The Perfect Seat for Viewing the Universe

The heavens have a message for us. Do you hear what they are saying?

Hundreds of miles above the surface of our planet, the Hubble Telescope orbits the Earth every 97 minutes. This 11-ton, 43-foot-long instrument has made more than 100,000 trips around our planet, covering 2.5 billion miles.

And as it flies through space at 17,500 miles per hour above the gasses of Earth’s atmosphere, it is taking some of the most captivating photos ever seen.

We see breathtaking images of purple and blue-hued nebulae, and sparkling diamond-like fields of galaxies where we thought there was nothing but empty space. We see awe-inspiring, brilliant pictures of stars and galaxies and clusters in whites, golds, oranges, blues and greens. We see infrared, luminous, ultra-luminous, radiant views of objects so far away, so gigantic, so dazzling our minds can’t even process them.

From the Hubble, we have seen supernovas, galaxies in their early stages, and massive stars collapsing. We have seen comets striking planets, and births of stars; we can recognize black holes. These images give us spectacular views of our expanding universe.

Some scientists believe these views are the greatest discovery of the past century.

Hubble makes about 20,000 observations per year. It has recorded more than half a million pictures over the past two decades. These dazzling images inspire more questions. What are the laws of the universe? Where does it end? Where did it all come from? Why is it here? Why, for that matter, am I here?

The Scientists’ Message

Besides observing, scientists are also trying to answer some of these major questions: Why does the universe follow such mathematical laws? How did it get here in the first place? Is there any meaning behind it all? They have written volumes and volumes about the Hubble data. Using findings from the Hubble Telescope, astronomers have published over 7,500 scientific papers, and writers have published 35,000 reports about the Hubble.

The Hubble scientists are really getting their message out! In all the thousands of papers and articles about these fascinating discoveries, scientists are working to tell people why it is important, what it is all about—what it means for all of us.

These scientists deserve credit for building a masterpiece instrument and capturing these spectacular, previously unknown views of our universe. But there is a problem. They are ignoring the most important source for answering those questions!

Have you heard a single astronomer on this project mention one thing about the Creator of the stars?

The Hubble Telescope is helping us coax the cosmos into revealing its secrets and mysteries. And the more we study, the stronger the evidence becomes of an absolutely remarkable truth: There is an Author of the cosmos. And He intended for us to be able to study the stars—to help us come to know Him!

Beautiful Darkness

Walk outside and look up on a clear night. You will see several hundred stars—perhaps a few thousand if it is dark enough and your view is unobstructed.

Do you realize how unusual and special that view really is?

Could you contemplate the night sky if all you ever saw was a canopy of impenetrably thick clouds? Happy for us, Earth’s atmosphere is transparent. Not only is our oxygen-rich air necessary for life, its invisibility also happens to make gazing up at the stars a whole lot more interesting and informative than would be the case on most planets.

This is only one of several unique physical conditions that make our study of the heavens possible, and so richly rewarding.

Another favorable circumstance: our position within our galaxy. The Milky Way is an incomprehensible 100,000 light years across, and we sit in its slim “galactic habitable zone” (ghz)—just far enough from the center that we’re not killed by radiation, but just close enough that sufficient heavy elements needed for life are present. At the same time, our position is a perfect seat for viewing the rest of the cosmos.

For one, it is so beautifully dark here. Light can be the enemy of astronomical discovery—for basically the same reason that you want the lights off in the theater while watching a movie. Conveniently, our solar system is in the darkest part of the galaxy’s ghz, almost exactly halfway between the Milky Way’s spiral arms, which are crowded with radiant stars and thick dust clouds that would obscure our view. Our vision is also free of any nearby gaseous nebulae or blinding star clusters.

The Milky Way also happens to be in the darkest habitable area of its galaxy cluster. While a typical galaxy cluster has over 10,000 tightly packed galaxies, ours has only about 40, all but two of which (one being the Milky Way) are small or dwarf galaxies. On top of that, our galaxy cluster is in the darkest habitable part of the Virgo supercluster of galaxies. Thus, there is virtually nothing in the way of our peering deep into the outer reaches of the cosmos.

Another convenient feature of our cosmic vantage point is how protected we are from collisions. The four gas giant planets in our solar system—Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune—shield Earth from dangerous space projectiles like asteroids and comets with their gravitational pull, without being so close as to block our view. Yet they’re not too efficient: The few smaller asteroids that have made it through and hit Earth have actually aided in scientific discovery without wiping humans out.

Not Just Luck

The more scientists learn about the universe, the more of these outstandingly helpful conditions they identify. “For some reason our earthly location is extraordinarily well suited to allow us to peer into the heavens and discover its secrets,” say the grateful astronomers who authored The Privileged Planet. A host of finely tuned factors “are not only necessary for Earth’s habitability; they also have been surprisingly crucial for scientists to measure and make discoveries about the universe. Mankind is unusually well positioned to decipher the cosmos.”

