The Heavens Declare the Glory of God
The Psalmist said this three thousand years ago, and we know what that means today far better than he ever imagined.
In fact, an in-depth study of ANY area of nature will provide any believer with insights into the glory and majesty of God.
The famous scientist-inventor Michael Faraday used to give public lectures in London, displaying discoveries about electricity, and using this as a means of speaking about God's creative power and glory.
More recently, the negro biochemist George Washington Carver told of God helping him to discover how the component parts of peanuts could be used to make hundreds of different products, from food to face powder, dyes, stains, soap, etc.
Dr. Paul Brand, the specialist in hand surgery, who pioneered reconstructive surgery for leprosy victims, used fascinating descriptions of the wonderful workings of the human body to provide pictorial analogies about the relationship between Christ and Christian believers.
In the same way it is possible to see examples of the creative genius, wisdom and power of the Lord when one studies the splendours of the universe.
The Essential Doctrine of Creation
We need to avoid being too attached to any theory about HOW God made the universe, or the world, or HOW LONG it might have taken. But all Christians must stand up for the fact that God did design and make all these things, and that they are all His. If the universe is not God's, then He has no claim upon us, and He has no right to expect us to obey His laws. As a result, there is no sin, no need for redemption, and no Christian hope. Without the doctrine of creation, the rest of Christian theology falls to the ground.
The idea that the universe came into existence, and developed, by "mindless chance" is a direct denial of the Bible, and of all Christian theology. The "mindless chance" idea is also very difficult for statistical reasons. The noted British agnostic, Sir Fred Hoyle, made a statistical analysis based upon the differences between haemoglobin in the blood of humans compared to the haemoglobin in the blood of apes. While there are a great many similarities, there are also about 40 differences. In their study, Hoyle and Wickramasinghe showed that the possibilities of these differences all occurring at once for the first time by pure chance are one part in ten to the 40,000th power. This is a chance so small that it would never have happened within the time of the age of the earth, or indeed of the entire universe. Discussing the differences in haemoglobin between apes and humans did not take into account any of the great many other differences between apes and humans which would be even harder to explain by "mindless chance," or of the vast differences between humans and the other "ancestral" species of humans.
Since the "Big Bang," there has not been enough time for chance evolution to occur here, as a way of accounting for life on earth. So, life could not have appeared by this means, as most atheists and agnostics have believed.
The Bible tells us that the creation is designed and made by God, in order to fulfil purposes He has chosen Himself.
As a result, it shows traits of His wisdom, power and beauty, and attests to His glory and majesty.
Science is a method of enquiry. It is a rational way of asking questions and of testing answers.
The history of modern science proves that the universe is able to be understood by rational human intelligence. Our knowledge about its workings can be developed successfully by using the scientific method, and by the use of mathematics.
The only basis upon which this could happen is if the universe has been designed and made by a supreme intelligence. This point is illustrated in Sir James Jeans' comment that God is the ultimate mathematician, and lies behind Albert Einstein's comment that God does not play dice. Creation by God provides a reason why the universe can be expected to behave in a predictable way.
As a result, scientists can develop theories, and make predictions about the future, in order to test their theories. And tests like this are accepted as basic means to increase human knowledge about nature. It is also the reason why simple things which happen regularly can be relied upon. For example, the time of sunrise can be predicted with great precision for many years in advance, and times of solar or lunar eclipses can be forecast in the same way. The universe has been wisely and rationally made.
On the other hand, "mindless chance" does not provide any basis for confidence in making predictions about the future. Anything can happen if mindless chance operates, and this is the opposite of wisdom and rationality. Physical laws cannot be relied upon in such circumstances.
Another aspect of God's great wisdom and knowledge is reflected in the Biblical verses which say that God knows the numbers of the stars, and calls them all by name (Psalm 147:4, and Isaiah 40:26.) Modern astronomy cannot estimate the number of the stars, except in a very crude way, but it seems the number must be greater than 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. The problem of God knowing each one is no greater, however, than the knowledge involved in Jesus's statement that God knows the number of our hairs, or of the sparrows, or of details about lilies.
The immense distances in the universe display the power of God. A normal measuring stick that we use to describe distances in the universes is a "light year,' which is the distance that light travels in an earth year, at over 300,000 kilometres per second. Imagine the power of someone who can design, create, order, control objects which are millions of light years apart, or which are up to a million light years in size!
