God created the starry skies to display His glory, point us to Him and reveal His magnificent purpose for human life.
[Darris McNeely] The heavens declare the glory of God. What an amazing statement to begin to understand the view of a God-centered universe that God created essentially the universe, if we understand it correctly, to display his glory
When you look up to the stars above, what do you see? Do you see the hand of God or do we miss the point? The universe that we are privileged to observe is really meant to reveal the God of creation, the God of Abraham, the God of the Bible. It is meant to reveal to us our purpose and our place in the plan of God if we look at it carefully enough. It's actually meant to point us to God. It's meant as one of the greatest helps for you and I to develop a relationship with our God if we understand it correctly.
There's a Psalm, the 19th Psalm, that speaks to this. It's one of the basic Psalms. A lot of us will sing hymns out of this particular Psalm. It says beginning in verse one that, "the heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows his handiwork. Day unto day utter speech and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth and their words to the end of the world. The heavens declare the glory of God." What an amazing statement to begin to understand a view of a God-centered universe that God created essentially the universe, if we understand it correctly, to display His glory.
With that approach, everywhere that we turn our telescopes on this earth today we see immense space and distance. The most powerful telescopes from those that are land-based to the space-based Hubble telescope see vast space and distance, large astro bodies and systems that reveal more mystery. And the further we see and the more we see with those telescopes, the more we learn about our universe and the cosmos. And even the more we understand. And interestingly, the more we learn, the more we see, the more we discover, the more we actually revise the knowledge that we do have about the universe it seems every few years.
The Apollo 11 astronaut, Buzz Aldrin, stepped out of that lunar lander more than 50 years ago onto the moon. His words were simply this, "What a magnificent desolation." A magnificent desolation. Now as we look out further beyond the moon, we see that that desolation really doesn't just end with the moon. We see a continually expanding universe of great power and we see a lot of emptiness and we see a lot of desolation.
The universe began with a big bang and from that to the immense universe that we see, we see quite a bit. We see with so much power available to us and we see so much power going on in developing that the best minds that study this, the astronomers that look and study and see what is out there, they recognize that in every direction they look the universe is expanding. And they also come to a conclusion that one day it will very likely all collapse back on itself into what they call a singularity or a singular point. And then it would start all over again, another big bang and another expansion of the universe. Now that's way off in the distance, billions of years ahead of us. So you and I don't have to worry about that today. But that's exactly how they look and understand the universe.
And in that desolation as scientists and humans, as we study and look at all of that, we see being human. We see a lot of loneliness and we could if we're not careful come to a certain despair about what we do see if that's all we see and that's all we focus on. But if we focus our eyes upon the universe, through the lens of a God-centered universe, then we're going to be drawn to God. And just like we read in Psalm 19 and verse 1, we're going to see the glory of God, but we have to look at it from the lens of God. And as a result we will have understanding and also hope and not despair and not loneliness.
We have to understand this, that the universe and our human life is not going to end with a whimper and a bang like some conclude as they study it without the lens of God or with His word. But we have to understand the universe from God's perspective. And if we do, as I said earlier, there's not only great understanding but there is hope if we view it from God's perspective. But unfortunately as we look at the whole history of man's view of the heavens, the stars, the earth, the sun, the moon, and the universe; he has not seen the universe in this way.
The reason is this. The first humans that we find recorded in the Bible actually rejected the knowledge of God. And they began to take from what the Bible describes as the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and not from the tree of life. And as a result their eyesight, their view of themselves and certainly of the world and the universe, was distorted because they then began to look into the heavens. And as they looked to the heavens, they didn't see God. They didn't give God glory and they did not worship God. They actually began to see and worship another God with a little g, not a capital G. And they began to worship the god of this world. A god that is described in the book of second Corinthians chapter four in verse four as the god of this world. And that's what happened.
