Wednesday, July 13, 2022

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God

We look to the space above and find great forces in an orderly system that displays beautify and usefulness. God has provided you this a vast display of overwhelming size and force at a safe distance for your observation. He has provided a seemingly inexhaustible realm of discoveries. Even though those in the ancient world had a better view of the night sky with the natural eye, we have a better ability to see and understand the stars through technology, and we continue to learn more and more.

From what we have found through modern scientific observation, our solar system has eight planets and five dwarf planets that rotate around the sun, with at least 200 moons orbiting those planets. The sun is over 100 times the diameter of the earth and is 93 million miles from us. The sun is one of an estimated 100 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy. Our whole solar system is orbiting around the center of the galaxy. And astronomers have most recently estimated there are 2 trillion galaxies in the universe. Truly, while only God is infinite, the wonders of the heavens seem inexhaustible.

Did all of this come about on its own from nothing? No, simply adding billions of years does not solve the issue, and it creates as many problems as it seems to solve. We are told in Scripture the answer that accords with the vast power and design we see: God created all of this by his powerful word - “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens…” (Genesis 1:14).

God brought them into existence, set them in order, and put them on their circuits. He directs each one of them and they do his bidding. As Psalm 147:4-5 says, “He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.”

As Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Their speechless voice extends to all the earth. Their words go to the end of the earth. There is nothing hidden from the heat and light of the sun. Their regular course in joyful obedience to their Maker proclaims his existence, wisdom, and power. These lights are a witness to all the earth, calling all people to worship their Creator.

And they put man’s pride to shame. As God asked Job in Job 38:31–32, “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades or loose the cords of Orion? Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season, or can you guide the Bear with its children?”

God has appointed the ordinances of the heavens. He created gravity and the forces and patterns we discover through science. He has given his law to all the lights of outer space. He commanded, and they came to be; he set them in the expanse, and they go as he directed. The sun, moon, and trillions of stars follow his decree in glory and splendor and order, and thereby fulfill their purposes and bring glory to God. And so should you and I! As a creature with reason and will, you ought to do so with knowledge and delight.

God’s law is not a checklist, but a way of life. His sovereignty over his creatures is comprehensive, and so is his law. It says, this is the way, walk in it! It does not give you a few things to do, but it directs your whole life. It directs the whole life of man and his society. As Abraham Kuyper said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!” There is no neutrality, no room for autonomy from God. Your whole being is designed to move in accord with his moral law, directed by love for God and neighbor.

This may sound like a burden to some, but look up! Is the moon burdened by the orbit God has given it? Is God’s command a burden to the sun? Does the earth wish to be free of its rotation? No! The sun comes out in the morning “like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy” (Psalm 19:5). He sets them in honor and glory, and we admire the beauty of the spheres. His law is a blessing and a glory to them. So likewise for us, the law of God is good and wise. By it, we live according to our design, fulfilling our purpose and bringing glory to God.

But you go off the path appointed for you into the destructive ways of sin. You abandon your appointed course and rebel against the King of the cosmos. You treat the Ruler of the galaxies with contempt. You treat his appoint way with contempt and seek out your own ways, foolish ways, evil ways, ways of death.

And so what has God done about this? The one by whom all these stars and lights were made was made flesh and dwelt among us. And when the mighty Maker was dying for man the creature’s sin, the sun was darkened and the moon was turned to blood and our earth was shaken. He died that you and I might be reconciled and restored to the Triune Creator of all. So hold fast to the mercy of God in Christ, receiving this salvation by faith. And let your heart break with sorrow for your sin and joy at his power and love.

For the lights of the heavens do not only display God’s power and wisdom. They display his love. Look up and say with Psalm 8:3–4,
“When I look at 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,
and the son of man that you care for him?”
Even before sin, God was incredibly generous to draw near to man and give him glory and honor, to walk with Adam and Eve in the garden. And how much more now does his vast power displayed in the heavens magnify the graciousness, steadfastness, unmerited generosity of his love for you. “Amazing love! How can it be, that Thou, my God, should die for me!”


Image Credit: NASA and the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

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