A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Why Is the Universe So Large?

by RJS at Jesus Creed:
As far as we can tell, the universe is both infinite and expanding. There are billions and billions of stars … which is an underestimate. There are 100 billion to 400 billion or so stars in the Milky Way (I find different estimates in different sources). And our Milky Way is only one galaxy of many. In fact there appears to be something like 200 billion galaxies in the observable universe, each with its own set of stars. The picture above is a deep space image of galaxies, not of stars. We are now identifying planets around some of the stars in our galaxy. Whether there is life on other planets, in this galaxy or beyond, is something we will probably never know. The closest star is 4 light-years away, our galaxy itself some 100,000 light-years across. The size and complexity of the universe is unfathomable.
The entire post is worth a read and can be accessed here.


Bruce Hitchcock said...

It is no surprise that God creates such a universe. It is a reflection of the vast mercy, love, and grace of God. These are as unfathomable as the universe.

Donald Sensing said...

I have read the linked page and the page it links too also, stating Ben Witherington's question of why did God need billions and billions of years. My thoughts:

1. God didn't need billions of years, he just took billions of years. For reasons that he understands and we don't. Ben is perhaps making Job's error, thinking that the methodology and rationale for God's creation should make sense to us. But it does not need to.

"Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!" (Job 38.4-5).

Now, Ben W. is not asking his question from faithlessness, but from wonder and seeking understanding of the ways of God. Doubtless, I have questions that Ben would never think important. Yet it is a prt of wisdom to know when we bump into limit questions, and I think Ben's is one of them.

2. Once created, say astrophysicists John Barrow and Frank Tipler, the universe had either to expand or collapse. But collapsing would make life impossible. An expanding universe becomes even bigger while stars form the elements necessary to constitute life. So whether one or a billion planets has life is not relevant to the universe’s size. If no life had formed anywhere to ask the question, the universe would still be as large as it is, and as old as it is.

3. Ben seems rather curiously to wonder why God didn't hurry up some things but I'll bet that he's glad, OTOH, that God is slow on other things, such as "slow to anger" (Exodus 34:6). Would we rather God be quick to anger? of course not. So why should we think that God should be quick in creation? Let us instead be grateful that God, slow as he may seem in creation, is quick where it counts: "quick to forgive" (Is. 55.7) or willing to come to our aid quickly (Ps 71.12).

4. Perhaps my essay, "Clairvoyant science and the Deep Blue God," offers some insights, too.