Humanity has been drawn to gaze upon the vast expanses of the heavens long before we could see to the farthest reaches of our galaxy thanks to modern telescopes and other scientific advancements. For the writer of the Psalms, the wonder of the sprawling skies was humbling:
When I consider your heavens,
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,
the son of man that you care for him?
Certainly, as modern science reminds us just how big this universe is, the same question arises: "What is man?" And as we turn our telescopes to the skies and learn more about them, even more questions seem to arise.
We now understand how stars and galaxies are born and how they die. The heavens are not fixed, as we once believed, but they are expanding, growing, and changing. Stars are still being created even today.
What do these new observations say about the Bible or about a Creator? Surely the vastness of the cosmos should inspire our faith in a higher power, and the fine tuning of the Universe complements what we know from scripture about our significance in it. And how should we respond to these discoveries? As we continue to uncover the beautiful order and complexity of God’s creation, we can respond in awe and worship. As poet Thomas Troeger has put it,
"May our faith redeem the blunder of believing that our thought
Has displaced the grounds for wonder which the ancient prophets taught."
And Galileo Galilei, whose passion for the heavens led to revolutions for both science and religion, reminds us that we should never fear the answers that arise from scientific inquiry and exploration:
"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use."
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