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The Uncountable Stars

There was a time the renowned scientists in the world believed the universe consisted of merely one thousand and twenty-eight stars. Think of that! Just a tick over one thousand stars. It is important to note the fact these astronomers had reasons for thinking this way.

In the middle part of the second century, sometime around AD 150, a Greco-Roman mathematician and astronomer published a work called Almagest. He worked tirelessly to compile the most comprehensive and systematic list of stars in the world. He catalogued the names of these stars, and his worked remained the primary reference work in astronomy for about 1400 years until the time of Copernicus.

What mystifies me is the fact that 700 years before Ptolemy, a man by the name of Jeremiah claimed there were far more than 1,025 stars. He stated his words were not the result of scientific endeavor, or mere chance. Jeremiah, instead, asserted his writing was a divine disclosure dealing primarily with spiritual realities. Ironically, he also wrote about a cosmological truth that would have been rejected by the experts of his day.

In Jeremiah 33:22, the claim was forwarded that there are so many stars they would be impossible to count. This prophet of God had no formal education in this academic field. Furthermore, the telescope would not be invented until 1608, when a Dutch eyeglass maker, Hans Lippershey, applied for the patent (his first telescope had a magnification strength of three times). Still, the spokesperson for the Lord God never wavered in his conviction concerning the innumerable heavenly lights.

Scientist today tell us there are a billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy alone. With another two trillion galaxies in the universe, the astronomical field estimates there are a septillion stars in our cosmos. That is a one with twenty-four zeros behind it. By comparison, a person would need to count ten stars per second for a trillion years nonstop to reach the number of stars in our universe. Nobody can grasp such a volume.

It is striking that long before science made its discovery, the Bible declared the number of stars in existence was beyond any counting capacity. Only recently has astronomy confirmed what the Bible taught 2,700 years ago. How did the prophet know of such a scientific truth? Coincidence? Luck? Chance? Or was he privy to divine insightful.

Incidentally, Psalm 147:4 says that God, “Counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name.”

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