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? (Psalm 8:3-4 ESV)
Yesterday I read these words from Brennan Manning, author of Ragamuffin Gospel. I can’t improve on them. Listen in…
As they contemplate the order of the earth, the solar system, and the stellar universe, scientists and scholars have concluded that the Master Planner left nothing to chance.
The slant of the earth, for example, tilted at an angle of 23 degrees, produces our seasons. Scientists tell us that if the earth had not been tilted exactly as it is, vapors from the oceans would move both north and south, piling up continents of ice.
If the moon were only 50,000 miles away from earth instead of 200,000, the tides might be so enormous that all continents would be submerged in water–even the mountains would be eroded.
If the crust of the earth had been only ten feet thicker, there would be no oxygen, and without it all animal life would die. Had the oceans been a few feet deeper, carbon dioxide and oxygen would have been absorbed and no vegetable life would exist.
The earth’s weight has been estimated at six sextillion tons (that a six with 21 zeros). Yet is is perfectly balanced and turns easily on it axis. It revolves daily at the rate of more than 1,000 miles per hour or 25,000 miles each day. This adds up to nine million miles a year. Considering the tremendous weight of six sextillion tons rolling at this fantastic speed around an invisible axis, held in place by unseen bands of gravitation, the words of Job 26:7 take on unparalleled significance: “He poised the earth on nothingness.”
The earth revolves in its own orbit around the sun, making the long elliptical circuit of six hundred million miles each year–which means we are traveling in orbit at 19 miles per second or 1,140 miles per hour.
Consider the sun. Every square yard of the sun’s surface is emitting constantly an energy level of 130,000 horsepower (that is, approximately 450 eight-cylinder automobile engines), in flames that are being produced by an energy source much more powerful than coal. Still the sun is only one minor star in the 100 billion orbs which comprise our Milky Way galaxy. If you were to hold out a dime at arm’s length, the coin would block out 15 million stars from your view, if your eyes could see with that power.
No wonder Isaiah, in the darkness of the night sky, saw the greatness of God:
Look at the night skies: Who do you think made all this? Who marches this army of stars out each night, counts them off, calls each by name – so magnificent! so powerful! – and never overlooks a single one? (Isaiah 40:26, The Message)