the magnificent earth abounds with amazing unbelievable beauty

There are so many beautiful and wondrous things in this world, around us and above us – all you need to do is to look and appreciate their beauty and form.

Our earth, one of the planets of the solar system is our home, the only place in the universe where we know for certain that life exists.

We are not certain yet but perhaps the most striking thing about the Earth, and the feature that so far makes it unique throughout the known universe, is the presence of living organisms. Some of the oldest evidence of microbial life suggests that it was already widespread on our planet 4 billion years ago.

At the latest count, scientists estimate that there are as many as 1 trillion species on our planet, occupying niches that extend from the upper atmosphere to the hydrothermal vents of the deepest sea like the Mariana Trench: Earth’s Deepest Place.

The wonders of the universe is all around us and yes, underneath us and hundreds and millions, billions, trillions, and incalculable miles above and below us.

In Psalm 19:1 we read: The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands….” In Romans 1:20 we are told that “since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made” ( New International Version).

Looking up at the sky one night when I was 12, I was perplexed by the multitude of stars above me. Little did I know that there are more stuff that my young mind hadn’t quite seen or known yet, many of them wonders of this world.

The heart of man according to the Bible,  is a reflection of his spiritual condition, the center of his being, the object or part of his being which he looks at at many phases of his life.

Hence, it’s not just a muscle, an organ of his body. It’s a lot more than that. Physically speaking, the heart is a wonderful machine (yes, like a machine, it can perform functions that defy description…like beat two and a half billion times in an average man’s lifetime,

  • HATRED
face, statue, fear-4557555.jpg

The picture below is an  example of hatred: The officer who looks down on the corpses on the ground and of course we don’t know what really happened. Is he celebrating the death of the enemies on the ground? rejoicing for the death of the dead enemies by his feet?

We cannot say for sure. But a God who cares for the birds and lilies of the fields cares more for the needless death of innocents.

 

The Bible defines hatred as something that is not of God’s. If it’s something that is not of God, then we should avoid it if we can, if it’s possible.

 

The opposite of love is hate. We see this in the wars that plagued the world since time immemorial. Why do wars happen? We know from history that wars happen because one group of people hate another group of people; or another racial group hate another group that believes in something else: God, the source of our being, abhors hatred. We should keep this in mind.

God is love=Christ is love=the Holy Spirit is love and the three are One

God is love, Christ is love, the Holy Spirit is love. Mara is love meaning our love of a granddaughter and that love transcends everything except God’s love for us . She’s almost three years old, a happy, jolly, smart toddler.

                                                                                                                                    The Mind

The mind! The mind, our mind is God’s greatest creation and He endowed each of us with it. Greater than any man-made computer, it encompasses all creations. The body of man is saturated with wonders yet the mind is even greater.

To gush about our God’s creation is our due. God never imposes Himself to us but what can we do? For God’s creation is all around us and to not notice them is a great blunder, a big mistake, an irreverent gesture of unmindfulness and disregard. God has given us senses that boggles the mind yet we don’t notice the wonders that are practically everywhere.

The wonders of this world include Vincent Van Gogh, an artist of times gone by who despite his numerous difficulties in life produced those unforgettable paintings that celebrated the wonders of this world.

Born from a humble background and with the help of his brother and  best friend Theo, he somehow found the wherewithal to continue on with his miserable existence of looking directly at the sun to capture its colors that we now see embodied in those unforgettable paintings, some of the wonders of this world if you happen to visit museums that display them.

Vincent poured out all of his energies to finding the right combination of colors. He started with greys, his painting exhibiting parts and parcels of his melancholy nature.

After all, during this period, he hasn’t found success in anything. His desire to enter the ministry didn’t succeed for one reason or another. Religious in his outlook, somehow this world never acceded to his desires.

I read his life through his letters to his best friend, Theo, a younger brother that supported his vocation. I read those letters that detailed his hardships and reading those letters was maybe one of the reasons why I kept a diary.

It’s heartbreaking to know that many years after his death, his painting sold for millions of dollars but he sold only one in his lifetime, Red Vineyard at Arles.

 

I was 22 when I first heard or read about Vincent of Starry, Starry Night. Those were the times when I was so rebellious to my Dad and nobody can blame me for being so.

Then later on, I realized how my dad was an ideal dad, faithful to my mom, hardworking, a great provider to a big family.

Dad was a teacher and unlike Vincent, he had kids, I was one of the 12, and yes, so thankful that he was like that, unlike me which went astray.

wondersofthisworld.com/starry-night/

I was no longer young, maybe I was 22, when I first read about Vincent Van Gogh. I learned about his sad life and it touched me to the core. Maybe because during that time I was undergoing a really tough life: scary, frustrating, debilitating. It wasn’t cause by sickness but my escape from reality and my inability to do what I needed to do. It was just tough and it scarred me for life because it went on for years,. A  sort of PTSD lingered until now when I am supposed to be enjoying this time of my life.

Theo is the perfect brother, supportive like my Kuya Esa, a never tiring brother, ready for anything.

And like Theo, so so patient, so so loving, humble, and despite being the oldest, remaining nice just like anybody’s older bro.

