How Big Is God? | The Institute for Creation Research

How Big Is God?

Download PDFDownload How Big Is God? PDF

Most people know the universe is "vast," but until we visualize it, we shortchange ourselves of some healthy awe. The heavens glorify God, but should also humble us—as should become apparent in the following mental journey.

Recently, the New Horizons spacecraft blasted off on a ten-year express flight to Pluto. (A manned flight to Pluto, at the maximum speed of the Apollo astronauts, would take about 17 years.) Since Mars (1/26 the distance to Pluto) seems at the limit of our reach, human travel to the stars beyond must remain a dream for now. But Pluto is very near compared to the stars; if the Sun-Pluto distance were represented by a one-foot ruler, the nearest star would be over a mile away.

Movies mislead us with their talk of warp speeds; real interstellar travel is limited by the speed of light—186,282 miles per second. In our imagination (and ignoring relativistic effects) let's aim for the nearest star at light speed. First, we would be disappointed at how slowly the scenery changes. Only after 4.3 years would Alpha Centauri appear larger than a pinpoint of light. Star-hopping within our galaxy, we would be amazed at how much is empty space.

Turning up out of the plane of the Milky Way, it would take 100,000 years for the full spiral of our galaxy to become visible. Though stars at our sun's radius orbit the center at nearly 500,000 mph, the galaxy would appear motionless. A whole human lifetime would pass with no apparent change except for the rare supernova. As for the earth—if the galaxy were represented as the size of North America, our entire solar system would fit in a coffee cup somewhere in Idaho.

Astronomers estimate that there are as many galaxies outside the Milky Way as there are stars in it. The Hubble Ultra Deep Field, taken in 2004, imaged 10,000 galaxies in a cone of space so slim you could cover it with a grain of sand held at arm's length. Integrated over the entire sky, that would mean there are more than 100 billion galaxies in the visible universe, many with more than 100 billion stars each. According to Psalm 147:4, God calls them all by name.

Contemplating such things is humbling, but also raises questions. Can a God of such a vast domain really care about us? It's important to understand the Biblical doctrine of omnipresence in answering this question. Learning that God is everywhere does not mean that part of Him is here, part there, and part in a distant galaxy, as if His love were spread thinly across all of space. No; omnipresence means that all of God is present at every place, at the same time.

This means that no matter how large the universe, and how many beings reside within His kingdom, each of us can have His full and undivided attention in our own hearts. Let us pray with the spirit and with the understanding also (I Corinthians 14:15). As the country song insightfully claims, "How big is God? He's big enough to rule His mighty universe, yet small enough to live within my heart."

* David F. Coppedge works in the Cassini program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Cite this article: David F. Coppedge. 2006. How Big Is God?. Acts & Facts. 35 (6).

The Latest
COVID-19
Citizenship on Earth and in Heaven
As the number of those infected with COVID-19 grows dramatically with each passing hour, governments tighten their grip, trying desperately to slow the...

NEWS
Do You Really Have a Jaguar?
It’s not right to bluff about something you don’t have.1 Yet some government bureaucrats tried to gain control of over 100,000 acres...

NEWS
Earthquake Jolts Idaho
March went out with a jolt in central Idaho. March 31 saw a magnitude 6.5 earthquake strike about 45 miles west of the town of Challis at about 6:52 pm...

COVID-19
Enjoying God’s Universe While Isolated, on a Budget
Around three thousand years, King David wrote, When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained,...

NEWS
Earthquakes Still Active in Utah
On March 18, 2020, a 5.7 magnitude earthquake shook the Salt Lake City area. Specifically, it hit underneath the town of Magna, Utah. Since that time,...

COVID-19
When Travel is Restricted, Be Honest and Trust God
Travel restrictions (imposed under federal and state disaster laws) are common this month, and they are likely to continue for some time. Many communities...

COVID-19
COVID-19 and Evangelicals
On March 27, Katherine Stewart wrote an opinion piece titled “The Road to Coronavirus Hell Was Paved by Evangelicals”1 for The New...

NEWS
It’s Bluebonnet Season!
Now is the season—late March and April—for bluebonnets to blossom in Texas!1 Establishing these beautiful flowers is difficult,...

COVID-19
Fighting Coronavirus with Your PC or Mac
As of March 26, seven hundred thousand people involved in the Folding@Home project are using their home computers to form, in effect, the world’s...

COVID-19
New Study Confirms Suggested Coronavirus Quarantine Period
Medical researchers at Johns Hopkins University have been quickly gathering data from the recent coronavirus outbreak and then evaluating health care policy...