What do you get when you put together astronomy and grace? Yes, that’s right, you get astronomical grace. And that’s exactly what you get in Louie Giglio and Matt Redman’s book, Indescribable (now available for only $2.24 on the Kindle).
Giglio and Redman’s shared passion for astronomy and grace led them to co-author this book, which follows a two-step pattern in most of its chapters.
1. Star-struck: Scientific facts and figures about the size and speed of the stars, planets, galaxies, etc., that magnify and exalt their Creator’s power, wisdom, beauty, etc.
2. Grace-struck: Who am I, that such a God should love, me, care for me, send His Son to die for me, and save me?
As it’s one of the most powerful presentations of the Gospel I’ve come across in a long time, let me gather together some of the stats and then some of the applications and see if it leaves you as star-struck and grace-struck as I was.
When it comes to looking at the stars, you and I live in a privileged age. A few hundred years ago, astronomers believed there to be only around six thousand stars out there in the universe…Astronomers now believe there to be more stars in the visible universe (what we know to be there) than there are grains of sand on all of the world’s beaches and deserts.
The newest evidence suggests that there are somewhere between one hundred and two hundred billion galaxies in the universe, each of them containing hundreds of billions of stars. And as most scientists agree, there still seems to be no end in sight.
The biggest and brightest known star in our own galaxy is Eta Carinae. If the sun and Eta Carinae were at the same distance from the earth, Eta Carinae would be 4 million times as bright as the sun.
At the peak of it’s luminosity Supernova 1987A was thought to be shining over one hundred million times brighter than the Sun!
If our Sun were only eighteen inches high, then in comparison the star IRS 65 would stand as tall as Mount Everest.
VY Canis Majoris is so monstrous you could fit seven quadrillion Earths inside it.
“The universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine” (James Jeans, physicist and astronomer).
In reason’s ear, they all rejoice,
and utter forth a glorious voice,
forever singing as they shine:
“The hand that made us is divine!”
“The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder” (Ralph W. Sockman).
I can’t help but believe that a Creator responsible for countless wonders must take delight as we find out more and more of what’s out there and how nature unfolds.
Our discoveries tell us something about the nature of God as we see evidence of patience, beauty, incredible magnitude, and a flourishing of life—at least on one planet!
“Earth is beautiful beyond description. God must love us dearly to provide a planet so perfectly tuned for life in what appears to be an otherwise empty universe. As I enjoy the view and the comfort of His loving presence, I am convinced we serve an incredibly loving heavenly Father” (former astronaut, Joe Tanner).
As it turns out, we’re even smaller than we thought we were. And our Creator God is far mightier than we ever imagined Him to be.
These figures are completely off the charts, once again filling us with reverence and awe for our indescribable Maker. He simply spoke … and there they were.
In the book of Isaiah, for example, God keeps pointing us to the cosmos as a reminder of His great and unmatchable strength: I am the LORD, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens. (44:24) My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts. (45:12).
For love Jesus chose to come to this “mote of dust,” embodying God’s indelible proclamation: “I love you.” How amazing that, on this tiny cosmic speck, His incomprehensible death provided a covering for our fallenness, His resurrection life bridging the way back to the arms of our Maker. Looking back across time at this little sphere that we call home, I cannot escape the feeling that comes over me. Yet, looking at the wonder of the cross of Christ, I can’t help but see God’s irrepressible stamp of significance on tiny, insignificant people like you and me.
But the more I encounter grandeur, the more I’m drawn into wonder. In the light of these incredible, shining stars, the beauty of the gospel shines ever more brightly in my soul. How could it be that the One who spoke these epic galaxies into being lavishes His love on the likes of you and me? The all-powerful hands of the Maker became the nail-pierced hands of the Savior. He who is everything made Himself nothing. The One who commands the Sun, Moon, and stars in their courses above took on the nature of a servant.
Jesus, who said, “Let there be light,” spoke up for you and me. And in the end, in human skin, the sinless and perfect Son of God exchanged His life for every twisted thing that we have done. In that single act, the star breather became the sin bearer. The universe maker became humanity’s Savior.
God doesn’t need a Hubble Telescope to get in touch with you or check on the affairs of your life. He sees it all, the good and the bad, the joy and the pain. But not only does God see, He has the power to heal and repair, to carry and to hold.
Looking up makes us feel small and shrouds us with a sense of awe, but that’s never a bad thing. So let that feeling come (and stay) as you journey through these pages. And let the wonder of it all lift you up to see and embrace the face of God, the brilliant Maker of all.
Indescribable Glory and Grace
As Indescribable contains many beautiful color pictures of stars, planets, and galaxies, I’d recommend reading it on the iPad or on the Kindle App for PC/Mac. I see there’s also a film version you might want to check out.
I leave you with Giglio and Redman’s challenge: “Ralph Waldo Emerson once asked what we would do if the stars only came out once every thousand years. No one would sleep that night, of course…We would be ecstatic, delirious, made rapturous by the glory of God. Instead, the stars come out every night and we watch television.”
Or perhaps we could paraphrase: “The Son comes out every Sunday and we watch television.”
Indescribable: Encountering the Glory of God in the Beauty of the Universe ($2.24)
Indescribable DVD ($9.88)