Solar Systems, Galaxies & Universes

Our solar system includes the Sun, eight planets, their moons, and all other celestial bodies that orbit the Sun. There are 146 known moons in orbit around the planets and another 26 awaiting final approval before being added to the list (according to NASA’s website in July 2013). And that’s only within our small solar system. The thought of these planets and moons spinning about in such remarkable order and efficiency without a higher power being in control, I find unbelievable.

Then there are galaxies. Our solar system is located in the Milky Way galaxy, which is so big that even at the speed of light, it would take 100,000 years to travel across it. And it is not the only galaxy. There are billions of others (yes, billions with a “b”), and they are so far away, that light from them arriving to earth today was set out from the galaxies billions of years ago. So we see them not as they are today, but as they were before life on earth even existed. These billions of galaxies make up our universe. I mean really, are you comprehending this?

So now we get into universes. Well no one actually knows yet if ours is the only one, or how big our universe even is, again all this according to NASA’s website, nasa.gov. Scientists say that other parts of the universe very far away may be quite different than the universe closer to home. They just don’t know.

I could get lost for days on NASA’s website, and not just because of my slow satellite connection to the internet, but because space fascinates me and the site is very well put together with what seems like endless information. And one thing I absolutely love is that they extend general permission for others to use most of the media found on their site, even for personal web pages such as this. If you are interested, their guidelines about this can be found at http://www.nasa.gov/audience/formedia/features/MP_Photo_Guidelines.html#.Ueq6UKzYFCc.

That being said, check out this image of our galaxy from NASA, and then consider the following:

There are countless solar systems in our galaxy, and so far we know almost 400 of them have planets in their orbits. Scientists don’t even use the word countless for galaxies, they know it is in the billions. Not so with solar systems though, they remain countless. So, this is one galaxy, and it would take 100,000 years to travel across it at the speed of light, and there’s billions of others? I suppose there could be skeptics who say that scientists are wrong and that none of this is true, the way people do about theologians and Christianity, but what would be the point? You might be wondering what my point is, and it’s something along these lines: Is grasping the nature of space much different than grasping a higher power creating it all?

Considering our galaxy is spinning at 490,000 miles an hour and needs 200 million years to make one rotation, and that there’s a billion other galaxies out there, it is downright scary to me to think that all that is going on “by chance” without a higher power in charge. No, scary isn’t the right word… more like inconceivable, or unimaginable. Really, just totally unbelievable.

So what is it about God that people have a hard time believing? Does it really make more sense to believe that all the activity in the universe as we know it (which is a tiny, tiny fraction), just happened to occur, and with the exact precision needed for the earth to form the way it did? Not to me it doesn’t, I don’t have that much faith. It is just downright scary to think all that activity has nothing keeping it in check. How depressing to think there is not something bigger, a power greater than me, God, or whatever you want to call it, maintaining order of it all. I suppose it makes sense then, that antidepressants are on the rise!

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