We can look around at the earth, the planets, the stars, the sun, and the Milky Way Galaxy, and see how vast and amazing our God is. He created all of these things. And each one of these has a specific purpose and works “behind the scenes” everyday doing what God created them to do. The earth continues to orbit around the sun. We live on the only planet in the galaxy that humans can survive. Yet, with all of those awesome details, we still forget who we are. God gives so much attention to the planets and stars, and He gives even greater attention to us. We are created in His image! How much more does he care for us?
Isaiah the prophet declares some breathtaking truths about the creation of the universe. Every generation needs to hear the word of the Lord and our generation is in desperate need of hearing them.
Isaiah writes in chapter 40, Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He who sits above the circle of the earth . . . who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in . . . Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars/planets; the One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, not one of them is missing.
Isaiah 42:21-22; 25-26
We’ve been taking a tour of creation over these past few weeks – and I mean, where do you stop? We’ve ended up taking longer than I had planned at first, and we’re still not going to finish today, as I had mapped out in my preaching schedule.
We’ve taken a close look at some tiny animals and some gigantic animals; we’ve looked at trees and marveled at rocks and birds and the forces of nature; we’ve discussed the marvel of cells in our bodies and then have been thrilled together at what the Bible teaches us about our future, glorified bodies.
But nothing in creation, which we can observe or study, is more clearly declared by God’s word to lead us to worship in utter and absolute awe of our Creator than by looking up into the sky, and beyond.
The Psalmist David leaves no doubt when he composes this song for Israel to sing, By the word of the Lord the heavens were made; and by the breath of His mouth all their host . . . let all the earth reverence the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.
Over and over again in the Creation account of Genesis chapter 1 you read, and God said . . . and it was so. And God said . . . and it was so.
Just take a tour of the heavens and the earth, and David says it will lead you – it should lead you – to reverence the Lord and stand in awe of Him.
So let’s take a little tour in our study today. Let’s begin with planet earth.
Earth has a diameter of 7,926 miles – you’re going to need to know that for the final exam.
Here we are . . . this is home for now, as we know it. And right now as I speak, we are hurtling around the sun, doing 67,000 miles an hour.
By the way, if you happen to feel tired today, it’s because so far this year, you’ve traveled 500 million miles around the sun. Before this year is over, we will travel another 70 million more miles. And just like clock-work, we’ll make our annual voyage around the sun – right on schedule.
And none of us prayed even one time this year that God would please make sure we completed the orbit – no we never doubted for a moment that our God-designed solar system would fail.
I don’t know about you, but at the end of the year, I look at my list of resolutions and half of them aren’t done and some of them will probably never get done.
But God’s created resolution to keep everything spinning and orbiting and holding together as He promised in His word, until the end of human history when He sets up a new earth and a new universe – His resolutions will always come true.
He promised us in Isaiah that not one planet or star is missing – in other words, not one of them strays or moves or takes a turn outside His created design.
The scientific world has coined an expression they call The Goldilocks Zone; it’s a play off the children’s story about a girl who wanders into a house owned by a Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear.
She tries everything out – some of it’s too hot or too cold or too soft or too hard or big or too small . . . but eventually she finds everything she needs to be, as she repeats several times – this is just right. The scientific world has adopted this fable as expression for earth – a planet and a region where life is just right . . . it’s not too hot and not too cold; not too hard and not too soft, but just right.
I thought that was interesting . . . we happen to be living on a Goldilocks planet, in a Goldilocks zone – and it didn’t happen by accident.
In fact, in our lifetime, discoveries have been made that reveal just how unique planet earth is to our livelihood. We call it viability.
In other words, for the earth to support life, it needed to provide for things like:
• the correct orbit of the earth;
• the precise tilt of the earth on it’s axis;
• the right range of temperature;
• the right amount of barometric pressure;
• the existence of the nitrogen cycle;
• and nature of the water cycle;
• the exact composition of elements in the atmosphere;
• a filtration system of radiation from the sun;
• the exact amount and pressure of gravity . . . and on and on and on.i
Isaiah puts it this way; He is the God who formed the earth and made it . . . He formed it to be inhabited.
