The heavens proclaim the glory of God - Psalm 19:1. And the data presented to us by astronomers and astrophysicists deepens our understanding of the starry wonders.
There are over 100 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy. There are galaxies beyond counting. Psalm 147:4 affirms that God has a name for each of the stars. There is an extravagance about creation. This expresses something of the nature of God, God’s extravagance. God’s pouring out of wonder is unlimited. If billions of stars can evoke wonder and awe, and praise of the Creator, how great must this amazement be if one star, just one, can itself be a source of amazement.
The star which gives life to planet earth is the sun. This is a relatively small star midway through its life cycle in a spiral galaxy, in whose 240 million year rotation it participates. Some 5 million years ago our sun came into existence, the result of a coalescing dust cloud possibly caused by two supernova explosions. The cloud ignited into a new star, and from the residual dust and debris emerged our solar system. Planet earth has been revolving and evolving ever since. In terms of a geological timescale humans emerged only recently.
The smashing of stars creates the elements, as outlined in the Periodic Table of Elements. Hydrogen, Carbon, Iron, Oxygen, Calcium is a sample from 118 elements. We are made of the same materials, and we breathe the gasses which were formed by the stars. Our bones contain calcium, and without oxygen we will not live. All creatures on the planet are particular and unique combinations of the elements. It is not a new-age fetish to say we are stardust. We are more than the physical elements, but we are also these elements.
The writer of Gen.2:7 teaches how ‘Yahweh fashioned an earth creature of dust from the soil. Then he breathed into his nostrils a breath of life and thus the earth creature became a living being’. He did not know the scientific information which we can lay hold of now through one of the fruits of modern technology, namely the internet. But he did have a sense of the utter dependence of the human on the Creator. The processes which made us into this vibrant creature, is the story not only of the emerging earth, but the story of the unfolding universe, through which the Divine reveals the divine self to us.