Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epiphany) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13
Another feature of order as an attribute of God's creation is that of the fixity of the suns of the universe in their relation to one another. As is well known, the planets, moons, planetoids, meteors and comets vary in their position toward their peculiar suns and toward all other suns in their relations to them. The suns also vary in their relations to one another, but yet remain in absolutely relative fixity with one another, since they, too, move on their axes and orbits. While the whole universe revolves about a common center, Alcyone of the Pleiades, it does so with such an exactness as keeps it in harmonious relations as between its suns and their planets, etc. All its suns rotate on their axes and revolve on orbits of their own, but do so without the least deviation in their harmonious relations to one another; for their movements are so adjusted to one another and to their common center as to go in harmony unchangingly in their mutual relations, as in numbers of 30,000,000,000 they sweep through our universe's space; hence none of the constellations are variable, evidenced to our senses by the fact that each year as the earth's orbital motion brings it back to the same position toward its sun as it held each year before, the constellations are in exactly the same position relatively to our earth, except for the advance of 50.3 seconds per year caused by the annual advance of the precession of the equinoxes. This phenomenon has been observed by man for over 5,000 years and has enabled him to fix the twelve signs of the Zodiac as the signs of the months, and they have always come out exact. Thus the laws and forces whereby God rules the motions of the suns hold them unchangeably in their relative positions to one another more fixedly than if they were held in a framework of steel.
The heavens declare Thy glory, Lord,
Through all the realms of boundless space
The soaring mind may roam abroad,
And there Thy power and wisdom trace.
Author of Nature's wondrous laws,
Preserver of its glorious grace,
We hail Thee as the great First Cause,
And here delight Thy ways to trace.
And while bright visions of Thy power
The shining worlds before us bring,
The earthly grandeur, fruit and flower,
The praises of Thy bounty sing.
Another feature of order in God's creative work is the permanence of the fixed relations of the suns to one another, despite their axial and orbital motions, that of the fixed relations of the planetary systems to their respective suns and that of the fixed relations of the moons to their individual planets. This, too, holds as to the planetoids and comets. Here is almost infinite motion about untold billions of centers, for the suns have Alcyone as their center, the moons have their planets as their centers, and the planets and planetoids have their respective suns as their centers, not to mention the centers of the comets, all, except the suns, which may have varying axial speeds, working at various speeds axially and orbitally, as well as being different in their axes and orbits, yet all permanent in their pertinent fixed and pertinent changing relations to one another. Here is unity in diversity that works permanently in a fixed order that never changes. How sublime is the order here brought to our attention! What a marvelous universe is that in which we live! Doubtless this same feature of order prevails in all other universes of God's creation! And how much greater than all this marvelous universe must that
Being be who made it all in such unity, immensity, beauty, sublimity and order, and then preserves it in the same attributes! Great is our God and greatly to be praised! And yet with all His greatness, He can and does condescend to draw nigh unto us, if we will draw nigh unto Him, and to enter into fatherly and covenant relations with the sons of men!
We have so far studied order as an attribute of God's creative works in their general relations. But there are particular features of order that govern matter and its combinations, as well as this earth and its living conditions. How wonderful is the order that is brought to our attention in chemistry. Always the same combinations bring about the same result chemically. Thus the proper combinations of hydrogen and oxygen always yield water; always the same combination of certain gases yield air; and various other compounds are brought into existence by an orderly combination of their constituents. In physics, in geology, in zoology, in anthropology, the two departments of biology, in botany, in dendrology: the same conditions meeting, the same order of being and conditions results. We observe order in the processes at work in our earth as viewed by itself. The tides show it; the distribution of the continents and oceans express it; their relations in contour exemplify it; the distribution of mountain and hill chains, plateaus, plains, tablelands, valleys, lakes, rivers and harbors herald it; the ocean currents and their modifications on climates sound it forth; forests and deserts intone it; the watersheds, rains, rainstorms, storms and sunshine proclaim it; insects, reptiles, wild and domestic animals, fish and fowl, men and angels, tell it forth. Even in the creative processes, which further on will be discussed, the same attribute is manifest as present. Everywhere, except in the domain of sin and its consequences, which are not creative works, do we behold this attribute of order in God's creative works. This exception is such, be
cause a higher order than physical order requires it. Hence universal order has led to the rise of the proverb, Order is Heaven's first law. And by the order observed in God's creative works, we are led to recognize the attribute of order as a characteristic of God, of which the Bible gives us the assurance when it tells us, God is not the author of confusion, but of peace and order, which He desires us to practice after His example (1 Cor. 14: 33, 40). And, surely, this attribute of God that marks His character and His works is one by which in its manifold operations and wonders we are constrained to worship, praise and adore Him, who made the heavens and the earth and all beings in them, whether visible or invisible, and, sin apart, regulates them in a most astounding order.
