Trillions of Stars

As I scanned my Facebook news feed this morning, my attention was drawn to an article posted by a friend titled, “Astronomers Find Triple the Number of Stars Hiding in the Universe.” Then I saw an expanded version of the same story on NPR, “‘Trillions Of Earths’ Could Be Orbiting 300 Sextillion Stars.”

I was reminded immediately of one of my favorite quotes from Michael Dowd’s book Thank God for Evolution: “We are stardust now evolved to the place that the stardust can think about itself.”

I’m also reminded of a line from Contact, one of my favorite films, which beautifully and challengingly oscillates between the perspectives of faith and reason.  Toward the end of the film, Jodie Foster’s character is speaking to a group of children, and says, “I’ll tell you one thing about the universe, though. The universe is a pretty big place. It’s bigger than anything anyone has ever dreamed of before. So if it’s just us… seems like an awful waste of space.”

This latest news from the field of astronomy is only one more reason to stand in awe and wonder at the mystery of how much we know as a species as well as how that knowledge simultaneously invites us to humility regarding how much we do not know.

Carl Gregg is the Pastor at Broadview Church in Calvert County, Maryland. Visit his blog, Protestant Pastor in a Post-Modern World, here.

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About Carl Gregg

The Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg is a trained spiritual director, a D.Min. graduate of San Francisco Theological Seminary, and the minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick, Maryland. Follow him on Facebook facebook.com/carlgregg and Twitter @carlgregg.


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