In the May, 2012, issue of Smithsonian magazine you’ll find an article titled “Onward, Voyagers” by Timothy Ferris. The article is an update on the twin Voyager space mission which, as Ferris puts it, “. . . has been outbound for the past 35 years . . .” Here are a few highlights from the article that provide a grand picture of our temporal home in the cosmos:
Voyager One is now 11 billion miles out from Earth. The Voyager probes are traveling at a speed of 40,000 mph relative to the Sun. Radio signals of Voyager One, traveling at the velocity of light, take 16 hours to reach Earth. Radio signals from the two probes, captured daily by the Deep Space Network’s big dish antennas, arrive at a strength of less than one femtowatt, a millionth of a billionth of a watt.
Here’s another fascinating excerpt from the Ferris article: “People ask when one of the Voyagers will encounter another star. The answer, according to JPL’s (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) navigators, is that Voyager Two, 40,000 years from now, will pass within 1.7 light-years of the red dwarf star Ross 248. But what that really means is that Ross 248, sweeping by Voyager Two like a distant ocean liner viewed from a lifeboat, will be seen from the perspective of Voyager Two to slowly brighten over the millennia, then get dimmer for many more.”
Wow! Sort of makes you feel . . . lonely in the cosmos. If the magnitude of God’s creation eludes you, try this: Late some night go outside and look up at the heavens and try to bend your thought to the regions behind the light of a full moon. If you are like me, your comprehension of the distances beyond the moon soon peters out, or you get a headache from straining for a measurement to which you can relate that’s not beyond human intellect. It’s just easier to go inside and shut out the night. Anyhow, that’s the point—God’s love transcends our ability to measure it. We can’t get our head around the distance and void in the universe any more than we can fathom the depths of God’s love. Or can we?
Jesus is our context. He brings the everlasting love of God within our comprehension, and goes a step further by actually placing that love in the believer’s heart. He can do this because he is also God. He stepped out from the everlastings and entered our little world. His sacrifice endows us with more than a peek at God’s love. The life and Sacrifice of Christ reveals the invisible depth of God’s love for all, who are willing, to see and receive. What a paradox—the incomprehensible love of God can be known because Jesus walked this tiny rock in the cosmos. That is so cool!