The next attribute of God's creative works to engage our study is wondrousness—a wondrousness that shows itself, especially in the exhibition of power and wisdom, and to a much less degree of justice and love. Indeed, every attribute of creation so far studied in this article manifests wondrousness in the power and wisdom therein displayed. Many were the points in power and wisdom underlying the unity of God's creation that revealed the wondrousness of God's creative works. This is still more manifest in the immensity of bulk, time, space, motions, suns, planets, moons, planetoids and comets in our physical universe, not to mention the other universes that have been discovered. The beauty and sublimity displayed in the universe present the same attribute of wondrousness. Mightily does the order displayed in the universe as a revelation of power and wisdom, also of justice and love, bring out the wondrousness of the universe, as a creative work of God. Thus we recognize that the attribute of wondrousness imbedded in the universe permeates all its other attributes. We will note this principle also when we come to study the attribute of complexity, which we will consider after our study of
creation's wondrousness. But apart from its being manifest throughout the six other attributes of God's creative work studied or yet to be studied, in this chapter, it has independent manifestations of itself apart from these other six attributes of creation. And it is these independent manifestations of it that we desire to study here. To bring this out we will set before our readers some marvelous generalities of our universe. Some of these are of very recent discovery; for since the one-hundred inch lens of the reflecting telescope has been in use at the observatory on Mt. Wilson, near Pasadena, Calif., our knowledge of new worlds about us and beyond the outmost of those known but a few years ago has increased by leaps and bounds in all directions.
As an illustration of this, only about six years ago it was the scientific thought that there were 30,000,000,000 suns in the universe. At that time the scientific thought was that there were 14 Milky Ways in the universe. It will be recalled that we gave these figures in illustrating the immensity of the universe. Such they do; but since those six years the great telescope at Mt. Wilson has made discoveries that make these figures appear as those of microbes compared with a gigantisaurus! We will make a few quotations of recent press reports on some of such discoveries as samples of the attribute of wondrousness stamped on God's creative works. The following is an item published by the United Press under the date of Jan. 25, 1934: "As thick as the stars on the Milky Way is no longer a term of real meaning, according to the findings of astronomers. A late computation of Prof. William MacMillan of the University of Chicago and Dr. Edwin P. Hubble of Mt. Wilson observatory, revealed today that the stars are not at all thick in the Milky Way nor in any of the other 75,000,000 Milky Ways in the astronomer's universe, spaced 650,000 light years apart. Counts of the nebulae or Milky Ways were
made on 1,283 photographs taken with the 60-inch and 100-inch Mt. Wilson telescopes. The pictures covered two per cent of the three-quarters of the sky visible at Mt. Wilson. They were exposed down to the twentieth photographic magnitude, showing 44,000 nebulae. Professor MacMillan pointed out that, assuming even distribution, the number of nebulae within 20 photographic magnitudes, a sphere with a radius of about 300,000,000 light years, would be 75,000,000. Each nebula is believed to be a star system similar to our Milky Way, which in itself contains a billion plus stars." Surely here is wondrousness—more than enough to satisfy the most exacting. But we venture to say that when the 200-inch lens, now under construction, is fitted on a reflecting telescope, the figures of 75,000,000 Milky Ways will again be reduced to relative microbe size in proportion to gigantisauric size of the number of the as yet undiscovered other Milky Ways. Then, no doubt, when still larger and thus more penetrating telescopes will have been made, this process of the discoveries of still vastly greater numbers of Milky Ways will go on almost ad infinitum!