Why is the earth able to sustain life? Because of so many marvelous things we don’t even know about yet, which God created so that it would be inhabitable.
For one thing, the earth’s atmosphere has the right amount of gasses to keep us from having temperature fluctuations of more than 100 degrees every single day.ii
Venus is earth’s nearest twin in size, yet its atmosphere is made up of thick layers of carbon dioxide which has converted this planet into a boiling inferno. Mars lies in a zone where liquid water is possible; however, there’s just one problem – the air pressure is too low – which causes the water to boil away.iii
In the meantime, the world has spent billions of dollars looking for another planet that might have the same atmosphere as Earth, but no such discovery – the earth, just as Isaiah implies, is uniquely crafted to support life!
We’re living on a Goldilocks planet, tailor made for life. And we often focus on the amazing creation of the earth without even considering that life on earth would be impossible without the moon. And we take it for granted.
I mean, I didn’t even get a picture of the moon to put up on the screen, that’s how much I take it for granted.
But it was the moon that led Sir Isaac Newton to his discoveries of gravitation. I know we thought it was an apple falling on his head one afternoon; but in reality, it was the orbiting of the moon along with the effects of the moon upon the earth that led him to his amazing discoveries about this fundamental law of God’s creation.iv
But even after his amazing discoveries, Newton chided the unbelieving scientific world by writing; “Gravity explains the motions of the planets but it cannot explain who sets the planets in motion.”
Isaac Newton went on to testify, The more I study science, the more I believe in God.”
Scientists and evolutionists have so far spent 20 billion dollars on just trying to answer the question of how the moon evolved. The Bible tells us in Genesis chapter 1 that God created it on Day 4.v He spoke it into existence by the breath of His mouth.
And how important is the moon? One scientific article recorded that if the moon disappeared:
• without the moon, earth’s axis would begin to wobble;
• the stability of earth’s climate would be lost without the moon;
• we’d be locked into a permanent deep freeze or deep fry;
• if the moon disappeared, gravity would disappear which lifts our oceans’ tides, keeps coastline waters from stagnating and drives currents around the world. vi
In other words, without the moon, we’d become a stagnating, stinking, cesspool . . . goodbye Goldilocks. Instead, we find this earth to be viable – that is, it’s just right.
National Geographic ran an article some time ago – National Geographic is not exactly a promoter of biblical creationism – I don’t usually read it for devotions; but it carried an article that catalogued the fact that humans can survive for about:
• 45 days without food;
• 7 days without water,
• 10 minutes in temperatures above 300 degrees, and only
• 3 minutes without oxygen.vii
All that to say, it’s one thing to talk about Adam and Eve being created; but before their creation:
• if there hadn’t been fruit hanging from the branches and ready to eat, they wouldn’t have lasted 45 days;
• if there hadn’t been fresh, clean water ready to drink they wouldn’t have lasted 7 days;
• if the earth’s temperature wasn’t boiling because it lacked the right distance from the Sun along with the temperature controlling ocean water, they wouldn’t have lasted 10 minutes;
• and if there weren’t trees and plants pumping out oxygen for them to breathe, they wouldn’t have lasted for more than 3 minutes.
So which had to evolve first? According to the Bible, it all was ingeniously created within a matter of days and in the right order, for there to be life on planet earth. God spoke – and it was so.
Let’s pull away from earth for a few minutes and take a look at a planet nearby, called Jupiter.
Jupiter was first discovered by Babylonian astronomers 700 years before the birth of Christ – which is around the same time a wise man by the name of Daniel lived in Babylon and he may very well have been in on the discovery, along with his fellow magi – the wise men . . . but that’s another sermon.
The red spot you see in the lower-center region of Jupiter is actually a huge hurricane that’s been raging on this planet for the past 350 years – 350 years. Not exactly fit for Goldilocks.
