The Fear of God

In Isaiah 6, when God showed Isaiah a vision of angels flying around praising God, he was distraught because he had unclean lips and lived with others who did. An angel touched his mouth with a hot coal and said his lips were now clean. There are many similar occurrences in the Bible, where someone sees an angel and is terrified, then the angel tells them to not be afraid.

Yet both Proverbs 9:10 and Psalms 111:10 tell us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. How then do we have a proper fear of God?

The most common answer is that fear in this latter sense isn’t to be terrified He will smite you with lightning if you step out of line, but rather remembering that He could if He so chose.

If the President or Pope were to visit you, you would likely be on your best behavior. You would have your home cleaned, your best suit or dress on, and have cooked or ordered a fine meal. You would address him respectfully and, should he ask you for something, you’d probably do it, even if you don’t particularly like him. Why? Because you respect his power and authority. Because it’s an honor to get to dine with him. 

Why then do we have a hard time finding a parking spot at a crowded mall and look heavenward in exasperation? Why do we get mad at God when bad things happen to us? The answer is that we simply forget how powerful He is.

With that in mind, here are a few facts and figures for you to digest. Remember that God is responsible for them all.

1. Earth has a diameter of 12,756.2 km. The observable Universe has a diameter of 47 billion light years. This makes the ratio of the universe, as we know it, to earth 4.235*10^49. That’s 4 followed by 49 other digits. In that space, the lowest estimate I’ve heard is that there are 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars.

2. Going at the speed of light, you could circle the earth seven times in one second. You could go to the moon in under 1.4 seconds. It would take only eight minutes to travel to the Sun. It would take under 7 hours to go past the Kuiper Belt and out of our solar system. Yet it would take roughly 27,000 years to get to the center of even our galaxy.

3. Going the other way, the ratio of the earth’s diameter to that of an average atom is even greater: 2.0757*10^51. In other words, approximately 50 times as many atoms could fit inside a ball the size of earth as earths could fit in the observable universe.

4. In 2002, German researchers discovered a bacteria living in volcanic beds off Iceland’s coast. This bacteria, known as Nanoarchaeum equitans, has the shortest DNA ever found, just 490,885 base pairs. With DNA sequencing, every pair is between two out of four nucleotides. I don’t know whether it makes a difference which of these nucleotides is on which side of the double-helix (I’m not a biologist; if anyone knows, please comment because I’d like to know), but assuming it doesn’t matter, that makes it a 1 in 2 chance that each of these pairs would be in the right place if they got together randomly. For 490,885 pairs, the odds of them all lining up correctly are 1 in 1.2865*10^147,771.

Even with the simplest virus, which has only 1759 base pairs, that’s 3.249*10^529 possibilities. Think about that for a second. You could count every atom (there are an estimated 9.4*10^79 in the Universe) 100 trillion times every second since the Universe was created (even assuming the evolutionists are right on the age of the Universe at 13.77 billion years) and you still wouldn’t have come close to counting as many atoms as there are possible ways for this virus’ DNA to go wrong.

Now compare that with human DNA, which has 3 billion base pairs.

The odds of even a tiny virus coming together randomly are absolutely laughable. The odds that we’re the result of chance is even more ridiculous.

Now consider that God created all this by speaking it. Every atom. Every star. Every galaxy. This God loves you enough to die for you. Even if He didn’t, whether He didn’t care about you or even if He didn’t like humanity and we were the butt of His jokes, He would still be worthy of our worship, simply because the absolutely incredible size and detail He’s put in the Universe.

He’s our Friend and our Father, yes, but we should never lose sight of how magnificent He is, of how great an honor it is to even pray to Him, much less for Him to hear us. Take a moment and try to wrap your head around some of these numbers. Then ask yourself why you’d ever dream of accusing Him of wrong-doing. It’d be like an ant yelling at the Sun for being too bright. He can’t change it and the Sun is too far away and too amazing for the ant to even begin to understand. More than just our Savior, our Father, and our High Priest, He is our God.

(Thanks to for providing a calculator that could handle these numbers. I was breaking poor Excel.)


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