Search BIBLE IN SONG
Hear the Bible COME ALIVE IN SONG!
Search BIBLE IN SONG
Astronauts, Space and God
By Brian Pepper
Space travel is becoming more and more of a reality as the great rockets probe further and further out into space. Space is the big subject for it is in everybody’s mind. From the day that the Russian Astronaut Gagarin became the first astronaut to encircle the earth in space, we have really been in the space age. There is no question but the Twentieth Century is the age of science.
Men have penetrated the secrets of nature to a degree undreamed of by former generations.
The microscope and the test tube have revealed many wonderful, secrets hidden from past generations. The telescope has brought the distant stars closer to us, opening up to us a new understanding of the great universe of which our planet is but a small part.
Relegation of the Bible to Superstition
However in the feverish rush of scientific advancement, unfortunately there is a tendency to relegate the Bible to the realm of superstition, especially its statements on scientific matters. To many the Bible belongs to an age that is passing. It might have been good enough for grandmother, who knew nothing about science, but not for the wide awake young people of today. And you cannot blame folk for having that idea.
The Bible Predicted Scientific Advancement
People are always amazed when I show to them that Daniel the prophet writing some 3,000 years ago predicted that this very age in which are living would be a time of great enlightenment and remarkable scientific developments. Let us turn to the Book of Daniel for a few moments.
says, "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased."
Very clearly Daniel foretells that our day would be an age of speed and scientific enlightenment.
Scientific Statements from the Bible
This morning we are going to carefully investigate some of the statements that are found in the Bible and just see for ourselves how they stand in the face of the great advancement of science today.
How Ancient thought Earth was Supported
Take this one from the oldest Book in the Bible, considered by experts to be about 4000 years old. Job 38:6 says, "Whereupon are the foundations fastened?" The ancients thought that the earth was supported on the back of a giant who rode on an elephant, and he in turn rested on a turtle.
How did Job know Differently?
I ask you how did Job know all this?
This statement was absolutely contrary to popular belief in his day.
Just in case you might think "Well that was good; but it could be possible that Job made a lucky guess. Listen to this.
says, "He ... hangeth the earth upon nothing."
There is no getting around this one and we know that it is scientifically true.
The Bible and Modern Science
And yet there are folk who will say that the Bible is out of harmony with modern science.
I want to tell you that there are dozens of statements in the Book of Job alone which are nothing short of amazing and only today in the rapid development of science can be understood.
From time to time I will endeavour to deal with many of them and you will be surprised.
Modern Scientifc Advancements
When Christopher Columbus started on his voyage westward across the Atlantic, the sailors were afraid that they would sail to the end of the earth and drop off, possibly, into space. They had no realization of the truth that the earth actually hung, as the Bible says, "upon nothing."
It was Galileo who developed a telescope through which he and his friends could see a city twenty miles away with people walking in the streets.
Soon after Galileo's time other astronomers developed more elaborate instruments with which to probe the secrets of the sky.
Discovering that the Universe is Governed by Law
Later Johannes Kepler published the laws of planetary motion and for the first time men began to realize that the universe was governed by law and not by chance. Then Sir Isaac Newton announced the discovery of the law of gravitation, and showed how it applied to the movements of the earth, the moon, and the planets. If men had only read their Bibles they would have known that the universe is governed by law.
For instance take this statement found in Job 38:33. "Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?" Did you notice that this text mentions the ordinances, or laws, of heaven? It is stated quite clearly that the earth and the heavens are under universal law.
We know that the earth goes around the sun and is held in place by two great laws. The first is the Law of Gravity. The second is the Law of Inertia.
In the case of gravity the sun pulls the earth towards it.
In the case of inertia, once the earth is set in motion it tends to keep going in a straight line.
Men took a long time to find this out but the Bible told these wonderful truths thousands of years ago.
There is one thing I would like to have but have never been able to afford it and that is a powerful telescope in order to study the heavens.
Have you ever looked at the heavens on a moonless night? You will see thousands of glittering points of light.
Recently I was up at Kalgoorlie or at least 17 miles from it. The car I was travelling in had run out of petrol. It was 2 o'clock in the morning and a cold but very clear night. The stars were brilliant; I have rarely seen them so clearly. It was awesome.
The ancient star-gazers grouped these into constellations, giving them names, and even imagining them to represent their gods or heroes.
Around the equatorial line of the sky they observed that a different constellation was overhead each month of the year.
And so they named twelve signs of the Zodiac, one for each month.
To the ancient people these were supposed to have a very powerful influence on human affairs.
Even today you will find people talking of the star under which they were born.
They are supposed to have a powerful bearing on the events of your life.
