I did some research on the Universe recently. It’s pretty staggering. If you start with our galaxy, the Milky Way, current estimates are that there are about 100-400 billion stars in our galaxy alone. That’s a broad estimate but it shows how little we know about space and what a humongously vast place it is.
Then I wondered how many galaxies there were. Well, the estimate is upwards of 100 billion, possibly 200 billion. How many!? At this stage, I had to sit down in a darkened room for a while to try to imagine that. I couldn’t.
The size of the Universe is beyond our imaginings, just as the size of God is. If we believe that God created a cosmos so big, how can the human mind imagine God? The answer is in Christ, who is our intermediary in reaching some understanding of God’s power and love.
The size of the Universe still bothers me. The population of the Earth has now reached 7 billion. That means that for each one of us on the Earth, we could have at least 14 whole galaxies all to ourselves (the maths for the numerically challenged – 100 billion galaxies divided by 7 billion people). And each one of our own individual 14 galaxies has billions of stars.
I don’t think I want 14 galaxies all to myself. It would be pretty lonely. There would be no-one to take out to dinner and no-one to help you find your lost car keys. So I’m very pleased that God in his infinite wisdom put us all on the same planet. It may be getting a little crowded down here and there are certainly one or two odd folks around, but it’s a lot nicer having a load of company. And another thing I’m grateful for. As our house is in a dip, our mobile phone signal is rubbish. Just imagine how bad it would be if I lived 14 galaxies away.
I bumped into this lady called Cathie in my day yesterday and we got talking about life, the unknown and all that sort of thing. I don’t know how we did, but we did. She had a question she was wrestling with. Where is Heaven? Is it above space or below space? It was only two in the afternoon and neither of us had been drinking but it was a deeply philosophical question. Where is heaven and what is it like? The Bible is pretty tight-lipped about the finer details of heaven, well about any details really. There’s no holiday brochure included with details of the pool facilities etc.
What we do know is that it is beyond our imagination – “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (I Corinthians 2:9). And that there is place for us – “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:2). And Jesus, talking to the thief on the cross called it Paradise. – And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:42-43.’
So we are stuck with the prospect that it is beyond our imaginings. If we were told, we wouldn’t be able to understand. When my Mum died, the eulogy at her funeral included the fact that she loved a good party. The priest said in his address that he was pleased to hear that because that is exactly what God had prepared for her in Heaven. That’s good enough for me, I’ll take that.
And whilst we are on beyond our imaginings, God is so, so big that we cannot imagine him either, which will lead nicely into my next blog.