In an Associated Press release today, Friday, August 24, 2007, astronomers are reporting the discovery of what is being called a "massive blank spot in the universe." What's got them scratching their heads is "what's just not there. The cosmic blank spot has no stray stars, no galaxies, no sucking black holes, not even mysterious dark matter."
We're not talking here about a small patch of sky but 1 billion light years across of "nothing". According to the article, "that's an expanse of nearly 6 billion trillion miles of emptiness." "It looks like something to be taken seriously," said Brent Tully, a University of Hawaii astronomer. Tully said "astronomers may eventually find a few cosmic structures in the void, but it would still be nearly empty."
Tully goes on to explain that "holes in the universe probably occur when the gravity from areas with bigger mass pull matter from less dense areas." Retired NASA astronomer Steve Maran said of the discovery: "This is incredibly important for something where there is nothing to it."
Well, I've got some even greater and more exhilarating news for these astronomers and scientists. They're wrong! God's there! This "place in space" may lack for stars and black holes and galaxies and all other forms of matter but the only thing that ultimately matters is wholly and powerfully and personally present in all his glory: God! He not only fills the universe he made, but transcends it. He is everywhere in it, through it, and beyond it. The most sophisticated scientific tools may not detect his presence, but he's there. Simply put: space is God!
"Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord" (Jer. 23:24).
I'm no astronomer, but I'd like to bring a word of correction to these learned men. There's no such thing as a "void" or "blank spot" or an "empty" place in space. Our great and glorious Triune God, Father, Son, and Spirit, fills the universe. Though bereft of meteors and moons and matter, our majestic and all-powerful God is there, and everywhere!
"How terrible should the thoughts of this attribute be to sinners," wrote Stephen Charnock. "How foolish is it to imagine any hiding-place from the incomprehensible God, who fills and contains all things, and is present in every point of the world. When men have shut the door, and made all darkness within, to meditate or commit a crime, they cannot in the most intricate recesses be sheltered from the presence of God. If they could separate themselves from their own shadows, they could not avoid his company, or be obscured from his sight. . . . Hypocrites cannot disguise their sentiments from him; he is in the most secret nook of their hearts. No thought is hid, no lust is secret, but the eye of God beholds this, and that, and the other. He is present with our heart when we imagine, with our hands when we act. We may exclude the sun from peeping into our solitudes, but not the eyes of God from beholding our actions" (174).
Charles Spurgeon also reminds us that "this (truth) makes it dreadful work to sin; for we offend the Almighty to His face, and commit acts of treason at the very foot of His throne. Go from Him, or flee from Him we cannot; neither by patient travel nor by hasty flight can we withdraw from the all-surrounding Deity. His mind is in our mind; Himself within ourselves. His spirit is over our spirit; our presence is ever in His presence" (3:260).
Astronomers of the world, by all means scratch your heads in bewilderment and marvel at the greatness of your discovery. Applaud the achievements of science and write your scholarly accounts. But before, while, and after you do, fall prostrate before the God who fills the universe and worship, for "the heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork" (Ps. 19:1).