Also, my explorations in astronomy have helped me to appreciate God's great power. MY hobby involves research into one of the most powerful happenings in the universe - the explosion of a supernova. Imagine a hydrogen bomb having a size of over a million kilometres in diameter! And the imagine this enormous bomb exploding!
A supernova is a star which reaches a crisis point, and explodes with a power equal to a trillion hydrogen bombs going off at once (that is - 1 followed by 24 zeros.). The explosion causes a number of nuclear and radio-active processes to occur, which produces light equal to millions of times the intensity of light which was emitted by the star before the explosion. As a result, a supernova can be seen for much greater distances in the universe than any normal star.
A supernova explodes with such force that material is ejected from the point of the explosion at a speed of 10,000 kilometres per second, and more.
These explosions are studied for various reasons. Firstly, there is simply the quest for knowledge. But, hopefully, these objects will also provide us with a means for measuring more accurately the vast distances in the universe, and getting some clues about its age and destiny. This has indeed been happening in the last few years. It also seems to be that most of the heavy chemical elements (that is - heavier than iron) in the universe were formed in supernova explosions, and that these cataclysms play an important role in the history of stars, and of the universe.
Today, both amateurs and professional astronomers are involved in searching to find these enormous explosions. And teams of highly qualified professional astronomers now study these objects, which have exploded both within nearby galaxies (within 100 million light years of the earth), and also in extremely distant parts of the universe.
A God who can design and make, and also control, power such as we see in supernova explosions must be a God of power and might, a God to Whom it is no trouble to do whatever He wishes to do.
Beauty has been defined in many ways. Apart from definitions, a basic question about beauty is whether it is a quality which exists in a beautiful object, or whether it exists only in our minds, and does not exist as a quality in an object at all. If beauty is only imagined to be there, people say that the beauty is only "in the eye of the beholder." While this view may be true at times, most people believe that beauty is usually a real quality in a thing, and not simply imagination all the time. And this is certainly the Christian understanding of it.
Many people appreciate the beauty of nature, and of other parts of creation. Remember Harry Butler's comments about some strange creepy-crawly - "Isn't it beautiful?" Others recognise beauty is a flower, a sunset, a galaxy, in a friend's character, or in an act of kindness and love.
But these things are beautiful because they reflect and transmit the beauty of the Person who designed and made them. God is the source of beauty, and the standard by which real beauty is to be judged. Human works of art can be beautiful because they express God-given talents and inspiration.
Ugliness is evident in many ways, but is shown in its darkest forms when people set themselves against God, the source of beauty. In this way, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is the ugliest event in human history - a supreme act of rejection, which was aimed most directly at God. Yet God was able to transform it into something of great beauty when Jesus Christ made the sacrifice of Himself into the means of making sinners right with God. God also created great possibilities of beautiful things in the future by raising Christ from death.
When a person becomes a practising Christian, they have to adopt a completely new approach to God, and to life, which includes the re-education of our sense of taste, so that we begin to recognise beauty where God has put it, instead of merely seeing it in the place where worldly fashion, custom, or our friends, might say that it is. Beauty judged by earthly standards is more likely to be skin deep, or merely "in the eye of the beholder" (that is - present only because we have imagined it to be present.)
The beauty evident when one surveys the universe is a testimony to the underlying beauty of God. The shape of a spiral galaxy, for example, is remarkably beautiful, especially when we remember that these galaxies can measure 100,000 light years in diameter, can contain thousands of millions of stars, can be thousands of millions of years old, and weigh thousands of millions times the mass of the sun.
Many of the features of mathematics are also very beautiful. The simple fact that two and two always equal four has beauty about it. And beauty can be seen in many aspects of higher maths, by those with the ability to know these things.
Glory and Majesty
In these ways, the universe shows the wisdom, power and beauty of God, and attests to His creative abilities, glory and majesty, and the great qualities of His character and personality.
There are many other ways to see great qualities in God's character, and many other aspects to learn about. Christians know that God's nature is seen in a new and deeper way through the love of God, seen in the person and actions of Jesus Christ, and through the message of the Bible. But the message that the natural world gives us about God is open to all, whether the Bible is available or not, and even where no words are used.