Just recently some marvels have been brought to light in the Larger Magellanic Cloud. When Magellan 400 years ago made his circuit of the earth by way of Cape Horn, the southernmost tip of South America, he discovered, when far south of the Equator, two clouds of nebulae—groups of stars so dim, yet so compact to the naked eye as to seem to be clouds. Since then the larger of these has been called the Larger Magellanic Cloud and the smaller one the Smaller Magellanic Cloud. We now will introduce a quotation from the daily press, giving a few facts of very recent discovery as to the Larger Magellanic Cloud: "A brilliant vacuum, far brighter than the combined radiance of all the stars one may see with the naked eye, has been found in a galaxy 90,000 light years distant from earth, Dr. Harlow Shapley, director of Harvard's astronomical
observatory, told the closing session of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Shapely spoke in acceptance of the association's Rumford medal, presented 'for distinguished research in physics.' His address was entitled, The Anatomy of a Disordered Universe. A study of the Larger Magellanic Cloud, the key with which it may be possible to unlock some of the mysteries in the cosmic spaces outside our own Milky Way system, disclosed the existence of the vacuum, he said. The star cloud, visible only in the southern latitudes, has been known for 400 years, but only for the last generation has it been seriously studied. Among the new results accomplished by the Lick and Harvard observatories, Dr. Shapely said, were the discovery of some 500 new variable stars among the giants and super-giants previously noted. Their analysis shows the cloud is a little less than 90,000 light years distant. 'A score of new star clusters have been found in the vicinity of the large cloud,' he said. 'They are undoubtedly outlying members of the organization. A census of the giant and super-giant stars in the cloud has been completed, showing there are several millions that are of higher radiance than our own sun. Some of the super-giant stars are of extraordinary size and of exceedingly high temperature, many of them being more than 10,000 times as bright as our sun. A study of the gaseous nebulosity in the cloud was undertaken, with the discovery that its intrinsic radiation greatly exceeds that of all our naked eye stars put together, and yet its density must be exceedingly low—less than that of a very excellent vacuum in the physics laboratory.'" This is wonderful indeed.
Many wondrous facts similar to the two sets of facts described in the two above quotations could be given, but we will pass them by and give a number of smaller details which will illustrate wondrousness as an attribute of creation. The wondrousness of power and
wisdom as displayed in the law of gravitation and centrifugal forces finds an illustration in the balanced relations of the sun and earth maintained by their harmoniously held space relations. The earth is kept in its orbit by the attraction of the sun as balanced by the centrifugal force of its orbital motion and gravitation operating on it from other heavenly bodies. If the latter forces were withdrawn, the earth would drop into the sun, falling only 1/9 of an inch in its first second's fall, but increasing its speed until in two months it would fall into the sun, its last second's fall being at the rate of 380 miles, 5/6 of the time, i.e., 50 5/6 of the 61 days required in the fall, would be required to cover its first half. Or if the attraction of the sun would be withdrawn from the earth, it would drop out into space, falling eternally at an ever increasing rate, unless it would crash into another body and explode into fragments, or otherwise disintegrate. The amount of power exerted to keep the earth balanced in its space relation to the sun is equal to that of a steel rod able to support 50 tons to the square inch, 5000 miles in diameter and 93,000,000 miles long! To keep the planets that are nearer the sun in their balanced space relation to the sun would require a somewhat less strong steel rod, modified by their less distances and sizes, but greater densities, while if rods were required to keep the outer planets in their balanced space relations to the sun, they would have to be much stronger, of greater diameter and lengths, dependent on those planets' difference in size, weight and distance from the sun. Then we are to remember that there are similar manifestations of power and wisdom displayed in the other solar systems. Certainly the wondrousness of power and wisdom manifest in this set of facts is evident on but little thought.
