Mankind has always driven to ask the questions of why we exist, what else is going on out there in the heavens, are we the only life in the Universe, will we exist after this life? I have heard people say that with the Universe so large that mathematically, the odds are there just has to be life on some other planet. They deem life to be simply one big search! I see it differently, understanding the age and the bigness is very important to the Christian.
We will be using a term, “light-year”; which is the distance light travels in one year. Light travels at a set speed, God gave us a wonderful fact of the Universe, in that the speed of light is set at a constant 186,000 miles per second. Andrew Fraknoi gives a neat way of understanding the distance of a light-year: A piece of string 1 light-year long would wrap around the equator of the earth 236 million times. We look at our Sun and think that it is far away, yet light takes only 8 minutes to reach Earth. The next nearest star beyond our sun is a little over 4 light-years away (the length of a piece of string that would wrap around the equator of the earth 944 million times).
With tools such as the Spitzer Space Telescope at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, helping us to find galaxies as deep as 11 billion light-years from earth, we know there are millions of galaxies in the Universe. Our Milky Way galaxy is part of a group of about 24 galaxies that we call the Local Group. Light that just now left the Great Galaxy in Andromeda, in our Local Group, will not reach us for another 2 million years. But please realize, we see that galaxy today; therefore, the light we see must have left the galaxy over 2 million years ago. We also know the Universe is much older than 2 million years because we see light from stars and galaxies much farther away than our Local Group.
Before you get all turned-off with a bunch of “boring numbers”, let me tell you why it is important for you to get a sense of the size of the Universe. The Christians that automatically reject scientific facts because they come from “science” and therefore must go against the Biblical Scriptures are missing a grand experience in the glory and wonderment of God’s Creation. If you are one of those Christians that believe the age of the Universe is 4 or 5 thousand years old as they claim the Bible purports (and I believe the Bible as Truth), let me say that you are uninformed based on our earthly view and our existence in time and space, yet you would be correct if you live outside our 3-dimensional world and in a multi-dimensional world. Simply look into the heavens at those tiny specks of light; we can see the proof of a much older Universe. It is real so don’t blindly turn your back on the facts just because you think it goes against your beliefs. Your beliefs are right and true, but not from your limited three-dimensional earthly view of the Universe. “Time” is a created dimension; a gift from God. From God’s view beyond “time” itself, the Universe is just now forming and just now ending (and everything between), all at this same moment. When there is no movement of time at all, we call that “now”; no past and no future, the beginning and the end are the same moment. Therefore, we can say that both the Biblical Creation of 6 days is correct and our earthly view that the Universe is millions and millions of years old is correct…both correct at the same time.
When asked if he was a man of faith in God as our Creator, Dr. William Blair, an astrophysicist and research professor at Johns Hopkins University, said yes and noted that he believed God created the heavens and the earth. The reason this is important is that Dr. Blair, who heads a NASA project looking into deep space, has written about the vastness of the universe, the Hubble Deep Field project, and noted the universe could hold upwards of 40 billion galaxies. Our Milky Way galaxy is but one of these 40 billion and Dr. Blair sees the hand of God in it. This is awesome my friends; here we find an astrophysicist and researcher who physically knows so much more than I, who sees it all as God created just as I do. My Christian brethren, don’t put all scientists down, we could all learn a lot about God from a man like this.
And here is the point, there is nothing in the Bible that would even suggest life on some other planet. God has created life only on Earth. Understanding the vastness and the grand design of the Universe points us toward an understanding of how loved we are by our Creator. In the vastness of the Universe, God knows you as a single individual and God is calling you to come to Him. Won’t you? God created you and loves you; what is going to be your response to that special gift?
[For more discussion on the Universe, please refer to the book, I Am, the Great Creator God by Haven D. Mankin. Information about the book and how to obtain a copy is available at: http://www.MuskratBooks.com]