Brennan Manning and Startling Stats: The Ragamuffin Gospel ~ Chapter 2

“Sir James Jeans, the famous British astronomer, once said, ‘The universe appears to have been designed by a Pure Mathematician.’ Joseph Campbell wrote of ‘a perception of a cosmic order, mathematically definable …’”
As they contemplate the order of the earth, the solar system, and the stellar universe, scientists and scholars have concluded that the Master Planner left nothing to chance. 

The slant of the earth, for example, tiled at an angle of 23 degrees, produces our seasons. Scientists tell us that if the earth had not been tilted exactly as it is, vapors from the oceans would move both north and south, piling up continents of ice. 

If the moon were only 50,000 miles away from earth instead of 200,000, the tides might be so enormous that all continents would be submerged in water– even the mountains would be eroded. 

If the crust of earth had been only ten feet thicker, there would be no oxygen, and without it all animal life would die. 

Had the oceans been a few feet deeper, carbon dioxide and oxygen would have been absorbed and no vegetable life would exist. 

The earth’s weight has been estimated at six sextillion tons (that’s a six with 21 zeros). Yet it is perfectly balanced and turns easily on its axis. It revolves daily at the rate of more than 1,000 miles per hour or 25,000 miles each day. This adds up to nine million miles a year. Considering the tremendous weight of six sextillion tons rolling at this fantastic speed around an invisible axis, held in place by unseen bands of gravitation, the words of Job 26:7 take on unparalleled significance: ‘He poised the earth on nothingness.’

The earth revolves in its own orbit around the sun, making the long elliptical circuit of six hundred million miles each year– which means we are traveling in orbit at 19 miles per second or 1,140 miles per hour. 

Job further invites us to meditate on ‘the wonders of God’ (37:14). Consider the sun. Every square yard of the sun’s surface is emitting constantly an energy level of 130,000 horsepower (that is, approximately 450 eight-cylinder automobile engines), in flames that are being produced by an energy source much more powerful than coal. 

The nine major planets in our solar system range in distance from the sun from 36 million to about 3 trillion, 6,664 billion miles; yet each moves around the sun in exact precision, with orbits ranging from 88 days for Mercury to 248 years for Pluto. 

Still, the sun is only one minor star in the 100 billion orbs, which comprise our Milky Way galaxy. If you were to hold out a dime, a ten-cent piece, at arm’s length, the coin would block out 15 million stars from your view, if your eyes could see with that power. 

When we attempt to comprehend the almost countless stars and other heavenly bodies in the Milky Way galaxy alone, we resonate to Isaiah’s paean of praise to the all-powerful Creator: ‘Lift up your eyes and look. Who made these stars if not he who drills them like an army, calling each one by name? So might is his power, so great his strength, that not one fails to answer’ (40:26).”

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