I have here a cutting entitled ‘The Stars and You’.
Movement of Constellations
Listen to a little of this. The LORD, speaking to Job referred to this ancient scientific lore. Job 38:32 says, "Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season?" That is, the twelve signs, or Zodiac. God is asking Job if he can order the constellations. I guess that Job knew very little about the matter until God explained it to him. Certainly the ancients were unable to explain why the signs changed each month. It wasn’t until Galileo some 3,000 years later discovered the fact that the earth moves around the sun once a year could this be explained.
In Psalm 19:1-4 we read, "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line (their rule or direction) is gone out through all the earth and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun."
R.S.V. 4th verse "There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world."
Here in poetic language, we are told that although there is no speech, yet there is a message from the heavens that tells of the glory of God and proclaims His Majesty.
The psalmist goes on to describe the daily course of the sun in the heavens and its affect on the earth.
Let us start with the sun, the best known object in the heavens. It is a star nearly a million miles in diameter. If the earth were to be placed in its centre, the moon and its orbit would extend only half way to the edge. The sun's surface has a temperature of about 6,000 degrees. Each square yard of its surface radiates enough energy, which if transformed into steam, would be capable of lifting 1,000 tons two miles high every ten minutes. How does the sun generate this tremendous power? Is it burning hydrogen, by contraction or, as is quite generally believed at the present tame, by radioactivity? No one really knows. There are many theories but none of them are satisfactory.
I remember reading in the text books we had in public school that the sun must eventually become cold, and so all life on the earth would cease. Of course no Christian could ever believe this.
Isaiah 40:26 we read, "Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: He calleth them all by names by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power; not one faileth."
Did you notice that “not one faileth.”
The Almighty God who brought this universe into existence has everything under His control.
Not one faileth. This is a wonderful tribute.
The Solar System
Around the sun is a group of planet's known as the solar system.
First comes Mercury, then Venus, and next our earth.
It would be fairly safe to assume that Mercury must be uninhabitable, for it keeps the same face to the sun all the time.
Venus seems to be hidden by a cloud layer 300 miles deep.
From what the scientists are finding out with these space probes it seems most unlikely that any other planet outside the earth is inhabited.
Let us turn our attention to our earth for a few minutes. Our earth is 93,000,000 miles from the sun. We have conditions favourable for life; an atmosphere with the proper proportions of oxygen, and the earth with just the right mass to hold this atmosphere from escaping. The daily rotation is just right to keep the temperatures of day and night correct for life, The weight of the earth and its rate of travel around the sun are perfectly balanced so as to keep it in orbit at the proper distance to receive just the right amount of heat.
Isaiah 45:18 we are told "He created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited."
The heavenly body that has the greatest fascination for man is the one that is nearest to us, the moon. Especially is this true since we have landed rockets on its surface and taken close up photographs of it. According to the Genesis record of creation it was made for the purpose of giving light to the earth, along with the sun.
Genesis 1:16 says, "And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: ..." According to the Bible the moon (will) become a sun in the New Earth.
Isaiah 30:26 says, "Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord bindeth up the breach of His people and healeth the stroke of their wound."
God had a purpose for the moon.
Genesis 1:14 says, "And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years."
Beyond the earth lies another planet, Mars.
There has been a great deal of speculation regarding Mars. For years it has been believed that Mars was inhabited.
It is a small planet, only 4,000 miles in diameter and shines in the heavens with a reddish light. It requires 687 days or over two of our years, for it to make its journey around the sun.
The pictures of Mars sent back by Mariner IV shows the surface of Mars to be like the surface of the moon, pocked marked with impact craters caused by bombardment with meteorites.
Jupiter and Saturn
Then come the two giants of the system, Jupiter and Saturn, each 75,000 or more miles in diameter. They do not appear to be fit for habitation. Saturn is noted for its beautiful ring system. Three thin, flat rings, from 7,000 to 85,000 miles from the surface, span the skies. These are composed of small particles of rock or ice crystals.
Each particle pursues an independent orbit.
Jupiter has twelve moons, Saturn has nine (Sermon dated approx. 1967).
Uranus, Neptune and Pluto
Beyond Saturn lies Uranus and Neptune both over 30,000 miles in diameter. Then comes Pluto, the last of the planets. Neptune and Pluto were both discovered by their effect on the movement of their
neighbours. Their exact positions were calculated mathematically.
Beyond the Solar System
As we look out into the vast expanse of space beyond the Solar System a natural question would be how far away are the rest of the stars. This question is not hard to answer.
For a measuring rod astronomers use the light year, which is the distance that light, travelling at 186,000 miles a second, will go in
This is about 6 million, million miles. It has been determined that the nearest of the fixed stars is 4 ½ light years away.