There are some wondrous things in God's creative works manifest in Betelgeuse, which is the bright red star in the southern one of the upper corners of the
nearly rectangular box of Orion, the most beautiful of the constellations. Betelgeuse is the largest of all the suns visible to our naked eyes. His size is quite variable. Extended to his utmost, his diameter is 256,000,000 miles, and contracted to his utmost, it is 186,000,000 miles. Even when contracted to his least proportions he is still by far the largest of the stars visible to our naked eyes. His size is 26,000,000 times that of our sun, which in turn is 1,300,000 times as large as our earth! Yet his weight is only 16 times as great as that of our sun. His mean density (weight) is a thousandth of that of air. Thus Betelgeuse is almost a vacuum. It will be noted from what was said above that his diameter varies from his greatest expansion to his greatest contraction by 70,000,000 miles. He therefore exhibits a stage in the variableness of size assumed during the process of condensing the rarest of gases into relatively solid bodies, a process through which our earth progressed in passing from a gaseous to its present state. This seems to be the process through which all the heavenly bodies pass as they undergo God's creative operations. A cube of Betelgeuse's matter 23 feet square on each of its six sides would weigh only a pound! This shows that he is a fair vacuum.
By contrast we may note the great density in the mass of the smaller of the two stars that constitute Sirius, which is the brightest star visible from earth, which, as is well known, is a double star, and which is the next nearest to our earth of all the stars, it being 8.8 light years, or about 51,000,000,000,000 miles away from us, Alpha Centauri, the third brightest stars to the earth, being 4.3 light years, or 25,000,000,000,000 miles away, is the nearest to the earth of all the stars. The smaller of the two stars that compose Sirius is visible only by a large telescope. The larger of these two stars gives out 10,000 times as much light as the smaller one. But the smaller one is much heavier than the
larger one. Its density is 50,000 times that of water, about 4,500 times that of lead, and more than 2,000 times as heavy as any substance found in the earth. A pint (liquid, not dry) of its matter weighs 26 tons, while a ball of it the size of a tennis ball would weight 7.4 tons. This star's weight is about the same as that of our sun, which weighs 332,000 times our earth. So far as we know, the heaviest star weighs only 75 times as much as our sun, though many of them, like Betelgeuse, are millions of times larger than our sun. As an illustration of the great size of Betelgeuse we might submit the following: If, when Betelgeuse is expanded to his utmost, the middle point of its diameter were placed at the middle point of the sun's diameter, which is 864,000 miles, and if the sun's diameter thus placed were lying alongside of that of Betelgeuse, the latter's surface would reach out to within 13,000,000 miles from Mars, which is 141,000,000 miles from the sun. Our earth would then be within Betelgeuse, 35,000,000 miles beneath its surface. And if this were done at the time Betelgeuse were contracted to his utmost, the earth would still be buried 200,000 miles beneath his surface. Nor is Betelgeuse the only star over 100,000,000 miles in diameter when contracted to its utmost. Antares is one of the largest of the stars. Its diameter is 142,000,000 miles, which is 165 times that of the sun. The facts adduced in this and the preceding paragraphs prove that wondrousness is written into the being of various of the world's suns.
