Long Ago, In a Galaxy Far, Far, Away


Astronomers
in Melbourne, Australia have detected a galaxy that is more ancient than any
galaxy ever seen. They have named the galaxy A1689B11 and have determined that the light now
reaching earth was emitted 11 billion years ago and has been travelling toward
us ever since. That means that this light started travelling toward the earth just 2.6
billion years after the creation of the universe at the Big Bang, and 6.5 billion years before the earth was formed.
By viewing
this galaxy, we are able to look further back in time than anyone has looked
before. It is like viewing an ancient fossil of the universe frozen at a particular
time. No one knows what this galaxy looks like at the present time. It has had
11 billion years to change and grow or shrink. Astronomers believe that this
may be one of the very first spiral galaxies that came to be.
Looking at
this from a theological perspective, we see that God is continually in the
creative mode: 11 billion years ago, as well as today. I say today because even
as you read these words lava is pouring out of a volcano in an ocean somewhere
and is adding mass to an island. Somewhere in the dusty nebulae of the
universe, giant orbs of rock and sand are slowly condensing into larger and larger
masses until they suddenly explode into new stars. The immensity of creating a universe is unfathomable to our minds. Yet God has left enough
clues to inspire awe in those who look for and trust in the Creator God.
Isaiah
40:12, 13, 22, 31 (NIV):
Who has measured the waters in the
hollow of his hand,
    or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
    or weighed the mountains on the scales
    and the hills in a balance?
Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord,
    or instruct the Lord as his counselor?
… God sits above the circle of the
earth.
    The people below seem like grasshoppers to him!
He spreads out the heavens like a curtain
    and makes his tent from them.
… those who trust in the Lord will
find new strength.
    They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
    They will walk and not faint.
May we trust in the mighty Lord who creates galaxies and
islands, stars and eagles.