This semester I am taking Astronomy of the Solar System. At the end of the first class period, I practically ran out of the classroom, huffy from the snobby professor and smelly freshmen (seriously), and mad that we wouldn't be learning about constellations. Did I mention that I typically hate science classes? They're not my thing. I thought several times that day about dropping the class and adding another science class to get those darn gen-eds out of the way, but I am so glad I didn't!
Two days later, I literally had to drag myself into the building. It happens. My professor began writing formulas on the board and I quickly lost interest until he started talking BIG. As in, huge.
Did you know that, with the naked eye, standing from one point on earth, we can see as many as 6,000 stars at once? There are more than 1.5 x 1021 stars in the universe that we know of right now. That's a lot of stars!
Did you know that there are at least 1.5 x 1011 galaxies in the universe? Us human beings are really only familiar with the Milky Way. Sure, maybe some astronomer out there can identify many surrounding galaxies, but let's be real- the only planets I know are My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas (except that poor Pluto got the boot). All the stars we see in the sky, the bright sun, the cool planets- they're all a part of the Milky Way galaxy. That's one galaxy out of 1.5 x 1011 more!
A lightyear is 1018 cm- that's 18 zeros, folks. So whatever, we learned that in high school. But did you know that the closest star to us is 4.4 lightyears away from earth?! That means it is forever far away, and it would take us way more than our lifetime to get there!
Did you know that the radius of the universe is 1010 lightyears? Just the radius!! That's 1018 x 1010, in case you aren't keeping track. Holy cow- that's a lot of zeros and a BIG UNIVERSE. (And by the way, it's constantly expanding.) Take time to just soak in how big that number actually is- it's mind boggling.
...so now that I've blown your mind, let me share what was running through my mind in that smelly classroom with the snotty professor:
"Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing." -Isaiah 40:26Every time my professor over-used the words "simply astounding," I couldn't agree more with him. I wanted to kiss his feet for being the vessel God used to smack me in the face and make me realize how huge He really is! God placed all 1.5 x 1021 of those stars in the sky, and He knows every single one of them individually by name. And, PS, He created the universe. He didn't just happen upon it- He made it. Talk about a huge arts & crafts session! That means He's bigger than the universe and stronger than anything we could ever encounter in it! I actually found a really funny verse in Jeremiah about this exact thing- he prays "Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you" (32:17). Naturally, this made me wonder why such a huge and smart God would ever care about me- a human being on a tiny planet in the middle of a little galaxy out in the middle a ginormous universe. It's funny, because the Psalms actually asks the same question:
"When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor." -Ps. 8: 3-5I am thankful for this mind-blowing experience I had in the middle of class over an awesome God, even if my professor is trying his hardest for us to believe in anything but an all-powerful being. It makes me cringe to think that God created the universe yet He sees into the innermost crevices of my heart. He's so powerful that He could knock me out in a second with His fingernail or something... I don't know, but I'm just saying it would be effortless for Him to take me out. So why does He continue to extravagantly love me and be mindful of me even when I blatantly disobey Him? It's because He wants all the glory for all this stuff He's created! When we see the works of His hands, the moon and the stars, and everything in the heavens, we should be bringing Him glory- that's what He wants, and that's what He deserves. I am so saddened when I realize that many people see these facts and observe these things in the universe and only contribute it to things that happened by chance. More difficult than understanding the vastness of the universe is understanding the people who don't believe that God created it. Maybe I'm just ignorant of it all, but I think Romans 1:20 says it all-
"Since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities- his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."So what are we, as Christians, going to do about it? First, be amazed by God and all He has made. Be humbled that He would love you- an insignificant person in the middle of an enormous universe. Next, go tell people about the Creator, so that He will be glorified through their lives as well.
I'm so thankful the Lord answered my prayer- I want to be amazed by Him.