The heavens declare the glory of God

Psalm 19 a

1The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

2Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.

3They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.

4Yet their voice b goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.

I recently read in a scientific journal that scientists are discovering that from deep in the universe they are receiving radio waves. However, they have no idea where exactly they come from or what causes them or even what their purpose is or how they should be translated. Who is the messenger and what is the message? Perhaps the Psalmist has the answer for us. 

The heavens declare the glory of the Lord. Perhaps, just as on earth the cries of whales are now thought to be more than spontaneous wildlife cries but are whales speaking to one another ,which if we learn the language we may be able to enter the conversation, so also these radio waves may be in fact messengers from God that declare his glory to the world. We may not yet know the details of the language but if we listen to the Psalmist we may realise the message is to reveal to us something more of the glory of God through the universe he has made in both heaven and earth.

The Economic Times reports that Astronomers have detected the most distant fast radio burst (AFRBs) ever recorded, an 8 billion year old pulse that has been traveling for more than half the lifetime of the universe. FRBs are intense, brief flashes of radiation that are invisible to the naked eye but can be detected by radio telescopes. They provide a new tool for studying the “cosmic web” of matter between galaxies.

They may also help us to discover greater knowledge in the worship of God as we learn more of the universe he made, its purpose and our purpose in it.

The Westminster catechism tells us that our life’s purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Those who composed the catechism showed surprising insight about what our lives should be focused on in order to gain the full satisfaction we seek in life. I would have thought they might have said that our purpose was more high minded with a call to be servants of the most powerful and wise God, to serve Him, and even grovel before Him. Instead they reveal that in giving glory to God we find our true happiness and enjoyment of life. People in the world tell us that our purpose in life is to find happiness through self indulgence and by exercising self-centredness. This self serving usually turns out to be short lived and its joys transient. So paradoxically as Jesus taught us we embrace with joy his words: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

Listening to the voice of the universe and all creation and joining in its worship of God helps us grow in our ability to join with them in giving glory in the highest heavens even beyond our deepest knowing.