The first words of the Bible launch a foundational verse:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
But often overlooked is part of a verse that appears later in the chapter. I think of this verse as God’s little stone in man’s shoe:
HE MADE THE STARS ALSO. (Genesis 1:16)
This brief comment leaps off the page from the end of a verse which describes God’s creative activity on Creation Day Four (Genesis 1:16).
But in the original Hebrew the comment is even briefer — it reads simply “and the stars“:
And God maketh the two great luminaries, the great luminary for the rule of the day, and the small luminary — and the stars — for the rule of the night.
(Genesis 1:16, Young’s Literal Translation)
Yet this very brief comment, just a little stone in your shoe to keep snagging your attention and make you ponder, is truly astronomically astounding!!! Think what “and the stars” entails:
The galaxies God made in a single day 6,000 years ago range from dwarf galaxies with “only” ten million (10,000,000) stars to giant galaxies with 100 trillion (100,000,000,000,000) stars. Our own Milky Way galaxy contains over 100 billion (100,000,000,000) stars and is about 100,000 light-years across. And there are well over 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe.
The largest known galaxy in the universe is the yellow-red elliptical galaxy IC 1101. It lies one billion light-years away and is six million light-years across. It contains 100 trillion stars. Comparing IC 1101 with the Milky Way, IC 1101 is 60 times as large with 1,000 times as many stars.
IC 1101’s 100 trillion stars are too many for the human mind to comprehend. How big is 100 trillion = 100,000,000,000,000? It’s far greater than the age of the universe in seconds. The universe has only existed for about 6,000 years or a bit less than 190 billion (190,000,000,000) seconds. To reach 100 trillion seconds would take over 3 million years.
Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name. Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power not one of them is missing. (Isaiah 40:26)
Counting the Stars
He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them. Great is our Lord, and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite. (Psalms 147:4-5)
How many stars did God make on Creation Day Four? A 2010 estimate reported
300 sextillion = 3 × 1023 = 300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the observable universe.
For comparison, a 95-year-old has lived for about 3 billion seconds. This 2010 estimate of the number of stars is a hundred trillion TIMES that amount.
Only God knows how many stars are in the unobservable universe — very possibly there are even more stars in the unobservable universe than in the portion we can observe. God made all these innumerable stars in just one day and placed them in the heavens.
Yet man, with all of his boastful intellect, does not know how to make a single star. Man does not even know for sure how stars work.
The total energy of all these stars and galaxies is incomprehensible to humans. The power of the Creator is beyond man’s imagination. Yet man daily dares to insult and profane his Maker. Go figure.
How many stars are there? It’s a very simple question, yet man cannot answer it. God alone has numbered the stars.
Destiny of Stars
Scripture indicates that all these innumerable stars, each radiating incomprehensible amounts of energy, will one day be destroyed:
And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree. (Isaiah 34:4)
But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. (Matthew 24:29)
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. (2 Peter 3:10)
I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. (Revelation 6:12-14)
The Almighty Creator who made and sustains the stars can at any moment disintegrate them as He wills. This will be an awesome demonstration of His power and might.
Questions to Ponder
- What aspect of God’s creative work in making, numbering, and finally extinguishing the stars is most awe-inspiring to you?
- What concrete step can help remind you to keep giving our awesome Creator worship and praise?
Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.
Soli Deo Gloria.
Read the sequel:
Naming the Stars
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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Wednesday April 29, 2015 A.D.
By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. (Hebrews 11:3)