The wondrousness of the universe of God is likewise seen in the luminosity of the planets and the suns. Astronomical instruments have been invented that accurately give the luminosity of the stars. The luminosity of our sun is much greater than the light of the whole canopy of the heavens above the horizon (which is half of the celestial sphere) would be, were it filled with full moons in close contact with one another. Taking the luminosity of the sun as represented by one, we
find that many of the stars are intrinsically much brighter than our sun, i.e., if they were as near to us as our sun they would be to us many times brighter. Alcyone, God's dwelling place, has a luminosity 1,190 times greater than our sun. Of course, our eyes could not endure such brightness, were it as near to us as our sun. Nor is Alcyone by a long way the most luminous of the stars. Betelgeuse has greater luminosity, being 1,225 times brighter than our sun. Polaris, our North Star, is still more luminous, being intrinsically 2,570 times brighter than our sun. Spica, the brightest star in Virgo, is 3,600 times more luminous than our sun. Deneb in Cygnus has still more luminosity; it would to us shine with 10,470 times the brightness of our sun, were it at the same distance from us. Rigel, the brightest star in Orion and situated in the box of that constellation diagonally opposite Betelgeuse, has an intrinsic luminosity 18,000 times greater than our sun. Canopus, which is to us the second brightest of the stars, being surpassed only by Sirius, has a luminosity 77,000 times greater than our sun, i.e., if it were as near to us as our sun it would shine upon us with 77,000 times the brightness of the sun. But even Canopus is not the brightest heavenly body. This honor, according to present knowledge, belongs to one of the suns in the Larger Magellanic Cloud—S. Doradi, which, according to Prof. Shapley, has a luminosity of 600,000 times that of our sun. Such light would instantly blind us, if S. Doradi were where our sun is. This star is as much brighter than our sun as our sun is brighter than the full moon. But let us not think that the brighter a star seems to us, the brighter it necessarily is intrinsically. A few examples will disprove such a thought. To our eyes Sirius is the brightest of all stars; but intrinsically he is not at all one of the brightest stars. He is intrinsically only 28 times brighter than our sun; his comparative nearness to us—only 8.8 light years away—makes him appear so
bright to us. Canopus appears only a little less bright to us than Sirius; for his enormous distance from us, 652 light years, despite his 77,000 times luminosity above that of the sun, makes him appear to us less bright than Sirius, though intrinsically he is nearly 3,000 times brighter than Sirius, Alpha Centauri is to us the third brightest of the stars, yet he is intrinsically only about 1½ times brighter than our sun. This is due to the fact that he is the nearest to us of all the stars, except our sun, being only 4.3 light years— 25,000,000,000,000 miles away. Surely the luminosity of the stars partakes of the quality of wondrousness.
Some other facts connected with our sun suggest wondrousness. This is seen in its steady axial and orbital movements, the latter being at the rate of 12 miles per second. His mean distance from us is 92,900,000 miles, but in January he is nearest to us, being 91,400,000 miles away, and in July he is farthest from us, being 94,400,000 miles away. His diameter is 864,000 miles, which is 109.1 times that of our earth. His volume is 1,300,000 times that of the earth. His temperature is 10,000° Fahrenheit (6,000° Centigrade). He gives us 466,000 times as much light as the average full moon. Since the celestial hemisphere is 98,000 times the size of the area filled by the moon, if the celestial hemisphere were in all its surface filled with full moons and the spaces between each of the moons were also just as bright as the full moons surrounding them, this celestial hemisphere would give about a sixth as much light as our sun. Yet partly in spite of some, and partly on account of others of the above given facts, the sun is one of the smallest and faintest of the stars. Its comparative nearness to us accounts for its seeming to be the largest and brightest of the stars. Wondrous indeed are these facts. Wondrous is the further fact that through its carrying the earth (and for all that, the other planets, etc., of our solar system) with the fixity of sameness along its orbit, it keeps to the same
(apparent) path through the constellations of the Zodiac. Its weight, being 332,000 times that of our earth, is enormous, being about the average weight of the other suns, which in almost every case are much larger than it, as shown above. None so far discovered has more than 75 times the sun's weight. Its spots are another feature of its wondrousness. It is the fact that these spots are continually moving eastward, then, after a visibility of a certain time, disappear, and then later appear on the western rim of the sun and then complete the same movement again, that has demonstrated the truth that the sun rotates on an axis. A singular fact as to its rotation is this, that the nearer the sun is to the celestial equator, the more rapid is its rotation, while the farther it is from the celestial equator, the slower is its rotation. Accordingly, unlike the earth's rotation on its axis, which is uniform, that of the sun is variable, its rotation on its axis averaging about 25 days, but the variation above indicated being from 24.5 to 25.38 days. The sun's corona during an eclipse often reaching out to 500,000 miles beyond the sun on all sides, is certainly a wondrous thing.
