For years cosmologists believe that the universe had existed eternally in more or less the same state. There was no beginning, and the physical world had always been and would always continue to be. Some scientists actually feared the thought of a finite beginning of the universe because of its possible religious implications. But that all changed following astronomical discoveries in the early part of the 20th Century. Virtually all cosmologists now accept the fact that our world came into existence some 13.8 billion years ago. The weight of scientific evidence appears to prove this to be true.
Before 13.8 billion years ago there was nothing – no matter, no space, no time. But somehow the world was created. How did nothing come from nothing. We Christians believe that the creative agent was God, the Eternal One, an indescribable spirit that exists outside of space and time. It is impossible for us poor mortals to wrap our minds around God. But the Bible states that God created us in his own image, and thus it is in our nature for us to always keep seeking fuller understanding of Him and His creation.
Scientists tend to describe the universe as an expanding bubble. Within that bubble is reality as we know it – the Earth, the moon, the planets, the stars and time and all the mathematical and physical laws that govern interactions between matter. People of faith also see a moral law that governs interactions between men. Outside the bubble there is nothing – only an unimaginable, formless void.
The immensity of the universe is almost beyond description, certainly beyond our imaginations. The further out we see into space, the more we discover. By their latest calculations, astronomers now believe that the universe has a diameter of about 93 billion light years. One light year is how far light travels in one year at the speed of 186,000 miles per second, so that means that the universe is inconceivably enormous. In its vast space are the planets, stars, galaxies, and all other forms of matter and energy.
We live on a planet that rotates around a average size star in the Milky Way galaxy. The Milky Way, is believed to contain more than a hundred billion stars and countless planetary bodies; and the Milky Way is one of over a hundred billion galaxies, each also containing hundreds of billions of stars, many of which are thousands of times larger than our Sun.
Think of all the grains of sand on all the beaches all over planet Earth, and the stars would outnumber them.
God breathed all of this into existence.
And then he created man.
My God, how great thou art!
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?