One of the most amazing technological advances of the past ten years has been the production and deployment of the James Webb Space Telescope. The magnitude of this advance is so enormous that National Geographic published a special issue in October 2023 titled “Space.” Tom Abel is a computational cosmologist who leads the National Geographic writers through what the Webb telescope has enabled scientists to understand about the creation process. Abel describes what the Webb telescope tells us about the creation of the elements necessary for life to exist. Here is his description from page 94:
“..the supernovae of stars up to hundreds of times the mass of the sun, transformed the universe. New elements were generated – oxygen to make water, silicon to build planets, phosphorus to power cells – and scattered throughout the expanse. The first stars also broke apart the atoms of the surrounding hydrogen gas, burning away the cosmic haze and making things transparent – a key time known as reionization. As the fog lifted, pockets of stars merged, swirling into bigger and bigger assemblages, including the seed of our own Milky Way.”
No scientist can explain the creation of space and time or the mass/energy that allowed these transformations to occur. However, what we are seeing is that, like Genesis 1, the Webb telescope tells us about creation. Understanding how God molded and shaped what He had already created is exciting and encouraging. Proverbs chapter 8 personifies Wisdom, saying, “The Lord possessed me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, before there was ever an earth (verses 22-23).” Wisdom then goes on to describe some of the things the Lord made.
Science is a great friend of faith, and as technology advances, our understanding of God’s work becomes more glorious and amazing. Psalms 19:1 finds David glorifying God by stating that the firmament (cosmos) shows His handiwork. Learning more about God’s power, and wisdom, strengthens our faith. Understanding more about God’s creation, causes us to glorify Him. It renews our conviction about our purpose for existing and helps us to realize how blessed we are to be created in the image of God.
— John N. Clayton © 2023
Reference: National Geographic October 2023