By Don C. Olson
In C. S. Lewis’s Prince Caspian, where Jesus is represented by the huge lion Aslan, a sobbing Lucy comes upon Aslan—whom she hasn’t seen for a long time. The following conversation ensues:
“Welcome child,” he said.
“Aslan,” said Lucy, “you’re bigger.”
“That is because you are older, little one,” answered he.
“Not because you are?”
“I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”1
As Christians grow in knowing God, he becomes bigger to us. That doesn’t mean he changes in size. It means we discover just how great he has always been. One source of knowledge that helps us grow in knowing God is his creation. Modern scientific discoveries reveal the awesome power and creativity of God in his handiwork, from the mighty cosmos to the tiny living cell.
One such discovery described an event in August 2017 when scientists around the world witnessed something never before seen. Drawing from Star Wars, “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away,” two neutron stars collided, causing a spectacular explosion that rocked their neighborhood of the heavens.2 Light from the explosion finally reached Earth in August 2017 and was seen and studied with great excitement by scientists at numerous observatories, first with a revolutionary new gravity wave detector and then with light telescopes.
One astronomer called the rare event “a big gift from nature.”3 As Christians, we might believe that it was a big gift not from nature but from God to reveal his work. These bizarre stars contain the most dense matter of any known body in the heavens. One teaspoon would weigh over a billion tons! The explosion radiated a burst of light of unimaginable brilliance that released hundreds of times more energy in seconds than that given out by our Sun in all of its 10-billion-year history. Good thing that Earth wasn’t nearby, or we would be toast. Not that we ever need to worry: God placed our solar system in a safe haven of our galaxy in what astronomers call the “local bubble,” far, far away from his heavenly fireworks.
The neutron star collision also created vast amounts of heavy atoms, including gold and platinum equivalent to 10 times the mass of the earth. Next time you look at your wedding ring, think about God smashing two neutron stars in the heavens to forge the gold that went into it. Exploding novae such as these are the fiery furnaces in which God forged all of the heavy atoms that make up Earth and all life on it. How awesome and caring our Creator is! It must have been scenes like this that brought the angels to shout for joy when God showed them his creation:
While the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?
Understanding what took place instills a sense of humility and awe. When I learned about the discovery it brought to mind the refrain of Swedish songwriter Carl Boberg’s Christian hymn “How Great Thou Art” (commonly used English lyrics):
“Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art.”