Among History Channel’s productions regarding our known ‘universe’ a recent program depicts astronomers’ conclusions about the size of our Milky Way saying it is ‘approximately 26,000 light years from Earth to the center of our Milky Way’ and that we are on the outer fringes. If so, then our universe is approx. 55,000 light years diameter.
This begs the question: What are our astronomers identifying as ‘the Milky Way?’ Are they really seeing just a segment, a ‘constellation’ perhaps ‘within’ our Universe — or the whole shebang! Compared to the immensity of space 26,000 light years is not very far, really.
Let’s digest this topic from other points of view.
NASA has recently retired the Space Shuttle program – perhaps they were just too slow! If our next ships, (the Constellation Program) could travel faster, let’s say the speed of light (186,000 miles per second), we could maybe zip around the universe and see for ourselves the vastness of it. But traveling the speed of light, it would take us a very very long time to cross from one end to the other—according to NASA.
“When we leave the Solar System, we find our star and its planets are just one small part of the Milky Way galaxy. The Milky Way is a huge city of stars. It is so big that even at the speed of light (300,000 kilometers per second or 186,000 miles per second) it would take 100,000 years to travel across it. All the stars in the night sky and our Sun live this galaxy. There are also of other stars that are too faint to be seen.”
Image above: Imagine that our galaxy is the size of a quarter Credit: Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STSCI/NASA); US Mint
On NASA’s website:
“Imagine that our entire Solar System were the size of a quarter. The Sun is now a microscopic speck of dust. The nine planets are too. Their orbits are represented by the flat disc of the coin. On this scale, the diameter of our Milky Way galaxy will be about the size of the United States! How far away is the nearest star –Proxima Centauri to our Sun? In our model, it would be the size of a quarter, too. And it would be two soccer fields away! “
“So how big is the Universe? No one knows if the universe is infinitely large. We are not sure if ours is the only Universe that exists. And other parts of the Universe, very far away, might be quite different from the Universe closer to home. Future NASA missions will continue to search for clues to the ultimate size and scale of our cosmic home.”
In a nut shell this about covers Science and NASA’s estimations. What does mankind, on planet Earth’s scriptural references have to say:
Holy Bible: There is much speculation as to interpretations, yes, but basically, the bible simply asserts that “God made the heavens and the earth” in 6 days and rested on the 7th day. Another place in the bible is written ‘one day to God is like 1000 years to man,’ therefore the Christian religionists conclusion of a 6,000 year old earth and its parent universe.
Still, regarding ‘size’ of the universe … the bible gives no definition other than phrases like “a vast expanse.”
An interesting dissertation regarding biblical credibility versus astronomy’s findings is found in a book, The New Answers Book 2 by Dr. Jason Lisle March 4, 2010 wherein he justifies the 6000 year old Christian age-of-earth claim: Says Dr. Lisle:
“Scripture also addresses the age of the universe. The Bible teaches that the entire universe was created in six days (Exodus 20:11). We know from the genealogies and other events recorded in Scripture that this creation happened about 6,000 years ago.”
On a local-Utah side note: A recent poll in 2009 reveal that 78% of the LDS culture hold to this 6000 year-old Earth belief.
What do Mormons have to say of the vastness of this space?
In LDS (Mormon) scripture there is very much to say about the “heavens.” In addition to the traditional Christian scripture “in my Father’s house are many mansions,” there are other scriptural versus noteworthy describing differing levels of heaven all encompassing the “three degrees of glory” where all believers go, and “outer darkness” where those who reject God will dwell.
It may be safe to say that the whole of religion takes more of a mystical approach to the word “heaven” as if heaven were not really a physical location at all, but a belief. Could one actually navigate in time, to the actual Isle of Paradise, or heaven?
To bring this query into reality rather than mystical: imagine at tonight you go outside into the dark. You look up asking ‘where, at this moment is my grandfather” (who has passed away). As you gaze up into the night’s sky with that question in mind; and pointed your finger space-ward moving from left to right (for instance), would you be getting ‘hotter’ or ‘colder’ in that line between your finger and the end of that line out in space where your grandfather actually is? Another question for another topic, is ‘how did he get there?’
Mystical-thinking keeps us from thinking logically.
