Category Archives: God’s Universe

Who Is Our Neighbor? Andromeda !

Today’s featured APOD stunner is M31, the Andromeda Galaxy.  At a mere 2 million light years away from our own Milky Way, it is our nearest major galactic neighbor. (See Luke 10:29; “And who is my neighbor?”)

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1)

It is a cliché to express a sense of human littleness in the face of the unthinkably enormous scope of the universe.  But here, as in all things, one must retain a sense of perspective. For this unimaginable immensity is just the grown-up phase of a creation that once was small enough to fit in its creator’s hand (or yours, for that matter.) And we are fashioned in the image of that same creator.

A cliché that is both true and more useful: Biblical religion both humbles us (in the face of the majesty of God) and elevates us (for we are created in the image of that majestic God).  This balance of our smallness and our greatness is mirrored in face of our universe, so huge and yet once so small.

By contrast, as theologian Reinhold Niebuhr put it, “Both the majesty and the tragedy of human life exceed the dimension within which modern culture seeks to comprehend human existence.”

 

 

 

Reality

Another glimpse into the real universe, courtesy of NASA and their splendid site APOD (Astronomy Picture of the Day).

I have to remind myself, while gazing on this beautiful galaxy, that I am looking at a real thing, and not a work of art.

Remember: a hundred billion stars, one of a hundred billion galaxies; and all beginning with something infinitesimally SMALL. Something that could fit in the hand of a child – the child Jesus’ hand. (Or, as Edward Oakes wrote, “Infinity dwindled to infancy”, but in reverse.)

If you are watching this on a touchscreen device (smartphone or pad), you can touch the screen with two fingers and then expand the picture. By doing so, you will see deeper and deeper into the Heart of Light (as opposed to the Heart of Darkness). It is dazzling, mezmerising, overwhelmingly beautiful.

This was posted on May 15. Check the archives there (at apod.nasa.gov).

God bless NASA. “The heavens declare the glory of God.” (Psalm 19).

 

The Needle Galaxy

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The Needle Galaxy, courtesy of NASA (apod.gov.nasa, archives).  Always remember: According to the scientists, there are at least a hundred billion galaxies, each made up of a hundred billion stars; and when it all began 14.5 billion years ago, it (the entire universe) was smaller than a mustard seed.  Fitting neatly in the palm of God’s hand.