The Big Picture
Of course there are millions of great photographs and videos of our universe; here are a few I like that help me get things in perspective.
"This Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF) image contains an estimated 10,000 galaxies. In ground-based images, the patch of sky in which the galaxies reside (just one-tenth the diameter of the full Moon) is largely empty."
"This animated flight through the universe was made by Miguel Aragon of Johns Hopkins University with Mark Subbarao of the Adler Planetarium and Alex Szalay of Johns Hopkins. There are close to 400,000 galaxies in the animation, with images of the actual galaxies in these positions (or in some cases their near cousins in type) derived from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Data Release 7."
"Superclusters – regions of space that are densely packed with galaxies – are the biggest structures in the Universe. But scientists have struggled to define exactly where one supercluster ends and another begins. Now, a team based in Hawaii has come up with a new technique that maps the Universe according to the flow of galaxies across space. Redrawing the boundaries of the cosmic map, they redefine our home supercluster and name it Laniakea, which means ‘immeasurable heaven’ in Hawaiian."
Hubble’s High-Definition Panoramic View of the Andromeda Galaxy
In very round numbers:
- our Milky Way galaxy is 100,000 light years across.
- one light year = 5,880,000,000,000 miles (5.88 trillion).
- there are ~ 200,000,000,000 stars in our Milky Way galaxy (200 billion).
- there are ~ 200,000,000,000 galaxies in the observable universe (200 billion).
We can’t comprehend these numbers and these distances.
But that’s fine; who wants a small God? Who wants a God we can measure and put limits on?
Contemplating the mind-numbing size of the universe can give a perspective on our world and ourselves that makes the condescension and sacrifice of God, in the person of Jesus, so much more amazing.
If you’re not a believer, it’s worth a look, isn’t it?
What do you have to lose?
What if it’s true, that God does exist, and that He’s the best God imaginable?
You don’t have to leave your rational, enquiring mind at the door; you can maintain your intellectual integrity.
If nothing else, consider this an opportunity to be intellectually honest and properly explore the issue before rejecting His existence.
Even Professor Richard Dawkins admits he is not 100% sure that God does not exist.
During a recent debate with Dr Rowan Williams, then the Archbishop of Canterbury, it was put to Dawkins that he is described as the world’s most famous atheist.
"Not by me," he said.
"On a scale of seven, where one means I know he exists, and seven I know he doesn’t, I call myself a six."
He went on to say he was a "6.9", saying: "That doesn’t mean I’m absolutely confident, that I absolutely know, because I don’t."
In order to find God, or to put it another way, for Him to be able to reveal Himself to you, you need to:
- seek Him with all your heart.
- be genuine and sincere.
- be honest about your motives.
- have an open mind.
- be prepared to accept the existence of a spiritual dimension and the supernatural.
- put aside your pride, intellectual or otherwise (humility is the key!).
- set aside your prejudices, biases and presuppositions.
- ask God to lead you, and be open to His leading (He leads and directs us in many different ways).
- be prepared to be changed.
If you can do the above, then God can reveal Himself to you.
Ask Him to.