Jong is a perfect brother, smart, pogi, hardworking, loving, a perfect brother.

A Friend Loveth at all Times

the clouds swirling, the unbelievable shades of blue captured the beauty of this world, van gogh’s painting is his interpretation of nature, the photograph below is real but all the same, vincent’s canvass captured some of the 18 decillion varieties of colors available for your viewing enjoyment – that’s an 18 followed by 33 zeros, a number only possible because our God, the Creator of the universe created them.

Some Wonders of this World

The auroras, called the polar lights, northern lights (aurora borealis), or southern lights (aurora australis), are natural light displays in Earth’s sky, predominantly seen in high latitude areas (around the Artic and Antartic). They are wonders to behold. Auroras display dynamic patterns of brilliant lights that appear as curtains, rays, spirals or dynamic flickers covering the entire sky.

Auroras are the result of disturbances in the magnetosphere (region surrounding the earth) caused by solar wind. These disturbances alter the trajectories of charged particles in the magnetospheric plasma. These particles, mainly electrons and protons, precipitate into the upper atmosphere. The resulting ionization and excitation of atmospheric constituents emit light of varying color and complexity. The form of the aurora, occurring within bands around both polar regions, is also dependent on the amount of acceleration imparted to the precipitating particles.

Northern and Southern Lights

Another one of the wonders of this world is the Mariana Trench,  the deepest part of the ocean and the deepest location on Earth. It is 11,034 meters (36,201 feet) deep, which is almost 7 miles. if you placed Mount Everest at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the peak would still be 2,133 meters (7,000 feet) below sea level.
A hydrothermal vent is a fissure on the seafloor from which geothermally heated water discharges.  The Mariana Trench is located in the western Pacific Ocean, east of the Philippines and about 120 miles east of the Mariana Islands.

In 2009, President Bush declared the area surrounding Mariana Trench as a wildlife refuge, called the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument.. Whether this means that organisms exist on the bounty of worlds in our solar system or beyond remains an open question, though the diversity of life on Earth has given scientists hope that life might exist in extreme environments throughout the universe. But one thing is sure, more and more wonders of this world are discoverable and the facts speak for themselves: more and more of them are found.

The Marianas Trench is 7 miles deep.

Trieste is a Swiss-designed, Italian-built deep-diving research bathyscaphe which reached a record depth of about 35,797 ft in the Challenger Deep of the Mariana Trench near Guam in the Pacific. On January 23, 1960, Jacques Piccard (son of the boat’s designer Auguste Piccard) and US Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh achieved the goal of Project Nekton. It was the first manned vessel to reach the bottom of the Challenger Deep. That record dive was never duplicated until the DEEPSEA CHALLENGE expedition in March 2012. In that expedition, Canadian inventor and filmmaker James Cameron became the first person to dive solo to the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

A photograph of the  crew of the Trieste at the deepest part of the Mariana Trench

The Grand Canyon in Arizona is a natural formation distinguished by layered bands of red rock, revealing millions of years of geological history in cross-section. For thousands of years, the area has been continuously inhabited by Native Americans, who built settlements within the canyon and its many caves. Huge in scale, the canyon averages 10 miles across,  attains a depth of over a mile (6,093 feet)  along its 277-mile length. Much of the area is a national park, with Colorado River white-water rapids and sweeping vistas.

The Grand Canyon, magnificent and fabulous wonder of this world.

The wonders of this world must include Mount Everest is Earth’s highest mountain above sea level, located in the Himalayas. The China–Nepal border runs across its summit point. Its elevation (snow height) of 29,031.7 feet was most recently established in 2020 by the Nepali and Chinese authorities.
On May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa of Nepal, become the first explorers to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

Mount Everest

Mount Vesuvius

Considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world today because of its close proximity to more than half a million Neapolitans and another 2.5 millions people within reach of its fury if it erupts, it towers 4, 200 feet above the Bay of Naples. Naples is the regional capital of Campania and the third-largest city of Italy, after Rome and Milan.

Vesuvius is famous for its AD 79 eruptions, one of the most destructive eruptions of all time.

That fact doesn’t deter the population of cities below it to live there. (See the picture above). It’s a beautiful volcano and observing its beauty from a window of your home, I guess, is a trade off enough from the dangers involved eventhough they might be aware of Pliny the Younger account of the 79 AD eruption which destroyed the cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis, and Stabiae. Pliny the Younger was a Roman lawyer and author.

Manila Bay’s iconic sunset, taken from the viewing deck of the Manila Ocean Park, Behind Quirino Grandstand, Rizal Park, Ermita, Manila, Philippines. Photo courtesy of Lawrence Ruiz, Wikipedia.

I was young and a college student in Manila. In my days away from school, I used to go to Manila Bay, sat down on one of the rocks scattered on the beach, and watch the sunset. Little did I know that it was world-famous. I remember sitting transfixed by the play of colors: red-orange, pale pink, crimson, orange-yellow and other wonderful hues of nature that seem to congregate in the horizon just for this event.

