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The Universe - Too Big, or Just the Right Size?

Updated on March 3, 2009

How Big is the Universe?

The universe is big. Extending to at least 93 billion light years (1 light year = 5,878,630,000,000 miles). The word universe, comes from the Latin word universum, which also comes from unvorsum, which can actually mean that everything is all combined or rolled into one thing.

Naturally, the Greeks believed that everything outside of the Earth actually rotated around the Earth because there was no way for them to figure out that the Earth was not stationary, as the Foucault pendulum shows. First we learned that the Earth was round. Then we learned that instead of things revolving around the Earth, the Earth actually revolved around a star, a yellow dwarf, which we call the Sun. We also noticed that other planets also revolved around the Sun, and that it was at the center of our solar system, also within our galaxy, the Milky Way. The Milky Way is just one of billions of other galaxies within the observable universe, and is approximately 100,000 light years in diameter.

The universe is simply everything that exists, has existed, or will exist; consisting of spacetime, matter-energy, and physical law. The age of the universe is expected to be over 13 billion years old, and it continues to get bigger. It's not just that we tend to find more and more within the universe, but that it is actually expanding.

So, is the universe finite, or infinite?

The universe is actually said to be finite because it is expanding. It could not expand and be infinite at the same time. The universe is actually curved, and although things travel in a straight line, it would be just like walking in a straight line on the Earth and ending up in the same place. This has been widely accepted thanks to Einstein's Theory of Relativity.

Can there be more than one universe?

If there were more than one universe, each universe would be separate, they would have different physical laws, different spacetime continua, as well as different physical constants.  If one universe could affect another universe, they would both be in the same universe.  Also, it would be unlikely to scientifically prove that there were more than one universe, although it could be possible.  In 1277, Bishop Etienne Tempier of Paris claimed, "God could create as many universes as He saw fit".

Everything Holds Together

There are so many factors that need to be in place each and everyday, in order for life to continue to exist at all.

Even though everything in the universe is constantly moving, there still needs to be a force, or gravity that keeps everything from flying out of control. Some scientists believe that invisible objects, or dark matter in space make up much of the mass needed to keep everything from flying apart. If there was more mass within the universe, stars would form too quickly for life to form, and if there was less mass, there would be a shortage of heavy elements.

If the expansion rate of the universe were larger, no galaxies would form, and if it were smaller, the universe would collapse.

If the gravitational force were larger, stars would be too hot to support life, and if it were smaller, stars would be too cool to support life.

If the universe were any older, stable solar type stars would not exist in the right areas of galaxies to support life, and if it were any younger, the stars would not have formed.

If the average distance between stars was greater, rocky planets would not form, and if it were any less, planetary orbits would be too unstable to sustain life.

There are also at least 29 other constants that needed to be in place, so that our universe would be able to support life. Likewise, there are also several constants that need to be in place regarding the Earth, in order for it to be able to sustain life.

If the Earths axial tilt was greater, or lesser, the surface temperature differences would be too great for diverse life forms.

If the axial tilts rate of change were any greater, temperatures would be too extreme for life.

If the magnetic field were any stronger, storms would be too severe, and if it were any weaker, the planets surface and ozone layer would not provide enough protection from radiation.

If the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere were any greater, Earths ecosystem would not be stable, and if it were any less, there might not be enough air to breathe.

If the atmospheric pressure were any greater, evaporation would not adequately support life, and if it were any less, water would evaporate too quickly to support life.

If Jupiter was any farther away, it would not protect Earth from asteroids and comets, and if it were any closer, Earths orbit would not be stable.

There are at least 62 other constants that need to be in place for life to continue on Earth. If each of these constants happened by chance, there is a chance of 1 in 1099, that Earth could exist, or any planet like it.

Which leads others to believe that God has not only designed it all, but is constantly holding everything together.

In the beginning was the Word(Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (John 1:1-5)

He(Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians 1:15-20)

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son(Jesus), whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. (Hebrews 1:1-4)

"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man(Adam) he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.' "Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man's design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead." (Acts 17:24-31)

It's Just the Right Size

The universe definitely is big, maybe even too big to imagine. Of course, that's assuming that it's simply a place for you and me. If the universe is simply here for the sake of humanity, it seems a bit oversized. Even if there were other galaxies, with other planets rotating around stars, where there was other life, the universe would still be just too big.

However, what if the purpose of the universe was to display the glory and splendor of Almighty God? If the God of the universe created everything for His glory, then I wouldn't say that it's too big after all. I'd say that it was just the right size.

