The Skies Proclaim His Handiwork Day 3: Twinkling Stars
He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. (Psalm 147:4, ESV)
Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name; by the greatness of his might and because he is strong in power, not one is missing. (Isaiah 40:26, ESV)
Have you ever lain on your back in the blackness of the evening and looked up into the inky sky, appreciating the countless beauty of the stars above you? Some seem to twinkle as your eyes scan the horizon. I’ve even tried to count the stars I can see, but quickly lose count among the host of dazzling splendor. I’ve appreciated the light show from our Creator as stars visibly fall toward earth and then disappear. Scripture refers to God’s having created two great lights, and then mentions the stars almost as an afterthought. But we know everything He created was intentional, placed exactly where He wanted them to be, and we are reminded that He knows each star by name.
But what are stars and what can they tell us? Wikipedia says that a star is an astronomical object consisting of a luminous spheroid of plasma held together by its own gravity. In fact, the nearest star to earth is the sun. When we observe the sun, we are seeing a typical star, but because most stars are very far away, we do not see their brilliance like we do the sun. All stars are made up of the same material—hydrogen and helium. While the sun is classified as a G2 yellow dwarf, most stars are red dwarfs, with less than 50% the mass of the sun or even as little as 7.5%; if they are smaller than that they are classified as brown dwarfs or failed stars.
Stars are usually either red, white or blue. Red is the coolest of the stars, while blue stars are the hottest, with surface temperatures around 12,000 Kelvin. Think of that in comparison to our sun, which is a yellowish-white star with an average temperature of around 6,000 Kelvin. The bigger a star’s mass, the hotter the star will be. While we think of the sun as being a very large star, it is much smaller than some of the superstars scientists have discovered. One of the biggest stars is Eta Carinae, which is about 8,000 light years away. They believe this star has 150 solar masses and puts out 4 million times more energy than our sun! Each star is a great distance from earth in order to preserve life and keep everything perfectly balanced in nature.
For mankind to number the stars is impossible—we could never see each one nor be able to count them if we could. Just inside our own galaxy it’s estimated that there are around 200-400 billion stars. Outside our galaxy there may be billions of others, each containing their own large number of stars. The naked eye can only see about 9,000 stars, and that’s only a drop in the bucket of all the stars in the universe. It’s amazing when we understand that God knows each of these stars by name and, with careful thought and attention, placed them exactly in space.
As we look up at the night sky, we can easily appreciate that our God is artistic, creating beauty in so many ways. We see the order in creation and how each object He formed complements the others to make a harmoniously functioning creation! It’s ludicrous to observe the skies and conclude it all happened by chance. As believers, our faith is rooted in our Creator God, and we simply rest on the truth we read in the book of Genesis: In the beginning was God—and He created the heavens and the earth.