Wednesday, January 21, 2004

How Many Galaxies?

Hubble's Deepest View of the Universe Unveils Bewildering Galaxies across Billions of Years

Representing a narrow "keyhole" view stretching to the visible horizon of the universe, the HDF image covers a speck of the sky only about the width of a dime located 75 feet away. Though the field is a very small sample of the heavens, it is considered representative of the typical distribution of galaxies in space because the universe, statistically, looks largely the same in all directions. Gazing into this small field, Hubble uncovered a bewildering assortment of at least 1,500 galaxies at various stages of evolution.

Just one of those spiral galaxies could be perhaps 100,000 light years across and contain 200 to 400 billion stars, like our own galaxy - the Milky Way. Think about that. The speed of light is about 186,000 miles per second. That's 11,160,000 miles per minute! 669,600,000 miles per hour! 16,070,400,000 miles per day! 5,865,696,000,000 miles in a year - that's one light year! It could be billions of light years from one side of the photo to the other. Or more, depending on the distance from us, most of those galaxies are far deeper in space than the larger ones. It's mind-boggling!

Can you wrap you mind around those distances? - they become meaningless. The diameter of the Earth is only about 7900 miles. The diameter of the sun is about 862,400 miles. The sun is 92,000,000 miles from the Earth. It takes about 8.3 minutes for the sunlight to reach the Earth. The light from some of those galaxies in the picture have taken as much as 10 billion years to reach us. That picture is only a tiny fraction of a portion of the night sky, not even visable to the eye or even the largest Earth bound telescopes. There are at least 1500 galaxies in that picture!

Look at this picture comparing the size of our sun to what is one of the largest stars we've discovered. Put that star in place of the sun and it would replace most of our solar system.

What power did it take to create all of this? What intelligence to design it? To put the laws that govern it into action? The universe is law-abiding. Even at the very beginning of the universe laws governed what took place. Why and how do these laws exist? There is nothing chaotic about it, even if we don't understand it all. The Earth and all life on it are subject to the laws. Life teeters on a tightrope, balanced on these laws. We are the perfect distance from the sun. The moon is the perfect distance from the Earth. The Earth travels around the sun at the perfect speed and spins to create the day/night cycle perfectly. Any appreciable change and we couldn't live here. What keeps everything running so smoothly? What keeps the Earth from straying ever so slightly out of orbit? Why no degradation of orbit or spin? I'm leaving alot out, there are so many things that are balanced just so and if they were not, life could not exist. Life here is no accident.

Isaiah 45:18 For so says Jehovah, Creator of the heavens; He is God, forming the earth and making it; He makes it stand, not creating it empty, but forming it to be lived in. I am Jehovah, and there is none else.

What is all this made of? The basic building blocks that make up every object are atoms. Atoms are so small that a teaspoon holds 500 sextillion or 5 X 1023. Every atom is like a tiny solar system. The nucleus of the atom is 95.99% of the mass of the atom. Protons, neutrons, and electrons circle the nucleus. In contrast to it's small size the nucleus is incredibly heavy. If a drop of dew were made entirely of nulcear mass it would be 130 trillion times heavier than it is now. A solid lump of nuclei the size of a lump of sugar would weigh 26 million tons or 24 billion kilograms, that's about the weight of 500 battleships, 52,000 tons each. It is as hard to imagine the size of an atom and it's building block particles (protons, neutrons, electrons, quarks, gluons, hadrons) as it is to imagine the immense size of the universe and the galaxies in it. If you could compress all the atoms of all matter on Earth so there was no space inside them, the Earth would be a tiny little ball 6 miles in diameter. Electrons revolve 6 quintillion times per second around a nucleus. If the neutron were the size of a marble the nearest electron would be a half mile away. It's all just compacted energy. Look close and you find virtually nothing there. There are laws governing this too.

It's amazing how God can exist in the macrocosm and the microcosm, creating and sustaining both, with absolute power and gentleness and precision beyond our ability to comprehend. He created man in His image, and we are just that. We think, plan, design and create, but with limitations. Our minds, sight, hearing, strength and our very lives are limited. We're not perfect and nothing we create is perfect. Look closely at our creations and the flaws begin to show. God's creation is beautiful no matter how you look at it, no matter how close or how far, the beauty is there to enjoy, even after thousands of years of abuse.

