I do not claim to be a scientist or mathematician, but I plan to dabble in both these disciplines a bit in this post. I want us to consider a verse in the Psalms about stars with mindblowing implications. The verse is Psalm 147:4 —
He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.
How Many Stars Are There?
Visible from earth with just the eyes maybe around 9,000. If you don’t believe me, start counting tonight. But 9,000 doesn’t even come close to how many stars there are in the universe.
In the Milky Way Galaxy – that’s us – there are estimated to be over 300 BILLION stars. 300 billion. Now, we are considered to be just an average size galaxy.
Well, just how many galaxies are there in the universe? Maybe over 100 BILLION! In reality, we are beginning to play with fanciful numbers here. Once you get past 500 million, how is anyone really keeping track anyway, am I right?
But, for the sake of this post, let’s keep the math simple here.
Multiply 300 billion (number of stars in an average sized galaxy) x 100 billion (number of galaxies)
Believe it or not, this number is actually significantly higher than even the U.S. national debt. I don’t know the official name of this number actually. But I do know the name of a 1 with 18 zeros behind it. That’s a quintillion.
There are over 3 quintillion stars in the universe. Really, this is a number that almost has no meaning because it’s so big we cannot fully fathom it!
How Much is a Quintillion Anyway?
Let’s say you had a lot of $100 bills. A lot. Let’s say you had enough $100 bills to equal 1 quintillion dollars. If you took those bills and stacked them on top of each other you would get all the way past Jupiter before you reached a quintillion dollars!
What could you do with a quintillion pennies? Well, if you were so inclined, you could lay them out touching one another and cover….THE ENTIRE EARTH! Twice!
The argument I’m making here is that 1 quintillion is a very big number and there are over 3 quintillion stars in the universe. All of this brings me to Psalm 147:4.
God is Bigger Than You Can Fathom
God named over 3 quintillion stars. He made them, put them in their place, and named them. This. Is. Mind-blowing.
Look, I have 5 children. Just plain ole number five with no “illion” behind it. I have 5 kids and I struggle to call the right child’s name sometimes. I am a weak, fallible human being.
God has basically 1 quintillion times the number of children I have in stars and gives to all of them their names. This brings up quite a few thoughts for me about God:
I think of God’s POWER – every second our sun produces enough energy for 1 TRILLION atom bombs. And our sun is just an average star. God in His might, made over 3 quintillion stars. What awesome power is in this great God!
I think of God’s WISDOM, KNOWLEDGE, and CREATIVITY – I feel accomplished when I make my boys a Lego airplane. God made 3 quintillion stars. Put them in place and named them. What a glorious God! And many of these stars He made knowing we would never see them. He just did it to do it. Let this fill you with awe!
I think of God’s AUTHORITY – When you get a pet dog you get to name it. You’re the owner of a pet dog. God owns 3 quintillion stars. Beat that. He names them because He can. They are His to name. The majesty of an earthly king is tied to the amount of land he rules. And God rules quintillions of stars. Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name!
I think of God’s BEAUTY – Have you ever been out on a clear night and just looked up in the sky? Beautiful. God made that. God made it beautiful because He is beautiful (Ps. 27:4).
I think of God’s GLORY – I mean you can only see about 5,000 stars on any given night. But God made 3 quintillion. Why did He make so many? Because He is glorious (Ps. 19:1). The stars preach a sermon to us: God is glorious.
Our concept of God is too small. He made 3 quintillion stars and He named them. But you know what else I think of when I think of these verses?
I think of God’s KINDNESS – we see a glimpse into the heart of God. He named the stars. He named them. He is kind. He is good. He is personal. He named the stars. He didn’t have to, but it’s just like God to do.
His strength, and knowledge, and authority are infinite! And so is His goodness. But this means because He is good, He will punish Sin.
Psalm 147:6 says He casts the wicked to the ground.
And of course, that’s problematic for us because we are all sinners.
From Stars to the Cross
God casts the wicked to the ground. I’m in that camp. Because God is good, He must punish sin. Because He is all powerful and has all authority He will punish sin. Because He has all knowledge and wisdom He will get it exactly right. There is no escape.
So where does this leave us? The Cross. The same attributes we see displayed in the God’s star creating and naming ability we see meet at the cross.
Whoever would have thought that 3 quintillion stars would have driven us to a lowly wooden Cross?
Because God punished my wickedness in His own Son – Because the maker of 3 quintillion stars took on flesh, lived perfect on earth, and then died in my place – I can have fellowship with Him through repentance and faith in Christ.
This is the God of the Bible. This is the God we proclaim. Majestic and Mighty. Infinitely Holy and Wonderful.
Next time you look up at the night sky, worship Him as He deserves. Let the stars lead you to glory in our triune God and fuel your meditations of Christ’s cross.
If you don’t know this God on a personal level, look to Christ. Repent of your sin and come to Him in faith, believing that He justifies the ungodly. Meaning Jesus didn’t come for the righteous, but the unrighteous.
You’re not the star after all.
That’s good news.