I’ve been thinking about this question for the past several weeks mainly because I was invited to join our Junior Jammers on a weekend retreat. The focus of the weekend was to consider the size of the universe and where we fit in the grand scheme of things.
During the weekend with the 4th-6th graders, we showed two DVDs focusing on the enormity of creation, not just our universe. There are, for instance, billions of stars in our universe of which our sun is one of the smaller ones. That in itself is mind-boggling. Now factor in the reality that there are billions of universes and everything becomes exponential, expanding and increasing in number that makes your head hurt!
If the earth was a golf ball, our sun would be fifteen feet in diameter. If the earth was a golf ball, there’s another star, Betlegeuse, which would have the diameter of six Empire State Buildings. The height of the Empire State Building is 1,453 feet, 8 9/16 inches. Multiply this times six and you have 8,721 feet, 3 3/8 inches. Or, for those on the West Coast, it is the length of the Golden Gate Bridge, 8,981 feet. The largest star known to man is the Canus Majoris (Latin: Big Dog). If the earth was a golf ball, the diameter of Canus Majoris would be the height of Mount Everest. Mt. Everest is 29,035 feet, or slightly more than three Golden Gate Bridges! Another way to look at this would be to have you stand back far enough so you could see the entire size of Canus Majoris – up against which the earth would not be visible.
Okay, perhaps you’re having a hard time wrapping your brain around this bit of information. I can understand that. We have learned a great deal through the lens of the Hubble Telescope which is orbiting the earth constantly sending back amazing pictures for scientists to study, learning new things about our “neighborhood” every day.
I have always been intrigued by the statement in the Bible that says, “God decided how many stars there would be in the sky and gave each one a name.” (Psalm 147:4). Now, after discovering the billions upon billions of stars that we know exist, not to mention those stars and universes we have yet to discover, this idea that God has given each one a name is staggering to the extreme!
Now let’s consider the concept most people have of God. If he exists at all, and that’s something many people seriously question, then he’s old and senile in much the same way we humans age. He’s no longer in touch with what is happening here on Planet Earth. But is this the image the Bible gives us? Hardly!
In the very first book of the Bible, Genesis, we are told that God created the heavens and the earth. More than that, he spoke all things into existence. “Because of our faith, we know that the world was made at God's command. We also know that what can be seen was made out of what cannot be seen.” (Hebrews 11:2). Let’s put that another way: he willed them into existence. He did not snap his fingers. He did not take a god-sized handful of matter and create everything. He didn’t even lift a finger. He simply said: Make it so! Why? Because God ordered it to be so. He is that kind of powerful God.
Some might ask why God made so many galaxies with their billions of stars if we can’t even see them without the aid of a telescope. Why indeed! Since man was made in God’s image and likeness (characteristics, not physical appearance) then we have the same creative desires as God. Look at what man is capable of building! A telescope orbiting the earth sending magnificent pictures back down to earth. The Bible says God made all these things for his good pleasure. And on top of that, he made these things for us to enjoy.
Paul writes in the book of Romans that, “From heaven God shows how angry he is with all the wicked and evil things that sinful people do to crush the truth. They know everything that can be known about God, because God has shown it all to them. God's eternal power and character cannot be seen. But from the beginning of creation, God has shown what these are like by all he has made. That's why those people don't have any excuse.”
So let me ask you – Have you stopped to recognize God’s amazing creation? You are no accident of nature. God declared in the book of Jeremiah that he knows us even before we are formed in our mother’s womb. He knows everything about you. Do you know him, and how special you are to him?