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He made the stars also.
Within the story of creation there is embedded a foretaste of the story of redemption.
Though there might be other passages that are more controversial, it is almost certainly the Bible’s opening chapter that wears the crown as the most contested. I think that’s the case because Genesis 1 is so blunt with its assertion regarding how everything came into being. The first four words get right to the point: “In the beginning, God . . .” Indeed, the first four words of the Bible might just be the most formative and foundational words in the Bible itself. If one doesn’t affirm “In the beginning, God,” it’s unlikely that the rest of Scripture will ever fall into place. “In the beginning, God” is itself an assertion that bespeaks a sovereign authority to which every breathing soul must answer. To escape all of that, however, mankind concocts all manner of theories and hypotheses about how everything we see came into being. Each of them, though, lacks one key ingredient: the presence or involvement of God. Nearly every theory that scientists and physicists have proposed to explain the origins of the universe stems from their insistence that they don’t need God at all. The “scientific” explanations over which academia fawns are nothing but attempts to explain humanity’s meaning, purpose, and life without any sort of higher power or authority to which mankind is answerable.
For example, the most widely accepted of all these theories, The Big Bang Theory, says that approximately 13.8 billion years ago, the universe started from an incredibly hot, dense point. Suddenly, that point exploded and began expanding, leading to everything we see in the universe today. All the tissues that make up the human eyeball; all synapses that allow the human brain to process information at supercomputer speeds; all the sinews and muscle fibers that give an athlete their agility, all of that “just happened.” Accordingly, it “just so happened” that the Earth is perfectly positioned within our solar system, sitting roughly 93 million miles away from the sun. Any closer, and we’d be fried. Any further away, and we’d freeze. But “it just so happens” that our planet is so perfectly positioned in its course around the sun that it is bursting with life.
The bang! that set everything into motion “just so happened” to result in a rock floating around a star that was so ideally placed that it allowed plants to grow, birds to migrate, and, eventually, symphonies to be written. The mathematical probability of all of that “just happening” is minimal to nonexistent; it’s something like one-thousandth of a trillionth. But rather than conceding the fact that even basic math cannot make sense of all this, the mantra of modernity is “trust the science” — which is a phrase that, in and of itself, is entirely illogical. True scientific research isn’t a matter of taking things on trust. Indeed, no self-respecting scientist would ever be caught saying, “Just take my word for it.” By its very definition, science deals with data, specifically data that is observable, testable, and repeatable. According to that standard, the Big Bang Theory fails every time.
This explosive hypothesis for our universe’s origins is nothing more than a man-centered and man-created system of belief for how creation came to be. Actually, it’s a declaration of faith, not science. That’s the irony: for as loud as theories of primordial masses and big bangs are applauded, each of them begins from a standpoint not of science but of axiomatic truth. All their theories and hypotheses begin with faith — only theirs is faith “in the mechanics of the world,” to imbibe the quip from Christopher Nolan’s Tenet. The rationale of most modern scientists attests that it is a truth that barely needs to be explained that everything began with “the singularity” and its subsequent cosmic explosion. But the point remains that this theory is nothing but a belief in an axiom.
Similarly, though, Scripture starts from a standpoint of axiomatic truth. “In the beginning, God” is a declaration of self-evident dogma. It’s not “scientific,” but then again, the biblical account of creation was not written to be a “proof” of anything, per se, scientific or otherwise. By the same standard used before, there is nothing observable, testable, or repeatable about the Bible’s account of creation. We were not there when God spoke a word and “established the heavens.” We were not around “when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep, when he assigned to the sea its limit,” or when “he marked out the foundations of the earth” (Prov. 8:27–30), but we take that account to be true by faith. That’s how the writer of Hebrews puts it: “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible” (Heb. 11:3).
The power of God to create things “ex nihilo” — out of nothing — is never “proven” in Scripture, it’s just assumed (Acts 14:15; Col. 1:15–17). God never reveals his formula for how he came up with the size of the Earth nor are we ever given his algorithm for determining the perfect placement of the Earth within our solar system. From the beginning, we are confronted with the bare fact that everything that we see around us was created by the bare “word of God” alone. “The universe was created by the word of God,” the Hebrew writer attests. By the word of his power, Paul echoes, he “called into existence the things that do not exist” (Rom. 4:17). “In the beginning was the Word,” writes St. John, “and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:1–3).
The axiom of creation is the fact that all of it came to be because God said so (Gen. 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26, 28–30). But Genesis 1 isn’t meant to be understood only as an account of creation or as a divine proposal for the origins of the universe. Like the rest of Scripture, Genesis 1 should be understood as an integral installment in the unfolding revelation of the character and heart of God. What, then, does Genesis 1 reveal about God? In particular, it gives us a glimpse at what truly matters to him. If you’re desirous to know what God cares about the most, then look no further than the fourth day of creation (Gen. 1:14–19).
On this day, God utters a word and puts the sun and moon into their positions, “the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night” (Gen. 1:16). But what stands out about this day is that included in this act of creation are all the stars, too. “He made the stars also” reads the KJV. It’s almost an afterthought, as if God told Moses, “Oh yeah, and I made some stars on that day, too.” It would appear that God considers the 100 to 400 billion stars that populate the Milky Way to be nothing but a parenthesis in the creation of the universe. God’s passing remark about creating the stars from nothing showcases where his focus is — notably, it’s not on the vast array of stars, the distant planets, or the galaxies far, far away. What God cares about the most is you and me.
It’s not by accident that God draws Abraham’s attention to the stars when giving him his promise. On three separate occasions, in fact, God uses the “stars of heaven” to demonstrate how great his love is for his servant Abraham (Gen. 15:5; 22:17; 26:4). And when we, too, gaze upon the marshaled luminaries of the heavens, we ought to be staggered by the same thing. All those billions upon billions of stars that light up the night sky are nothing more than a footnote when compared to the faithful love God has for us. For as infinitely unknowable as this universe is, it is nothing compared to the love of God that takes on flesh and walks on this “mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.” Even though this earth is “a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena,” as Carl Sagan once put it, God’s Word testifies that it is precisely on the very small stage of this “pale blue dot” that the Creator of everything has sovereignly chosen to display the immensity of his love for sinners and scoundrels.
The crucifixion is, therefore, made all the more scandalous in light of creation. The very one who spoke every tree into existence is the same one who bleeds out on a tree for the sins of the world. The same one who formed the body of Adam from the dust of the Earth willingly takes on a body as the Second Adam so that he might taste death and thereby redeem every Son of Adam and Daughter of Eve. Within the story of creation, there is embedded a foretaste of the story of redemption. The very God who can “measure the waters in the hollow of his hand and mark off the heavens with a span . . . and weigh the mountains in scales” (Isa. 40:12) is the same God who cares more about this planet and the people that populate it than anything else he ever created. The stars are nothing but the window dressing on the wonderful work of God’s eternal redemption.