The Apple Of God's Eye

February 11, 2010

How Old Is God?

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meds.queensu.ca

We are used to living in a limited world. Everything around us has limitations-beginnings and endings. We are aware of infants being born, of grandparents dying. We observe animals, plants and insects beginning life. We see their lives come to an end. We speak of the birth and the death of civilizations, of storms, volcanoes and comets. We are accustomed to seeing things get old. Clothing and furniture wear out. Automobiles fall apart. Buildings deteriorate. Our bodies become wrinkled and slow. To mortal man everything has a beginning, a period of usefulness and an end. We mark this progression of events on our clocks and calendars.

To us, only what is measurable by hours, days and years seems to have real significance. So when we hear that God is eternal, that He always has been and always will be, our minds balk. The words tend to be meaningless because we have nothing familiar to relate them to. And that is just the problem: we are trying to relate what cannot be related in physical terms. We are trying to apply the limitations of the physical existence we know to the unlimited spiritual plane on which God lives. The two cannot be compared. Our minds can encompass an hour, a century, a millennium, but we cannot grasp past eternity. They are not big enough to fully comprehend spiritual existence. We can’t even fully comprehend the physical universe! As an illustration, let’s consider for a moment what God has created.

Astronomers estimate that 100,000 million galaxies each with 100,000 million stars dot the universe. And who knows how many planets and moons? God says He counts and names them all (Ps. 147:4). Now if we allow God one full second by our reckoning of time to count and name each star in the heavens, do you know how long it would take Him to name them all? Working nonstop, by our clocks and calendars, it would take more than 300,000 billion years just to count and name them. How long must it have taken Him to design and create all those stars? To us these figures are inconceivable. But not to God. God is eternal. One of His names in Hebrew is Yahweh-the “Everliving One.” The Creator is not bound by the laws of space and time as we are. While men are able to theorize about time warps and the relation of energy to the speed of light, God masters it all. To Him, according to His wishes, “one day … is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (II Pet. 3:8). God “inhabits eternity” (Isa. 57:15). That is to say He comfortably dwells in what we might think of as beginningless and endless time. Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1 show that at whatever point in the past we wish to consider as the beginning-no matter how far back we try to stretch our finite minds-God already existed. “In the beginning God…” Where did God come from? He didn’t “come from” anywhere. He was always there!

October 29, 2009

Universal Facts

universeIf you could count all the stars just in our galaxy alone at the rate of 125 stars every minute, it would take over 3,000 years to count them. There are a great number of galaxies and a vast amount of space between them. The closest galaxy to the Milky Way is the Andromeda, and to reach there traveling at the speed of light would take you 2.3 million years. There are hundreds of billions of galaxies with hundreds of billions of stars—some with as many as 1 trillion stars.

The most distant galaxy ever observed is estimated to be around 13,000,000,000 light-years away. Discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2004, it is located behind the galactic cluster Abell 2218, which bends the object’s light. It is a small, energetic galaxy whose light that is seen on Earth now would have set out when the universe was just 750 million years old. This is the most distant object that can be observed consistently; some ephemeral gamma-ray bursts have been observed that are slightly more distant than this object.

And man has only begun to explore outer space with our modern telescopes today. Conservative estimates of the known universe’s size place it at over 20 thousand million light years (the distance light travels in one year at a velocity of about 9,500,000,000,000 kilometres) wide. That is about 120 million million million million miles. The number of galaxies is estimated to be a few trillion. If we use the figure 3 trillion, and estimate that each galaxy has about 100 billion stars, that means that the known universe has stars that number over 30 with 23 zeros behind it, or 300 thousand million million million million individual stars. That figure is virtually impossible to comprehend.

Yet even this does not tell the real size. With all those bodies crowding the space up there, you would think it would get a little clustered. Not so! The universe is so vast in relation to the matter it contains that it can be compared in the following way: A building 20 miles long, 20 miles wide and 20 miles high that contains 1 grain of sand.

Only God knows the size of the universe. And get this, God says that He has named and numbered each one of those innumerable (to us) heavenly bodies (Ps. 147:4). Why did God create so many stars? Was it for no reason at all? Or was it for an incredible reason? When I read Rom. 8:17, it seems to me that man has an awesome potential that is almost beyond words to describe.