The universe is moving and expanding, and all sorts of constants have been put in place, that we might live and move and have our being. If He created it, He can also make sure that it works the way He wants it to work. He can hold everything in place because nothing is impossible for Him.

Everytime we get another glimpse into that vast universe, we may see something new, something more, something greater, but do we see God shouting back at us, "There's a God! There's a God! Are you listening?"

The Earth and all of the universe declares the wonders of God, that He is awesome, that He loves, and that He is with us.

Be blessed.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
       the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

 Day after day they pour forth speech;
       night after night they display knowledge.

 There is no speech or language
       where their voice is not heard.
  (Psalm 19:1-3)

Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?" declares the LORD. "Do not I fill heaven and earth?" declares the LORD.  (Jeremiah 23:24)

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 8:38-39)

What Created The Universe?

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    • lone77star profile image

      Rod Martin Jr 

      6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hi Dave,

      Lovely article. Perhaps the figure of 93 billion light years is a bit off. Current figures peg it at 13.7 billion light years (93 million miles to the sun, though).

      I find your comment reply to MM (above) to be equally fascinating and enlightening.

      Bravo! God creating space and time! So, he has no beginning and no end. He is pure cause and not effect. Like the Zen Buddhist one-hand-clapping, there is no dichotomy to God or anything of the realm of creation, for it remains discontinuous in nature; not continuity-bound, like all of physical reality.

      Hawking says gravity created the universe, but what put gravity (and the space and time within which it operates) there? But nothing needs to "create" perfect source.

      Any scientist is studying the fruits (products) of creation. This continuity-bound reality is full of dichotomies -- action-reaction -- cause-effect. But the realm of creation isn't; it contains only the perfections -- perfect confidence (without doubt), perfect knowledge (without ignorance), perfect wisdom (without stupidity), perfect compassion (without indifference), perfect cause (without effect), perfect love (without hate).

      And a perfect example of this is forgiveness. Such an act is pure creation -- a break with the continuity of relations -- a break with the action-reaction of physical reality and the reasons which bind one to the source of resentment.


    • taemc2 profile image


      6 years ago from Planet Earth


    • daveearley profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Thanks for your comment, MM!

      I have no idea how they could tell if there were more than one universe, and how far it stretched to, but if it were possible for us to interact in other universes, then it would have to be all one universe. So, I am very unsure about how we could find another universe, yet not be able to interact with it. There could be more than one, but we shouldn't be able to obtain any facts about a place we couldn't interact with.

      If God created such a place, many people wonder who created God. Many people believe that the universe could have created itself, but that God would have had to have a creator.

      However, if God created the universe, that means God created space and time. That would mean that God is outside of time and space, and not restricted to it in any way. If God is outside of time and space, then there would have been no need to have been created because God would have always been.

      The book of the Old Testament was written thousands of years ago, and one conversation between God and Moses seems to agree with this. Moses saw a bush burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed by the fire. Upon inspecting it, God spoke to Moses and told him that he would lead the Israelites out of Egypt. When Moses asked what he should tell the people when they asked him who sent him, God just told him, "I AM". He had no name, no history, He just was.

      It makes sense to me, but not everyone, which is fine. The ego of mankind has always been very big, of course we could think that everything had been made just for us and our purposes. I just don't think it's true.

      The Universe is fascinating nonetheless, as is all of the smaller stuff within it. Thanks again for your comment.

    • missesMask profile image


      9 years ago from Texas

      Hi Dave,

      Oh I loved this post, its so true that everything in the universe is so perfectly, well, perfect...

      I find my mind begging to know that, if the universe is in fact finite and was created by God (aka Ultimte Consciousness), then where did this ultimate consciousness come from? How did He-She-It begin? There must be an answer but I'm afraid it is not within our grasp, and if it were our minds likely couldn't understand. Yes we can to a point understand theories of the beginning of the universe, yet nothing moves or stops without some initiating force (theory of inertia) so what is the initiating force, and how did it come to exist? I guess humans naturally want to know where "God" came from. Not that it is terribly important in our everyday lives, but it is oh so mysterious because there is no explanation of this anywhere!

      There was another question that came to mind while watching the YouTube video attached to this post. The narrator says that there are 10 to the 49th power universes (including ours) inside an incredibly large universe. How do they know this? (not that I'm refuting it because I'm no astrophysicist), I just don't understand how we could possibly measure a space so vast...

      Anyway the post is very enlightening and thought inspiring, and I loved it :)



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