This week I received an intriguing question from a person on Facebook. As I thought about her question, it occurred to me that others may be interested in the response as well, so I decided to make this the Feed Back response for this week.
From Becky M.
I believe in creation by one all-powerful God. So for me, it makes sense that, if God created the entire universe, then everything revolves around Him… thus, making Heaven the center of the universe. Just my humble opinion.
What do you believe is in the center of the universe?
Becky, thank you for submitting your question about God and heaven being the center of the universe.
First of all, there is a major theological flaw in your presumption that everything revolves around God. God created the universe. In reality, He is outside the physical realm of creation and is considered to be omnipresent meaning existing everywhere. He is not bound by the physical boundaries of the universe. Therefore, He cannot be confined to the center of the universe.
If God is not the center of the universe then what is? Is heaven at the center of the universe? What about the earth? In reality, your question covers two different realms: the physical and spiritual.
We live in the physical realm. We can see and touch and study physical objects. We can measure and place our existence in the physical realm. We have the account of Genesis 1 and 2 of God’s creation of the physical universe.
Heaven on the other hand, is part of the spiritual realm that was also created by God. We know that it is the realm where spiritual beings such as angels dwell. However, unlike the physical realm, we have no way of observing or measuring the spiritual realm or trying to place its location in a physical universe. We can study the spiritual realm, but only in as much as God has revealed to us through His Word.
Therefore, I am going to offer up two responses to your question, one dealing with the center of the physical universe and the second dealing the center of the spiritual universe. However, I must clarify one thing before proceeding and that is I do not claim to have all of the answers to this question. I am expressing my opinions based upon my knowledge of Scripture and the studies of men more learned than I am in the fields of cosmology, astronomy and theology. Some of these learned men such as Drs. D. Russell Humphreys and John Hartnett I know personally and they will be the first to admit that they also do not have all the answers and that the models they put forth are just that, models and are open to question. These men are humble Bible believing men who try their best to honor God with the scientific knowledge and abilities He gave them.
Center of the Physical Universe
Over five hundred years ago, the prevailing view of the universe was a geocentric one; that is the earth was the center of the universe and everything revolved around it. Men like Galileo and Copernicus eventually proved and persuaded the rest of the world that in fact the earth was not the center, but that it orbited the sun, thus a heliocentric or sun centered view was accepted.
But the question lingered for years as to where in the universe our measly little solar system resided.
As time and science marched on, astronomers studied our own Milky Way Galaxy. They began to get an idea of just where our solar system was. As it turns out, our solar system is located part way out along one of the spiral arms of the galaxy. Studies have indicated that if we were any closer to the center of the galaxy, radiation levels would be to great to allow life as we know it to exist on earth. The same holds true for our distance from any of the thousands of globular clusters in our galaxy. Any closer to them and the radiation would be too great. If our solar system was further out on the spiral arm, we would lose the protection we get from the rest galaxy in shielding other harmful radiation that would destroy life. It seems our tiny speck in the grand view of the entire galaxy is located at just the fight spot to allow for life on our planet.
Now the question is raised concerning the Milky Way’s place in the universe as a whole.
At this point, I have to admit that I am not an astronomer nor am I a physicist. Many times in my conversations with Drs. Russ Humphreys and John Hartnett, I had to remind them to “dumb it down’ as I’m a biologist and not one of them. It usually resulted in a chuckle and they tried their best to explain things or answer my questions in laymen terms. Therefore, I am going to offer a brief summery and refer you to a couple of articles for more information. It’s not that I am trying to get off easy; it’s more that I don’t want to misinterpret or misstate the evidence.
According to the evolutionary Big Bang model, the universe does not have a center. However, recent studies have indicated that in fact there is a physical center to the universe which fits in with several of the current creationist models. And located near or at the center of the universe is the Milky Way Galaxy which also fits with creationists models.
Genesis 1:14-15 gives us some clues about the earth being near center of the physical universe:
And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so.
The key part of these verses is the phrase: And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years. Note that the stars were also to be a sign for seasons. That means that the same stars and constellations were to appear at the same place in the sky year after year after year. This could only happen if the earth was at or near the center of the universe. We know the universe is still expanding. If the earth was any distance away from the center, the same stars and constellations would not reappear in the same areas of the sky 6,000 years later.
I will note here that there is some small drift or change in the location of the stars and constellations over the millennia. This small drift would indicate that we are not at the immediate center of the universe, but the minimal amount of drift would indicate that we are very near the center.
For more detail on the physical center of the universe, I would like to refer you to the following two articles and recommend the following resources for you to keep on hand to help equip you to be able to answer questions like this:
Center of the Spiritual Universe
Spiritually speaking, the earth is the center of the universe.
Genesis 1 clearly tells us that God created the heavens and earth on Day 1. On Day 4 He created the Sun, moon and stars to be signs to the earth as stated in Genesis 1:14-15. The earth was and is the central focal point of God’s creation. Everything was created around the earth.
We are also told in Psalm 19:1 that the stars have another purpose, to declare the glory of God:
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
The earth also appears to be the center of a spiritual battle for the souls of men as we read in Ephesians 6:12:
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Now for the last part of your question: is heaven the center of the universe?
To be honest, I don’t believe anyone could quantify the location of heaven in relation to our physical universe. The heaven you are referring to is a spiritual realm, not a physical one.
From Scripture it appears that the spiritual realm of heaven is near enough with the earth to allow for interaction between the two. There are accounts of angels interacting with humans, and of men being “taken up” into heaven. Mark 1:9-10 describes that heaven was torn open and the Spirit descended on Jesus in the form of a dove. And Jesus ascended up into heaven after His resurrection.
We have no idea what the extent of the heavenly realm is other than it is not here on earth. Does that mean that heaven is the center of the universe? I would say that the spiritual realm of heaven could encompass the center of the universe, but would be hesitant to say that it IS the center of the universe.
Becky, I pray this has helped to answer some of you question and given you food for thought on the subject.
This videofeaturing 3D computer animationvisually summarizes the contents of Dr. Russell Humphreys groundbreaking book Starlight and Time. Discover how light from deep space could have arrived at the earth during creation week! Main feature is 20 minutes. Now with 2 hours of bonus features.
Many still doubt the Bibles clear timescale because, they think, it is impossible for light to have reached Earth in only a few thousand years from stars that are millions of light-years away. This is often the ultimate stumbling block to belief in the Bible and its salvation message. In this exciting new book, physics professor John Hartnett shows how the answer to the starlight travel-time problem falls out of the same results that undermine many of the props for big bang thinking.