Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Abraham and Carl

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I’ve got a riddle for you.  What do the Biblical patriarch Abraham and astronomer Carl Sagan have in common?   Let me give you a hint.
He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Genesis 15:5 (NIV).
Did that clue help?   They both counted stars, but for very different reasons.  Being an astronomer/scientist, Carl Sagan did it for a living.  Abraham was requested by God to count the stars.  At this point in Genesis, Abraham and Sarah were still childless, and God was promising Abraham offspring as countless as the stars.  When he looked up at the stars as God instructed, Abraham probably saw thousands of them with his naked eyes, or did he?  No, I’m not talking about Abraham needing glasses.  I’m referring to the stars themselves. 
Did you know a star is not always a single star? There are more double (binary) star systems then there are single stars like our sun.  They so far away (millions & millions of miles) that they appear as a single point of light in the night sky instead of two. 
Wow.  We just increased Abraham’s number of stars.  Now we’re going to increase the star count even more.  Our sky is full of galaxies so far away that they also appear as a single point of light. Each galaxy can contain millions or billions of stars themselves. 
 The picture above was taken by the Hubble Telescope courtesy of NASA.  Can you see all the galaxies?  This is in just one section of the night sky.
Too bad Abraham didn’t have a modern telescope like Carl used. He would’ve seen countless stars.  Then Abraham would have been overwhelmed when he realized how big God’s promise to him truly was.  Does the same hold true of the promises God makes to us today?  Absolutely! We’re the ones who put a limit on His promises based on our understanding of the world and what’s going on around us.  God’s promises to us have NO boundaries.  Don’t believe me?  Download a Hubble deep space image and try to count each and every star.  By the way, if you ever get done, let me know.
            Below are a couple of links to check out all the stars and space stuff God has created.     Hubble telescope pictures    NASA’s Astronomy picture of the day.

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