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Psalm 8

What is man

(Psalm 8)

Harm Kifte

In 1977 a historical event took place in the history of space research. Two spacecraft without any astronauts were launched to investigate the outer edges of our solar system. They started their journey to the most remote planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Thousands of pictures of unknown worlds of an immeasurable space were sent during thirteen years. Space is one of the unfathomable things that God has created, an awesome wonder of Gods hand. “Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea. Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south. Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number.” (Job 9:8-10). Psalm 8 also speaks about this. “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained” (vs. 4).

Special picture
One of the most intriguing Voyager pictures was sent in 1990, when Voyager 1 reached the edge of our solar system. On this picture a small ray of sunlight can be seen with a small bleak spot in it, about 6 billion kilometres away. This insignificant spot is our planet earth. This picture makes us realize how tiny earth is, the more if we realize that the universe is much bigger than we could see on that picture, billions of times bigger. An incredible enormous space filled with millions of astronomic systems. When I saw this special picture, I became aware of the words of Ps. 8: “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him?”
The pictures from the Voyagers and also from telescope Hubble for example, which we have gotten from astronauts in the last decades, bring deep respect to us as believers for the God Who has created this universe. But at the same time it brings us to deep humility because of the smallness of us human beings. What is man, that He is mindful of us!

Heavenly majesty
The Lord shows His Majesty above the heavens, we read in Psalm 8:2. Just to be able to understand something of His Majesty, the LORD created the universe. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge” (Psalm 19:1,2). The heavens declare the honour, the glory of God. The LORD is unlimited in power, in creative power. It has been Gods intention for us to see and recognize this. Not only what we can see of creation during the day speaks thereof, but especially the night speaks of that knowledge. If we see the stars in the sky at night, our thoughts should be directed to our Creator. “Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together” (Is. 48:13).
The universe fits in the palm of Gods Hand and it is by His call, His Speaking in space and time, that it is called into being. “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth” (Psalm 33:6). He has spoken with immeasurable power and intelligence and it came to be.

Cosmic constants
With the knowledge of today’s science it is no longer possible to believe in an accidental development of the universe. Over the last decades various scientists have admitted this, especially because of the so-called cosmic constants. Constants of nature in the laws of nature that have been determined extremely accurate which keep this universe in balance, like the value of the speed of light, the force of attraction of nucleus parts in atoms, power of gravity and so on. These cosmic constants keep everything there is in balance. If these constants would change just a fraction, it would be impossible for the universe to exist. Atoms would splatter and the heavenly bodies would not be able to keep each other in balance. Roger Penrose, a mathematic physicist, has calculated, from acknowledging these nature constants, the chance that our universe exists. This chance is smaller than 1 divided by a 10 with a thousand thirty zero’s. This number excludes any coincidence. Someone must have determined these cosmic constants, which are non-convertible, very precisely. Another scientist, Fred Hoyle, a well known astronomer and former atheist, says: “The cosmic constants give a strong impression that the universe was created with life in mind.” Robert Jastrow, CEO of the Institute for Space Studies, part of the NASA, called the cosmic constants ‘the most theistic result that ever came forth of science’.

No Big Bang
The more we study the universe, the more it shows that the universe cannot be a product of coincidence. The heavens have been secured by the LORD in a very special manner, ‘strong, as a molten looking glass’, as Job expresses it in Job 37:18. “Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass?” The universe exists by the grace of these constants that have been determined with great accuracy. That leads to the conclusion that science does not agree with the random ‘Big Bang’, that has been taught to many youngsters in many schools and universities. The Big Bang is a definite lie, and scientific research shows this more and more clearly. We do not belong to a bursting universe that has been determined by coincidence. The Lord has planted the earth in the midst of the universe, very meticulously, with great care and love, so that when we would investigate the universe, our thoughts would be led to Him.

Clear view
Did you know that in fact it is very exceptional that we have such a clear view from our planet of the stars? The earthly atmosphere has very specific characteristics. One of them is a transparency that makes it possible to study the starry sky. The earth is located exactly in a very transparent part of the Milky Way, where the view is not being blocked by space dust. This cannot be a coincidence. It has been undoubtedly God’s intention for us to investigate His immeasurable heavens.

Higher than the Highest star
The universe is immeasurable, but God Himself is enthroned above it. “Is not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars, how high they are!” (Job 22:12). Nowadays we assume that the highest star ‘stands’ 11 billions of light years above us. (1 light year = 9500 billion km). These distances of stars are very disputable, but that is not the point for now. God’s throne is higher than the highest star! That is where our thoughts should be drawn. He is enthroned above everything. He has created everything, His ways are higher than everything. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Is. 55:9).

Putting everything into perspective
If we consider the universe and God’s great dominion above, we can put everything into perspective. What is a man… with his own thoughts about universe, the reality around him, but also his own little world? If God is able to create an immeasurable universe by speaking, why do we still worry? Thinking about the recovering of his people of Israel, Jeremiah expresses it as follows: “Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee” (Jer. 32:17). God’s thoughts are immeasurable and so much higher than ours. Let us be reminded of that as well when we see the starry sky.

Higher purpose
This immeasurable universe may bring us to amazement, but yet the universe is not the goal itself. We should look beyond it, for it is more excellent. God is mindful of us! This was and is His high purpose. For Psalm 8 continues: “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet” (vs. 4-6). Man crowned with glory and honour, all things put under his feet, even the universe? But, this has nothing to do with reality? Man loses control over his world more and more. If we do not control earth, how could we have any influence over the universe? How do we comprehend this?

It is Him
Isaiah gives more light on this problem. He also connects God’s wonderful creation, the earth and the universe, with man. “I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded. I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the LORD of hosts” (Is. 45:12, 13). Now things are getting clearer. Man, about Who is spoken, is the One Who will build God’s city, a redeemer of captives, raised in righteousness. He is the Saviour, the Messiah of Israel! He is the Christ, the Anointed One, God’s highest purpose behind His creation. Through Christ, creation came forth; under His feet this creation will be put. From Hebrews 2, where an explanation is given about Psalm 8, we learn that this Psalm shows a prophetic view on the Lord Jesus. “Thou madest Him a little lower than the angels.” Christ left the throne of God, far above the universe, above the angels. He was raised in righteousness on that little dust particle called earth, which had been dragged along by Satan’s fall. He delivers us in order to rule with Him over all that is, to let us share in His majesty and glory! What is man! In Him we already have gotten a glorified place, higher than the immeasurable universe “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6). The whole universe that has been stained by sin is being put under His feet again. “But now we see not yet all things put under him” (Heb 2:8). It only has to be revealed that Christ has gotten the rightful position above the universe, yes, above everything there is and we in Him! That is where we should set our thoughts if we consider the starry sky and take knowledge and notice from science.

Unlimited faithfulness
By looking at this immeasurable universe we may open our eyes to see the wonder of God’s enormous grace, immeasurable as the universe. He has delivered us as captives and slaves of sin, ‘not for price nor reward’. It was complete mercy, a mercy that He will grant to His people of Israel as well. The Lord shows His unlimited faithfulness to Israel with the grandeur of the universe. “Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD” (Jer. 31:37). The Lord is faithful; He will finish what He has started to do. God created the universe and us in the midst of it with a purpose. We are not a product of coincidence. And, when the Lord has reached His purpose with this universe, He will create a new heaven and a new earth, even more immense, even more wonderful, perfect in beauty but with the same witness: God is immeasurable in greatness, majesty, love and mercy.