Paul wrote in Romans 11:26 that all Israel shall eventually be saved. That’s quite a lot of people. It has been estimated that since Adam and Eve there have been 25 to 50 billion people who have lived on this planet. It is almost mind boggling to think what God has in mind for puny human beings.  He says He will resurrect all to (spiritual) “glory.”

If all these people make it, and become spirit-born God beings, where would we all fit? Would there be enough “space” to go around? Certainly! There is a good possibility that some day we could rule over an entire galaxy. Just think: God created a universe so huge that He could actually give you an entire galaxy to manage and rule over, along with its millions or billions of stars and its orbiting planets around each of these stars.

If an estimated 200 billion sons of God is taken as a possibility, that means each would be responsible for maintaining and developing 50 billion stars and their attendant planets—enough to form an entire galaxy.” Now that’s a potential worth debating with those who believe the evolution hoax.

October 28, 2009

Our Incomprehensibly Large Universe!

stevekanaras.blogspot.comThe Hubble telescope has shown us countless billions of galaxies in areas of the universe which we once thought were empty. For example, by focusing on a small speck in the sky in an area that was thought to be void of stars, astronomers soon discovered that this small speck actually contained 1,500 galaxies! And remember that each galaxy can contain untold millions of stars and some astronomers now believe that there may be as many galaxies in the sky as there are stars in our own galaxy.

Space travel

In an effort to learn more about space, mankind has put men on the moon and brought them back home safely, built a space station where astronauts can stay for months at a time. But space travel carries some great risks, and is quite costly. And these adventures of man into space are merely flying hundreds of miles into the sky—they come nowhere close to probing the true depths of space!

After reaching the moon, astronomy’s next goal is to put a man on Mars—a planet in our solar system about 150 million miles from Earth (compare to the moon at only 240,000 miles away). Even if this journey is successful, the trip of 150 million miles is a mere jog compared to the vastness of space. We might intrude into space, but we as humans cannot even begin to conquer it. Getting to Mars is only one planet of a vast solar system, part of an even larger galaxy—one of trillions of galaxies in this huge universe which are billions of light years away from Earth.

Light travels at over 186,000 miles per second; a light year is how far light can travel in a year moving at 186,000 miles per second, which figures out to be close to 6 trillion miles. (To travel just one light year at 100 miles per hour, it would take almost 7 million years.) Another measurement astronomers use is an au (astronomical unit). An au is the distance between the Earth and the sun—about 93 million miles.

The Giant Milky Way

All the space vehicles, manned or unmanned, still travel within our one galaxy—the Milky Way—one of millions or billions of galaxies. The Milky Way is considered a giant galaxy and contains about 400 billion stars. It is a spiral galaxy, which means that from a distance it looks like a pinwheel, or a big disc in the center with flat arms going out in all directions.

To get an idea of how vast this galaxy is, to travel the distance from the outer end of one disc to the outer end of another would take 100,000 years traveling at the speed of light.

Located on one of these discs—which is rotating around the center of the galaxy—is our solar system: the sun, moon, Earth and the planets. The star of our solar system, the sun, is located about two thirds of the way out from the center of the galaxy—roughly 28,000 light years from the center. Whereas it takes the Earth one year to orbit the sun, it takes the sun 250 million years to make just one orbit of the center of the galaxy.

Unmanned Spaced Probes

1Voyagers 1 and 2 were launched in 1977 to explore where nothing from Earth had ever been before. Now they each are much farther from Earth than any space vehicle has ever been. Speeding outward at more than 38,000 miles per hour, both continue to send back scientific information about their surroundings through the Deep Space program.

Voyager 1 remains operational, currently pursuing its extended mission to locate and study the boundaries of the Solar System, including the Kuiper belt and beyond. Its original mission was to visit Jupiter and Saturn; and it was the first probe to provide detailed images of the moons of these planets.

