The James Webb Telescope – Awestruck by the Glory of God

NASA recently released its first images from the James Webb Telescope. They are astonishing, not only for their aesthetic beauty, but also in what they reveal to us about our universe.

Along with providing early snapshots of the universe coming into being, the images remind us just how immense it actually is, and the greatness of the One who simply spoke it into being. 

By zooming in to what looks to us as a black, empty speck in the sky, the telescope reveals a large array of galaxies adorned in splendor billions of light years away.  Astronomers tell us that if you were to go outside and hold out a single grain of sand at arm length, there would be thousands of galaxies in the potion of the sky behind. This is astounding when you realize just how large galaxies actually are.

To put the size of a galaxy in perspective, consider this analogy. If we were to compress the distance from the earth to the sun into the thickness of a standard sheet of paper, how many sheets of paper do you think we would need to span our Milky Way Galaxy?  

As a brief aside, let me note that, within this framework, each piece of paper represents a distance that is 37 times greater than the farthest humanity has ever traveled from earth.

So how many sheets of paper would it take to span the Milky Way? If it were a book, how thick would it be? To represent the diameter of our galaxy, the book would need to be 310 miles wide![1]

So, when we take in the images from the James Webb Telescope and see thousands of galaxies within a tiny speck of our sky, we realize we are dealing with something beyond our ability to comprehend.  

I am awestruck as I pause to consider just how great and powerful our God is and how small I am in comparison. It is amazing to think that the God who spoke all this into being wants to speak to us today through His Word. Furthermore, He tells us to come to Him with our cares because He cares for us personally (1 Peter 5:7).

As you take in the images from the James Webb Telescope, here are some passages of Scripture to reflect upon.  

Psalm 19:1-4

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.”[2]

Nehemiah 9:6

You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.

Psalm 147:4-5
He determines the number of the stars
    and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
    his understanding has no limit.

Isaiah 57:15

“For this is what the high and exalted One says— he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”

Psalm 8:1-4

“Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory
    in the heavens. . . .
When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?” 

Psalm 36:5-7

“Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
    your faithfulness to the skies. . . .
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
    People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.”

Colossians 1:15-20

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”

Psalm 136:3-7

Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.

to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.

who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.

who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.

who made the great lights—
His love endures forever.

Hebrews 11:1-3

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.”

Revelation 4:11
“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
    to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
    and by your will they were created
    and have their being.”

  2. These quotations of Scripture are from the NIV.

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