With all the trauma and troubles going on in the world, it is easy to focus on the negative things so much that we can lose the perspective that God would have us retain. In the grand scheme of things, all the troubles and traumas happening in the world are like “tempests in teapots” from the vantage point of the Creator God. Let’s take a moment to remind ourselves of the vastness of this Universe, which attests to the infinite power of the Creator. In doing so, I hope it will give us some reassurance that God will work all things out for ultimate good in the future on his timetable.
The people in ancient times had an advantage over us. They could look into the nighttime sky and see the blazing lights of all the stars and planets undimmed by the ambient lights of cities, roadway signs, neon lights, etc. The ancient societies could see the heavenly bodies and constellations in all their glory. Today, we have to travel far enough from city lights to even be able to see the Milky Way at all. Without the ability to see the vastness of the reality of the Universe at night, we tend to get preoccupied with the problems and challenges in our daily lives. This last week, I saw a documentary on a TV cable channel which reminded me of the vastness of space and the smallness of our planet and all that is on it. It reminded me of the title of this post which is taken from Psalm 19:1 which says: “The heavens declare the glory of God…” In our modern lives deprived of meaningful views of the nighttime sky, we need to be reminded of the truth of that statement in Psalm 19:1.
David, who wrote that Psalm, must have wondered at times: “How many stars are up there?” The total was beyond count even for that ancient time. However, David would have been blown away if he could have remotely known the answer to that question. Modern man, with space telescopes, can now see the evidence of how vast and glorious the Creation really is. The first link informs us that modern space telescopes have confirmed that the Universe has a staggering number of stars in the heavens. It states that there are 200 billion to 2 trillion galaxies just in the “observable universe,” and that galaxies average “an estimated 200 billion stars.” Multiplying 2 trillion galaxies times approximately 200 billion stars in each galaxy results in a number I cannot even comprehend it is so high. Remember this describes just the “observable universe.” As we develop and deploy more powerful space telescopes, we see ever more galaxies and more trillions of stars coming into our awareness. The distances between our little earth and those far-distant galaxies is also beyond comprehension. As we look deeper into space and see ever-more galaxies, it does lead us to the conclusion that the physical Universe is actually infinite. This makes sense as it was created by an infinite Creator God. We can see his infinite power and majesty revealed in what we see of the physical Universe. Even though the number of galaxies and stars seems to be infinitely large, Psalm 157:4 states that God calls them all by name! How is it possible to find names for so many stars? How awesome the Creator God really is!
I Kings 8:27 cites praise offered by Solomon to God when the first Jerusalem Temple was built. Solomon said: “the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee…” Solomon recognized that above the heaven that the birds fly in and above the heaven the stars dwell in, and the heaven in which the angels were placed, there was a higher heaven in which God dwells–the Elohim dimension. That is the highest heaven of all. Unlike mankind, which is limited to our physical bodies and the machines we invent to fly a tiny distance into space, God can travel to any part of his creation at the speed of a thought.
I’m sure you have heard the expression: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” The second link and third link offer photos taken from modern space telescopes of the distant galaxies and stars in the distant Universe. These are stunning photographs, and should inspire awe in all of us. Can you imagine what David would have given to see these photographs as he meditated on the scope of the heavens?