“Voyager 1 is currently the farthest human-made object from Earth, and as of August 28, 2009, it is about 110.94 AU (16.596 billion km, or 10.312 billion miles) from the Sun, and has passed the termination shock, entering the heliosheath, with the current goal of reaching and studying the heliopause, which is the known boundary of the solar system. If Voyager 1 is still functioning when it finally completes the passage through the heliopause (effectively becoming the first human-made object to leave the solar system), scientists will get their first direct measurements of the conditions in the interstellar medium. Its primary targets were the planets Jupiter and Saturn and their associated moons and rings; its mission was the detection of the heliopause and particle measurements of solar wind and the interstellar medium. Both of the Voyager probes have far outlasted their originally-planned lifespan. Each probe gets its electrical power from three radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs), which are expected to continue to generate enough electric power to let the probes keep communicating with Earth at least until the year 2025.” (Wikipedia)

By that time, Voyager 1 will be more than 12.4 billion miles from the sun. In some 296,000 years, if Voyager 2 was still traveling, it would pass Sirius, the brightest star in our sky, at a distance of about 4.3 light years (25 trillion miles).

Even more amazing were the Pioneer projects. Pioneers 10 and 11 were launched in 1972 and 1973—the fastest man-made objects to leave the Earth, launched at the incredible speed of 32,000 miles per hour. That is fast enough to pass the moon in 11 hours, and Mars’s orbit (50 million miles away) in just 12 weeks.

“Pioneer 10 (also called Pioneer F) was the first spacecraft to travel through the asteroid belt, which it entered on July 15, 1972, and to make direct observations of Jupiter, which it passed by on December 3, 1973. By some definitions, Pioneer 10 has become the first artificial object to leave the solar system. It is the first human-built object to have been set upon a trajectory leading out of the solar system. However, it still has not passed the heliopause or Oort cloud. The last weak signal from Pioneer 10 was received on January 23, 2003, when it was 12 billion kilometers (7.5 billion miles) from Earth. It is now heading in the direction of the star Aldebaran (about 68 light years away) in the constellation Taurus at roughly 2.6 AU per year. It will take Pioneer 10 over 2 million years to reach it. (Wikipedia)

Pioneer 11 was to go on after passing Jupiter 400 million miles away. Using this giant planet as a sling shot, Pioneer 11’s speed now reached 108,000 miles per hour. By 1979, Pioneer 11 flew within 13,000 miles of Saturn. In November 1995 the last communication from Pioneer 11 was received, as the Earth’s motion carried Saturn out of the view of the spacecraft antenna. Pioneer 11 is now headed toward the constellation of Aquila, just northwest of the constellation of Sagittarius and may pass near one of the stars in the constellation in about 4 million years.

Conclusion

We can barely begin to imagine how vast our universe is by how vast our own galaxy is! Manned and unmanned spacecraft can barely cover any significant ground in the area called “space.” Despite the incredible speeds of some of these vehicles, they are still millions of years away from the closest stars. The more we venture out into space, the more the immenseness of it staggers our imagination. That’s why I find it amusing when scientists make definitive statements about something that is so hard to comprehend. It’s better to keep the attitude humble, allow God to reveal truth to us and realize on our own, we really don’t know what we are talking about.

October 21, 2009

Where Did God Come From?

apod.nasa.gov/apod

apod.nasa.gov/apod

We are used to living in a limited world. Everything around us has limitations-beginnings and endings. We are aware of infants being born. We are aware of grandparents dying. We observe animals, plants and insects beginning life. We see their lives come to an end. We speak of the birth and the death of civilizations, of storms, volcanoes and comets. We are accustomed to seeing things get old. Clothing and furniture wear out. Automobiles fall apart. Buildings deteriorate. Our bodies become wrinkled and slow. To mortal man everything has a beginning, a period of usefulness and an end. We mark this progression of events on our clocks and calendars.

To us, only what is measurable by hours, days and years seems to have real significance. So when we hear that God is eternal, that He always has been and always will be, our minds balk. The words tend to be meaningless because we have nothing familiar to relate them to. And that is just the problem: we are trying to relate what cannot be related in physical terms. We are trying to apply the limitations of the physical existence we know to the unlimited spiritual plane on which God lives. The two cannot be compared. Our minds can encompass an hour, a century, a millennium, but we cannot grasp past eternity. They are not big enough to fully comprehend spiritual existence. We can’t even fully comprehend the physical universe! As an illustration, let’s consider for a moment what God has created.

