Scientist Says Universe Inexplicable

I heard a space scientist on the radio last week. He was saying that in space there is no up or down or left or right. One star appears to be right next to another, he explained, but they might really be hundreds – perhaps thousands – of light years apart. And in relation to one another, neither is higher or lower than the other. He said our vocabulary for spatial relations here on earth is inadequate to the task of understanding the spaces between the stars.

He tries to explain this to his students by telling them to see themselves here on earth and view the stars out there as being all around them, to look up at the stars above them and know that in the universe the relations between bodies is vast and wonderful.

It was that look up part that got me. In one sentence he was saying that there is no up or down, then he says he tells his student to look up at the stars above them. Even a scientist who has been studying the issue for his entire career cannot find the words to explain what he means.

It’s like he was mimicking Paul trying to explain the nature of God …

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! (Romans 11:33.)

… and God’s love for us.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19.)

Unsearchable … beyond tracing out … surpassing knowledge.

You think explaining the universe is hard? Try explaining God.

***

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8 Responses to Scientist Says Universe Inexplicable

  1. Nick says:

    I always find it fascinating to hear these metaphysical discussions – it’s so easy for science to claim that other universes might not operate by our principles; and yet, claim that a Deity can also operate outside of earthly principles, and they say you’re anti-science. What the what?

    • Tim says:

      Right, Nick. It all starts from one’s basic philosophy. If the possibility of God is not in that philosophy then positing a deity is rejected out of hand.

  2. Only a God that cannot be explained is worthy of worship! Nature for me has always been the great reminder of God’s grace and love towards his creation. Yet man must explain it or define it or conceptualize it. When one does not do so, it leaves one pointing to something greater than themselves. Which means we are not in control, we are not IT! This is why so many sceintists while refusing to believe in God have moved to intelligent design, because nature cries out the glory of God.

    Thanks Tim for bringing this up!

    • Tim says:

      Whether in science or other disciplines, the need to control can certainly get in the way of actually understanding what is happening around us. God entered his creation so that (among other things) we can know him. It’s not that God is completely inexplicable, but that he is not totally knowable.Happily, though, he knows us completely.

  3. Erica says:

    When I was a kid, I would disorient myself trying to contemplate God being outside of time. (I was a strange child.) Then when I would read the different myths, I would be a bit sad that people can only understand God as being a person just like them-with all the pettiness and sin that comes with it. I’m grateful that our God is both timeless and perfect!

    On a funnier note, trying to contemplate the *universe* always makes me think of Hitchhiker’s Guide: “Space is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.”

    • Tim says:

      The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a fun book, Erica. Very clever writing (and much better than the movie). And the comparison you draw is apt: our God is greater than all we could ever imagine, and more than our limited desires could ever hope for. Now I just have to wrap my brain around the fact that he actually has a desire to know me and wants me to be in a relationship with him. Mind-boggling, to say the least!

  4. Aimee Byrd says:

    I like how Schaeffer put it, (paraphrase) God cannot be known exhaustively, but he can be known truly.

    • Tim says:

      Exactly, Aimee. it’s like John said at the end of his gospel: there’s more to tell about Jesus than a world full of books can hold, but John wrote what he could and it is enough to show us who Jesus is.

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