Relativity and Promise in God’s Universe
by Bob Burridge ©2017
We’ve all heard the phrase, “Everything is relative.” In God’s universe this is true in some ways, and totally false in others. When we say that something is relative, it’s being compared with something else or some other set of circumstances. It speaks of how things “relate” with one another.
A flashlight in a dark room seems relatively brighter than the same flashlight out on the beach on a sunny day, even though it’s producing the same amount of light.
The morality of killing another human depends upon the circmstances. If taking a life is unavoidable in self-defense, it’s morally justifyable, though always tragic. If a killing is done out of unprovoked personal anger or to steal the person’s valuables, it’s morally evil.
The apparent brightness of light, and the morality of taking a human life, illustrate that many things have a sense of relativity based upon circumstances. However, in each case there is a constant factor that doesn’t change in different circumstances. Though the brightness of the flashlight in these cases might appear different to the observer, the light given off by a flashlight was in each case constant. God’s moral law concerning the value of human life in each case remains a fixed standard. Morality in any circumstance is always determined relative to the moral principles revealed in God’s word alone.
Our Creator made everything to display his power and glory. God’s universe is very large, beyond our ability to fully comprehend it. From different view-points things in the universe don’t always appear the same. We have found and directly observed that when we see something passing by us at extremely high velocities three basic measurements appear to be different to us than they do to someone inside the passing object.
Things passing by at velocities near the speed of light appear to be shorter along the line of it’s motion, things in them seem to slow down, and the mass of the object seems to increase dramatically. If we see a space vehicle zoom past us at 90% of the speed of light it will not look the same to us as it does to those inside the vehicle. If it was 10 meters long before it started to move, it will appear to be only 4.35 meters long. When an hour goes by for us, we see the clock inside the vehicle tick off only 26 minutes. If the vehicle had a mass of 1,000 Kilogams before take-off, it would now appear to have a mass of 2,294 Kilograms.
To those inside that fast space vehicle all those measurements will seem normal, the same as before it took off. But to those inside the vehicle, you would seem shorter, slower, and more massive. Relative to the space vehicle passengers, you are passing by them at 90% of the speed of light. So who is right? It depends upon your frame of reference, your point of view.
These measurements (length, time, mass) only appear one way or the other depending upon who is observing things. But as the space vehicle moves past objects in space, the changes are very real from the point of view of the planets, stars, nebula, and singularities around them. So to accellerate an object to the speed of light, an infinite amount of energy would be needed as the mass increases to near infinity. Relative to the part of space it’s passing through it would take an infinite amount of energy to speed it up that final step to reach the speed of light. With appologies to Star Trek and other space fiction adventures, acellerating to light speed would be impossible within what we now know about God’s universe.
Obviously light travels at the speed of light. But light is energy, not matter. It has no mass to begin with. Light moves as photons which seem to be localized packets of energy. There is no mass inertia to overcome to reach light speed.
For us to visit the most distant stars and galaxies it would take longer than all the ages of human history here on earth. Even if we could travel at the speed of light it would take over 13 billion years to reach galaxy MACS0647-JD. We are very much limited to how far we can go within even the longest human life-time.
An amazing biblical fact is that God is always everywhere!
Psalm 139:7-10, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.”
God is everywhere all the time sustaining those distant galaxies which are forever beyond our reach. He is here, and in all the places between us and Galaxly MACS0647-JD. He doesn’t have to move from one place to another. He is altogether present with each of us all the time. This is our great confidence and assurance. We never face challenges alone. Hebrews 13:5 God reminds those who trust in him of what he has promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
As we learn more about our world and the rest of the universe we see more of the display of God’s power and glory. We humbly grow to appreciate his immensity in greater ways.
Psalms 19:1-2, “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge.”
Romans 1:20, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse”
The more we learn about our Creator’s work, even information about the unseen and unseeable, the more we are driven to awe and a humble sense of God’s glory stirring us to sincere worship.
1. Oh come, let us sing to the LORD! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
2. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
3. For the LORD is the great God, And the great King above all gods.
4. In His hand are the deep places of the earth; The heights of the hills are His also.
5. The sea is His, for He made it; And His hands formed the dry land.
6. Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.
Note: Bible quotations are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.