Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Our little corner

Last week I saw something so incredible, I had to share it right away - so I put a link on my Facebook page. It still resonates with me, so...a little more about it.

We live in one of the bands of an indescribably big galaxy known as the Milky Way. There are around 300 billion stars in our galaxy. And (this boggles the mind) there are at least 100 billion galaxies in the universe. Well, the closest galaxy other than our own is visible in our night sky; it is known as Andromeda, and it is about 2.5 million light years away.

How far is that? Well, one light year is about 60,000 times as far away as the sun. So Andromeda is about 150 billion times as far away.


So, as a kid who drew up fascinated with astronomy, seeing a 4 GB picture of Andromeda, zooming in on detail, was indescribably awe-inspiring. Here is a video that zooms in on a portion of the picture. If you realize what you're looking at, it'll take your breath away:

So far away. So big. And just the closest one out of billions.

I have heard many people say it makes them feel insignificant. They think it means our little corner of the universe is too small and too remote to be significant. That is not what I see at all. Instead, I marvel that God has singled out the earth to accomplish his eternal purposes.

This verse tucked away in Isaiah sums it up for me:
For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), "I am the LORD, and there is none else. (Isaiah 45:18 NASB)
First, why is the universe so big? How can the earth be significant when it is so big? Is God that wasteful?

By no means! God is so awesome, so powerful, so infinite that it takes this kind of vastness to even begin reflecting his glory. The universe was created for his glory, and its size, wonder, and complexity is the natural result of that. If anything, we might ask, why isn't it bigger? And maybe it is - maybe we're just beginning to see it.

Second, why is the earth so perfectly fitted for life?

It is a unique place...situated in a safe corner of our galaxy...the perfect distance from its sun (which give out just the right amount of heat and light)...tilted just right on its axis...with gravity just strong enough to support life. And I could go on and on and on. As Isaiah says, he formed it not to be a waste place, but to be inhabited. And so it is.

With us. Creatures he has chosen to love.

So I watch the video in awe. The heavens are indeed declaring the glory of God.

Yeah, I think I'll watch it again now.


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