Astronomers estimate that 100,000 million galaxies each with 100,000 million stars dot the universe. And who knows how many planets and moons? God says He counts and names them all (Ps. 147:4). Now if we allow God one full second by our reckoning of time to count and name each star in the heavens, do you know how long it would take Him to name them all? Working nonstop, by our clocks and calendars, it would take more than 300,000 billion years just to count and name them. How long must it have taken Him to design and create all those stars?

To us these figures are inconceivable. But not to God. God is eternal. One of His names in Hebrew is Yahweh-the “Everliving One.” The Creator is not bound by the laws of space and time as we are. While men are able to theorize about time warps and the relation of energy to the speed of light, God masters it all. To Him, according to His wishes, “one day … is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (II Pet. 3:8). God “inhabits eternity” (Isa. 57:15). That is to say He comfortably dwells in what we might think of as beginningless and endless time. Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1 show that at whatever point in the past we wish to consider as the beginning-no matter how far back we try to stretch our finite minds-God already existed. “In the beginning God…” Where did God come from? He didn’t “come from” anywhere. He was always there!

September 15, 2009

The Power Of God In Universal Vastness

starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov

starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov

It was just before dawn on July 16, 1945, and the world’s first atomic bomb was about to be tested in the desert of New Mexico.  It worked! In a split second, the world’s first atomic weapon released the power of 20,000 tons of conventional explosive.

Three weeks later, a second bomb was exploded. But this was no test. It was dropped over the Japanese city of Hiroshima, and in a flash of heat and light, the city was destroyed and 100,000 people were killed or injured. Conquered and conquerors alike were awed by the power of this terrible new weapon.

The power of the atom

What man did was turn a small piece of uranium — about one gram, or a 30th of an ounce — into raw energy. Scientists had long suspected that it was possible. It took the urgency of war for them to discover how.

But when they did, even those who worked on the project were sobered by the implications of the power they could unleash. U.S. President Harry Truman summed it up in a warning to the people of Japan the day after Hiroshima was destroyed. “It is a harnessing of the basic power of the universe. The force from which the sun draws its power…”

President Truman was right. Man had indeed harnessed the power of the universe, the very force from which the sun draws its power.

The atom bomb that devastated Hiroshima was a mere firecracker compared to the weapons of today. Now we measure their destructive power in megatons — one megaton is the equivalent of a 300-mile-long trainload of conventional explosives! But we have become so accustomed to such figures that they no longer impress us.

We should look again at the power of the atom. It is indeed the force by which mankind will bring himself to the edge of destruction. But there is also an encouraging and reassuring side to it. By splitting the atom, we learn — or could learn, if we were willing — a little more about the awesome power of God.

Before nuclear physics

For most of his approximately 6,000 years on earth, man has been surprisingly ignorant about the true nature of his surroundings. The ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece and Rome made some progress in science. But after the fifth century, man’s knowledge hardly advanced for 1,000 years.

During the Dark Ages, science, magic and witchcraft were considered to be much the same thing. Such scientists as there were wasted their time trying to find the elixir of life or a way to turn lead into gold. They thought the earth was flat and that angels pushed the sun and stars around it. Superstition rather than science guided men’s thinking.

Then, in the middle of the 16th century, knowledge began to expand rapidly again. Navigators discovered that they could sail around the world without falling off. Copernicus showed that the earth was not the center of the universe, but just another planet in orbit around the sun. Galileo’s experiments in astronomy and physics challenged some ideas that had remained unchanged (and wrong) since the days of Aristotle.

The English scientist Sir Isaac Newton demonstrated how physical phenomena could be measured and quantified. He made it possible for scientists to build on their discoveries, rather than conduct isolated experiments. Newton realized there was a system of law governing gravity, mass, force, acceleration and motion. This laid the groundwork for the advances that made our modern world possible.