Perhaps the most descriptive on universe cosmology is found in the LDS ‘Book of Abraham’ scripture, wherein father Abraham was shown the secrets of the universe:
11. Thus I, Abraham, atalked with the Lord, face to face, as one man talketh with another; and he told me of the works which his hands had made;
12. And he said unto me: My son, my son (and his hand was stretched out), behold I will show you all these. And he put his hand upon mine eyes, and I saw those things which his hands had made, which were many; and they multiplied before mine eyes, and I could not see the end thereof.
13. And he said unto me: This is Shinehah, which is the sun. And he said unto me: Kokob, which is star. And he said unto me: Olea, which is the moon. And he said unto me: Kokaubeam, which signifies stars, or all the great lights, which were in the firmament of heaven. (Abraham chapter 3)
Outside of the Christian scripture…
The Holy Quran has some interesting verses that are perhaps is a fit to present-day astronomist’s conclusions. According to Al Islam—the Official Website of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, in the Quran:
And the heaven We built with Our own powers (aydin) and indeed We go on expanding it (musi’un).1
Do not the unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were a closed-up mass (ratqan), then We clove them asunder (fataqna)? And We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?2
The Torah: What is the Jewish belief regarding the immensity of space? In a recent speech by Rabbi Yossi Mizrachi (youtube January 01, 2010) the Torah, “as written 3321 years ago,” God answers, in essence, a calculation equating to 10 to the power of 19 or (10 19). That number approaches 1 quadtrillion stars.
The Sikh Schripures. In the SikhiWiki … Guru Granth Sahib on the Universe:
“There are planets, solar systems and galaxies.
If one speaks of them, there is no limit and no end.”
Translation from the original text in Gurmukhi recited by Guru Nanak
in about 1499 found in the Sikh holy scripture called the Guru Granth Sahib
The Sikh scriptures have said great many things about the Universe. However, although Gurbani has been in existence since about 1499 and the Guru Granth Sahib has been the Guru of the Sikh since 1708, the world has not been listening.
Carl Sagan was an American astronomer, astrochemist, author (1934 – 1996), as well as an expert in astrophysics and other natural sciences. Carl Sagan was also a consultant/adviser to NASA since the 1950’s and briefed the Apollo astronauts before their flights to the Moon.
This is what Carl Sagan, wrote in his book the Pale Blue Dot:
“How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, ‘This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant’? Instead they say, ‘No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.’ A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.”
Back to the original question – the size of our Milky Way…
The most in depth claim on the cosmos is found in the Urantia Papers—claimed to be authored not by any human, but our celestial overseers ‘in our universe’ assigned to enlighten us. There are hundreds of pages attributed to the vastness and cosmology of space found in the Urantia Papers. The timing of their transmitting was between 1905 – 1935, but not printed until 1955.
Compared to the History Channel’s conclusions that our Milky Way is 26,000 light years from Earth to it’s center; and NASA’s findings (100,000 years from one end of Milky Way to the other—or 50,000 light years from Earth to the ‘center’), the Urantia Book says it (the Milky Way) is “a trifle less than 250,000 light-years“ from the outermost inhabited planet to the ‘center‘ … and we (Earth/Urantia) are quite toward the outer edge.
Further … the Urantia book says that “Uversa” which is at the ‘center’ and headquarters sphere of Orvonton–our Superuniverse (the milky way), is about 200,000 light years from Jerusem (not Jerusalem, but Jerusem–our headquarters world of our LOCAL SYSTEM of Satania, of which our small solar system is a part).
15:3.1 Practically all of the starry realms visible to the naked eye on Urantia belong to the seventh section of the grand universe, the superuniverse of Orvonton. The vast milky way starry system represents the central nucleus of Orvonton, being largely beyond the borders of your local universe. This great aggregation of suns, dark islands of space, double stars, globular clusters, star clouds, spiral and other nebulae, together with myriads of individual planets, forms a watchlike, elongated-circular grouping of about one seventh of the inhabited evolutionary universes.
So then, what of the 26,000 light-years as History Channel’s astrologers have presented; or the 100,000 light-years which NASA has discovered. If it is 250,000 light-years from the “outermost edge” of milky way to center of milky way; and 200,000 light-years from center to our local system headquarters world “Jerusem,” this leaves 50,000 light-years difference. And since HC and NASA say 26,000 light-years from Earth to center … the question is ‘center of what?’
