HAVE you ever stood near a fire on a cold night? Perhaps you held out your hands at just the right distance from the flames to enjoy the radiating warmth. If you leaned in too close, the heat became unbearable. If you stepped back too far, the cool night air closed in, and you felt chilled.
There is a “fire” that warms our skin by day. That “fire” is burning some 93 million miles (150 million km) away! What power the sun must have for you to be able to feel its heat from such a distance! Yet, the earth orbits that awesome thermonuclear furnace at just the right distance. Too close, and earth’s water would vaporize; too far, and it would all freeze. Either extreme would render our planet lifeless. Essential to life on earth, sunlight is also clean and efficient, not to mention delightful.
Jehovah “prepared the luminary, even the sun
As you may know, our sun is a star. It appears larger than the stars we see at night because, compared with them, it is quite close. How powerful is it? At its core, the sun is about 27,000,000 degrees Fahrenheit (15,000,000°C). If you could take a pinhead-sized piece of the sun’s core and put it here on the earth, you could not safely stand within 90 miles (140 km) of that tiny heat source! Every second, the sun emits energy equivalent to the explosion of many hundreds of millions of nuclear bombs.
The sun is so huge that over 1,300,000 of our earths could fit inside it. Is the sun an unusually large star? No, astronomers call it a yellow dwarf. The apostle Paul wrote that “star differs from star in glory.” (1 Corinthians 15:41) He could not have known how true those inspired words are. There is a star so huge that if it were placed right where the sun is, our earth would be inside it. Another giant star so placed would reach all the way out to Saturn—although that planet is so far from the earth that it took a spacecraft four years to get there, traveling over 40 times faster than a bullet fired from a powerful handgun!.
Raise Your Eyes High Up and See
Even more awesome than the size of the stars is their number. In fact, the Bible suggests that the stars are virtually innumerable, as difficult to count as “the sand of the sea.” (Jeremiah 33:22) This statement implies that there are far more stars than the naked eye can see. After all, if a Bible writer, such as Jeremiah, had looked up at the night sky and had tried to count the visible stars, he would have counted only three thousand or so, for that is how many the unaided human eye can detect on a clear night. That number might be comparable to the number of grains in a mere handful of sand. In reality, though, the number of stars is overwhelming, like the sand of the earth.
About how many stars does our Milky Way galaxy contain
Isaiah 40:26 answers: “Raise your eyes high up and see. Who has created these things? It is the One who is bringing forth the army of them even by number, all of whom he calls even by name.” Psalm 147:4 says: “He is counting the number of the stars.” What is “the number of the stars”? That is not a simple question. Astronomers estimate that there are over 100 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy alone. But ours is just one of many galaxies, and many of those swarm with even more stars. How many galaxies are there? Some astronomers have estimated 50 billion. Others have calculated that there may be as many as 125 billion. So man cannot even determine the number of galaxies, let alone the way of devil.
Our awe can only increase when we contemplate the size of galaxies. The Milky Way galaxy has been estimated to measure some 100,000 light-years across. Picture a beam of light traveling at the tremendous speed of 186,000 miles each second (300,000 km/sec). It would take that beam 100,000 years to traverse our galaxy! And some galaxies are many times the size of ours. The Bible says that Jehovah is “stretching out” these vast heavens as if they were mere fabric. (Psalm 104:2) He also orders the movements of these creations. From the smallest speck of interstellar dust to the mightiest galaxy, everything moves according to physical laws that God has formulated and put into effect. (Job 38:31-33) Thus, scientists have likened the precise movements of man.