Monday, December 11, 2006

ngc 3370

You own the cosmos—you made everything in it, everything from atom to archangel. Psalm 89:11 (Message Bible)

Annie Leibovitz has nothing on the Hubble Space Telescope. NGC 3370 is a galaxy 98 million light years away. I think that’s about 588,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles away. Or 588 quintillion, give or take a few trillion. In the distance fading away are thousands of other galaxies.

Think about your house, your bedroom, your pillow. Now imagine you’re an ant…on your pillow. If the universe was the size of the entire earth, you aren’t even to edge of the pillowcase with NGC 3370. And God’s just getting started…the universe is expanding at speeds we can’t imagine. Face it: the vastness is mind-boggling.

For those who believe God launched it all, it completely underscores the Mighty God title Isaiah prophetically gives the messiah (Isaiah 9:6). One look at the sky on a cold winter night convinces them even more: God is omnipotent, spectacular, and beyond description. And even more amazing is that He knows us and loves us. Now that's a Mighty God.

But for others who are wrestling with the God-question, the expanse of the cosmos can have the opposite effect: the universe is so incomprehensibly huge—and we are so small—that we must be insignificant in the whole scheme of things. Somehow size is equated to significance against the backdrop of the overwhelming enormity of space.

When did size have anything to do with attention in matters of love? Did we love a teenager more than a newborn? If one of my children is smaller than the other, do I love them less? Moses spent a lot of time reminding Israel about their covenant with God. At one point he told them:

“The Lord did not choose you and lavish his love on you because you were larger or greater than other nations, for you were the smallest of all nations! It was simply because the Lord loves you…” Deuteronomy 7:7-8a (New Living Translation)

And as we slip into Christmas, don’t forget this classic verse of size and significance:

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.” Micah 5:2 (New King James Version)

Enough said.

ps. I had a number of people ask me about the video at the end of the celebration featuring the voice of S. M. Lockridge. Lockridge pastored Calvary Baptist Church in San Diego for forty years. He died in 2000. Google his name and you can find transcripts and different video versions of what we played.

Also, feel free to link this funny video in your emails:


  1. Hey Dave,

    This Christmas series is really challenging… thanks!

    Interesting post… I see what you mean about the size = significance. Another perspective of this struggle with the vastness of the Universe vs. the “ant-ness” of ourselves is tangled up in the “God in a box” idea.

    Here’s what I mean… I think a lot of people (or maybe it is only Americans… or maybe only me?) see corporate CEOs as some of the most powerful people in modern times. So, I naturally attribute to God those same qualities… in essence God IS the great CEO in the sky.

    And in the same fashion that the CEOs of America’s largest companies have no idea who the guys stocking the shelves, or the girls in the mailroom are, God must be too consumed with this “great vastness” around us to be involved in the daily affairs of my puny, “insignificant” life.

    Where does this leave me?

    Kicking myself because I have once again forgotten that I am not “just” a lowly stockroom clerk, but I am also a child of the CEO and through the divine nepotism of my father… not only does He actually care about my daily affairs, but He also has fabulous plans for me that are beyond what I can even imagine for myself today… here in the stockroom.

    Thanks again Dave… really great series.


  2. Dave,

    Great perspective with hubble telescope pix displaying the awesomeness of God and how such a limited creation as us humans could possibly comprehend an unlimited God. I am a scientist by profession and am constantly awed by how beautifully created even a single cell is and how us humans always seem to think we have it "figured out" HAH! How could such an intricate design not have a Designer?!! I work with molecules I can't see -- I have to have faith that they are there. I have experiments to "prove" that they are there. Just because I can't fit God into a test tube or have an enzymatic assay that gives me a finite number that tells me God is there doesn't mean He isn't. I am finite and do not even begin to think that I could ever have anything within my grasp that could possible dilineate or comprehend God's unlimited immenseness (to infinity and beyond!! lol).

    Love the series and Rock On God, Rock On!!!