I took this shot of the moon a couple of weeks ago, as seen through a telescope over Burnet, Texas, in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. It’s the same moon I barely noticed back home in the urban hot mess of Houston, where the streetlights wash out the sky, and I’m usually too preoccupied to look up anyway. Now, as it hung over “God’s turf” it seemed to be coming out of the shadows and into the spotlight, a generous, beaming presence. I had to capture the view at that moment.
The Universe is amazing. I got a glimpse of the Orion Nebula (a cloud of gas and dust just below the constellation of Orion’s Belt), the birthplace of a thousand stars. Venus was so close that it overshadowed even the brightest star on the horizon…but it was Jupiter that really blew me away. Looking at it with the naked eye, it looked like a star. However, through a telescope it was a perfect white globe, trailed by four very distinct moons, all lined up in a row. This isn’t my pic, but very close to what I saw:
I’ve been obsessed with all things Space-y ever since.
For instance, did you know that:
- There are approximately 1900 new planets discovered every year
- Our Milky Way galaxy of stars is so huge that even at the speed of light it would take 100,000 years to travel across it. The nearest star besides our own sun, Proxima Centuri, would take 70,000 years to reach.
- The sun gives off enough energy every second to meet the current needs of our civilization for almost 500,000 years. Yet there are billions of suns in the Universe, many that are much larger than our sun.
- There is a star that has literally crystalized into a diamond of over a trillion carats
A lot of what I tried to comprehend was pretty much over my head (no pun intended): The mathematical calculations of why the speed of light is always constant…The physics of interplanetary gravitational pull…The chemistry of why only a teaspoon of imploded star matter will weigh over a ton.
I’ll leave that to all of you science wizards, but I will say this…the debate between intelligent design and science comes down to origin. Christianity doesn’t reject science, we just acknowledge the One who invented it. In fact, I really don’t think that science is that much at odds with what God has revealed in His word. I checked out what the Bible says on creation and found that science has determined what God’s Word already confirmed long ago:
On the number of stars:
“As the host of heaven cannot be counted and the sand of the sea cannot be measured…”
On the shape of the Earth:
“He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers…” (Isaiah 40:22)
On the free float of Earth in space:
“He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing”. (Job 26:7)
On creation made of invisible elements:
“By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible”.(Hebrews 11:3)
On the expanding Universe:
“…He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.” (Isaiah 40:22)
The next day I woke up to a stunning and cloudless day. The Hill Country is gorgeous this time of year. The bluebonnets cover the ground like a purple carpet, and the breeze is just enough to cut through the heat. There’s a certain peace in walking through a meadow — to the tune no louder than the chirping of the birds.
It’s mind-boggling to think that we are on a hanging globe, spinning like a top in this dynamic, inhabitable cosmos when our immediate surroundings can seem so serene. Yet here we are, sustained and cocooned in our little world. It seems we are oblivious in our day-to-day lives to this far greater reality. Heck, I hardly noticed the moon in the city! It’s only when we stop long enough to realize that our God is never oblivious of us that we are truly amazed.
Psalm 8:3-4 – “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?”
Now that’s out of this world.