Saturday, October 21, 2006
Astronomers have now identified and cataloged some 200 known planets, all within a distance of some 200 light years. Astrophysicists and other scholarly theorists have widely differing ideas about how big they think universe is, but one thing we know for sure…it is really, really big. The estimates range from “millions of light years” to “infinitely big”, so it is safe to say that the number of actual planets orbiting stars might well be in the thousands of millions, at least.
And, as I spiral slowly towards my point, how many millions doesn't really even matter to me. Among the defining characteristics of planets are that they are spheroidal, that they orbit a star, and that they exhibit some type of revolution, spinning more or less freely through space. Each of these planets, and even many sub-planetary bodies, regardless of their solidity and composition, shares a common feature. Their relationship with their sun creates, in virtually every case, a sunrise and its counterpart, a sunset.
One of the dumbfoundingly fascinating things about God, and one of His most God-like characteristics, is His omnipresence. He is, literally, everywhere, which is, in itself, an extremely hard thing to think about. According to Romans 1:19-20, God has made himself readily known to man through His creation. One of the things that I like to think about is what God’s creation tells us about Him. I think we can perceive, although barely understand, some things about God by looking at the created universe. I have always been curious to know the things He has certain concern for or in which he takes especial joy.
Throughout the universe, possibly even within our limited 200 light years of perception, there are sunrises and sunsets occurring continuously, overlapping and without ceasing. To the Lord, it is a constant unfolding and refolding of light and darkness taking place without pause or breath across the span of His creation. From this, I think it is a true thing to say that God likes sunrises and sunsets.
Most people have only seen the sunrises and sunsets that we have, one each daily, here on earth. There are a privileged few who have seen the sun rise and set from the moon. And there are some few telescope photos, some creative artist renderings of sunsets, real and imagined, from the perspective of a few of our other local planets. So, by far, the majority of sunrises and sunsets are happening in places that human eyes have never seen. And, in this life at least, never will see. They are for His eyes only, and they give constant testimony to His astounding power. He is not like us in so very many ways. But one thing we can deduce is that God likes sunrises and sunsets.
Here on earth, as I noted, we have one of each, every day. I very much like to try to get to where I can see either one or the other, sometimes both. There is just something special about it, affirming, peaceful, and freeing. And it is very good to know that I am not watching it alone.