When skeptics want to ridicule a belief in a caring God, they will often point to the mind-boggling immensity of the universe and sneer that it is completely absurd to imagine that a deity who could create something of that scale would have an interest in something so inconsequential as the moderately-intelligent life forms who inhabit our utterly insignificant planet. And they make a good point!
When God established His covenant with the childless man Abram (later to be renamed Abraham) He illustrated the multitude of Abram’s promised descendants by having him step outside his tent and attempt to count the stars in the sky (Genesis 15:1-6). Anyone who has ever been exposed to the full grandeur of the night sky in the clear air and total darkness of a remote arid region appreciates the awesome spectacle Abram witnessed that night – and surely he was filled with wonder at God’s promise. Yet Abram did not have the faintest inkling of the true immensity of God’screation that he was viewing. He would not have realized that each of those pinpoints of light that he could discern with his naked eye was in fact a vast burning sun, some of them hundreds of times larger than our own sun, which is itself about 1.3 million times the size of the world he was standing on. None of that vast scale would be revealed until Galileo built his telescope thousands of years later.
And it would not be until 100 years ago that it was appreciated that the few thousands of stars that can be individually distinguished by the naked eye are only a tiny fraction of the estimated 250 billion stars in our ‘local neighborhood’ of the Milky Way Galaxy and that lying far beyond this there are an estimated 100-200 billion more galaxies! To put that into some kind of perspective, there are roughly 7.3 billion inhabitants of our planet – an enormous number indeed. Yet, the universe is thought to contain about 20 galaxies for each living human! This works out to roughly 5,000,000,000,000 stars for each person! And physicists now believe that something like 90% of the mass of the universe is still invisible to us. Incredible!! Our minds reel in disbelief at the magnitude and mystery of God’s handiwork!
So it is a reasonable question: how could a God of such unfathomable power that He can create such immensity with only His word ‘give a rip’ about the fate of the puny human creatures who inhabit this microscopic speck that we call earth? As David put it in Psalm 8:
“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man [human beings] that you care for him?”
Think about this: what are the odds that the most powerful man on earth would take a personal interest in the microbes living on a speck of dust in some obscure corner of his far-flung enterprise? “Less than Zilch” is the only logical response! But what if it were confirmed that this is factually the case? And further, that this powerful magnate actually loves those microscopic critters enough to endure incredible personal pain to ensure their eternal survival (abuse inflicted by those microbes themselves) – what would that say about the value he places in them? That’s roughly what the testimony of scripture confirms about Almighty God’s passionate interest in us.
How can we explain this wildly-improbable fact? We can’t! There is nothing about the human character or our history of self-destructive behavior that would justify such an extravagant obsession with our well-being. Truly, we are more like ‘germs’ that should be eradicated! The only possible explanation for God’s obsessive love for us is the clue given in His Word where we are told that we are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26, 27). When God looks at us he doesn’t see only the troublesome and inconsequential creatures we actually are at present, but rather the glorious beings we were created to be – reflections of Himself – ones He is committed to restore.
Our planet earth may be an infinitesimal speck in the vastness of God’s cosmos, but its inhabitants have been the recipients of the most extreme example of loving attention imaginable, when God willingly assumed human likeness to dwell among us, taking on our weakness and frailty so that He could make the ultimate sacrifice to redeem us – His own death on the Cross. Impossible though it sounds, God considers each of us is worth dying for!