For two centuries nobody seriously questioned the validity of Newton’s laws. In the 18th and 19th centuries it was considered indisputable that physical matter (the elements) and energy (heat and light) were separate entities that could neither be created nor destroyed. The amount of matter and the amount of energy in the universe were presumed fixed.

Matter could change its form through chemical reaction. Energy could also change — heat into light, for example. But matter could not turn into energy or vice versa. Or so they thought.

The theory of relativity

It was Albert Einstein who first understood that this was not totally true. He put forward a theory that predicted that physical matter and energy were not separate — that they were, in a sense, interchangeable. Matter could be transformed into energy, and energy could be transformed into matter.

This “theory of relativity” rocked the scientific world. This article is no place to try to explain in detail these incredibly complicated ideas. But Dr. Einstein summed them up with the now famous equation E = mc2 (where E = energy, m = mass and c = the speed of light, which is about 186,000 miles a second). What this means is that if you can transform physical matter into energy, the amount of energy produced is equal to the mass of the matter times the speed of light multiplied by itself (i.e., 186,000 x 186,000).

You don’t need to be a genius to realize that if this line of reasoning is true, even a small amount of matter can produce an astonishing amount of energy.

Splitting the atom

But how do you turn matter into energy? To do this, you would have to literally split the atom — or, to be specific, the nucleus of the atom. And that is easier said than done.

Scientists had shown that the atom, once thought to be the smallest possible particle of matter, is composed of even smaller, subatomic particles — neutrons, protons and electrons among them. The protons and neutrons make up a central core or nucleus of an atom, while the electrons whirl around the nucleus rather like the planets orbit the sun, only much faster — billions of times in a millionth of a second. (The makeup of the atom is actually even more complex than this, but this will serve to make the point.)

These components of the atom each have an electrical charge — negative, positive or neutral. The electrons whirling around in orbit have a negative charge. The nucleus is made of neutrons, which have a neutral charge, and protons, which have a positive charge.

Think of these charges like the opposite poles of a magnet and you’ll get the idea. If you have played with magnets, you’ve discovered that like poles repel each other, while opposite poles attract. It’s the same with electrical charges.

So, since the nucleus of an atom is made up of neutral neutrons and positively charged protons, what stops the protons from repelling each other — or, in other words, why doesn’t an atom’s nucleus fly apart? (Again, think of it as trying to hold the like poles of two powerful magnets together. It takes a surprising amount of strength, and as soon as you let up, the magnets immediately push themselves away from each other.)

There must be a force that counteracts the repelling power of the protons and binds them together in the nucleus. Physicists call this the “strong force.”

It is indeed so strong that, for centuries, nobody even suspected its existence. So firm was its grip on the core of the atom that no force available to man could even begin to persuade it to let go. Thus it was hardly surprising that scientists thought the atom was the smallest possible division of matter.

In the 19th century it was discovered that some elements had a strange property. They gave off radiation — or, as we say now, were radioactive. Physicists realized that the atoms of these elements were slowly disintegrating. It happened very slowly — so slowly and unobtrusively that for thousands of years nobody even suspected it.

Strange, isn’t it? For millennia, alchemists had wasted their time trying to turn one element into another, yet here it was happening naturally under their noses all the time. Uranium, for example, given enough time, will decay down to lead, a nonradioactive element.

Experiments showed that when one element is transformed into another, not all of it is changed. A very small percentage of matter is changed into energy.

But if Einstein was right and E really did equal mc2, that still meant a lot of energy would be released as an atom decayed. Just before the Second World War, scientists learned how to speed up the decay by splitting the atom with a nuclear reactor, releasing the power in the atom.

When a radioactive element decays in nature, a small amount of energy is produced. For example, one pound of radioactive uranium gives as much energy as is produced by 5,000 pounds of gasoline. But it needs a thousand million years to do it. In a nuclear reactor (or a nuclear bomb) the atom is literally split in two. Much greater amounts of energy are released, suddenly and violently.

In the reaction that caused the devastation at Hiroshima, only about 1/1000th of the uranium was transformed into energy — about a 30th of an ounce.

