God’s Mercy Measured in Light Years

“For thy mercy is great above the heavens” (Psalm 108:4). The heavens are immeasurable even with modern technology. Our cozy “little” Milky Way galaxy is 100,000 light years across. One light year is the distance that light travels in one year: 186,000 miles per second, 6 trillion miles a year. Traveling at 18,000 miles per hour, which was the speed of the Space Shuttle, it would take 37,000 years to travel just one light year, so to travel across our own “little” galaxy would take about 37,000,000,000 years. Our sun is one of about 100 billion stars in our galaxy. The nearest galaxy to our Milky Way is Andromeda, which is 2.2 million light years away. Modern science estimates that the currently observable universe is at least 93 billion light years across. Using the Hubble telescope and the European Space Agency’s infrared space observatory and other high-tech equipment, astronomers have estimated that there are 400 billion galaxies. Assuming there are 100 billion stars in each, that would be 40 billion trillion stars. But this is only a vague estimate, as man, even with his vaunted modern science, cannot count the stars of the universe, even the “near universe.” Abel 2029, the nearest cluster of galaxies to ours, is one billion light years away (and about 6 million light years across). To illustrate how high one billion lights years is, let’s assume that the thickness of a piece of paper equals the distance to our sun, which is 93 million miles. That would mean that the distance to Abel 2029 would equal a stack of paper 71 feet (23 meters) high, and the distance to the edge of the known universe would equal a stack of paper one million miles high! How great, indeed, is God’s mercy! The redeemed will praise God for His mercy forever.

(Friday Church News Notes, February 3, 2023, www.wayoflife.org, fbns@wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143)