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The Day God Made a Parenthetical Statement

We all make parenthetical statements as a part of normal daily life. These statements are used sometimes to add some clarification to what we just said or to tag on another thought to the previous statement. For example, "Last week we traveled to Arizona to attend a family reunion; and we visited the Grand Canyon." Implied in the statement is that the main purpose of the trip to Arizona was to attend a family reunion. You might say visiting the Grand Canyon was secondary to the family reunion. Is that to say the trip to the Grand Canyon was an after-thought, not important, or even uneventful? No, of course not; it may very well had been planned from the beginning and a highlight of the trip, but in the relaying of information the trip is added content. It is a parenthetical statement.

In the account of the Creation Week, the Genesis 1 passage contains a similar parenthetical statement. After describing in some detail the creation of the sun and moon and their purposes (refer to The Day God Established the Calendar), the statement is made in Genesis 1:16 ...

"He also made the stars."

That's it. Just five words. Considering there has already been 16 and a half verses talking about the creation of the Earth, Sun, and Moon, this is not much information to address the rest of the cosmos. It is what could be called an understatement, and, in fact, it may be the most significant understatement ever uttered by anyone. The amount of created material and space included in this statement goes way beyond anything comprehensible but yet it is relegated in the creation account to just five words.

It is currently estimated by astonomers that there are approximately 2 trillion galaxies in the known universe. Each galaxy has, on average, 100 billion stars. Those are big numbers - much bigger than we can really understand. But, let's try something simple. For the moment, let's consider only our own galaxy, the Milky Way. It is an average size galaxy with approximately 100 billion stars.

Suppose we were able to count the stars in the Milky Way. How long would it take? Let's say we could count one star per second. Now that's easy with one, two, three, four ... but when we get to one hundred thirty-three thousand two hundred eighty-four it gets a bit tricky to get all of that out in one second. Oh, and let's also suppose there are no breaks in counting ... not to sleep, eat, or even go to the bathroom. You just keep on counting continuously. So, supposing all of that, when would you have had to start counting if you were to finish the counting today? Let's do the math. There are 86,400 seconds per day and 365 days per year. Therefore, to finish the counting today, you would have had to start counting 3,171 years ago. In other words, you would have started counting about the time the Old Testament characters Samson and Samuel were alive. That's a lot of counting! That's a lot of stars! But, it is just for one average galaxy. There are still 1,999,999,999,999 (give or take a few billion) to go.

He [God] determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.
Psalm 147:4

No matter how we describe the enormity of space it is unfathomable. We just cannot comprehend it, and once we do start to get even an inkling of how big it is, it has just gotten that much bigger because according to scientists, like Christian astonomer Dr. Jason Lisle, the universe is expanding.

How big is the universe? Another Christian astronomer, Dr. Danny R. Faulkner, stated in regard to methods of measuring the universe, "I have described here some of the simpler and more often used methods of finding distances to galaxies. In each case, they produce distances that are millions and even billions of light-years. While all of these methods suffer from error, those errors would not reduce the distances down to just thousands of light-years. The universe is very large, much larger than people can really comprehend." Dr. Faulkner goes on to say, "Many recent creationists worry about the light travel time problem and entertain possibilities of the universe being far smaller than generally thought as a way out of this dilemma. But thinking this stumbles over something that ought to be obvious. Only a truly powerful Creator could conceive and make such a large universe. It is as if He created the world so large that we finite creatures upon seeing His handiwork ought to fall down prostrate in worship of Him. It may not be possible for a mere human to truly grasp the immensity of the universe, and understanding the power required to create such a universe is infinitely beyond that, but we creationists accept that fact. Yet we so often stumble over how God could have brought the light here so that we could see the universe. Compared to creation, the light travel time problem is trivial."

So why just five words in Genesis 1 to describe all of this? Although until we are present with God in eternity we may never really know the answer to this question, I personally believe it is because God made something so incredibly huge and complex that he didn't need anything other than a parenthetical statement. His creation does the talking for itself.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.
Psalm 19:1

This is exactly why you and I and billions of other earth dwellers have walked outside on a clear evening and, after looking up, have uttered one word - Wow! Whether they knew who they were giving glory to or not, they indeed were recognizing the message being proclaimed in that night sky. In fact, this is the very reason why none of us will be able to tell God that we didn't know about Him. The Apostle Paul stated,

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20

God's parenthetical statement, His giant understatement, was intentional in the Genesis 1 account. He made something that words fail to describe. It is something that does not require words to point His creation to Him.

Tonight, why don't you take a wordless walk outside and, after looking up and spending some time taking it all in, bow in humble worship to the Maker of the indescribable expanse who is the same God who loved you enough to send His Son Jesus Christ (the Word of God) to die for us and pay the penalty for our sins.

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