By Pastor David M. Choi
When I look at 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, and the son of man that you care for him? -Psalm 8:3-4
How incredible are the Whirlpool and Pinwheel galaxies? Which are just two out of a trillion galaxies in the known universe! Yet what purpose do they actually serve? I know this seems like an odd question to ask, because typically we don’t think of far-off galaxies as serving a purpose – or, having a reason. Rather, we tend to think of them in terms of their astronomical functions (and often mistakenly conflate the two by saying their function is their purpose).
When you look at these images, or better yet step outside on a clear brisk night and see with your own eyes the stars that litter the skies above, what do you feel? No doubt you are stricken with a deep sense of amazement, awe, and wonder, that is, by the beauty of their cosmic rays. No doubt you feel small, as tiny as a dust particle, in comparison to their vast size, incomprehensible distance, and sheer numbers. And no doubt you feel lighter, like you are somehow being lifted to otherworldly realms.
But why do we feel such things? What is meant to happen by doing so? Simply put, we feel such things because they are a testament to God’s glory – the work of His fingers – and by experiencing God’s glory in this way we are drawn to worship Him.
For this reason, God breathed out the stars and galaxies (Psalm 33:6), and we see it having its intended effect on the Psalmist as he magnifies the Lord. Thus, God creates and orders the constellations for our sake. Yes, you heard me correctly. The billions of galaxies, and the trillions of stars, are for us and for God’s pleasure. By establishing the starry hosts, the Lord gives us a small glimpse of His power, which in turn deepens the way we experience His great love toward us. Check it out.
The star-breathing God, who is more infinite than the infinite universe itself, is the same God who humbled Himself by taking on human flesh for our salvation. The star-breathing God, who upholds the galaxies and keeps the stars in their positions, is the same God who binds up our broken hearts. The star-breathing God, who stands over and against all of the interstellar pathways, is the same God who enters into time and space in order to bring home lost and weary sinners. Do you see? Such is their purpose.
John Polkinghorne, a theoretical physicist and theologian at the University of Cambridge, writes, “The universe required ten billion years of evolution before life was even possible; the evolution of the stars and the evolving of new chemical elements in the nuclear furnaces of the stars were indispensable prerequisites for the generation of life.” Isn’t that astounding? The way in which God breathes out stars. And isn’t that profoundly humbling? That the stars exist to enable our lives so that by them we would be led back to life itself through worship. What is man, O Lord, that you are mindful of him?