Think of the power that was locked into that speck of matter, when it was transformed into heat and radiation! And that was a very small bomb.

A hydrogen bomb is many times more powerful than an atomic bomb. It takes an atomic explosion to produce enough energy to start the reaction.

But when the reaction does take place, it is with a flash of light brighter than the sun. Millions of degrees of heat are generated. That is why it is called a thermonuclear reaction. With the making of the hydrogen bomb, man has actually succeeded in duplicating the force that drives the sun.

The incredible sun

Look up at the sun. What you are seeing is a continuous chain of nuclear explosions in a reaction of unimaginable power. The sun is actually a giant thermonuclear reactor. It is composed mainly of hydrogen that is gradually changing into helium. Deep inside the sun’s core tremendous gravitational forces, 250 billion times those of earth, compress hydrogen atoms until the heat and pressure force a thermonuclear reaction to take place.

Energy released is thrust toward the surface, but the sun’s great mass pulls it back. It may take up to 15 million years for the energy to jostle its way through to the surface and escape as heat and radiation.

Scientists estimate that nearly four million tons of hydrogen are transformed into energy every second in the nuclear holocaust on our sun. (Remember, it took only a 30th of an ounce to destroy Hiroshima.)

And then stop and think about this: Our sun is only one star in our galaxy of 100 million stars. And there are probably 100 million other galaxies, each with another 100 million stars. That makes — oh, never mind. The point is that there is an almost inconceivable amount of power locked up in this awesome universe that surrounds us.

God made that universe by and out of His own power. “For He commanded and they were created,” the Bible tells us (Psalm 148:5).

The power of God

How can we even begin to comprehend the power that God has available? How much energy had to be held together to forge the atoms of even the most commonplace and seemingly insignificant of God’s creations — a sparrow, a spider or a leaf?

If all the energy compacted in a gram of matter could be released, it would supply as much energy as the Hoover Dam produces in about 18 and a half hours. Put another way, the matter in a 150-pound person, if converted completely to energy, would supply as much energy as Hoover Dam could produce in 144 years.

Yet God made giant stars 1,000 times the size of our sun! Can we ever begin to appreciate just how great God is? No wonder He could never allow mortal man to see the full power that radiates from Him. Nothing made of flesh and blood could survive that experience.

But God has, through His creation, given us hints, mere suggestions, of the immensity of His power. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they [those who don’t or won’t believe in God] are without excuse,” wrote Paul (Romans 1:20).

The physical things God has made can teach us — if we have eyes to see. But, sad to say, many scientists today have rejected the very idea of God.

Never before have they known so much about the universe. Never before has there been more reason to believe in a Creator. Not so long ago, sailors were afraid to sail over the horizon for fear they would fall off the earth. Now we travel into space routinely, discovering, measuring, analyzing and quantifying. And every breakthrough leads inexorably toward one conclusion — that there must have been a time when all that we see began.

But that implies a Creator, and that is something that many scientists cannot — or will not — admit. And so they “became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (verse 21).

Perhaps if scientists had been willing to acknowledge the awesome power of God, they would never have dared tamper with those forces that bind the universe together.

In God’s hands, those forces are under control and are used only to do good. He has carefully regulated the inferno on the sun so that it makes life possible on earth.

But what has man done with nuclear power? Certainly there have been numerous peaceful industrial applications, although some argue that even these are hazardous. But our potential to split the atom is also lurking in the warheads of the weapons that will destroy all life if they ever are used.

Those weapons may be even more destructive than we dare think. President Truman threatened a “rain of ruin” on Japan. He didn’t know then that those relatively little bombs were paving the way for a possible nuclear winter that would eventually eliminate those who survived the initial blasts of nuclear bombs.

While the human heart is ruled by anger, lust and greed, it would be wiser to leave the “basic power of the universe” alone.

But it’s too late now. Once the first atomic bomb went off successfully, the die was cast. A chain reaction began. The bombs got bigger, and Bible prophecy tells us that man will use the principle of E = mc2 to batter the earth to the point where it can no longer sustain life.

Then, and only then, will the people of this world look out to the heavens and ask once again, “My God, what have we done?” 

