This is a guest post by Nicky Portelli – a member of our community
Recently my 7-year-old niece asked me, ‘Why doesn’t the sky fall down on our heads?’ I smiled at the innocence of the question but also because it reminded me of the many questions I asked when I was her age. Questions like:
‘Why does the moon follow me everywhere I go?’
‘Why do aeroplanes seem to be flying so slowly?’
From a very young age I found these ‘anomalies’ fascinating and interesting. When I then met the Lord about eight years ago, the bigger questions about why was the universe created and what is the purpose of life took on a new, more profound meaning.
These questions are still being asked by many people, young and old whilst the answers become more abundant, varied and accessible though not necessarily complete.
What is science all about?
“For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him” (Colossians 1:16).
When we ask a scientist questions about things which are supernatural or imperceptible, the simple answer should be, ‘this is not my realm, I don’t know’. Instead we are faced with people who, despite their best of intentions, try to answer questions which fall outside their field of expertise.
Science is not there to teach us about things which we do not see but rather it attempts, with some success, to explain what is going on around us. We need to put science in its rightful place, which is by definition ‘the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment’ (Oxforddictionaries.com).
There are also those who postulate that what happens during prayer can be explained by saying that it is a bunch of electric impulses that give you a sense of wholeness and well-being. Although this statement is correct, it is certainly incomplete. It does away with the fact that prayer changes people for the better and like ripples in a pond this change has far-reaching effects.
Are you surprised at the grumbling of your stomach when you are hungry? In the same way you should not be surprised that a bio-chemical reaction happens whilst you pray – be surprised if nothing happens!
This reductionism is sadly pervading our way of thinking, boiling everything down to building blocks. Imagine calling your house a bunch of stones. That would be a poor description of it which misses out on the design, purpose and meaning of the building.
As Christians we should not be scared of what science is going to discover next. We cannot be ‘found out’ because we are living in truth. Exploration is divinely Christian because whatever we see around us comes from God so exploring the universe is tantamount to looking for God!
“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims His handiwork”
When speaking about the Universe we come across some astronomically large numbers! To give you some perspective here is how long it would take you to count up to these numbers if you had to count without stopping.
- 100,000 – about 1 day
- One Million – about 11 days
- One Billion – About 30 years
- One Trillion – about 30,000 years (yes thirty thousand years)
This gives a whole new meaning to the estimated billions of stars and planets found in our Universe.
How about how big the Universe is – 46 Billion Light Years across!
A light year is the distance that light can travel in one year. How fast is light? It can travel from Malta to London and back seventeen times in the time it takes you to blink your eyes once.
Yet it takes sunlight about eight minutes to get to us! The next time you are watching a beautiful sunset try to remember that what are seeing actually happened eight minutes ago!
Another fascinating fact is that a number of stars we see at night have long been extinguished. All we are seeing is the remnant of their light still blasting its way through space.
The wonder of you
“For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb”
The odds of the universe supporting life can be compared to a whirlwind in a junkyard putting together a fully functional jumbo jet or to a monkey sitting at a computer and typing out the entire works of Shakespeare entirely at random.
This picture is familiar to most of us and it is also a stumbling block for many as we ask how can it be that we come from monkeys? This does not remove the fact that God is the author of life. It just shows the way God chose to unfold His plan of creation. Other than that, it takes nothing away from the fact that we are created in God’s image and likeness.
Francis Crick, the Nobel prize winner for discovering the molecular structure of DNA, says that “An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have to be satisfied to get it going.”
Out of all the people in the world there is no one who looks exactly like you. Even if you are an identical twin, your fingerprints are unique! Think of it as God’s way of telling you that you are special to Him.
“Science, you might say, has discovered that our existence is infinitely improbable and hence a miracle” (John Horgan, Science Journalist).
God’s great love for you
“For you love all things that exist and detest none of the things you have made, for you would not have made anything if you hated it” (Wisdom 11:24).
God not only created life but He sustained it all throughout history up till this very day. The pinnacle of His love can be seen in His Son Jesus. He came to pay the price for our sins. Far from the idea of a God who created the Universe and left it to its own devices. He has sent His very own Son that “We may have life and life in abundance” (John 10:10).
He became like us to reveal Himself to us, to show us that He is concerned about us, He came to redeem us from sin.
The perfect plan of God spans all the way from the beginning of Creation right up to this moment even as you read these words. Allow Him to speak gently to your heart as He continues to reveal how special you are to Him!