Earlier this week, the world celebrated its birthday – at least according to noted German mathematician and astronomer, Johannes Kepler. According to Kepler, the world was created on April 27, 4977 B.C. (before Christ). Now, this seems like some random guess, but Kepler spent his entire life fascinated by space, time and mathematics. He believed that he had the right date for the creation of the world.
Kepler was born in Germany on December 27, 1571 and became interested in following the work of Copernicus and his studies of the solar system including how planets move. Copernicus advanced the idea that the planets revolved around the sun; and that the earth wasn’t the center of the universe. Until that time, the prevailing view was that the sun orbited the earth and we now know that Copernicus was correct in his findings. Kepler actually worked for a Danish astronomer who was the imperial mathematician to the Roman Emperor and from that platform advanced even more important work about the solar system overlaid with mathematics to predict future events.
Most of the sightings back in that day were observations made with the naked eye. Galileo, a contemporary of Kepler, used a telescope to find multiple moons around Jupiter, craters on the moon and many other celestial observations. In fact, Galileo sent Kepler a telescope for furthering his work and Kepler even improved on the design.
Kepler was quite a guy… he eventually published his thoughts on three different planetary laws, including the fact that planets don’t orbit the sun in even circles. He advanced the thought that they move in a predictable elliptical orbit, speeding up as they are near the sun and slowing down as they move away from the sun.
In fact, his work greatly influenced Isaac Newton years later and Kepler even did extensive work in the field of optics and how the human eye works. But one of his great achievements was his calculation as to the when the world was created – on April 27, 4977 B.C. However, in the 20th century, scientists came up with the Big Bang Theory that believes the world was created in a flash that occurred about 13.7 billion years ago.
Clearly, there is great disagreement about the origins of the universe – the cosmos… Some people believe in the Big Bang Theory and many others, those who believe in the literal translation of the Bible, think that Kepler was pretty accurate in his findings.
Those theologians who have traced the biblical generations back to the beginning with Adam and Eve, date the start of the world between 4000 and 5500 B.C. – exactly where Kepler placed the origins of the cosmos. So the question becomes, who is correct? Was there a “big bang” or did God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit create the world “ex nihilo” – something out of nothing… Each person will have to decide for him/herself what they believe.
Our verse for tonight is my favorite verse in the Bible – the first verse we read in the book of Genesis. Moses, the author, tells us in Genesis 1:1-2, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”
So, it’s up to each of us to decide if we want to believe the narrative of Moses or believe in “science.” My encouragement this evening is that God wants to live with us and He created the perfect environment – the Garden of Eden – to commune with us, His created beings. By the way, we were created in His image. My prayer is that we will all spend time with God and enjoy, as well as take care of, this little blue marble we call home – the Earth… Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…