As of 2010, astronomers hope to complete the multi-million-dollar Sloan Digital Sky Survey. What an accomplishment—cataloging over one million galaxies! The survey also includes over 100 million stars and other objects.
It sounds like quite an accomplishment, and it is. But imagine what’s left. The universe is believed to contain over 100 billion galaxies, and within each galaxy may be an average of 100 billion stars! That’s 10 thousand billion billion stars yet to be identified.
One problem: the vast majority of stars are beyond our vision, blurred by the light from so many other stars.
So what will human technology have accomplished? We’ll have a list of perhaps as much as one one-millionth of the universe and detailed images of one-quarter of the sky. But this does not explain how the stars were created, why they have beautiful wave patterns, or what their future holds. There are still many mysteries about our own star, the sun, despite centuries of careful study.
The Creator, in contrast, “counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name.” (Psalm 147:4). He knows how they were created, how they are kept in place, and where they are going.
So Much Left to Learn
The Sloan survey reminds us just how far humans have to go in exploring the wonders of God’s creation. No matter how we dissect the universe, we find more wonders to explain.
Everything is wonderful—from single atoms to DNA, from single creatures to whole interacting communities. We see God’s hand in the individual parts as well as the whole package, marveling at the laws and systems that hold everything together.
The gaps in our knowledge seem to grow, the more we learn. Each new discovery leads us to even more questions and mysteries. It seems that God designed His creation, not just to display His wonders, but to remind the beholders that His wonders are inexhaustible (Isaiah 55:9).
A Stage for Life
“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, . . . what is man that You are mindful of him?” (Psalm 8:3–4). In the midst of the galaxies, you will find a pixel of light known as the Milky Way. Somewhere amidst the billions of stars in our galaxy lies the sun. Circling that yellow dwarf is an invisible dot of cold matter known as earth.
This pale blue dot, floating in the ocean of space, is the apple of God’s eye. He made it “to be inhabited” (Isaiah 45:18). Unlike any other planet discovered in the universe so far, earth has just the right size, weight, constitution, and distance from its star to support life.
The infinity of space is just a backdrop for God’s greatest work. God is working out His plan to dwell with His people forever.