“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” (Psalm 8:3-4).
My love for astronomy originated from childhood when I spent many clear nights gazing up into the night sky and marveling at its vastness and beauty. I was (and still am) completely overwhelmed and humbled by our omnipotent Heavenly Father, whose incredible power brought the universe into being. Only a sovereign, mighty God can create such a masterpiece!
Vastness of the universe
Our universe is so immense, that distance in space is measured by light years (the distance that light travels in a year). The closest star to earth (other than the sun) is Proxima Centauri and is 4.25 light years away. If you were to convert this distance to miles, the resulting figure would be around 25 trillion miles… and this is just the closest star!
In 1990, Hubble Space Telescope was released into space. For decades, it has provided us with vivid imagery of our universe, including photographs of our Milky Way Galaxy. Scientists have concluded that our solar system is located around 26,000 light years from the center of this Galaxy and that the Milky Way Galaxy is about 100,000 light years in diameter. What’s even more astounding is there are billions of stars and galaxies in our universe. It is true that the vastness of our universe extends beyond our human ability to grasp!
As believers we know the creator of the heavens and we stand in awe! His creation declares his everlasting power and sovereignty. In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he expounds on the attributes of God and firmly states, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). The enormity of the universe should not compel us to reflect on how small we are, rather our focus should be on how great our God is – His irresistible power, love and mercy extends to all mankind!
Proximity of God
In His discourse with Job, God reveals His omniscience and sovereignty. “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades? Can you loosen Orion’s belt? Can you bring forth the constellation in their seasons, and lead out the Bear with its cubs? Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth?” (Job 38:31-33). Our God has authority over the heavens and earth and is powerful enough to create worlds, yet He attends to the intricate details of his creation. The Psalmist refers to Him as the one who “determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name” (Psalm 147:4).
Our ever-present God also knows us by name and longs for a personal relationship with us. He reminds us, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1). Furthermore, Jesus emphasizes, “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me” (John 10:14). He cares deeply and personally to the extent “that the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Luke 12:7). God never tires and remains our faithful father. “The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom” (Isaiah 40:28).
Connection to teaching
As a STEM educator/professor observing the complexities in science, I cannot help but notice how every aspect vividly portrays our glorious creator at work. As I prepare for each course that I teach, I am consistently reminded of His power and faithfulness. Along with my students at Trinity Florida, we explore our God who created all things in heaven and on earth (Colossians 1:16) and examine what it means to be fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 149:14). As students begin to appreciate how their subject matter relates to God and His word, they start to apply similar patterns and integration into their own teaching and/or professions.
As we begin this New Year, let us reflect on our majestic, powerful and faithful God! “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you” (Jeremiah 32:17).
Susie M. Cohen, PhD is Associate Dean at Trinity International University, Florida.
For more on heaven, visit https://www.goodnewsfl.org/heaven/