Proverbs 27:17

Proverbs 27:17

Saturday, December 10, 2022



            We do live on a planet in a vast universe. And it’s natural to ask where we all came from and for what purpose we exist. Our home on earth seems so insignificant and small, suspended as it is in the vastness of space. Is God out there somewhere in the vastness? Think about space for a moment. It seems to stretch on and on without any possibility of ending. When we try to imagine the size even of the known universe, it’s impossible to truly comprehend. But let’s try. 

Why Does Anything exist?

            The expanses of the universe are so immense that we measure them using the light-year, which is the distance light travels in 365 days. Light travels at the speed of 186,282 miles per second. In a year, that distance, multiplied out and rounded off, increases to 5,865,696,000,000, almost 6 trillion, miles. To put that in a perspective we can almost grasp, it takes a sunbeam just over 8 minutes to travel the 93 million miles from the sun to earth. So what is the size of the observable universe in terms of light-years? Scientists say matter is spread over a space at least 93 billion light-years across. Our Milky Way galaxy is roughly 100,000 light years in diameter. Its nearest sister galaxy, the Andromeda galaxy, is located roughly2.5 million light years away. And there are probably more than 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe. As finite beings we simply cannot imagine such distances, such magnitude. And the very concept of infinite space is far more than our minds can handle. How was this vast space formed and why?

            Thinking about time presents a similar dilemma. It’s impossible to conceive of a beginning or an ending of time because the only thing we can imagine before or after time is just more time. Since everything we experience has a starting and an ending the concept of eternity is incomprehensible to us. 

            Time, the vastness of space, and the number of galaxies are for the most part mysteries to us. Could it all be here just by chance? Where did it all come from? If we look right here on our home planet we also find the mysteries and fascination of nature. Take the grass cutter ant, for example. These amazing creatures have developed a complex social structure called a colony, one of which can number in the hundreds of thousands of ants. It requires sophisticated communication and coordination to gather large quantities of food to feed the colony, and each ant is a specialized member of a team that accomplishes that feat. 

            Scout ants are sent out to find food. When an ant finds a succulent leaf, it scurries back to the colony to deliver the news, frequently touching the ground with its body to lay down a scent trail between the ant mound and the food source. Foraging ants follow that aromatic trail to the food source. 

            Certain cutter ants use a “song” to communicate the discovery of high-quality leaves that need to be harvested. The ant “sings” by producing a high-frequency vibration with its abdomen against the leaf. Other ants from up to three feet away perceive the vibration through their legs. They follow the vibration to the leaf, and together they cut it away from its stalk and carry it back to the ant mound. Ants can support 100 times their own weight, and these cutter ants will carry plants up to a thousand feet—a distance equivalent to more than three football fields—to get food to the colony.

            Cutter ants are indeed a great and wonderful mystery, but an even greater one is your ability to read these words and marvel at the sophisticated communication skills, coordination abilities, and strength of those little creatures. Because inside your skull is a three-pound wonderment. Your eyes blink and follow the words on this page. The words are symbols with specific meaning that string together thoughts, which you can understand as you read. Your heart pumps, you inhale and exhale, your body is digesting and processing food.

            All these involuntary muscle movements are controlled by the miracle organ called the brain. Your ability to walk, run, sit, sleep, touch, see, hear smell, taste, and feel every type of emotion is being processed right now through over 100 billion nerve cells called neurons. Your neurons have the amazing ability to gather and transmit electrochemical signals that tell your muscles to move the parts of your body so it will accomplish what you want it to do. These neurons are like the gates and wires in a computer—only immeasurably more complex. While medical science has made significant advances in understanding how the brain works, most of it still remains a mystery. For example, in a digital computer, information is processed by a small set of “registers” that operate at speeds of billions of cycles per second. The brain uses its neurons to process vastly more information but at speeds of only around 100 cycles per second. How does the brain function so much more effectively than the most sophisticated and complex computer made today? No one really knows. 

            Your brain is the most complex biological structure known today. Yet how did it come to be? Where did you and your brain, the tiny ant, the Milky Way Galaxy, and all that is in the universe come from? Why is there something in existence instead of nothing? What or who brought everything into being? And for what purpose?

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