Jupiter has been visited by 8 different spacecraft – all unmanned – it’s too cold to get out and run around since it’s typically 185 degrees below zero.
Let’s travel 93 million miles away now and take a look at the sun. The sun is so huge, you could fit 1 million earths inside it.
In our Goldilocks system, the Sun just so happens to be just the right size and distance to keep life from freezing on our planet.
In fact, a single, typical flare from the Sun’s surface that sends warmth our way is actually equivalent to several nuclear bombs exploding at the same time.viii
Fortunately, the sun is 93 million miles away, so we’re not all turned into barbecue; but billions of nuclear bombs are essentially exploding on the surface of the sun every single second.
If you can imagine it, it would take Duke Energy 5 million years to produce the energy the sun produces in 1 second.
But one of the puzzling and unique attributes of the sun is its stability. There’s something about is composition that’s a bit unusual – with a very low amount of variation – which is a good thing.
Even though the Animal planet does a documentary on the fact that the sun could send out flares to fry us all like bacon, God has designed the sun to warm the earth – and if you read on and through the Book of Revelation, the sun is still around at the end of human history – and until God judges the earth at the end of human history, the sun is going to behave.
If you think the sun is impressive, and it is – let’s travel just outside our solar system where we discover a star much larger than the sun.
It’s called the Pistol Star – earth had a diameter of – you remembered this for the final exam – 7,926 miles; the pistol star has a diameter of more than 100 million miles. It was discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1990 – and it’s so large that you would actually be able to see it with the naked eye, if it weren’t for all the other objects in the way.
But you wouldn’t want to get too close to it, because the wind generated by the energy of this planet is 10 billion times stronger than the sun’s.
In fact, the Pistol star generates more energy in 20 seconds than the sun does in 1 year – can you imagine your utility bill? Fortunately, we don’t get nuked by this powerful star because God placed it in the galaxy, 6 trillion miles away.
But again, if you think the Pistol star is impressive, take a look at Antares.
The diameter of Antares isn’t 100 million miles long, it is 600 million miles long. Antares is emitting light 10,000 times brighter than the sun. If the sun were the size of the head of a stick-pin, Antares would be the size of a beach ball.
Let me just try and give you a little perspective. Let’s line up these heavenly bodies
we’ve briefly looked at in order to get an idea of comparative sizes – if you look closely, I’ve got an arrow pointing at Earth. Are you feeling small yet? One author said, “It isn’t that you just feel small . . . you are small!”ix
If you decided to get into a plane and fly around these planets and stars – traveling the average speed of an airplane which is right at 500 miles an hour – that’s a little slower than what I can do on Tyron Road when I’m late for church . . .
• If you traveled at that speed, you could travel around the earth in 2 days.
• If you traveled at that same speed around Jupiter it would take you about 20 days.
• If you flew around the sun – it would take you 200 days! But you wouldn’t survive the journey – why? Because you’d die . . . from having to eat the food on the plane. So, bring your own food.
• If you decided to fly around Antares – you wouldn’t survive, even if the food was good – in fact, you wouldn’t live long enough to finish even a fraction of the journey, because it would take you 500 years to go Antares, just one time.
And don’t even try to circle our galaxy, the Milky Way . . . It’s 100,000 light years across.
To help you get the picture: a light year is how far light can travel in a year. And it’s fast. In fact, if you could travel at the speed of light, you could circle the earth several times per second . . . this is really fast. And if you could travel at the speed of light – for an entire year – you would travel 5.88 trillion miles a year – so one light year is 5.88 trillion miles long.
I’m losing you – so here’s my point – if you could travel 5.88 trillion miles a year, it would still take you 100,000 years to go from one end of the Milky Way to the other. That’s how big our Galaxy is.
And how did the Milky Way come into existence? By the word of His mouth! Which means God didn’t even lift a finger . . . with His arms behind His back as it were – He spoke . . . and it was so. That’s how great our God is . . . He is magnificent . . . He is unrivaled . . . He is powerful.x
So here’s our galaxy where He placed us among billions of stars and planets in this galaxy. You might think we’re in the central region of our Galaxy – because everything spins around us, right? This incredibly bright core is densely populated by stars and planets . . . the brilliant light would vaporize us in an instant.
