We have all probably at one time paused to think about the grandeur and size of our universe. Earth’s sky reveals only about 3,000 stars to the naked eye. But our universe likely contains more than 100 billion galaxies, and each of those galaxies may have more than 100 billion stars. It is mind blowing.
And it wasn’t until after 1990 that we discovered there were other planets circling many of these other stars beyond our solar system. The Hubble Telescope has allowed us to see distant planets that were previously unknown.
In April of 2013 a team of scientists discovered that two of five planets circling the star Kepler 62 lie within the star’s habitable zone. They are roughly the size and mass of Earth. It isn’t known if the planets have atmospheres, but it creates excitements for these teams as they continue to explore and discover more about our universe.
And not only did we learn of new planets from the Hubble, but we learned of new galaxies too. This discovery has been called Hubble’s Deep Field. Here is a short description.
No telescope before Hubble had the resolution to see these distant galaxies. Intrigued, astronomers turned Hubble on what appeared to be a nearly empty patch of sky and let it soak up all the light it could for 10 days. They were taking a risk – most Hubble observations take just hours, and the time being eaten up could have been used for more concrete needs. It was possible the objects the astronomers were looking for would be too faint or small for even Hubble to see. But the results turned up a treasure trove: 3,000 galaxies, large and small, shapely and amorphous, burning in the depths of space. The stunning image was called the Hubble Deep Field. (http://hubblesite.org/hubble_discoveries/breakthroughs/cosmology)
Does that create a sense of awe in you? Does it heighten your sense of a call to adventure? I believe this is part of what was put in us when God created us. The Bible teaches us that God created within us the ability to have dominion over his creation. This is the origin of our desire to explore, discover, and create.
This is why many of us connect with movies like Star Trek. We want to be like their crew and “go where no man has gone before.” But science fiction movies have only tapped the surface of our fascination and imagination for exploration.
Part of the problem is that we experience the frustration of our mortality and limitations of time and space. The Bible teaches us that “He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” (Ecc 3:11 ESV)
This tells us that we have a sense that life continues beyond our present existence. The Hebrew word, matsa’ used in this verse for “find,” or “find out” has the sense of “figure out, comprehend by study.” Meaning our desire to explore, study, and comprehend was put into our hearts by God. There is an eternity of opportunity to explore and understand but our mortality limits us.
Could it be that these longings are pointing us to a possible future when we will have time and ability to explore all of the universe without limitations? I believe so.
Jesus promised eternal life to all who trust in him. And while our eternal life can begin now on earth, ultimately we look forward to a time when our current mortality will no longer be a hindrance We will live forever and thus have forever to explore the mysteries of our universe.
And as great as that thought is, there is a greater thought and greater call to adventure and exploration. The call to explore the grandeur creativity, and vastness of our Creator. Listen to this verse found in Psalm 19:1-2. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.” All of what we see with our eyes and through the Hubble reflect the glory of God. They are telling us continually of the greatness of our God.
For as incredible as the universe is, it was thought up in the mind of God. A God who not only created but occupies every part of space and time continually in the universe. In addition, he holds it all together as he oversees and controls every small intricate part of it. That is a BIG God. We will not only need an eternity to explore the universe but we will need an eternity to continually enjoy, learn, and worship the majesty and glory of our Creator.
This brings me to a myth that I want to dispel. Don’t miss this and don’t let the lies that have been perpetuated blind you to a very real truth. Our existence in Heaven and the New Heaven and Earth to come will not be boring! For it is there we will get to forever explore the beauty and majesty of God and all his creation.
So, as science continues to reveal amazing discoveries about our universe, let it be a spark that fuels your longing for eternity. Let it seep deep into your conscience as you develop an eternal perspective of life. And let it continue to fuel your desire to explore and embolden your call to adventure. Let it motivate you to seek the God that created it all. He invites you. “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” (Jeremiah 33:3).