With little money to spend, I had a free view of nature showcased by one of the wonders of this world, our life-giving, wonderful, bright Lord of the Sky, spreader of joy on earth, warm, loving Sun giving out its free rays to humanity, paid for by our wonderful Creator.

Meditating on Manila Bay’s sunset made me forget for just a little bit my youthful worries, fears, boredom with life, apprehensions about the future and the many things that occupy my young mind. I didn’t own a camera but those sights are forever stamped into my memory.

An image of a woman watching the sunset from the deck of her house in the Philippines

Buenavista, my Hometown

The orange-yellow, pale-yellow horizon, the pale crimson sky contrasts with the very dark foreground. I remember a lot of those sunsets in front of my home in the Philippines where at the west was Mount Buntis (Pregnant Mountain and that’s how we used to call it). The mountain looks like a pregnant lady lying on her back.

The white clouds, the green foliage in the foreground and the blue mountain peaks. Courtesy of Ramon FVelasquez, CC BY-SA3.0  Wikipedia.

Another Mount Buntis View

The view that had been a part of my twilights before I moved to the United States.

For the first 25 years of my life, I’ve lived in Buenavista (meaning – beautiful sceneries or views), General Trias Cavite in the Philippines. The three pictures above were taken at Buenavista. Gina, my wife is from the same place.

I grew up with the beautiful sceneries of this place. There were two long rivers running parallel to each other and parallel also to Mount Buntis. I remember the many times that I went to those rivers in my youth to swim and bathe with my childhood friends. At the first river hang an old Spanish-era bridge that the Philippine Government had preserved as a historical place called Camaren or Buenavista Bridge.

The Buenavista/Camaren Bridge

From my youth, I heard that the Spanish-era bridge used egg whites as emulsifier in the concrete. So a bridge built by egg whites.

I also remember quite a few structures that both the Spanish regime and the Japanese occupation had left behind in Buenavista in my youth. There’s almost no trace of those structures now: Spanish-era ruins of granaries used to store rice called kamalig, Japanese paper money that alas, were worthless when my brothers, sisters, and friends were playing with them, homes with windows partly made of capiz shells. Luckily in other places, those windows and homes are still intact, beautiful artifacts of those colonial times during the Spaniard as well as the American eras.

I wish I saved those worthless Japanese paper money that were all over the house in my youth. I wish I did because they are now worth real money in U.S. dollars. But just one of those old memories of my youth in Buenavista, my hometown.

I remember all those very blue skies, yellow-red, pale-pink, pale-brown, crimson sunsets that were parts of my twilight – that part of the day when the soft glowing light from the sky  is just below the horizon. The scattering and refraction of the sun just below the horizon lent those twilight a surreal quality, yes, of the realization that the day is almost over. There were no electricity  back then. So after sunsets, nights were total darkness. The skies were full of stars, readily seen due to lack of strong lights from electricity-powered lights.

Thousands of stars visible to my eye although according to a count, there are 9096 total stars visible to the naked eye, across the entire sky. I miss those views of the stars above my old hometown. Nowadays, you don’t see as many because of the artificial light. God is always generous with His blessings. My young mind could never imagine that there are a septillion stars in the observable universe, according to an article in the The Atlantic. That’s 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars. Man has grown arrogant in his little learning, little mind and deny that God created such an astronomical number, a number beyond comprehension by our finite mind.

The town of General Trias, Cavite, Philippines

There are tens/hundreds of thousands of beautiful islands, sceneries, places all over the world. There are thousands of Hubble telescope pictures of the universe. This world is a phenomenon of the solar system. Virtually indistinguishable from the millions of planets in the whole cosmos, the Earth is full of wonders, from its terrestrial beauty to the sheer volume of its animal life, plant life and inanimate objects and elements.

Why is the Earth, a repository of wonderful life forms, geological wonders, and amazing elements so different from the other planets devoid of life forms? Was the Earth designed by an Intelligence?

                                                   This exquisite sunset is just an example of the  countless wonders of this world. At the background are elephants in the marshlands of Africa

A photo of a sunset in San Diego, the red orb slowly sinking in the horizon and the play of some colors of yellow, pale crimson and light blue contrast with the white and dark colored waves.

With that question, we go on, and continue our quest on why Earth is so different from planets, asteroids, moons and stars of the whole cosmos…

The wonders of this world, our very own wonder of wonders of the solar system, we’ll explore with an eye toward solving the myriads of questions that since the beginning of time our ancestors had asked.

But those wonderful things that far outnumber the visual are processes that are so full of wonders in themselves.

Amazing wonders of this world in pictures

The Beautiful Earth

Galaxies and countless stars

Snowy mountains and trees

Snowy mountain and the moon

A magnificent sunrise

Green landscape, blue mountains

White flower petals

A wondrous sunset

The sky up above

The setting sun

Blue water, green trees

Birds flying on the beach

The Milky Way

Coconut trees and clouds

What a view!

The universe

A lonely boat under the sky

anemone, blue, flowers-2396299.jpg

Animals that He created

Two cute kittens

Lovely flowers

A wonderful view

A white swan on a lake

A dragonfly

A dolphin

A red butterfly