“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth,” (John 1:14, ESV).
During Christmas we celebrate how God made himself known to humanity very personally by sending his Son to live among us. As Christ walked the Earth, his presence revealed God’s glory in a special way. The Bible also tells us that God reveals himself to all, in a more general way, through the universe he created and fashioned for us to live in. Investigation of the natural world helps us know God better. Here are some recent examples that show how God continues to display his glory through his creation.
1. The Regularity of the Universe Reveals God’s Reliability
RTB argues that the Bible describes a universe characterized by constancy and reliability. In fact, the regularity of the created order (day and night, the fixed patterns of the heavens; see Jeremiah 33:25) provides an appropriate metaphor for God’s faithfulness in keeping his promise to the nation of Israel.
Researchers have looked for changes in the physical constants that govern the universe. Past research limits any changes in the proton-to-electron mass ratio, μ, to less than one part in 10 million over the last 7 billion years.1 A study published in October 2015 established the utility of a new method that will give even tighter constraints.2 These measurements, coupled with similar observations regarding the fine-structure constant, α, and violations of the Lorentz invariance, really do show that we live in a universe governed by constant physics. Such findings also show the unchanging nature of the God who created the universe.
2. Unique Exoplanets Reveal God’s Creativity
Astronomers continue to find bizarre planets that make our solar system look almost quaint by comparison. First on the list is HD 189733b. Using high resolution spectroscopy on this planet, astronomers determined that HD 189733b experiences winds blowing over 5,400 miles per hour! For comparison, the fastest wind speeds ever measured on Earth register just over 300 mph for the strongest tornadoes (Jupiter experiences similar wind speeds). While this windy exoplanet demonstrates the variability of planet environments, the more remarkable fact is that astronomers are developing the ability to measure weather-related information on distant planets. This information reveals God’s incredible creativity, while also reaffirming his special care in making Earth habitable for humans.
3. Our Fine-Tuned Earth Reveals God’s Care for Us—Right Down to the Details
Of all known exoplanets, Kepler 438b ranks near the top of the Earth Similarity Index (ESI). However, it orbits a star with flaring activity exceeding the Sun’s by a factor of 10. Kepler 438b orbits in the habitable zone around a red dwarf. The smaller amount of energy radiated by red dwarfs means any planet in the habitable zone orbits pretty close to the star. For Kepler 438b, this proximity means that the radiation from the star’s flares likely blasted any atmosphere clean off the planet. Obviously, such a situation dramatically affects any chance for life. In comparison, Earth has been created to host an abundant array of life, and it’s being sustained because of the great care God has taken to ensure our survival.
Pondering these discoveries about the universe, I must agree with Paul when he declares that God’s “invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made,” (Romans 1:20). I am thankful that God chose to reveal himself so that we could have a personal relationship with him. Take some time to appreciate this incredible fact as we celebrate the birth of Christ.