There is wondrousness exhibited in others of the bright stars. Apart from Sirius, the four brightest stars visible at places above 38° north of the equator are Vega in Lyra, Capella in Auriga, Arcturus in Bootes, and Rigel in Orion. The last is very far away, 544 light years distant; the only other more distant star visible above 38° north latitude, where Canopus first rises above the southern horizon, is Deneb, in Cygnus, which like Canopus is 652 light years away. According to this, Rigel, whose luminosity is 18,000 times that of the sun, is intrinsically one of the brightest of all stars, in fact the brightest of any seen by the naked eye, except Canopus, which as just indicated, cannot be seen until one is south of 38° north latitude. Vega, in Lyra, next to Sirius is the brightest star in magnitude visible north of 38°, though intrinsically it is by no
means one of the brightest stars, its luminosity being only 51 times that of our sun. Its brightness to us is due to its comparative nearness, it being only 26 light years away. It is the fourth brightest star visible from earth, ranking next to Sirius, Canopus and Alpha Centauri. Its color is a beautiful blue. Capella and Arcturus are of the same magnitude. In distance they are respectively 43 and 41 light years from us, and their luminosity are respectively 130 and 112 times that of our sun. Capella is of a yellow tinge and Arcturus is of a red tinge. Arcturus is one of the larger stars. Its diameter is 25,500,000 miles, which is 29.5 times that of our sun, and its volume is 26,000 times that of our sun. Until 1718, when Halley, the discoverer of the comet of his name, found out that the stars moved, the stars were all considered as fixed. In that year he announced that Arcturus and Sirius and Procyon had changed their positions since ancient times. Except Alpha Centauri, the nearest star to us, but not visible unless one is far south, no star as bright as the fourth magnitude changes its position among the stars more rapidly than Arcturus does. Yet it changes its position only one degree in 1,570 years. He is moving through space at the rate of 77 miles a second, which seems like a snail's pace compared with the most rapid known star that goes 625 miles a second.
Another star that is not so bright as the four just now noted deserves mention as wondrous in several particulars. It is Antares, which is the brightest star in the Zodiacal constellation, Scorpius. The latter is doubtless the most beautiful constellation in the Zodiac. Antares is a bright red star. Its name, derived from anti and Ares, i.e., instead of Ares (Mars), was given it because when the planet Mars, which is also bright red, and Antares are near one another they seem to be in rivalry as to which would outshine the other. Its size is enormous. Its diameter is 146,000,000 miles—40,000,000 miles less than that of Betelgeuse when the
latter is most contracted and 110,000,000 miles less when the latter is expanded to his utmost. Its diameter is 165 times that of our sun. Our sun is moving at the rate of 12 miles a second, carrying the earth and all the other solar planets, etc., with it in the direction of the constellation Lyra. This velocity in a year carries the earth nearly 400,000,000 miles. The movement of the earth around the sun on its orbit, combined with its movement with the sun, makes its movement a spiral one. If the motion of the sun were exactly in the direction of Vega and Vega did not move, we would arrive at Vega in 475,000 years! Another star deserves special mention here, because it is suggestive of wondrousness. It is Deneb in Cygnus. It is so distant that its distance cannot be measured with certain accuracy. It and Canopus are the most distant of the stars visible to the naked eye of those so far measured, each of them being approximately 654 light years away. As indicated above, it is 10,470 times as bright as our sun. It is approaching the earth at the comparatively slow rate of 2.5 miles a second, but long observation fails to disclose any change in its position among the stars. This is probably due to its very great distance from us hiding that change.
Deneb lies at the head of what is called the Northern Cross, in Cygnus. There is a beautiful constellation called the Southern Cross, lying too far south to be seen much north of the Tropics. It is very remarkable how many crosses, diamonds, irregular triangles, right angled triangles and equilateral triangles are formed by various of the stars. One of the most remarkable of these diamonds is formed by Betelgeuse, Rigel, Sirius and Aldebaran, the brightest star in Taurus, a part of which constellation the Pleiades also are. One of the finest equilateral triangles in the heavens is formed by Betelgeuse, Sirius and Procyon. Orion by Betelgeuse, Belletrix, Rigel and Saiph forms a rough right-angled quadrangular figure, while Orion's
belt forms an almost perfect measuring rod just 3° long, which has occasioned the name of "yardstick" to be given to his belt. We have not given the matter requisite study and therefore cannot vouch for the truth or untruth of the claim; but Dr. Seiss, whose work on the Pyramid entitled, A Miracle in Stone, is commended and quoted by our Pastor in the Pyramid chapter of Vol. III, claims that the plan of God is depicted in the constellations, somewhat after the manner in which it is depicted in the Pyramid. We hope some time to be able to investigate and report to the brethren on this subject. In passing, we might mention that it was the book of Dr. Seiss, who was one of the most prominent American Lutheran writers, entitled, The Last Times, which first convinced us, contrary to the teachings of the Lutheran Church, of which we were then a member and pastor, that the Bible teaches that there will be a Millennium. He however did not see that during the Millennium the opportunity of restitution would be given the dead. The facts adduced in this paragraph contribute their quota in proof of the proposition that wondrousness is one of the attributes of God's creative work.
