The Universe – A Review

Posted on February 7, 2008. Filed under: Reviews, Spiritual Musings |

  The Universe – A Review

As I was growing I held to a deep fascination with space.  I would buy books filled with artist renderings, I would attend some club meetings (like the Orange County Astronomers), I would even take as many opportunities as I could to go star-gazing with my friend (he had this immense telescope that took three people to lug around and put together).  Something about it all helped to put into perspective how small, how much of a tiny blip we really are.  It was a story unto itself.  Endless abysses, roiling tempests of fire, soaring vistas, all bigger than imagination itself the universe held so many mysteries left to be discovered.

The History Channel’s series The Universe is one of those great outlets for the imagination.  Though it is a show based on science and facts it truly lends credence to the phrase “truth is stranger than fiction”.  Each episode explores new vistas and new ideas as it takes us on a field trip beyond our own backyard.  From planets in our solar system, to dark matter, to the life and death of stars, each show helps us to realize how much more is truly out there to be discovered.  Each hour long episode reminds us how much we don’t know or understand about the existence of all things, let alone our selves.

For every new subject tackled, experts in each field add their two cents to the bigger picture.  Each guest has the knowledge AND charisma to help us to understand some of the harder to grasp concepts of astronomy and astrophysics.  Along with the professionals The History Channel illustrates via computer animation what these different things would look like.  When available, photos from different observatories and satellites are used to help propel our imaginations through the stunning array of canvases the show is painting for us.  This is all done in such a way that whether you’re an auditory learner or a visual learner, you’ll walk away more educated and inspired.

As I watch each episode, I can’t help but feel stunned by it all.  There are times when I have to pause my DVR, close my eyes and imagine what it all is like.  The sizes and distances that are spoken of are blindingly incomprehensible.  The odd things that happen which defy all sense of our own physical reality (like something which is measured in miles spinning 11 times every second) boggle the mind.  It can almost leave you mad if thought about for too long.

But with all of the immensity, all of the destructive power the universe holds there is a depth and beauty to it that defies speech.  I can only think of one word to even describe what I think and feel, “God!”  I don’t intend for that to mean some sort of pantheistic idea where everything is god and god is in everything.  I simply mean that as I ponder it all, the first thing that comes to mind is that this has all been touched by God.  Too often when I’m praying or reading scripture I forget just how BIG God is, how utterly “Other Than” he is compared to me and all that I know. 

God is the God of the universe.  Too often I see that as God is the God of my little world that lives in my head.  Every so often, something comes along to help put into perspective just how wrong I am and just how small I’m thinking.  I know it may sound odd but the show The Universe is almost like a catalyst for a mystical experience with God.  Sometimes you become so in awe of the power of God and his creative abilities that you have to lock yourself away in your prayer closet and bask in the glorious mystery of it all.  I know that everyone who watches this show will not be affected in the same way (heck, my wife thinks I’m a nut for watching it all the time) but I hope that as your surfing through the channels looking fro something to watch, you’ll stop for a moment and enjoy a guided tour through the amazing universe.

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