O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
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?
(Psalm 8:1, 3-4, NIV)
Have you ever had the experience that the psalmist describes above? Have you been out under the clear night sky and looked up at the stars and the vastness of the heavens? Have you marveled that the Creator of all this has any interest in you? Here are some facts that may stimulate your imagination.
Light travels so fast that a beam of light can circle the earth more than 7 times in a second. The moon is a quarter of a million miles away, and its light reaches the earth in less than a second and a half. The sun is approximately 93 million miles away, and its light arrives in approximately 8 minutes.
Our own galaxy or group of stars is called the Milky Way. How long do you think it would take light to travel just across our own galaxy? 100,000 years! Light travels around the earth 7 times in a second and 93 million miles from the sun in only 8 minutes. But our galaxy is so vast that even light takes 100,000 years to cross it.
Galaxies are vast beyond our imagination. But ours is only one galaxy. How many galaxies do you think there are in the universe? Estimates vary, but in 1999, data from the Hubble space telescope led scientists to estimate that there are 125 billion galaxies in the universe. Some estimates run much higher. Try to imagine that: 93 million miles in 8 minutes; 100,000 years to cross our galaxy; 125 billion galaxies.
We are so very small. Reality dwarfs us. It dwarfs the human race. It dwarfs the entire earth.
But here’s something else to consider: this vast universe is only the smallest taste of the Living God. He overflows the physical universe. Job 26 talks about God’s mighty works in creation, then in v.14 says that in all these we see only the fringes of His robe. We hear only a faint whisper of Him.
What’s more, the gap between God and us is far greater than the size of the universe. The real gap between God and us is in the essence of who we are.
- He is all-powerful and all-wise, unbounded by matter and time. We are weak and blind, living momentary lives, consumed with the here and now.
- He is holy and pure. Without Him, we are corrupt and sinful.
- He is unlimited love. We are proud, small-minded, and selfish, wrapped up in our own comfort and narrow interests.
But now for the most amazing truth: God’s love has bridged this gap between us. This immense chasm of time, space, and character has been closed by God’s all-encompassing love. All the immensity of God, all the eternity of God, all His glory and power and holiness have been embodied in a human being: Jesus Christ. We are united with this immense God in Christ (Colossians 2:9-10).