Even this moment in the history of Earth and the universe is uniquely suited to studying the cosmos. For example, the fact that the universe is expanding suggests that earlier in its history, all the bright matter would have been too close together for decent visibility. Today, everything is spread apart enough that we can see everything with remarkable clarity.

Scientists have come to refer to Earth as a “Goldilocks planet.” That is, in every conceivable way, conditions aren’t too hot or too cold, too large or too small, too close or too far—too anything. No matter what is measured, it is “just right.” Not only for the existence of life, but also for discovery. And to a mind-boggling level of precision. Even the minutest deviation would make cosmic observation difficult or impossible—or would wipe out the prospect of life.

Maybe it’s not luck after all.

A growing number of astronomers are acknowledging the possibility—though, sadly, it banishes them from mainstream science—not only that the precise conditions for life on Earth were specifically, painstakingly established by a creative mind of extraordinary intelligence, but also that this Power ensured we would be able to follow the signs back to their source. The multiplicity and exactitude of these signs “reflects masterful engineering at a level far beyond human capability—and even imagination. It testifies of a supernatural, superintelligent, superpowerful, fully deliberate Creator,” wrote Dr. Hugh Ross (Why the Universe Is the Way It Is).

Think about that the next time you look up at the stars. A superintelligent Creator went to a lot of trouble to make that view possible for you!

Think about this too when you study the images produced by the Hubble Telescope. We can’t give all the credit to the scientists. We have to acknowledge the superpowerful, deliberate hand that opened these magnificent cosmic vistas to us.

Do that, and then you have to ask yourself, just why did He go to such lengths to ensure we could see all that?

The Heavens Declare God’s Glory

As King David wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day [after] day uttereth speech, and night [after] night sheweth knowledge” (Psalm 19:1-2). The word translated uttereth means pours forth. It could also be translated prophesies.

Yes, God’s universe creation is constantly pouring forth prophecy! Do you know what it is saying? What are the heavens communicating to us?

They are pouring forth evidence of a Designer, and—it is becoming more and more clear—a Sustainer as well. All those heavenly bodies are like a great orchestra that God is conducting! They demonstrate perfect adherence to the laws given to them by their Creator—a trait we would do well to emulate.

God clearly wanted us to make these cosmic discoveries. Romans 1:20 says that “Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made” (Revised Standard Version).

“Clearly, Someone wanted human beings to exist and thrive. Just as clearly, Someone wanted us to see all He had done in the universe,” Dr. Ross continued. “His purposes for human existence must be highly valuable” (emphasis mine).


A Message of Hope

Today we live in dangerous times. Biblical prophecy shows that we are about to plunge into the blackest, darkest period in human history. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction casts the survival of our race in doubt. In fact, Jesus Christ prophesied that if not for His Second Coming,no flesh on this planet would survive (Matthew 24:21-22).

As conditions worsen and get nearer to their violent climax, people’s hearts will be failing them for fear (Luke 21:26).

This is a time when the world needs hope.

It is no coincidence that right now, amid these dire global threats, we are also in an astronomy revolution! We are probing deeply into the universe as never before—observing the Creator’s handiwork, which declares His glory. You can be sure God is paying close attention—maybe even blessing these endeavors.

Those Hubble pictures should give this whole world great hope. Not only because those countless awesome galaxies point us to their Creator and His limitless power, but also because they expand our understanding of the incredible human potential God has given us! Our increasing knowledge of the stars reveals not only what God has already done, but also what He is about to do.

Do you know why this vast, sparkling, shimmering, powerful universe exists?

The Philadelphia Church of God began proclaiming its message in January 1990. The pcg’s founding was specifically prophesied in several biblical passages (request a free copy of Malachi’s Message to God’s Church Today for proof).

Just four months before the Hubble Space Telescope was launched into Earth’s orbit in April of 1990 to study the heavens, the Creator of those heavens began proclaiming a message through the Philadelphia Church of God. In our view, the pcg and the Trumpet bear a certain responsibility. The heavens are prophesying—but how many people understand what they are saying? God wants us to know. A suffering mankind needs to know!

The Philadelphia Church of God is all about hope. We proclaim the Bible’s message that God and His way of life give us bright hope!

The images from the Hubble Space Telescope are crying out for us to explain them to you! They are crying out for us to show the remarkable hope they offer! The understanding of the cosmos we are gaining as a result of this marvelous technological wonder should be inspiring the whole world!

To learn about the Creator’s highly valuable purposes for human existence—and His plan for the universe—request a free copy of Herbert W. Armstrong’s inspiring book The Incredible Human Potential.