by Donna Riordan
Have you ever wondered what the Universe is made of? What are you made of? Are they the same thing? Is everything made of the same stuff?
You may know the most famous equation of all: E=mc2. What do you think it means? The E is for energy, m is mass and c is the speed of light in a vacuum. The equals sign means that energy and mass are equivalent, meaning one can change into the other, and vice versa. As the speed of light is a constant, if the amount of mass increases, so does the amount of energy it contains.
Another ‘equation’ you may be familiar with is the First Law of Thermodynamics, though you may not have heard it called that. I am sure your teacher at school has told you that: Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but only changed from one form into another.
Most school students can recite this. But have you thought about what it really means? If energy cannot be created or destroyed, then all the energy in the Universe has been there from the beginning, and there is still the same amount now as there was then. But how much is this?
About 1 kilogram of Uranium has the energy of about 20 kilotons of TNT, which is about 84 terajoules of energy. This is about the size of the bomb dropped on Nagasaki. But our Sun produces 3.8 x 1026 Joules per second. (That’s a 1 followed by 26 zeroes!). This is 1014 times more than the 1 kg of uranium.
But our sun is a very mediocre star. Most stars in the universe are many thousands of times bigger than ours. The Milky Way galaxy contains about 100 billion stars. And there are between 100 and 200 billion known galaxies in the Universe. As time goes on it is expected we will be able to see more.
So how much energy is that?
It is theorized that, at one time, all that energy was in one place, at one time, being the time of the Big Bang, the creation of our Universe.
Being small, and on our fairly small planet, these types of numbers are very difficult to comprehend. The amount of energy contained in the whole universe is unimaginable by us.
But God used a very small amount of His own power to create it. And He is still more powerful than the whole universe put together. From our perspective, His power is limitless. He really can do anything. And He knows every star and planet in the Universe.
And yet He has a personal relationship with each of us. And He lets us know He is there by countless small actions in our lives. For myself He finds me a parking spot when I need one, helps me fix things and answers my prayers constantly.
What a privilege to have a relationship with the Being who controls the Universe. He really does know everything and He really does have the power to bring to pass anything that He says He will! Next time you ask Him something remind yourself of this, and don’t limit God!