A biosphere is a group of systems found in nature functioning together as one larger system. Just as the human body contains the circulatory, nervous, skeletal and digestive systems, the earth has geological systems, wind systems and water systems that make up the various parts of the biosphere. Since the earth is the original biosphere, Biosphere 2 was the name given to the attempt to replicate earth’s interlaced systems on a small scale.
The structure was a little over 3 acres in size and, in 1991, was the largest closed environment of its time. If the experiment could explore and unravel the interactions of the differing systems found on the earth and create a self-sustaining atmosphere, the success of the program would allow for a potential colonization of Mars in self-contained structures.
Biosphere 2 contained an ocean with a coral reef, a rainforest, a desert, a mangrove swamp and a savannah grassland. The structure also housed living quarters for the scientists, an office area and various technical support areas. On paper, it looked like a potential success; the reality did not match the expectation.
Stays in the biosphere were referred to as “missions.” The first mission resulted in the crew splitting into two factions who did not speak to each other. The second mission created a disagreement with members of the management team and resulted in the dismissal of some of the personnel at the hands of federal marshals. The mission ended with two of the crew vandalizing the effort by opening all the doors and stopping the experiment.
Later reports alleged that external natural gas was being pumped into the station to make electricity when the solar panels did not produce enough energy and that oxygen was added to keep everyone alive. Other reports indicate that secret stashes of food were being eaten instead of relying upon the produce grown inside. A fully self-sufficient, human-created environment does not exist. The Biosphere2 was not self-sufficient because we are not self-sufficient.
One of the great lies that Satan, the world and our flesh whisper to us is that we are enough within ourselves. We think, “I’ve got this! I need no other. I’m the master of my fate!”
But self-sufficiency is not the biblical reality — deep dependence is. We typically value independence over dependence. We think that strength is found in freedom from support, but that viewpoint assumes that we have what it takes in and of ourselves. Like the biosphere, we can run out of our own air quickly. Total reliance requires total humility. Paul wrote, “Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5). Paul understood that any claim of sufficiency must be established upon the ability originating from and supplied by God alone. He is the only one who is self-sufficient.
You don’t have to rely upon your own understanding, power or endurance; you were not designed to function in that way. We were created to know God and make him known in a dependent, loving and lasting relationship. Only a God who needs no one can meet every one of our needs.
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything,
since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.
– Acts 17:24-25
We would remember that only God supplies our needs. – Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
We will abide in Christ and find our sufficiency in him alone. – John 15:4-5 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
We will trust that if God cares enough to meet our greatest need (salvation) in Christ, he will meet all our other, lesser needs through him as well. – Romans 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?