The constellation Ursa Major (The Larger Bear) is perhaps the best known constellation of the northern hemisphere. In the United States a part of this constellation is called the Big Dipper. It is also, especially outside of the U. S., called Charles' Wain (wagon), the Plow, and the Butcher's Cleaver. Ursa Major embraces many other stars than the Big Dipper. Almost the entire constellation is so formed as to constitute a double set of many stars. The first set of these, beginning in winter quite a distance northwest of the bowl of the Dipper, forms a rough semicircle ending in two stars at its southwestern extreme. Then beginning with the stars at the bottom of the Dipper's bowl, we find a parallel set of stars, forming a rough semicircle, terminating
at its southwestern extreme in a pair of stars. These two sets of two stars are at one extreme and the center of a straight line, that if projected at the same angle about the same distance as these two pairs are from one another, the straight line will terminate in two other stars, positioned toward one another as the two in the other two sets are. The above described two rough semicircles, the three sets of two stars at the southeastern end (in winter) and the handle of the Big Dipper give us the outlines of Ursa Major, which, next to Orion, is probably the most beautiful of the constellations. In the A. V. of Job 38: 32 the word Arcturus occurs, but in the R. V., A. R. V. and Rotherham the Hebrew word is rendered Bear and refers to Ursa Major, while in these translations the Hebrew words rendered "her signs" are by Young rendered train and doubtless refer to Ursa Minor, in which Polaris is situated. The A. V., R. V., and A. R. V. transliterate the Hebrew word Mazzaroth, but in their margins and in the text of Rotherham this word is rendered the twelve signs, i.e., the twelve Zodiacal constellations. So viewed, Job 38: 31-33 gives us the most extended astronomical allusion to constellations to be found in the Bible. Ursa Major by the two pointer stars in the bowl of its Dipper (the Big Dipper) farthest from its handle and Ursa Minor by the star Polaris at the end of the handle of its Dipper (the Little Dipper) furnish mariners in particular and everybody in general north of the equator the best indication, in the night time, of the points of the compass, since the two pointers in the bowl of the Big Dipper point to Polaris; and if their distance apart be extended by five times in a straight line from the upper and outer side of the bowl, this line will terminate at Polaris, which circles about the North Pole at a radius of 1¼ degree. Hence all one needs to do at night when he can see the pointers is to locate Polaris and thus he can locate the points of the compass.
This is highly practical, if one is lost during the night.
