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God Made the Stars Also

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Date October 24, 2002

GOD MADE THE STARS ALSO

God’s understanding has to be infinite in order to count and name all 10 to the power of 22 stars.

by Dr Monty White

These words "He made the stars also" are found in the very first chapter of the Bible in the sixteenth verse. The writer Moses, has just finished describing what the Lord had created on the fourth day of creation, the two great lights: the Sun and the Moon. He then adds, almost as an afterthought, that God made the stars also. We are then told that God put the stars into the vast universe that he had created on the first day of creation.

One of the problems with the universe is its vast size, it is so big as to be almost unimaginable. We live on the planet Earth which is a "mere" 93 million miles from the Sun. To get some idea of how far this really is, it would take over a hundred and fifty years to get from the Earth to the Sun travelling at 70 miles per hour (the current legal speed limit on our motorways). However, light covers this distance at a fraction of this time period. Light travels at just over 186,000 miles every second – so fast that it can go seven and a half times around the world in just one second! At this speed, it takes light only eight and a third minutes to get from the Sun to the Earth.

Distances in space are so great that they are measured in light years, that is the distance that light travels in a year, over 6,000 million miles. Our nearest star neighbour is over four light years away – about 25,000 million miles. On the cosmic scale, this star is on our doorstep, for astronomers tell us that the universe is about 12,000 million light years across. This means that if you travelled at the speed of light (that is just over 186,000 miles every second) it would take you 12,000 million years to traverse the universe. This should give you an idea of just how big it really is! Solomon, one of the wisest men who ever lived, declared that the heavens cannot contain the Lord. That shows how big our God really is!

Our Sun and all the other stars that you can see with the naked eye on a clear night are in our galaxy, the Milky Way. This galaxy, which is shaped like two huge fried eggs placed back to back, contains over a hundred thousand million stars. The size of our galaxy almost defies imagination for it is about a hundred thousand light years across (that is, about six hundred thousand million million miles) and about twenty thousand light years deep (that is, about a hundred and twenty thousand million million miles) at its centre.

Astronomers tell us that there is not just one, but that there are over a hundred thousand million galaxies in the universe. This means that there as many galaxies in the universe as there are stars in our galaxy. In other words, there is a galaxy (containing one hundred thousand million stars) for every star in our galaxy. From this piece of information it is possible to estimate the number of stars in the universe, by multiplying the number of galaxies in the universe by the number of stars in a galaxy. In other words, by multiplying one hundred thousand million by one hundred thousand million. The product of these two numbers is 10 to the power of 22, that is the figure one followed by 22 zeros i.e. 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. This number is so big that it almost defies imagination. However, to try to give you some idea of how big this number is you can think of the following. Imagine that you could count up to three million every second. If you could do this, then it would take you over one hundred million years to count up to this number.

Interestingly, and not surprisingly, there is a verse in the Scriptures that tells us that God determines "the number of the stars;" and "calleth them all by their names" Psalm 147:4 ). The next verse goes on to say that "great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit (or is infinite)". God’s understanding has to be infinite in order to count and name all 10 to the power of 22 stars.

The point of all these numbers and calculations is to show that the Lord our God is great! He is the one who created the vast universe and He is the one who created and named all the stars that He put in it. Forget for a moment how He did it or when He did it; the point is that when we consider the vastness of the universe and the number of stars in it, we should realise that our Creator God is a great and an Almighty God. Christians can be assured that they worship a great God – the universe declares it, just as the Psalmist asserted in Psalm 19:1 when he wrote that "the heavens declare the glory of God".

Scripture exhorts us to praise God and we should keep this in mind when we approach this God in prayer. We need to be filled with awe and reverence when we approach Him. We should also bear in mind how great He is when we come to Him in prayer and petition Him, for when we consider how many stars He has made, surely it makes us realise that nothing is impossible with this God!

The Psalmist was perhaps thinking along similar lines when he penned:

"When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers,
The moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained,
What is man that Thou are mindful of him,
And the son of man that Thou visitest him?" (Psalm 8:3&4)

However, the wonder is not that God has created the vast universe with its innumerable stars, but that He is mindful of the human race in its fallen state, and should visit this planet with salvation. As that great Bible commentator Matthew Henry wrote, "What is man, so mean a creature, that he should be thus honoured! So sinful a creature, that he should be thus
favoured!"

Dr Monty White

"Our Inheritance" Autumn 2002, 12 High Street, Polegate, BN26 5AA With permission.

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