“Why did God create such a big universe if we’re the only ones in it?”
He thought he’d stumped me.
It was back in the mid-90s and I was pastoring a small church. Occasionally on Sunday nights I would do a Q&A session titled, “Stump the Pastor.” It was fun, as people would try to come up with the hardest and most challenging Bible or theology questions they could think of.
I liked it because it kept me on my toes.
It also kept me humble, especially when someone would ask a question I couldn’t answer.
This question came from one of our AWANA kids, and I’ll admit it was challenging. It reminded me of the line from the movie Contact. If we’re the only ones in the universe, it seems like an awful waste of space.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that God could certainly have created other peoples and worlds. There’s nothing I see in scripture that prevents that. But, assuming that we are the only ones in the universe, the question remains, “Why so big?”
I can’t answer the “why” question. Only God can do that.
But I can make an observation that at least provides some food for thought–and for awe.
My answer to our AWANA student went something like this:
The universe is immeasurably big. Even with our most powerful space-based telescopes, we cannot plumb the depths of it. It is literally beyond our imagination. Yet, it has limits. It is finite
And, as big as the universe is, God is bigger.
Not just a little bigger.
He is infinitely bigger.
In other words, our vast, immeasurable universe is a drop in the bucket to God. In comparison to him, it is a speck of dust.
David wrote in Psalm 19, “The heavens declare the glory of God.”
In those days, he would have been able to see thousands of stars in the night sky. To him that sight spoke of the glory and power of God. Yet he had no idea that not only were there thousands of stars, there were billions (maybe trillions) of galaxies, with trillions of stars in each of them.
When we look at the night sky, or perhaps a Hubble deep field photo, we can stand in silent awe that we have a creator who can hold it all, as Isaiah said, “In the hollow of his hand.”
“The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1 NIV).
“When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?” (Psalm 8:3-4 NIV).