Are the Stars arranged in any Systematic Order?
Another question that has puzzled astronomers: are the stars arranged in any kind of systematic order? This question is not easy to answer but recent investigations have revealed some very interesting data.
For about a hundred years astronomers have been interested in distant objects called nebulae. The best known of these is the great spiral nebulae in the constellation Andromeda. This is the most distant object visible to the naked eye, being about a million and one half light-years away. At first this was supposed to be composed of gas, but as the powers of the telescopes have been increased, it has become evident that this nebula can be resolved into separate stars, probably numbering in the billions.
Recently studies have brought astronomers to the conclusion that these are actually island universes. It is estimated that approximately ten billion of these galaxies can be observed with the large telescopes; they range as much as 5 billion light years distant.
It is now known that our Solar System lies near the middle of the Milky Way galaxy.
Different Forms of Galaxies
Galaxies take on many forms. Some are elongated, others are nearly as round as a plate, while others show spiral arms. Job was overwhelmed, as he with his naked eye vision, he was led to exclaim in Job 26:14 E.S.V. "Lo, these are but the outskirts of His ways; and how small a whisper do we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand?"
The heavens are full of magnificent sights and the more powerful our telescopes become the more we are led to wonder what is yet to be revealed.
Today the radio telescopes are penetrating many times farther into space than the telescopes that depend on light waves.
Measuring the HeavensIn Isaiah 40:12, R.S.V. we read, "Who has … marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance."
Today we can understand the significance of these words much better than could the people of Isaiah's time. The ancients conceived of the sky as a shallow bowl encasing the earth. What the stars were they had little idea.
What a vision the prophet must have had when he was inspired to speak of the heavens marked off by a span and the earth measured and weighed. Now we use the light year or the parsed, which is three and a half light-years, as a measuring rod.
PleiadesBesides the galaxies, another group of celestial objects is of great interest. These are the Star Clusters. One of the best known of these is the Pleiades, or the Seven Sisters. These were noted by Homer in the 9th Century B.C. But the LORD referred to them long before that time; for He asked Job in Job 38:31, R.S.V. "Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades?" Modern astronomy has discovered the fact that the stars of this cluster are actually bound together as if by chains. The Pleiades are comparatively close to us, only about 400 light years distant.
Even with a telescope of moderate power several hundred stars can be seen that are invisible to the naked eye. One of the most striking features of this cluster is the fact that it is surrounded by an immense mass of gas.
The Cords of OrionAnother question God asked of Job in Job 38:31. R.S.V. “Can you loose the cords of Orion'?" This constellation has been one of the best known since the dawn of history. Orion the hunter, as the ancients conceived him, faces Taurus the bull and is leading two hunting dogs, represented by Sirius the greater dog-star and Procyon, the lesser dog star. Three bright stars across the middle of the constellation are called the belt. About the middle of the belt three fainter stars hang down, and are known as the sword. Surrounding the middle star of the sword is the great nebula of Orion. This is one of the most beautiful objects in the sky.
Although it is barely visible to the naked eye, even an ordinary telescope or a pair of field glasses will reveal a beautiful sight, and the larger telescopes bring out the most majestic sight. Recently with the new high speed colour film, marvellous colour photos have been obtained of a number of nebulae. The great Nebula of Orion is nearly 2000 light-years distant, and its diameter is about 25 light-years.
What is Man?Job 26:13 says, "By His spirit He hath garnished the heavens." How true this statement is as one studies the heavens. Another translation says "The heavens are beauty." How can we question these things. As the Psalmist said, in Psalm 8:3, 4 "When I consider thy heavens; the work of thy fingers, the moon and stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man? that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man that thou visitest him?”
What is man? when you place him against the backdrop of the universe. Surely his greatest triumphs pale into insignificance.
Sermon from SpaceThe greatest tribute to the God of the universe was made when Apollo 8 spacemen delivered a sermon from space. A message from the man in the moon drawing attention to the Creator. Isn’t this amazing that the first man in the moon (not on the moon) should read from the Word of God the story of Creation from Genesis chapter 1. It has been estimated that 1 billion people could have heard this message here on earth. Over in America a lady named Madame Murray was most vocal in her objections to the moon message. She said, it is incredible that the thing had been allowed to happen, it was a case of the Christians intimidating the atheists."
Don’t you think that it is time the Christians did intimidate the atheists? I tell you the Bible has overwhelming evidence to its divine inspiration. From scientific statements of which there is many to the profound prophetic revelation. I believe that if we held our lips, why the very stones would cry out. God help us that we may proclaim with power, The Thunder of His Power.