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Exploring God's Universe
By Brian Pepper
There is nothing more fascinating than the study of the heavenly bodies. The amazing exploits of the spacemen and the space vehicles has focussed our attention on the starry heavens. Dr Merlin Neff made this statement in his book ‘The Glory of the Stars,' pg. 15, "We rush headlong in the rut of everyday existence, failing to lift our eyes to the pageant of the stars; the Eternal Jewels of the night." Only a very few ever spend some of their time examining the stars, those celestial wonders which twinkle nightly.
Space ExplorationMan has come a long way since those early days when the Montgolfier brothers flew the first gas filled balloon in 1783. Then the first motor propelled aeroplane flew by Orville Wright on December 17, 1903. Today the thrust of jet power is driving planes and missiles across the sky faster than sound.
Space technology is continually advancing taking us beyond the horizons of space. Genesis 15:5 says, "…Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars; if thou be able to number them…" Jeremiah 31:37 says, "Thus saith the Lord, if heaven above can be measured…I will also cast off all the seed of Israel…" These texts tell us that the stars of heaven could not be numbered.
The stars cannot be numberedFor hundreds of years learned men laughed in scorn at poor old Jeremiah. They had counted every star they could see in the sky and they knew that there were just 5,119. Then in 1610 Galileo pointed the first crude telescope at the sky and discovered thousands of additional stars never seen before by man. Jeremiah looked toward one barren, dark area in the sky and saw a third magnitude star called Auriga.
Now our scientists turn the 12 story high 500 ton Hale telescope at that dark patch of sky and with eyesight improved 700,000 times view thousands of stars, eg Eagle Nebula in serpens, Centaurus galaxy, and E.T.A Carinae in southern Milky Way. It is interesting to find that the scientists have looked into space as far as one billion light years in every direction and have found no edge to the Universe. Dr Fritz Kahn says, "Photographs with more than 10,000 such galaxies on one plate have been made." (Design of the Universe, pg. 167)
So you can see that Jeremiah was absolutely correct when he said, "…the host of heaven cannot be numbered."
Bible ahead of scienceThe Bible was written at a time when me believed that this world was stationary. Probably upheld by some mighty Atlas, standing on a elephant, supported by a sacred turtle. That the earth was supported and stationary they were sure. It frightened men when they first realised that our world is actually hanging in space with no visible support. The thought of this strange phenomenon caused Sir Isaac Newton as a lad to have nightmares, for he dreamed that this world had crashed into something.
Job 38:31 says, "Canst thou bind the sweet influence (cluster) of Pleides, or loose the bands of Orion?" Isabel Lewis of the United Stated Navel Observatory tells us, "Astronomers have identified 250 stars as actual members of this group all sharing in the common motion and drifting through space in the same direction."
Psalm 19:1 says, "The heavens declare the glory of God."
These statements from the Holy Scriptures reveal facts that are known today but were unknown to men 3,000 years ago.
Bible quotes about the starsJob 38:32, "Canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?"
Garrett P. Service (noted astronomer) wrote, "Arcturus, one of the greatest suns in the universe is a runaway whose speed of flight is 257 miles per second. Arcturus we have every reason to believe, possesses thousands of times the mass of our sun."
1,000,000 miles in diameter the moon and its orbit would only extend halfway to the edge. Then there is another giant sun, Betelgeuse.
Bart J. Bok, Harvard astronomer says of the Milky Way: "In it could readily be stored a million times as many stars without much chance of colliding." (Coronet, June, 1954, pg. 65)
Dr Merlin Neff says, "The suns of the universe blaze with varicoloured lights that vie with the rainbow for beauty." (The Glory of the Stars pg. 15)
1 Corinthians 15:41 says, "There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory."
1 Corinthians 15:41 says, "…one star differeth from another star in glory…"
H.M Warren says, "We are charmed with the variegated flowers in our garden on earth but He who makes the fields blush with flowers has planted his garden of space with colored stars." (The Stars and the Bible pg. 11 HMS Richards)
Isaiah 40:26, "…he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth."
"And while He guides the universe by miracle divine, and calls a million stars by name, he’s not forgotten mine!"
A trip to the planetsOut in space we see our earth as we have been accustomed to see it since the Apollo probe. We have a look at the moon as we make our way out into space. It has always had the greatest fascination for man, I guess because it is the nearest to us. According to the Genesis record of creation, it was made for the purpose of giving light to the earth along with the sun.
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…" Just imagine that! It does not mean that the sun will be seven times hotter. The lighting system will be completely changed.
Beyond our Earth lies another planet called Mars. There is a lot 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 glow.
Neptune, 5 times as large as Earth with a diameter of 31,200 miles.
Next comes two giants of the system, Jupiter and Saturn, each 75,000 or more miles in diameter.
Saturn is noted for its beautiful ring system. It also has (at least) 9 moons.
Jupiter, a planet that has fascinated astronomers for centuries.
We must not go on without mentioning Mercury 36 million miles from the Sun, must be very hot.
The Sun is very important to this Earth. We would not be here but for the sun. It was Galileo who first discovered sunspots which were quite unstable. The Sun is a great ball of fire that keeps on burning without going out. By placing a disk against the Sun’s surface it is possible to see great tongues of fire. There are known as prominences. This one (in a slide) is 75,000 miles in length, another is 140,000 miles.
No talk upon the subject of the stars would be complete without mentioning the comets.
Mystery of the comets"By being seldom seen, I could not stir, but, like a comet, I was wondered at" (William Shakespeare Henry IV). Comets, like the planets, are perfect timekeepers.
Back in 1682, a comet, now know as Halley’s comet attracted wide attention. Halley predicted that on Christmas Eve of 1758 the comet would appear and sure enough it did.
Then there is a comet of 1843, which pays the sun a visit every 2,000 years. It was the late General Mitchell astronomer General U.S.A who said, "At his bidding every planet and satellite and comet, and the sun himself, fly onward in their appointed courses."
Omniscience of GodThe question is asked, how would you comprehend the omniscience of God? Well here is something to help you. Dr Fritz Kahn says, "According to present estimates the Nebula in Andromedia is about 1,500,000 light years away." (Design of the Universe pg. 165)
Dr Fritz Kahn says, " We too, see the Andromeda Galaxy not as it is today but as it was 1,500,000 years ago, we do not see it where it is now but where it was then. We do not know where it is today."
Genesis 1:1, 2 says, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth… and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."
God formed this world of ours but before he did this he made the universe. The Holy Scriptures also tell us that there is not a single thing that Jesus did not make.
St Paul says in Colossians 1:17, "By him all things consist."
Our universe did not come about by chance. There was and there is a 'master' designer. No wonder the Psalmist was inspired to say in Psalm 14:1, "The fool hath said in his heart there is no God."