Saturday, January 30, 2016

How big is the universe? How small is the smallest known object?

A friend sent me a link to a video where the scale of the universe is compared. We start with human size and drill down to the smallest known length/size, which is a string of String Theory.

NOVA - Official Website | A Sense of Scale: String Theory says of a string,
The strings of string theory are unimaginably small. Your average string, if it exists, is about 10-33 centimeters long. That's a millionth of a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a centimeter. If an atom were magnified to the size of the solar system, a string would be the size of a tree.
Then the scale increases to compare larger objects, and ends with both the known universe's size and the estimated universe's size.

It is estimated that the diameter of the observable universe is about 28.5 gigaparsecs (93 billion light-years, 8.8×1026 metres or 5.5×1023 miles), putting the edge of the observable universe at about 46.5 billion light-years away. (Source)
God is bigger than all that.

The reason the video is fascinating is because of the comparison. It makes more sense to compare objects to determine relative size. If I'd have written "The observable universe is 28.5 gigaparsecs" you'd have gone, "hunh?!" But seeing the sizes of known things and pondering their sizes is easier and more productive when you have a known to latch an unknown onto.

Now, when I was a non-saved person, I'd have eagerly learned these facts about the scale of the universe. It is mystifying and wondrous to see the sizes of these things, a string to a neutrino to a DNA strand to a molecule to... and so on. But just knowing the facts for the sake of knowing them is self-glorifying.

The key for the saved person is making the comparison. God is not only bigger than all that, He MADE all that. In six days. There's the difference.

When we compare everything to Christ things begin to assume a supernatural element which awes and fascinates.

When Paul preached to the Gentiles, he always began with creation. Gentiles didn't know or care about the Hebrew scriptures, but every Gentile who walked the earth knew that an earth existed. Who made it? In Acts 14:14-15, the Gentiles thought Paul and Barnabas were gods. Paul told them in Lystra:
Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 
In Athens, Paul said,
For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. (Acts 17:23-25)
It is so sweet to meditate on creation balanced against the immensity of the fact that our God made it. And His attributes are just as immense, infinite, actually. His love and mercy and omniscience and power and grace...





1 comment :

  1. Thank you for this post. If you take the estimated number of stars in the visible universe, there are about 100 billion PER person on the Earth. It is estimated that there are probably more stars than grains of sand on the Earth.

    Finally, it may be of interest that I Corinthian 8:6 says all things came 'from God the Father' and 'through Jesus Christ'. Further, Colossians chapter 1 says that all things were created by Jesus Christ and in Him all things hold together. Finally, Hebrews chapter 1 says that the Father made the universe through the Son, and that the Son sustains all things by His powerful word.

    All this seems to suggest that creation of the universe was from the Father's idea and power which He delegated to His son Jesus Christ - Jesus created the universe and sustains it.

    How remarkable the gospel then: John 1: 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God

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