With this information from the Urantia Papers, one could postulate that what our present-day scientists are calling the Milky Way may only be our system of Satania (which has presently 619 inhabited worlds and near-countless other planets and stars); or our Constellation of Edentia; or Nebadon—our local universe made up of 100 systems. (see chart below).
What is the ‘system of Satania?’
Per the Urantia Papers, Satania derives its name from a pretty high-up administrator of ‘our’ segment of the universe ages-ago which ‘rebelled’ against Michael the Creator-Son and the Universal Father (which answers why we are on such a barbaric planet, perhaps)… yes, Satan, the cohort of Lucifer.
Remember, scripture refers to Lucifer as the one time a “son of the morning” a most brilliant personality, who simply came out in open rebellion against God ages ago, and drew with him “one third” of the hosts of heaven. The Urantia Papers say this rebellion-infected neck of the woods was Satania — the very system of which we live.
Being the most drastic-affected of this ‘rebellion,’ Earth suffered the greatest losses of all the rebellion-isolated planets. “One third” of our “system of Satania” fell–joined the rebellion (much like depicted in Star Wars movie).
Enter Adam and Eve …
Still, per the Urantia Papers: With the evolutionary Earth hundreds of thousands of years under the rule of the fallen ones, Adam and Eve, from our system capital, volunteer to come and take on human-form. They are provided earthen bodies wherein they can react with us. The Garden was set up to sustain them and the “tree of life” was to keep their immortal bodies energized.
Being under strict orders to ‘not mix their seed with the seed of the native Nodites’ … and that ‘in the day that they did so, they would be cut off from their tree of life and will suffer death like the mortals outside the garden,’ Adam and Eve did well–for about 100 years–until the sophisteries of Satan and Lucifer overcame Eve.
The very Creator himself (Michael/Jesus) came here 2000 years ago as ‘one of us’ intending to reclaim mankind through his pure love and teachings of truth. The powers that be simply rejected and crucified him—plunging us into the ‘dark ages.’
Back to the ‘size’ of our universe…
Another likelihood, what History Channel and NASA’s experts are describing as 26,000 light years maybe very well be the whole “Local Universe—Nebadon” (Jesus’ personal creation) of which Satania is a small part.
The Urantia Papers describe Nabadon as having a present registry of 3,840,101 inhabited worlds (still very young in evolutionary time-line… maximum will be 10,000,000 worlds). What our scientists are calling Milky Way is most likely Nebadon. This would make more sense given the approximate 50,000 light-years difference in the words above.
32.2.11 The Satania system of inhabited worlds is far removed from Uversa and that great sun cluster which functions as the physical or astronomic center of the seventh superuniverse. From Jerusem, the headquarters of Satania, it is over two hundred thousand light-years to the physical center of the superuniverse of Orvonton, far, far away in the dense diameter of the Milky Way. Satania is on the periphery of the local universe, and Nebadon is now well out towards the edge of Orvonton. From the outermost system of inhabited worlds to the center of the superuniverse is a trifle less than two hundred and fifty thousand light-years.”
One could calculate then, the ‘superuniverse’ of Orvonton what the Urantia Papers call our “Milky Way” is approx. 500,000 light years diameter. That is 20 times more light-years than our present astronomers thinking.
In essence the Milky Way, according to the Urantia Papers, is one of 7 such ‘super-galaxies’ that revolve around the central perfect universe of Havona—the center of which is the Isle of Paradise.
See the chart below for the vast breakdown of inhabited worlds of time/space.
The Grand Universe. Seven superuniverses make up the present organized grand universe, consisting of approximately seven trillion inhabitable worlds plus the architectural spheres and the one billion inhabited spheres of Havona. The superuniverses are ruled and administered indirectly and reflectively from Paradise by the Seven Master Spirits. The billion worlds of Havona are directly administered by the Eternals of Days, one such Supreme Trinity Personality presiding over each of these perfect spheres.
15:2.10Excluding the Paradise-Havona spheres, the plan of universe organization provides for the following units:
15:2.11Each of the seven superuniverses is constituted, approximately, as follows:
One system embraces, approximately
One constellation (100 systems)
One universe (100 constellations)
One minor sector (100 universes)
One major sector (100 minor sectors)
One superuniverse (10 major sectors)
15:2.12All such estimates are approximations at best, for new systems are constantly evolving while other organizations are temporarily passing out of material existence.