How Big is God?

A friend of mine called me up and said that he was looking for some illustrations for an upcoming sermon to talk about how big God was. I spent some time doing some rough back-of-the-envelop calculations to come up with some rough estimates of just how small humans are, and just how much creative power God has.

Rain and Snow

Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if thou knowest it all. Job 38:18

The average annual rainfall plus snowfall in the United States is about 30.21 inches. The area of the United States is 3.8 million square miles. This is a total of 1773 cubic miles of precipitation.

To compare, the total amount of floor space for Amazon's 175 warehouses is 150 million square feet. If each warehouse is 34 feet tall, they have a total volume of 0.034 cubic miles. That means if Amazon tried to store as much water and snow as possible to supply the United States' precipitation needs for a year, and it maxed out all of its warehouses, it could only store enough snow and water for about 10 minutes of the USA's weather before it ran dry.

Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war? Job 38:22-23

We could then try to import the rest using all of the oil tankers. Each year, the USA imports about 3.3 billion barrels of oil. If the USA decided to use every last tanker to import 3.3 billion barrels of rain and snow, it could only import enough water for another 30 minutes.

The Lord will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. Deuteronomy 28:12

Size of the Oceans

The oceans have about 320 million cubic miles of water.

Let's suppose that we didn't have oceans, and we wanted to fill them ourselves. A kitchen faucet can output about 2 gallons of water per minute. A bathtub might output 5 gallons per minute. A garden hose can output about 17 gallons per minute. So let's assume that the average house has 3 sinks, 2 bathtubs, and a garden hose. That's 33 gallons per minute per home. Let's say that each of the approximately 2 billion houses on earth turns on all of its sinks, bathtubs, and garden hoses at the same time, and lets 66 billion gallons of water pour onto the streets every minute. At this rate, it would take 10,000 years to fill up the earth's oceans.

He that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name. Amos 9:6

Power of the Sun

The sun is way more powerful than any power plant that humans have made. It produces about 100 thousand billion billion (10^23) kilowatts of power (power is energy per second). The sun creates so much energy, it is the equivalent of exploding 2.3 billion nukes per second.

The human race has done about 2100 nuclear tests. The energy released by all of these tests combined would be enough to keep the sun going for about 22.63 picoseconds (a picosecond is one trillionth of a second).

The total world energy production is about 100,000 trillion watt hours per year. The sun produces this amount of energy every 3.5 microseconds.

His radiance is like the sunlight; He has rays flashing from His hand, And there is the hiding of His power. Habakkuk 3:4

And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. Matthew 17:2

In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength. Revelation 1:16

Size of the Sun

Texas has an area of 270,000 square miles. The sun has an area of 2.3 trillion square miles. That means that it would take 8.5 million Texases to cover the Sun.

Size of our Solar System

Suppose that you and your friends wanted to go on a road trip. You hopped in your car, filled it up with potato chips for your long drive ahead, pointed your car straight up into space, and started driving at 60 miles per hour.

Your first rest stop would be the moon. If you and your friends took turns driving so that you drove 24/7, you'd reach the moon after 5.5 months. This is the same amount of distance you would have to drive if you wanted to drive around the earth 9.6 times.

Let's suppose that you felt that you wanted to keep going. You stopped at the moon to fill up with gas, and to briefly stretch out your legs, before making the long drive to the sun. You'd reach the sun after about 177 years (assuming that you took turns driving the whole time).

But that's just to the sun. We haven't visited any planets. Let's suppose that we wanted to visit the 8 closest dots of the tiny dots in our night sky, the 8 planets in our solar system (sorry Pluto, you're not a planet anymore!) By the time you reached all 8, you would have been driving for 5,310 years.

To put this into perspective, assume the earth was created 4000 years before Christ, and that Enoch was born 622 years after creation. Enoch was translated when he was 365 years old, so he's been in heaven now for about 5,033 years. If the first thing that Enoch did when he was transfigured was get into a car, and start driving from earth to Neptune, he would still have 277 years to go!

But that's just our solar system. We haven't gotten anywhere close to any of the other stars in our night sky. Let's say we wanted to drive to our sun's nearest neighbort, Proxima Centauri. That star is 25.8 trillion miles away, and would take you 50 million years to drive there! And that's just the closest star. The edge of the galaxy is 24,000 times farther away from us than the closest star is, and it would take you 1.2 quadrillion years to drive to the edge of the galaxy.

But that's just our galaxy. There are probably more than 100 billion galaxies in our universe. And the universe is expanding, so that they are flying away from us faster than we could ever hope to drive to them!

For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. Psalm 103:11

Number of Stars in the Galaxy

The galaxy contains 100 billion stars.

To wrap your mind around that number, there are 30,000 grains of rice in a pound of long-grain white rice. If you ate nothing but cooked rice for a year, you'd eat about 500 pounds of rice in one year.

At that rate, it would take you 6,600 years to eat 100 billion grains of rice.

Now, imagine if you had to give each grain of rice a name before you ate it...

He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Psalm 147:4

Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing. Isaiah 40:26

We Only Can Detect 4% of the Stuff in our Universe

As big as the universe is, we actually don't know what holds it together. You and I, planets, stars, and black holes, are considered "ordinary" matter, and interact with "ordinary" energy. This "ordinary" matter and energy makes up only 4% of the universe. About 27% of the universe is made up of some mysterious stuff that scientists have never been able to detect called "dark matter." It's so hard to detect because the only law of known physics that it obeys is gravity. It doesn't produce or absorb light, and it isn't made up of any of the possible chemicals on the periodic table of the elements. We know it's there because our galaxy spins faster than it should if it were only made up of ordinary matter.

Furthermore, scientists cannot explain the energy that helps hold the universe together. Galaxies are so far away from each other, but there is a mysterious force that is three times as strong as the incredible amounts of gravity produced by dark matter. If we don't know anything about dark matter, then we really have zero clue what dark energy is, except that it is way stronger than dark matter and it makes up about 68% of the universe, and we can't see any of it.

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together Colossians 1:17

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! Romans 11:33

who does great and unsearchable things, wonders without number. Job 5:9

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Psalm 139:6

Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised; His greatness is unsearchable. Psalm 145:3

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men, yet they cannot fathom the work God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

What exists is out of reach and very deep. Who can fathom it? Ecclesiastes 7:24

I saw every work of God, and that a man is unable to comprehend the work that is done under the sun. Despite his efforts to search it out, he cannot find its meaning; even if the wise man claims to know, he is unable to comprehend. Ecclesiastes 8:17