Janie B. Cheaney: Consider the heavens


MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Today is Wednesday, October 30th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. The Earth is a tiny place when you compare it to the vastness of space. But commentator Janie B. Cheaney notes size does not equal value in the heart of a loving Creator.

JANIE B. CHEANEY, COMMENTATOR: Going to the moon in 1969 was, in the words of Neil Armstrong, a giant leap for mankind. But the universe had gotten bigger just in the last 50 years. Compared to the inconceivable size of space, a modern cynic might compare the moon landing to a puddle jump.

From literally the center of the ancient Ptolemaic system, our Earth has shrunk to a small satellite of an insignificant star on the edge of a galaxy that is itself merely one arm of massive spiral that links to other massive spirals.

And put-down words like only, merely, one of many, make us feel like nothing much. To quote Bill Nye the Science Guy, “I’m a speck on a speck orbiting a speck among other specks among still other specks in the middle of specklessness!” Astrophysicists with better credentials express the same sentiment in more elegant terms.

But smallness can be equally overwhelming. Atoms were once considered the bedrock of matter, until protons, neutrons, and electrons gave way to particles and sub-particles and quarks, and we’re still not to the end of it. Weaving it all together is the so-called “God particle,” long speculated, never actually seen. In spite of the nickname, a personal God is not in the picture. It’s all “specks.”

But if God is who He says He is, He made space. And time. Bigness and smallness are works of His hands.

What if, in presenting us with unthinkable size, He’s writing large the message of Scripture? “The last shall be first.” “You must become like a little child.” “God rejects the proud, but exalts the humble.”

Within the massive vault of space stands the only known creature in the entire universe who can observe and think about it. At one point in time, the Creator opened a door in space and walked in, humbling Himself still further to become a particle of dust within his own creation, aiming to redeem it all.

I don’t know what redemption will look like, but here’s my very unscientific picture of the cosmos. We’ve learned that the universe is expanding, like ripples on a pond. What if it’s more like a balloon, so big its curve looks flat? It expands by the breath of God, but He keeps His eye on one speck of dust on the surface of space: our tiny planet with its tiny souls.

One day, there will be no more days. The cosmos may pop, revealing the Holy City with glowing gates, filled with “innumerable angels in festal gathering and the assembly of the firstborn.” Or perhaps it will shrink again, all its glory gathered up, in the blink of an eye, to shine on the new creation.

I know this: size won’t matter. It doesn’t matter now. As you consider the heavens, He is considering you, and it’s not according to your bigness or smallness, but to His vast and abiding love.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Janie B. Cheaney.


(Photo/NASA, Creative Commons)

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