WHY DOES MAN MATTER?
Sermonette 08-Feb-2003† UCG† Ann Arbor, Michigan† Eric V. Snow
Recently, my brother bought me for my birthday an old war game published called ďOutreach.Ē† This type of game simulates a battle or war by having cardboard counters on a game board represent each sideís forces.† In this game, each player gets to direct a civilization over the generations on a game board that represents one third of the Milky Way galaxy.† Naturally enough, the game upholds an implicitly materialistic perspective of the universe:† What Godís role is in creating this galaxy or any other is ignored.
The game does have a philosophical/religious problem with it.† But the very situation it portrays still made me think about Godís greatness.† So then, why does mankind matter?† Why do we matter?† Consider the vastness of the universe.† God made it.† Why did He make us also?
S.P.S.† Because human life is temporary and only occupies a small dust speck in the universe, mankind only matters because God cares and will allow us to live forever in His kingdom.
What does the universe reveal about the Creator.† How big is it?
Letís consider some basic facts that estimate the size of the universe.† Rounding errors far larger than the solar system involved here.
The sun is a mere 92 or so million miles from earth.† It is about 86,500 miles in diameter (cutting across its center).
The nearest star, Proxima Centauri, is about 4.225 light years away.† What is a light year?† It is the speed at which light, the fastest thing in the material universe, for an entire year.† Itís about 5.88 trillion miles.† It is a mere 25 trillion miles away.† When I was 7 years old, moving by car with my family from near LA to Jackson (temporarily) took long enough (which is around 2300 miles).† And I donít like the idea it takes two hard long days to drive to Orlando, Florida!† Thatís somewhat over a thousand.† Can we REALLY understand a light year?
The Milky Way galaxy perhaps has somewhere around 100 billion stars, give or take a few billion.† Higher estimates have been made that are double or more than this.† Consider, by contrast, the number of people on earth.† What is it?† 6 billion.† That would give each person 16 or more stars each.
The Milky Way has a diameter of 100,000 light years, and it about 10,000 light years thick at its central cluster.† Just like the earth orbits the sun, the sun orbits the center of the galaxy.† Its period of rotation takes a mere 200 to 250 million years.
The ďLocal GroupĒ of galaxies has about 30 galaxies. It is about 3 million light years in diameter.† The Andromeda galaxy is about 2.2 million light years away, the Large Magellan Cloud galaxy is about 160,000 light years away, and the Small one is mere 180,000.† The last two have a mere 100 million stars in each.
A cluster has a few dozen to several thousand galaxies, up to 10 million light years in diameter.† Clusters in turn can be organized into superclusters.† Our Local Group of galaxies is part of the Local Supercluster.† The Virgo Cluster is near or at the center of the Local Supercluster, and is gradually pulling the Local Groupís galaxies closer together.
There is a Great Wall of galaxies.† It is over half a billion light years long, 200 million wide with a depth of 20 million.† It is a network of galaxies in whatís called a string or filament.† Apparently groups like this surround empty regions called voids where few stars or galaxies are.
Astronomers estimate there are about 125 billion galaxies in the universe.† Some galaxies are 12 billion to 16 billion light years away.† One estimate for the number of stars is 1 followed by 22 zeros, or 10 thousand trillion trillion.
Here the author of Hebrews is quoting King Davidís meditation on the heavens.† Notice how our ultimate destiny involves us being put over the universe.† Itís only because God cares that we matter.† Human life has no real significance or importance or meaning separate from God.† Otherwise, weíre like the Mayflies, and live a little while, and then die.† Dead squirrel put in trash can incident.
We get into our ďJobĒ modes, and think we can judge the Being who made all this.† Are we in a good position to do so when life is hard?† We know what happened to Job when he tried, right?
v. 15:† The nations themselves arenít that important in Godís sight.† Yet we can get so bent out of shape about (say) insults to our nation or other nations about insults to them or worse.
v.26† President Bush, 43, just quoted concerning Columbia disaster.
Conclusion:† We have to realize how GREAT a Being it is that we serve.† We get all caught up in our daily affairs and concerns in this one part of this one dust speck orbiting one ordinary star on the outskirts of one spiral galaxy in the Virgo cluster.† But are these daily issues, such as a bad day at work, that get us all emotionally upset and bent out of shape really all that important?†† We should remember that this life only has significance because God cares and will give us immortality.† Otherwise, life indeed is as Shakespeare had Macbeth described it in his tragedy by the same name:† ďOut, out brief candle!† Lifeís but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.Ē