No – we’re right about here.
Imagine it this way; if the Milky Way was a record – a record is a round black object with music recorded on it that you play on a record player. A record player is a square machine you plug in . . . never mind.
If the Milky Way were a record, planet earth would be at the spot that’s roughly halfway between the center and the outer edge.
But if you’re not small enough yet . . . just pull that Hubble camera back and you discover that our Galaxy happens to be simply one of literally billions of galaxies in the Universe.
Where’d they come from? Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the Heavens and the earth. How, specifically? He stretches out the heavens like a curtain . . . from the word of His mouth, they came into being.
Trillions upon trillions of stars and planets in billions of galaxies . . . and the further out we see, the further out the universe stretches.
Why? I mean, why did God make it so big?!
Isaiah tells us – Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who has created these things – He calls them all by name . . . by the greatness of His might.
God is essentially asking us to look up and become amazed – and in awe – of His power and His grace and care and attention over all of creation, so much so that He has given a name to every planet and star in the universe.
And if He’s given chunks of rock that kind of attention – here’s Isaiah’s point later on in that chapter – imagine the attention He has given to you who’ve been created eternally in His image.
You might be small – I love this picture probably the most – take one more look at it.
I mean compared to the really big planets and stars – you can’t even see us! Antares is the really impressive thing. Well actually, in the last decade they have discovered stars that are a billion times larger than Antares.
You know what that means? That means our little planet is like a grain of sand in an ocean of planets and stars, but here’s the amazing thing – we are prized and loved and pursued and redeemed and directed and longed for and looked after by our Creator God.
This amazing Creator God is aware of us and loves us and invites us to walk with Him and talk to Him through faith in His Son our Creator – this is the Gospel:
• The Creator left His throne above the universe and became one of us – to die for us and pay the penalty for our sin;
• to defeat death and the grave at His resurrection;
• now He is seated above the Universe;
• promising those of us who believe in Him a future that defies our imagination.
So beloved . . . don’t shrink your lives down to living for self or sin or this planet; don’t measure the significance of your life by what you can get and what you can drive and what you can put into your bank account and the stuff you can collect as you live ever so briefly on this little tiny planet . . . you were created for so much more . . . you are heading for an incredible future . . . xi You are one day going to own this universe – you’re going to own it – as a co-regent with Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:12).
This was the amazing conclusion of the Psalmist David – and David didn’t have the advantage of even the cheapest telescope from Walmart – I mean he didn’t even have a telescope and he still came to the conclusion I want us all to come to today.
David wrote, When I look at your heavens (universe), the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him . . . O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!
Psalm 8:3-4; 9
When I look up – wow. And to think that you are mindful of us – I mean, wow.
In other words, David says, in light of all that You have created, it is amazing to me that you are mindful of us. You are mindful of us . . . You know our name too . . . in fact, because of our Redemption through Christ, You have written our names into the Lamb’s Book of Life.
i Adapted from https://rcg.org/realtruth/articles/156-tu
ii Adapted from https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/earth/a-unique-blend
iii Adapted from https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/earth/a-unique-blend
iv Adapted from https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/moon/a-perfect-partner
v Adapted from John MacArthur, The Battle for the Beginning (W Publishing, 2001), p. 112
vi Adapted from Jerry Bergman, The Moon: Required for Life on Earth, Institute for Creation Research Magazine, October 2018, p. 10
vii Quoted by Lesley Alderman, The Book of Times (William Morrow, 2013), p. 311
viii John MacArthur, The Battle for the Beginning (W Publishing, 2001), p. 111
ix Adapted from transcript message by Louis Giglio; Sermon transcript, “Indescribable”
x Adapted from transcript message by Louis Giglio; Indescribable
xi Adapted from transcript message by Louis Giglio; Indescribable