Psalm 19

King Davis stated in Psalm 19: “The law of God is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure… the statutes of the Lord are right… the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes… by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward” (Psalm 19:7-11).

David knew that God rules His Kingdom and regulates His power with the great law of love. Before humans can inherit God’s Kingdom, they must show that they will live in obedience to that law. Only then can God be sure that the great reserves of power will always be used for good and peaceful purposes.

So God watches us now, while we are still relatively powerless, to see how we live. He expects us to take seriously even the smallest details of His law, which is far more binding than even the strong force that holds the earth together, or the power that constrains the energy locked in the stars. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away,” said Jesus Christ (Luke 21:33).

King David believed that. And so, when this righteous king looked into the heavens, he was filled with longing for the time when he could share that splendor as a born child of God. But he knew he had to qualify, and he knew he needed help. So he prayed, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

God did help David. He gave him power — not the power of the atom, but the even greater power of the Holy Spirit. He began the greatest reaction process of all — the transformation of the very nature of David. One day, David will be resurrected in power and glory.

God will do the same for you. He will share His Spirit with you — just a little, for now. But you must use it properly — to overcome, to obey God’s law, to do good and serve others.

Then one day, you, too, will be welcomed by the great Creator God into His Kingdom, to live with Him in full brilliance and majesty and share His awesome power forever.

Source: Good News, 1985

September 14, 2009

What is The Role Of Righteous Angels Today?

1In Genesis 1:1 we are told that “God created the heaven and the earth.” But physical matter — this earth, the stars, the galaxies — was not the first thing God created.  In fact, before bringing the material universe into existence, God created the angels (Job 38:4-7), called “stars” in Rev. 1:20.

Revelation 12:4-9 also speaks of the angels who followed Satan’s rebellion as the “stars of heaven.” And in Isaiah 14:12 we learn that Lucifer, before he sinned, was called “son of the morning” or “day-star,” as some Bible margins render it.

Angels are individually created beings. They cannot marry and reproduce (Matt. 22:30), but are called “sons of God” because God created each angel as a separate, immortal spirit being, and in that sense is the angels’ Father (Heb. 12:9). And so we find the angels shouting for joy at the creation of the earth, long before the creation of man. They were joyful because the earth was to be their home or abode.

However, the Bible also speaks of angels who sinned and you have probably not heard of that before. It is stated plainly in your Bible though (II Pet. 2:4, Jude 6). How many angels remained obedient to God? The Bible indicates that two thirds of the angels did not follow Lucifer (now Satan) in his rebellion against the government of God (Isa. 14:12-14, Ezek. 28:13-15). These countless millions of angels are God’s servants, helping to carry out His plan for mankind.

Appearance of Angels

The Bible also describes various types of angels whose appearance and function differ. For instance, there are cherubim at God’s throne (Ps. 99:1). There are also lesser known seraphim (Isa. 6:1-7). There are also “beasts” and “elders” surrounding God’s throne? Rev. 4:2-11. (more…)

June 1, 2009

Could The Universe Contain An "Uncountable" Number Of Stars?

From time immemorial, man has been fascinated by the beautiful, and awesome spectacle of the stars of heaven. Many centuries before the birth of Jesus, David observed that “the heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handywork” (Psa. 19:1).

Even today, the seeming myriads of stars and nebulae continue to be a breathtaking and inspiring panoply. Yet at any given time, despite one’s initial impression, the actual number of stars distinguished by the naked eye is less than 3000. This means that you could easily count them all in less than an hour!

By contrast, the Bible states in Jeremiah 33:22 that “the host of heaven CANNOT BE NUMBERED.” During the thousands. of years before Galileo’s invention of the telescope, such a statement was considered to be either false or at least a gross exaggeration. The stars uncountable? The universe, they said, was too small to contain that many stars!

However, astronomers have estimated that there are billions of billions of stars in the visible universe. More specifically, astronomers estimate that their number is equal to 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 or one sextillion. Is this an “uncountable” number?