In the constellation Andromeda is a matter that comes well within the range of wondrousness as an attribute of God's creative works. It is Andromeda's Nebula, the nearest of the spiral nebulae, though there are other nebulae not of the spiral sort, like the Larger and Smaller Magellanic Nebulae, that are nearer to us. The spiral nebula in Andromeda is the most distant object visible to the naked eye. It is 900,000 light years away, which means 5,400,000,000,000,000,000 miles away. When conditions are clear, it can be seen as a cloud speck with good naked eyes, otherwise an opera glass will bring it into good view. Our larger telescopes have resolved this nebula into star clusters of billions of stars, and thus have discovered a new universe. Many millions more of such universes have been discovered, e.g., the two Magellanic Clouds. Our own universe is estimated to have 30,000,000,000 suns. The three others just mentioned have each one of them billions of stars. Andromeda's spiral nebula being 900,000 light years away from us, according to the calculations of Dr. E. P. Hubble of the Mt. Wilson Observatory, means that we now see it as it was 900,000 years ago; for it was that long ago that the light which we now see left it. And people living 900,000 years from now will see it as it now is. Dr. Barton, in his Guide to the Constellations, says of this distance the following: "Even the light year is a pretty small unit in which to express such distances. If the scale of the universe were so tremendously reduced that the sun became a sphere of only 1/1000 inch in diameter, in which case the earth would be a sphere 1/100,000 inch in diameter, too small to see in our best microscopes 1/10 inch away—this nebula would still be 90,000 miles away! A photographic plate used with a powerful telescope and with
a long exposure shows that the material in this nebula, like that in many similar objects, is distributed as a central mass with branches of spiral shape extending away from it. In 1924 the outer portions of this nebula and the one in Triangulum were resolved into masses of stars, proving what was long suspected, that they were great systems of stars, universes, somewhat like the one in which we are, only smaller. Thirty billion is the estimate of the stars in our system. But the Andromeda nebula is only one of the spiral nebulae. It is estimated that a million [this statement was made in 1928; Prof. Shapley's estimate of 1934, quoted above, implies many millions] could be photographed ranging from this, the brightest, to the smallest specks recognizable as nebulae. How many others there may be, too distant to be seen, no one can tell. The distances of the remotest ones seen are estimated to be 140,000,000 light years [840,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles!]. The largest diameter of the Andromeda nebula is about 45,000 light years. The view of this nebula should be combined with considerable thinking." Surely, wondrousness is an attribute of God's creative work as exhibited in Andromeda's nebula, as a sample of the millions of others in God's creation.
Wondrousness is stamped upon God's creation in the variableness of many stars, i.e., their magnitudes and sometimes their sizes vary at different times. We have already called attention to the variableness of Betelgeuse in size. It also varies from 0.6 to 1.4 in magnitude. By magnitude is meant the apparent, as distinct from the intrinsic brightness of the stars. Some ancients, classifying the magnitudes of the stars from first to sixth, divided these more loosely than the moderns. They counted about twenty of the brightest stars of the first magnitude; and all those that were the faintest of those visible in a clear sky were classified as of the sixth magnitude, while those between these extremes were roughly grouped into
four intervening classes, according to their brightness. Other ancients divided them into twelve magnitudes. But with the invention of telescopes, and more especially of the very large ones of the present time, a new classification had to be made, not only among those visible to the naked eye, but also and more especially for those that became visible to the telescope, and most particularly for the larger ones visible to the naked eye. Hence in the modern classification the decimal system has been introduced to bring out decimal distinctions. Betelgeuse and Alpha Crucis were taken as the average standard for stars of the first magnitude, and their magnitudes being the average of this class are called magnitude 1, which magnitude, accordingly, varies decimally from 0.5 to 1.5. All stars, therefore, that have a magnitude between 0.5 and 1.5 are now called stars of the first magnitude.
Within this magnitude, in addition to the two just mentioned are Achenar 0.6, Aldebaran 1.1, Altair 0.9, Antares 1.2, Beta Centauri 0.9, Deneb 1.3, Fomalhaut 1.3, Pollux 1.2, Procyon 0.5, Regulus 1.3, Spica 1.2. There are some of higher magnitudes than these, e.g., Arcturus 0.2, Capella 0.2, Rigel 0.3, Sirius -1.6, Vega 0.1, Canopus -0.9, Alpha Centauri 0.1. A star of the magnitude 1.0 is exactly 100 times as bright as one of magnitude 6.0. The number that multiplied by itself five times produces 100, i.e., the fifth root of 100, is 2.51 +. Thus a star of magnitude 1.0 gives 2.51 + times as much light as one of magnitude 2.0, and the latter gives 2.51 + times as much light as one of magnitude 3.0. A star that is brighter by a magnitude than magnitude 1 is designated as 0.0 in magnitude. And one magnitude still brighter is designated as -1.0. Only Sirius and Canopus belong to this last magnitude. The faintest stars visible in the largest telescopes are of magnitude 19., but telescopic photographs of magnitude 22. have been taken. Venus at her best is of magnitude -4.4. Jupiter varies in magnitude