Hubble and the Glory of God

HubbleMan is a worshiping animal. And since this is 2015 I have to point out the “man” includes woman (male and female he created them, Gen. 1:27). If we don’t worship the true and living God, we will worship something else; as Calvin says, the human heart is an idol making factory. We modern people are much more creative, and so much more sophisticated than the ancients who worshiped animals and such carved in stone or wood. For us it’s money or a career, or family, or power, or sex, or sports teams, or health, or looks, or lovers, or almost ad infinitum. As God through Elijah demonstrates with the prophets of Baal, idols and false gods do not deliver.

Fortunately we have a God who has revealed himself to us so obviously, and so compellingly, that when the idols don’t deliver, when they fail to fulfill, fail to bring satisfaction and ultimate meaning, we have his voice in his Word, in his Son, and in his creation to tell us where ultimate lies. Science has been a great help in revealing to us the majesty of the Living God. As Paul says in Romans 1, “God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” But, you say, hasn’t science shown that the universe doesn’t need a God, that natural laws are all that are needed to explain everything. Well, no it hasn’t. There are plenty of books and resources out there to make that case, but that’s not the point of this blog post. What is, is the majestic glory and greatness of the Creator God we serve.

Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble space telescope, which as this LA Times piece says has changed the way we see the universe. Oh indeed it has:

Without Hubble, astronomy “would be an awful lot poorer a field,” said Mike Garcia, a program scientist for Hubble at NASA headquarters in Washington. “The Hubble images capture the beauty of the heavens in a way that nothing else has done. The pictures are works of art, and nothing else has done that.”

The beauty is breathtaking. Take a look at the Times gallery and the captions and see the celestial art incredibly presented.

When confronted with such beauty, with art that so wonderfully captures an excellence we can scarcely understand, what is our response? Have you ever been to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC and scene a Rembrandt painting up close? Or the Uffizi Galary in Florence and gazed up at Michelangelo’s stunning David? Or beheld his almost incomprehensible Sistine Chapel in Rome? Do we not wonder how an artist could capture such beauty? Do we not intuitively know such beauty doesn’t create itself? Why would we not automatically look at Hubble pictures and exclaim the glory of the creator of that beauty? Because secular Western culture via education, entertainment, and the media has programmed people into a notion that is clearly as implausible as it is illogical: the natural beauty we view in the universe needs no cause; it is self-existent. Of course even a child knows better, which is why people have to be educated out of belief in God. A quote from the Times article reflects this mentality well:

“An image captures people’s imaginations right away,” said John Trauger, a senior scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada-Flintridge. “Hubble has really helped the idea of communicating science.”

Maybe, but what it has really helped with is communicating the idea of a living, omnipotent creator God!

Fortunately in this case and in numerous others, science isn’t working out quite the way the atheists and skeptics had hoped. Far from making God expendable, as Eric Metaxas wrote in the Wall Street Journal on Christmas Day last year, “Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God.” As you look at the pictures the wonderful marvel of science has given us in the Hubble space telescope, the only proper response is doxology, as Paul declares at the end of Romans 11:

33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay them?”
36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.