The Magnificence of God

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

milky way

The Milky Way, Photo Courtesy of NASA/JPL/Spitzer

“The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.” (Psalm 19:1,2)

Psalm 19 reminds us that the heavens declare the glory of God. As we consider the universe which God has created, we must be stunned at its enormity, its complexity, and its magnificence. In his letter to the church at Rome, the apostle Paul reminds us that God’s creative work demonstrates the reality of God.

“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.” (Romans 1:20)

The best cosmological science tells us that the universe appeared out of nothing about 13.5 billion years ago; that from its beginning, it has been expanding, and that its extent is such that it is beyond our comprehension. Light travels at 186,000 miles per second. Estimates are that it would take about 28 billion light years to travel from one end of the visible universe to the other.

Our galaxy is the Milky Way. The estimates are that it contains more than 200 to 400 billion stars, and that there are perhaps 100 to 200 billion galaxies. The only stars that we can see from Earth are in our own galaxy. The “stars” that we see beyond our galaxy are other galaxies. Some of the stars in our galaxy are incredibly enormous: Antares is 173 million miles in diameter; Betelgeuse 190 million miles in diameter; and Alpha Hercules 500 million miles in diameter. If we began with the Sun, Alpha Hercules would fill all the space in our solar system beyond the orbit of Jupiter! These are three of the billions and billions of stars in the universe.

How are people properly to respond to the magnificence and grandeur of God? As we contemplate the greatness of God, we must recognize that most of us do not direct our thoughts toward God as we should. We allow matters of small import inappropriately to fill our lives. The result is that much that is best in life is crowded out. The knowledge, contemplation, worship, and adoration of God should be at the center of every person’s life.

The word of God is firm and sure. Whatever God intends, he can do. He is well able to fulfill every promise that he has made. The scriptures are unequivocal, God has created everything: the entire universe, planet Earth, and all forms of life, including human beings, who are created in his image—destined for a beautiful eternal relationship with him so long as they believe in him, love him, and turn to him for salvation.

Foster H. Shannon

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Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note

Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth.
He is currently Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA. He is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. He is the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, which he established with others in 1981. Green Leaf Press, Inc. publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences. The website He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.