It all began in a place called Babel. We read about it early in the book of Genesis. Babel a place that is called that. And what it means is it's the gate of the gods. And that's where man began to see different gods and different divinities and deities in the universe. And as they looked into the heavens mankind began to see among the stars a false imagery. And they created a whole scenario among the stars of divine beings who were populating the starry skies as they looked at the heavens. And they created a whole false idea. The world was cut off from the knowledge of the true God and therefore their view of the cosmos and the heavens began to give rise to an imagination that frankly is still with us today, an imagination that has deceived the world in our time. As they looked at the sun and stars and how they rose and moved across the heavens, ancient man created various stories about those stars and what they imagined must be happening as by what they saw.
They created stories of conflict, of lust, of love, of jealousy, all the human emotions, gods and ideas about war. They created gods, both male and female as they looked at these stars as well. And they put upon these divinities their own human frailties, human nature. And they imagined that these deities were acting out dramas in the heavens that actually impacted human life on the earth. A farmer going out to sow every year in the early part of the year would think that the wealth and the health of his crops that he was going to plant would depend upon the alignment of the stars or how he looked at them. And that would determine whether he had a good crop or not.
Women who wanted to be having children seeking fertility of life, they would do so by worshiping the bright morning star as a female goddess that they felt would grant to them the blessing of childbirth. A king would look into the heavens and seek divine wisdom from the combination of the stars and their alignment that they thought would represent their chief god. And a lot of this really did begin to come together in that place called Babel later Babylon and the Babylonians really vilified this entire imaginative scene. And it influenced the Greeks and the Romans after them and the Jews as well who began to look to the skies and see false gods but they did not see the true God.
Again they did not give God glory and they did not see His glory. And all of this led to the formation of what we today call astrology, not astronomy, but astrology, the foretelling in the reading of future events of one's life, by the position of the stars in the heavens. And through astrology man began to take his first great leap into a scheme of describing how unseen forces from the deepest parts of the distance space and time and from the very depth of the heavens, these unseen spiritual forces were shaping their lives and they would make their decisions based upon that.
Here's where man looked into the heavens, into the skies, and again, instead of seeing the glory of the true God began to create and imagined for himself a false system of religion and explanation about life that's frankly still with us today still impacting our world. Instead of seeing God at the center of the universe ancient man began to see something else. They saw a false god and gods and that is the crucial story of how man has searched for meaning in the universe and to understand his place in the cosmos.
It all begins and ends with understanding and knowing really the answer to the question of who is God? Which is the title of the booklet that we are offering on this particular program of Beyond Today, ''Who Is God?'' It's a subject that's really at the heart of everything. We've prepared this booklet and it's actually one of our most interesting booklets because it asks the most basic question about life and provides the answer, ''Who is God?'' This booklet begins to explain the identity of the true God that you can begin to understand. And most people have just not begun to realize how much God has revealed about Himself to mankind, not only through the pages of the Bible, but also as we look at the world around us and especially as we look off into the heavens. We hope that you will go to the website, beyondtoday.tv and order your free copy of ''Who is God?'' It's going to take you through a fascinating study of discovery to understand one of the most essential questions important to every one of us.
Now as we talk about man's search to understand the universe and his place in it, we have seen how man looked at the heavens anciently and instead of seeing the glory of God, he saw a false God. Now that wasn't the only mistake that was made. Man also made another mistake. He concluded very early that this earth was the center of the universe, the very center, and that everything revolved literally around earth. Here's how the ancients imagined it. Each day the sun god rose in the east and rode in his chariot across the skies into the west at night where he then would get on a boat and travel through the underworld during the dark period of time and at the dawn of the next day, rise again in the east in his chariot and ride a blazing trail across the sky. And this was repeated every single day. And this was how they imagined and explained the rise of the sun and the darkness at night. As they looked at the stars and the skies they see that they would rotate around the heavens and earth was seen as a platform with a domed universe and a canopy of stars kind of hung out across the ceiling. And outside of that dome of stars they imagined that there was nothing else, nothing, no space, not even emptiness. Inside this sphere of the stars, and the sun and the moon and the earth, everything took place on all of its yearly and annual courses. This is how ancient people looked at it.
