It is known that many of the elements (carbon, oxygen) that play essential roles in organic systems (life) were fused in stars. But a big question has been about the source of phosphorus, which, though not abundant in the universe, is found in the membranes of living cells, and has a significant structural role in DNA and RNA. Researchers led by Víctor Rivilla, of the National Institute for Astrophysics’s Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory in Italy, believe they have found the answer to the phosphorus mystery by examining a star nursery in the constellation of Auriga with Chilean telescopes. And the answer is beautiful. It is this: When a nursery's clouds of gas and dust collapse to form a new and massive star, a cavity is opened, and by a process of photochemistry in the cavity's walls, phosphorus forms. The scientists also determined, by data gathered by the Rosetta probe, that this phosphorus is distributed throughout the universe by comets.
From Kathrin Altwegg, a member of the research team:
"We had found hints of phosphorus in the ROSINA data before, but we did not know what molecule had carried it there. As comets most probably delivered large amounts of organic compounds to the Earth, the phosphorus monoxide found in comet 67P may strengthen the link between comets and life on Earth..."
Upon reading about this finding, I recalled many things, one of which was the recent experience of listening to white Christian pop in a New York City bar.
The bar in question is called Forlini's. It's said to be very old and all that. It's comfortable enough. The tuna salad sandwich offered on its menu isn't half bad. But for a reason I could not determine, the bartender (or the owner of the business) chained the bar's radio to a station that played white Christian pop. As I ate and drank white wine, I listened to singer after singer go on and on about a Jesus who can only be described as totalitarian. He made us. He wants all of us.
One singer tried to escape His love but the poor fellow couldn't, and he was eternally thankful that he could not. Another singer claimed that she knew no one else in the whole wide world who was better, more perfect, more amazing than Him. And she was forever grateful for finding and becoming at one with the GOAT. In the throat of another, every atom was used to tell all who could hear that their life had no meaning whatsoever until they totally submitted to His infinite power. There was not a single song on the radio about Jesus's profoundly social message: helping those in need, not judging sinners, loving strangers as you love your family. None of that kind of thing. These singers had one story to tell: He/she was nothing until he/she submitted to the total power of the universe, the son of God.
But if we are to ignore Jesus' social message (a message I totally agree with), and only want to praise an elemental power, a force that is inescapable and fundamental to life itself, it seems to make no sense to sing about the supremacy of Jesus, a political figure (he was crucified not with thieves, but with men who were like him, rebels of the Roman state). These white Christian pop singers should instead be sun worshippers. Their songs are really about the stars, which, as one physicist put it, died (supernova) so that we could be born. Theirs is not the passion of Matthew but Atenism, the religion of ancient Egypt.
During the Middle Kingdom, Aten "as the sun disk...was merely one aspect of the sun god Re." It was a relatively obscure sun god; without the Atenist period, it would barely have figured in Egyptian history. Although there are indications that it was becoming slightly more important during the eighteenth dynasty, notably Amenhotep III's naming of his royal barge as Spirit of the Aten, it was Amenhotep IV who introduced the Atenist revolution in a series of steps culminating in the official installment of the Aten as Egypt's sole god.
The rays of the sun, its brilliant power, its connection with other stars, some of which generated phosphorus during their formation, and others ejected the stuff (the forces) of life across space during an explosion triggered by the final stage of nuclear fusion, iron. The praise songs on the Christian radio station were not about the complexities of social organization, or the struggles of the poor, but the elemental forces of life. That's not what Jesus is about, sorry. That wasn't his racket during his brief "time pan ert." He also, to his credit, didn't care much for miracles. If the primal is what you really want to worship, then turn to the sun and all of those "dishevelled wandering stars."