Franciscan Spirit Blog

Franciscan Inspirations: How Big Is God?

kid reaching for the sky

It sounds like a strange question to ask because, by definition, God is infinite. But in our human experience, we have no idea what infinite really means. Consider this: as big as our own universe is, it is still created by the infinite God.

To begin with, we can estimate that our whole universe is about 14.6 billion years old. Our Milky Way, of which our solar system is a part, is estimated to be 6.4 billion years old. And all of this is said to have started with the Big Bang—an explosion of so much energy that all of what we see came from it over billions of years.

But let’s go further. Our Milky Way is about 100 light-years in diameter. To understand what a light-year is, we have to think of how far light will travel in a single year considering that light travels 186,000 miles per second. In a single year, light will travel 5.88 trillion miles. Keep in mind that, as big as our Milky Way is, it really is only an average-sized galaxy in the universe. How many galaxies are in our universe? We can safely say between 100 and 200 billion galaxies—each galaxy containing between 100 and 200 billion stars!

Deep Sense of Awe

I could go on and on, but none of us would be able to understand the formulas needed for measuring the stars in our universe. Every new telescope developed takes us farther into space. But no matter how may light-years our galaxy extends, what we are told by scientists is that there may actually be more universes than just our own. Imagine: another billion universes we don’t even know about!

I marvel at how non-believing scientists seem to shrink the size of God into nonexistence. For we who believe, every new discovery only brings us to a deep sense of awe in God. And in a figure of speech, God holds each of us in the palm of his hand. And for the size of the universe, one single human being is of infinitely greater value than all the immeasurable universes out there.

The reason is simple: each life is made in God’s image and likeness. Value is never based on size. All that God created, including the universe, is good. But we, as children of God, are valued most. Jesus did not die for the material universe. Jesus died for you and me. As children of God, Jesus died for his brothers and sisters.

How big is God? The best way to measure God is to remind us of what the Scriptures tell us: “God is love.” And there is no measuring stick for love.

St. Francis of Assisi collection

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