Now seeing by the naked eye of man this was all that was known and it kind of made sense because it did provide an orderly explanation of what was taking place. And that lasted for centuries. But their conclusion that earth was the center of it all was not right. And we know that today, but they didn't know that at that time. That became the accepted cosmological view for a long, long period. There was a Roman by the name of Ptolemy who described how all of this worked and his view was accepted for more than 1,000 years as truth. And it was like common sense, the way they looked at it. And the church accepted it as dogma. As they read the Bible and looked at what they thought was the universe this became the accepted truth. But guess what? They were wrong. Completely wrong. Because earth is not the center of the universe. It was not until the 16th and the 17th century when a group of scientists began to look and to see it differently.
Beginning with Nicholas Copernicus they began to question the worldview that was held with earth being at the center of everything. The invention of the telescope allowed man to get a closer view of the stars, the planets, and the moon. And they began to see that what was accepted knowledge was actually false. It was not true. Here's what they found out. They found out that the earth moved. This was a revolutionary thought. They saw that the planets moved around the sun and they did so in different orbits and at different speeds. And instead of the earth being at the center of our corner of the universe now beginning to be seen as just one system of a larger cosmos, now they could see that the earth and other planets actually rotated around the sun. And some of the planets like Jupiter, they began to see, had its own moons revolving around it.
Now all of this shook the accepted wisdom of the day. As we know, if you remember the story from your science or history class, it came to a head with a man named Galileo. When he was brought before the inquisition after looking through his telescope and accepting these ideas he was branded as a heretic. They said, you've got heretical ideas. You cannot teach this. The Roman Catholic Church could not accept this intrusion into what was accepted dogma of the time. By the time Copernicus and Kepler and Galileo and Newton finished all of this groundbreaking work, man's view of the heavens what we call today outer space was radically changed, fundamentally altered. Mankind learned that earth is not the center of the universe. That earth is merely one part of all of this. And that the sun is just one star. In fact it's one of many stars in a galaxy among countless galaxies. And the last century especially, in our time, the knowledge about the universe has multiplied many, many times over. And today we know that the size of the universe is so immense, so large, that we may never comprehend its exact size. In fact everywhere they look, every direction with the largest telescopes they see it's continually expanding, every direction.
The universe it is felt is far more than 14 billion years old. If we can even begin to imagine what that is, most of us can't. It size really cannot be measured. We discover black holes regularly, these immense systems that kind of act like cosmic vacuum cleaners out in space that just suck everything into it that comes near including light. And as scientists ponder all of these we wonder what they are and what they might reveal about the universe. Are they wormholes into another universe and to other cosmoses? The more we discover the more we realize that we don't know as much as we thought that we knew about space. It's a fascinating study to get into. Everything we discover about the universe is astounding. In fact, one of the most astounding things that I've recently read about is that the universe is largely empty, cold and lonely. Now just stop and think about that, that the space is so immense that there's not much there.
Stop and think about what we have discussed here in this program. Ancient man concluded earth was the center of the universe. He looked at the heavens and instead of seeing the glory of God he imagined false gods and a whole host of divinities up there. The pagan world gave us a false view of God as a result and even the medieval world saw that the earth and man was at the center of a worldview that science proved was incorrect. So we see two things. The world had a spiritual view of both man and God that was incorrect.
Are we any closer today to a correct understanding of the full truth about the universe, about God or about man? You see we have moved from a earth-centered or man-centered view of the universe to one that, frankly as you look and read what scientists say about it they have a view that the universe is one vast, empty, lonely, dark space. And as they view it so many different ways it's without God. And that's the progress that knowledge and understanding has given us. And frankly a lot of people feel even more alone. How is that? Well we'll consider that in just a moment. But again, the booklet we are offering, ''Who Is God'' covers what I'm talking about here in far more detail from a biblical point of view. And it really tells the fascinating story of how God revealed Himself to mankind when He began working with the tiny nation of ancient Israel. And it also shows how God's plan expanded at Christ's first coming and will continue into the glorious future. So call the number on your screen or go to beyondtoday.tv to order your free copy.
