2017-40 Science and faith

Stars: How great is our God!

May 22, 2017 LOA Editorial Office

If you look into the sky on a cloudless night, what do you see? Thousands of tiny shining lights. Some of these lights are planets, nebulas, and even galaxies, but most of them are stars.

I mmanuel Kant wrote “Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the more often and steadily we reflect upon them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.” As the Holy Scripture teaches us, the worlds as distant as the stars and the moral order in man are both the works of God. It is worthwhile to understand the universe in order to admire its extraordinary Creator (Wis. 13:5). Our guide on the pathway to the stars is Austin Sailsbury, the author of the album The Universe – the Splendor, Greatness and Beauty of God’s Creation, from which we will present fragments below.

What is a star made of?

When we gaze into the night sky, the stars look like thousands of tiny pinpoints of light on the dark background of space […]. Stars have always inspired poets, they have played roles in stories, and guided sailors. Besides, looking at them more closely, scientists have discovered that they are all fiery spheres of dust and gas. Even though they seem like they are located close to each other when we look at them in the constellations, they are in fact separated from each other, as they are from the earth, by many light years of distance. Within just the Milky Way, there are hundreds of billions of stars, endlessly varying from each other in shape, age, color, and size. If the sun were the size of a moderate melon, the relative sizes of other stars would fall somewhere between the size of blueberries to beyond that of a skyscraper.

Like everything else in creation, the existence of stars follows a certain order. They are born, they live, and – like supernovas and nebulas – they die. […] As the living stars remind us of God as a guide through the darkness, the death of great stars reminds us of His endless greatness and unlimited light.

“Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars! Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! (Ps 148:3)

The colors of stars

Although it might appear at first glance that all stars are the same color, in fact, they are almost as different from each other as the colors of the rainbow. A star’s color is directly linked to its surface temperature. Red stars are the coolest, their temperatures fall below 4000 degrees centigrade. Meanwhile, the hottest stars are the blue ones (45,000 degrees centigrade). Yellow stars, like our sun, are more or less in the middle. White dwarves are the exception to the rule: they can be anywhere on the scale, since they start out very hot, but then quickly cool off.

“God’s promises are like stars: the darker the night, the brighter they shine” (David Nicholas)

A star that burns hydrogen in its nucleus core is referred to as main sequence stars. These stars are yellow, blue, and whitish-azure. Ninety percent of visible stars are main sequence stars. […] Such a wide spectrum of colors is visible only through a telescope, but again it emphasizes the beauty of the diversity of even the most remote elements of creation.

To touch the stars

American geotechnician David E. Fischer confirms: “It would take many years to reach even the nearest stars, even if we travelled at the speed of light, which is impossible according to Einstein’s theory of relativity. Today’s fastest space ships would take 200,000 years to reach Alpha Centauri, the nearest star”.

And even if travel among the stars should prove to be impossible, isn’t it still a privilege just to be able to see God’s works as viewed from earth? To be a human being who has such a magnificent Creator? “Who alone stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the Sea; who made the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the chambers of the south; who does great things beyond understanding, and marvelous things without number.” (Job 9:8-10).