Imagine walking into a huge hall, the largest room you’ve ever seen. Now picture this room containing an (obviously) miniaturized but accurate map of the universe. Within this map, try to find the Milky Way galaxy, in which our solar system resides. You’ll have to look hard – it’s only a speck. Next, search for our solar system. Good luck – in comparison to it, the speck would appear humongous.
Suppose, with an electron mega-microscope or something, you finally find the solar system and the planets revolving around our sun. Now, attempt to find the earth. Even with the ultra-powerful microscope, not an easy task. But okay, let’s assume you can find it. Can you find the Grand Canyon? Lastly, try to find your house – and yourself in it.
A silly, impossible exercise, of course. But think about it: Comparing any one of us, and our tiny, finite brains, with the vastness, grandeur and complexity of the universe as we know it. (At least, as we believe we know it.) Even with myriad synapses, neurons and atoms, the human brain is woefully inadequate for attempting to fathom the scope of the universe. If we even try, it’s incredibly frustrating. Can’t be done. By contrast, it would be a snap for a flea to comprehend the totality of the Pacific Ocean.
Left out in this scenario is the God who created the universe. It’s even more mind-blowing to ponder the immensity of the universe – and then that it had a Creator. I think this is one motivation for skepticism. Despite how infinitesimally small we are in the grand scheme of things, it’s a blow to our egos to consider there is One who far surpasses anything we could ever comprehend. We’re inclined to reduce things to a level we can understand – or insist one day will be capable of understanding.
But if our finite minds can’t grasp the vast expanse of the universe, how could we possibly grasp the One who created it?
That’s where faith comes in. It’s not a matter of believing in something that isn’t, but rather trusting in what we can’t control, manage, or even fully comprehend. King David, in composing his psalms, wrestled with this, finally opting to accept vision via the eyes of faith rather than sight. He wrote, “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:3-4).
Later we find the poetic king writing his trust that despite the vastness of all creation, we can be assured of God’s constant presence and care: “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there…” (Psalm 139:7-8).
In another Old Testament book, after listening to the lengthy discourse between Job and his friends concerning his apparently pointless suffering and loss, God responds: “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!...” (Job 38-41). Talk about putting someone in their place!
It all boils down to faith, as described in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” One day, however, in the words of the old hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul,” we have the confidence that our “faith shall become sight.” That’s good enough for me.