A verse of ancient Hebrew poetry holds an amazing connection between you and the universe. King David wrote: “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” He observed that we look very insignificant compared to the celestial bodies, but I’m saying that whatever is going on up there has direct baring on the environment God created for humanity. “Set in place” was a silly thing to say in those days when every star looked like it was slowly traveling around the earth.
In the February 2007 edition of Scientific American there’s an article called: The Universe’s Invisible Hand. Warning: if you still cherish the idea of a cosmos staggering forward in blind chance, this isn’t the kind of stuff you should be reading. Christopher Conselice is a National Science Foundation Astronomy and Astrophysics Fellow at Caltech. Conselice studies the formation of galaxies. He believes dark energy explains the ordered expansion we observe.
We’ve understood dark matter for a while now. It’s the stuff that radiation doesn’t affect. Dark energy however is what we discovered after we looked beyond the stars. Conselice claims that dark energy represents three quarters of the contents of the universe and that its low-key effects are everywhere in space. Most astronomers have not yet decided what dark energy is. The Wikipedia article is labeled: confusing to readers. Physicsweb says: “It is an irony of nature that the most abundant form of energy in the universe is also the most mysterious.”
Conselice theorizes that dark energy is a huge controlling force in the universe, but one that only kicked in once the present galaxies had formed. He says: “had the force been weaker than the constant that he believes it is, (about as present as a handful of atoms in a cubic meter) the Milky Way type galaxies would have been very rare.” That would have been bad news for us. If this ruling force had been stronger he surmises that stars would not have formed - a chilly prospect for our beach lovers! Instead the large galaxies are set in fixed relationships to each other. Only this way could elements heavier than Lithium form in the abundance required for life as we know it. The effect of dark energy suggests that the older galaxies are set in their places.
Dark energy might be the biggest ordering factor that changed the big bang moment of creation into the controlled unwrapping of the universe that any student of explosive energy would NOT expect it to be. A shocker: what can be seen in the universe is about 5% of what’s out there.
So here’s what we have: there’s a force out there that we can’t yet describe. This force has set the galaxies and stars in place (like the verse said). All this was paramount for the propagation and maintenance of the human race. Even the mighty spiral armed galaxies are protected from random collisions. Space is a place of greater order than we imagined. There’s much in Einstein’s 1939 paper on Science and Religion with which I disagree, but here’s a few concepts I like: “Science has been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust.” “It is easy to see why the churches have fought science.” “The cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest motive for scientific research.” “What a deep conviction of the rationality of the universe... Kepler and Newton must have had to enable them to spend years of solitary labor in disentangling the principles of celestial mechanics!”
These are scientific ways to say that God is the Creator, Preserver and the Governor of the universe. I’ll say it boldly: only very foolish scientists and very foolish church folks fight each other. I hope I’m writing to the other type. Reader, you have begun to see the singular agreement of morality and the harmony of laws in space. Consider the recent comment: “Antonio Scalia is unfit to serve (as judge). A justice who rejects science and the law for religion is of unsound mind.” What nonsense! The more we discover the more amazing the Bible gets to be. No wonder it is still, by far, earth’s most widely read book.
Andrew Paton of Clinton Church of the Nazarene, born in Africa, has pastored in Hunterdon County since 1997. Before that he ministered in Durban and Bedfordview, South Africa and prior to that was an officer in The Salvation Army. He has been in full time Christian leadership since 1975. He and his wife Carol have two married sons and five grandchildren.
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