Now when the telescope shattered the view that the earth was the center of the universe it was part of a revolution in knowledge that led to a modern scientific world where human reason has reigned supreme ever since. But what came next? Well it was the evolutionary theory that man's merely the highest form of life, that through chance carbon-based life came into existence and God in any form was no longer involved. There was no God. Science then becomes God. Man's just another animal, the one that reached the highest order and could ask the question, "Who am I? What am I?"
Man has moved from a wrong cosmic understanding about God to a more distant view of God and, frankly to an outright rejection of God. So what the Bible says in Romans 1:20 Romans 1:20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
American King James Version×is very true where it says, ''For since the creation of the world, God's invisible qualities, his eternal power and his divine nature have been clearly seen being understood from what has been made so that people are without excuse.'' There was this physicist named Stephen Hawking, very famous man that died a few years ago. His last pronouncement was that the universe did not need a creator to get started. Physical processes could do all of that. God, Mr. Hawking said, was not needed. And all this increased knowledge about the cosmos, its origins and how it works, frankly it's led to a rejection of God. And now the focus is on finding intelligent life like other carbon-based life out in the world. SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, has been going on for a long time and it's actually returned nothing. Vast telescopes, radio telescopes trained out into the universe.
Nothing except what came up in 1977 when a scientist discovered by looking at a list of numbers that came back from radio waves out of deepest space and he circled a line of numbers that you see there on the screen, 6EQUJ5 and he said, "Wow." He wrote that into the margins of the printout there and it's called the wow signal to this day. Thinking that that just might be some type of communication from an intelligent life form in the outer distances of the universe. Many years, billions of dollars and attention has returned essentially zero. And the Fermi paradox which says where is everybody is still what we labor with and struggle with. The truth is the universe contains billions of galaxies, which contains billions of stars that have existed for billions of years. And for all of our searching life on earth is the only known form of carbon-based life that we know.
Could it be, and this is the great question, that human life on earth is the only intelligent life form in the universe? If as some have concluded it is, then maybe it's time for a new approach to admit the obvious that earth was created by a creator God who reveals Himself in the Bible where it says in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. In other words, earth was created for man and it was waiting here for man, for God to scoop out of the dust of the earth the first humans, and to create man in His image to form a relationship with that part of His creation, the highest form of His creation.
Could it be that that indeed is the purpose and that earth was created for that purpose and therefore it's not earth centered, not human centered, but it is a God-centered universe in which we live? Again the book that we are offering on our program today, ''Who Is God?'' is going to take our audience and all of us into a deeper understanding of this most critical of knowledge and understanding for us to know. "Who is God?" Write for your free copy at the address on your screen or go to beyondtoday.tv. Make no mistake, we live in a God-centered universe and when we focus our mind on that key we will find the true meaning and true purpose for human life.
[Narrator] Call now to receive the free booklet offered on today's program, "Who Is God?" For thousands of years, people have wondered about God. Is He real? If so, who and what is He? What's His plan for you and me? This free study aid, ''Who Is God'' will use your Bible to paint a true portrait of who and what God is. You will answer the important and enduring questions about God. You will even answer perhaps the greatest question of all, "Why did God make us?" Through the Bible, God lays out a detailed view of his divine character by fitting together the many passages that reveal Him. You can know who God is and how He will expand His own family by bringing many sons to glory.
Learn what the Bible reveals about the true God. Order now, call 1-888-886-8632 or write to the address shown on your screen. For most people, even the relationship between God the Father and Jesus Christ remains a Trinitarian mystery, but it shouldn't. You can understand. Your Bible reveals the truth. When you order this free study aid, we'll also send you a complimentary one year subscription to Beyond Today Magazine. Beyond Today Magazine brings you understanding of today's world and hope for the future. Six times a year, you'll read about current world events in the light of Bible prophecy, as well as practical knowledge to improve your marriage and family and godly principles to guide you toward a life that leads to peace. Call today to receive your free booklet, ''Who Is God'' and your free one year subscription to Beyond Today Magazine 1-888-886-8632 or go online to beyondtoday.tv.