This is only a small reflection on a large theme. A few videos and animations have made the rounds in recent years. These show the scale of the universe. I like being able to scroll from the smallest to largest known object in the universe, and it is fun to see the scale of the Minecraft world along the way. The size of the Virgo Supercluster is mind boggling, yet it is a spec. And seeing the scale of earth next to the largest known star, then realizing that the largest known star is just a pin prick of light in any of the billions of galaxies in the universe, well, it is marvelous beyond comprehension.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” This is the start of all revelation. It is how the revelation of scripture begins and it is how the revelation of nature begins. Our modern understanding of the scale of the known universe does not disprove a creator God, it merely underscores what ancients understood by the power of intuition; namely, a creator God must be powerful beyond measure.
If there is a creator God responsible for all that exists, regardless of how that God went about making it, that God is so powerful and awesome and impressive that if we ever came into that God’s presence then we would feel utterly powerless and insignificant and diminutive. This is a God who ignites supernovas a million times over as part of the creative process. We could expect our lives would be nothing to that God. Should we ever face that God, the only logical expectation would be instantaneous annihilation. But, if for even a moment that God paid attention to us, if even for a split second we were shown mercy, then our response would have to switch from terror to worship.
These are the options before the face of the creator God, and the options would present themselves in an instant: Insignificance and the expectation of immediate annihilation or else mercy and the hope of unending love. A moment of mercy before the creator God necessitates our eternal adoration.
Dave is an author, educator, and advocate of living simply. Dave has spoken nationally and internationally about simplicity. He has appeared in Time Magazine, Mother Jones Magazine, the London Times, and The Guardian, and has been a guest of the 700 Club. His book The 100 Thing Challenge (HarperCollins, 2010) tells the story of his simple-living journey and the worldwide movement it contributed to. Dave holds an M.A. from Wheaton College and a B.A. from Moody Bible Institute. He works at Point Loma Nazarene University and lives in San Diego with his wife and three daughters.
I agree that the awesome power of God should cause trembling, fear, awe, worship. But why assume that – should we face God – we should expect instant annihilation? Hasn’t this awesome, terrifying God made us? He hasn’t annihilated us; he has created us. He already knows that we exist; it isn’t as though by “facing” him we’d alert him to our presence and give him grounds for eliminating us. He can do so now. The fact that he sees us and doesn’t abolish us must give grounds for immediate worship – a moment of mercy, as you called it, a lifetime of mercy.
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