Monday, April 15, 2013

How Big Is God?

One of my favorite web sites is The Scale of the Universe. This is an interactive site that helps to give a perspective on just how big things are in the universe.  I find it interesting to scroll through the site, comparing the size of different objects.

I would suspect that most people have no idea how big the universe is, or how small its individual components might be.  And even looking at the numbers it is still hard to fathom; it is so big, and so small, that the numbers are almost meaningless.  Just how big is the universe?  It is bigger than we can observe, but the observable universe is estimated at 9.3 * 1028 meters (93,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 meters) or 93 billion light years across.  In other words, it's pretty big.

At the other end of the scale is the theorized 'string' of string theory.  These are estimated to be 1 * 10-35 meters in length, or 0.00000000001 yoctometers long.  Just for comparison purposes, a few other objects are listed below.
  • Electron - 5 * 10-15 meters
  • Transistor Gate - 2.5 * 10-8 meters
  • E. Coli bacteria - 2 * 10-6 meters
  • Ant - 4 * 10-3 meters
  • Human - 1.7 * 100 meters
  • Large Hadron Collider - 8.6 * 103 meters
  • Earth - 1.27 * 107 meters
  • Sun - 1.4 * 109 meters
  • Oort Cloud (outer limits of our solar system) - 2 * 1016 meters
  • Milky Way - 9.3 * 1026 meters

But what does this have to do with how big God is?  If God exists (and I believe he does), and he created the universe (which I also believe), then it might be interesting to compare his creation with that of the next most capable known 'creator' in the universe, us.  Collectively, we have been able to to produce something as big as 8.6 * 103 meters in length, and as small as 2.5 * 10-8 meters.  In contract God has produced something that is 1025 times bigger and 10-27 times smaller.  So, by one measure at least, God is about 1026 times bigger, stronger, smarter and all around more capable than we are.  That is 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times bigger.

Is God really so much bigger than I am; for all practical purposes, infinitely bigger?  Even though the numbers given in the previous paragraph are nothing but conjecture, I do accept that one who is able to create the universe we live in, a universe whose size and complexity are beyond my comprehension, is infinitely more capable than I am.  And that he is just as much beyond my comprehension as is his creation, of which I am a tiny part.  I can study his creation and come to some limited understanding of it.  And I can invest time in knowing God, and come to some limited understanding of him.  But I can never really get more than a glimmer of who he is; my limited and finite mind is not capable of comprehending the infinite creator.

And so I marvel at the unfolding creation, and bow before its creator.  I stand amazed at the complexity, the enormity and the power of all that he has made.  I acknowledge that God is beyond my understanding or judgement.  I thank him for who he is, what he has done, and what he has in store for me.  And I join with the heavens in offering up praise to him.
The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.

Psalm 19:1-4

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