Psa 104:1 Bless Jehovah, O my soul! O Jehovah my God, You are very great; You have put on honor and majesty,
2 covering Yourself with light like a cloak, and stretching out the heavens like a curtain;
3 who lays beams in the waters of His upper rooms; setting thick clouds as His chariots; walking on the wings of the wind.
4 He makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flaming fire.
5 He founded the earth on its foundations; it shall not be shaken forever and ever.
6 You have covered the deep as with a robe; the waters stood above the mountains.
7 From Your rebuke, they flee; from the sound of Your thunder, they hurry away.
8 They go up the mountains; they go down the valleys to the place which You founded for them.
9 You have set a boundary that they may not pass over; they shall not return to cover the earth.
10 He sends springs into the valleys; they flow between the hills;
11 they give drink to every animal of the field; wild asses break their thirst;
12 over them the birds of the heavens dwell; they give voice from between the branches.
13 He waters the hills from His upper rooms; the earth is satisfied from the fruit of Your works.
14 He causes the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for the service of man, to bring food out of the earth.
15 And wine cheers the heart of man; oil makes his face shine, and bread sustains the heart of man.
16 The trees of Jehovah are satisfied, the cedars of Lebanon that He planted;
17 there where the birds nest; the fir trees are the house of the stork;
18 high hills are for the wild goats; rocks are a refuge for the badgers.
19 He made the moon for seasons; the sun knows its going down.
20 You put darkness, and it is night; in it all the forest animals creep.
21 The young lions roar for prey, and to seek their food from God.
22 The sun rises; they are gathered, and go to their dens to lie down.
23 Man goes out to his work, and to his labor until the evening.
24 O Jehovah, how many are Your works! You have made all of them in wisdom; the earth is full of Your riches.
25 This is the sea, great and wide on both hands; there are creeping things even without number; living things, small and great.
26 There the ships go; You formed this great sea-animal to play in it.
27 All of them wait for You to give them their food in due season.
28 You give to them; they gather; You open Your hand, and they are filled with good.
29 You hide Your face, and they are troubled; You gather their breath, and they expire and return to their dust.
30 You send out Your Spirit, and they are created; and You renew the face of the earth.
31 The glory of Jehovah shall be forever; Jehovah shall rejoice in His works.
32 He looks to the earth, and it trembles; He touches the hills, and they smoke.
33 I will sing to Jehovah during my life; I will sing praise to my God while I exist.
34 My thoughts on Him shall be sweet; I will be glad in Jehovah.
35 Let sinners be consumed out of the earth and let the wicked be no more; bless Jehovah, O my soul; praise Jehovah!

Isa 40:25 To whom then will you compare Me, or am I equaled, says the Holy One?
26 Lift up your eyes on high and look: Who has created these? Who brings out their host by number? By greatness of vigor, and might of power, He calls them all by names; not one is lacking.
27 Why will you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel; My way is hidden from Jehovah, and my judgment is passed over by my God?
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? Jehovah, the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth; He is not faint, nor does He grow weary; there is no searching to His understanding.

The Rocks Cry Out
by Garner Ted armstrong

Look at me the Grand Canyon said
Study the size of my riverbed
and gaze upon the thick layers of my rock
and join if you dare those who mock
at the flood of Noah's time
and the great one before that
and say the Colorado River did all this
and so became another uniformatarianist
One who denies the God who made him
Who scoffs and snears at all His ultimatums
One who says we came from amoeba
an evolutionist, a doubter, a true believer
All things continue like they did before, he claims
No great flood carved out these canyons
or formed all those plains
It all happened because of gradual erosion
It was only the wind and the rain
and the time that the land was frozen
While the huge glaciers were slowly moving
and the great ice ages were proving
That evolution is true and there is no God
That we all came from green slime
or brown scum and not from the sod

But one day, in the not too distant time
when the sun turns black
and the moon doesn't shine
and the Earth begins to moan and rumble
and the rocks beneith your feet shake and tumble
you will cry out in anguish and a terrible fear
and ask "Is there a safe cave anywhere near here?"
For there will be the time,
that time when the angels shout
and nowhere on the Earth
will anyone, anymore doubt
when they will turn to the very rocks they ignored
and say "Hide us from Him on the white horse
with that terrible sword!"
And then in that time, not so far ahead
There will not be a single doubter, living or dead
No more time to argue, cajole or theorize
but up close and personal,
when all men will realize
that the God who made the rocks
and shaped the Earth's crust
is the Lord Jesus Christ who's returned for His just
He'll stand in that day on some rocks of His own
The Mount of Olives, the place of His throne
Which He will split right down the center,
divide into two
and establish His kingdom there,
for me and for you
Surely, the rocks do cry out
and we need only to listen to what they say
to watch and to listen and to always pray
And remember that Jesus said
we would be living in a time
just like Noah's day.

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