an author.
 Let me clarify what I think he means. He uses the word “created” but a better word would be “formed.” I don’t think he actually believes that all of the “carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron,” etc. were “created” in the stars but were “formed” from the atomic material that had already existed since the Big Bang. Every atom in the universe had to exist in the moment of the Big Bang to explain the universe as we know it. Any more or any less would mean a different and potentially non-life producing universe.
 He actually says the most poetic thing “in phisics” is that we are all stardust. But if he is pressed and stays true to his worldview he must confess that everything is the result of physics and chemistry. So it is valid to compare what he believes is the most poetic thing in physics to what is poetic in all of reality, because to him they must be one in the same.
Posted on June 16, 2012, in All Posts, Apologetics, Philosophy, Poetry, Praise and Worship, Science, Theology and tagged Lawrence Krauss, Miley Cyrus, Origins, Poetry, Salvation, Stardust, Value of Life. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.