To find out, let’s suppose that every man, woman, and child on the face of the earth were employed in an “all-out” effort to count the stars. Every, person is given a giant telescope, capable of “seeing” all the stars in the direction it is pointed. Each telescope is limited to a certain part of the sky so that no star will be counted twice. Further, the sun is darkened so that the stars can be seen even during “daylight” hours. When the signal is given, everyone on earth begins counting — quickly — each person recording one new star every second. They work diligently hour after hour with no periods of rest. How long would it take to “count” the stars of heaven? A day? A week? A month?

No, it would take everyone on earth — over 8 thousand years to count the stars in the visible universe. But 8000 years is longer than man has been on the earth! So the term “uncountable” is indeed a very appropriate description of the number of stars, in the observable universe.

But is the number of stars literally “uncountable” in the sense of there being “infinitely many”? Some have assumed that if the term “cannot be numbered” is taken literally, then the Bible must be unscientific. They reason that astronomy knows only of an estimated sextillion stars — and that is a finite number and, hence, countable.

Ironically, the assumption that there is only a finite number of stars is often based on the Biblical statements that “God tells the number of the stars and calls them all by their names”. (Psa. 147:4) and “God brings out their host by number” (Isa. 40:26). These scriptures supposedly “prove” the universe is finite, for “even GOD could not give names to an INFINITE number of stars.” Actually, the fact is, that ALL objects in an infinite set may STILL have a “name.” For example, all the natural numbers (1, 2, 3, 4 ..) have a “name,” even though they comprise an infinity. Furthermore, the infinite mind of God would surely be capable of assigning names to an infinite number of stars. Thus, the Scriptures do not claim that the universe can only have a finite number of stars.

Moreover, astronomers readily admit that they cannot determine if there are “infinitely many” stars, because man is limited to observing the visible universe. Note that the size of the visible universe is NOT determined by how large a telescope man can build. Rather, it is determined — according to most astronomers — by a fascinating property of the universe itself! No matter where in the heavens astronomers look, they find the stars and galaxies “retreating” from us. The farther away these celestial objects are, the faster they appear to be traveling.

Now light reaching us from a receding object “looks” redder (lower frequency) just as the pitch of a train whistle drops in frequency as the train passes us by. Scientists know that at a certain velocity (near that of light itself, i.e., 186,000 miles per second) this “red shift” will be so great that man cannot detect any light coming from the object — not with his eyes, not with any known instrument — even using the largest telescopes available.

In other words, there are certain absolute limits beyond which physical man cannot go — and one of these is the boundary of the limit of detection of the visible universe. What is on the “other side” of this boundary? What lies beyond the limits of man’s perception? Man as a physical being does not know.

Yet there is a Great Plan by which man can know the size and scope the vast, unfathomable expanses of the universe — a plan instituted by the very Being who created the heaven and the earth (Gen. 1:1), who designed the lights of the firmament to divide day and night and to serve as signs for seasons, days and years (Gen. 1:14), who calls the stars by their names (Psalms 147:4), and whose understanding is infinite (Psalms 147:5; Isa 40:28).

No, the universe is not “too small” to contain an “uncountable” number of stars. In fact, even if the universe were much “smaller,” it would still be humanly impossible to count or number all the stars. And considering the possibility that the universe may be infinite, what better description could one give than that there is, as the Bible states, an innumerable number of stars?

Source: Tomorrow’s World, October 1971

May 31, 2009

The Universe: Evolution Or The Work Of God’s Fingers?

antifan-real.deviantart.com

Whenever we read about evolution, it’s usually preceded by the word theory. A theory, according to Webster’s, is described as “speculation, an idea, hypothesis or a scheme.” A theory then is an unproven statement.

Darwin’s theory of evolution teaches that the first life upon the earth came by “spontaneous generation,” or by “electrochemical action,” or some unknown process millions of years ago in the warm ocean slime. Thus it is the theory of evolution that life sprang out of dead matter, or that the living came from the non-living.

Now probability is the mathematics of chance, and therefore probability should have a great deal to do with evolution.
Given a monkey, a typewriter and a stack of paper, by chance alone, words, sentences, even whole books could be written, right? This is a doctrine deemed holy by a not-insignificant number of educated men in the biological and geological sciences today. (more…)

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