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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Looking at God Through the Wrong End of the Telescope

(c) 2013 by Tom King

Have you ever turned a telescope or pair of binoculars backwards and looked through the big end?  Of course, you have. We all have, just out of curiousity.  It makes everything look far away and small when you do that.

I think we do that kind of same kind of thing when we try to get our heads around God.  Let's face it God is so incredibly big an idea to try and understand.  We can't even really contemplate the immensity of the tiny little galaxy we live in.  Let's look at the Milky Way for a moment:

  • We are 28,000 light years from the center of the Milky Way.  In other words if we could get going at the almost unimaginable speed of 186,000 miles per second or 669,600,000 miles per hour, it would take us 28,000 years just to get to the middle of this galaxy and more than double that time to get across it 
  • We're orbiting the galaxy at about 600,000 miles per hour, 100,000 mph faster than astronomers originally thought we were.
  • There are somewhere between 200 and 400 billion stars and possibly many more if you count brown dwarfs, which anyone who might be rumbling around the place in a starship would probably do since running into one would probably be a very bad thing.
  • There are likely billions of Earth-like planets and the Milky Way
  • The Milky Way has at least 13 satellite galaxies.
  • Some 54 galaxies make up the local galaxy group which includes the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies and which itself is part of the Virgo Super-Cluster.
  • The local group is 10 mega-light years across.  A mega-light year is 1 million light years.
  • The Virgo Super-Cluster is 110 mega light years across and includes at least a hundred local groups like ours.
  • There are around 10 million super-clusters in the observable universe and we can't even begin to guess how many are out of sight and the light from them just hasn't reached us yet.
Scripture says, "The heavens declare the glory of God." Seems to me that what the heavens are trying to say is that God is a pretty big deal.  And yet we Christians so often seem to be trying to stuff God into a small box of our own making so that we might fully comprehend him.  It doesn't work.  You can turn the telescope backward to try and make him smaller and more like yourself, but all you're really doing is distorting your view of the awesome reality that is God.

God does not fit in anybody's box. He is there for all to behold; stretched across the cosmos, so big we cannot imagine Him.  Moses wanted to see God for himself once and asked God to show him His face, but Moses was only able to see God's "back parts." There was no way for Moses to stretch himself large enough to see more than the place where God touched our little bit of space time.  As it was, God had to recreate himself on an incredibly tiny scale in order for us to even begin to comprehend God as He is.  The picture that Christ presented to man was so terrifying that His mere presence drove some of them mad and they killed Him.

That same urge to kill anything we don't understand leads us even today, when we ought to know better, to try and make some kind of petty king-in-a-box out of the Creator of the Universe.  Then such folk have the audacity to stand in front of their tiny box o' god and try to tell us what's inside the box and what He's thinking in there.

When we point a finger at any man or woman or child and pronounce judgment on the person, we put ourselves in the place of God who alone may pass judgment.  We may find the acts committed by any person to be evil, but we are not permitted to hate that person, even then.  We are told to love our enemies.  There is no "unless" written into that commandment by God. And if we stop trying to shove God into a box all the time and stop to look up to the heaven's we will begin to realize that it is that sort of love which is written across the cosmos. We need only stand tiny and small as we are in the starlight of ten billion suns and more and allow God to show us Himself.

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