Several months ago, I received the following email:
‘Subject: Fw: Eye of God
This is a picture taken by NASA with the Hubble telescope. They are referring to it as the "Eye of God.” I thought it was beautiful and worth sharing.
This email is considered an Urban Legend. The picture below is from NASA, but NASA never called it the “Eye of God.” This is a picture of the Helix Nebula, a planetary nebula created at the end of the life of a Sun-like star. The Helix Nebula, also known as NGC 7293, lies about 650 light-years away toward the constellation of Aquarius and spans about 2.5 light-years.
Eye of God
Mountains of Creation
NASA, however, has released two other pictures that bear references to creation as presented in the Old Testament. One of them is called the “Mountains of Creation.” The Mountains of Creation are located at the eastern edge of a giant stellar nursery, about 7,000 light-years away in the constellation Cassiopeia. The picture shows interstellar clouds of cold gas and dust sculpted into the form of mountains by winds and radiation from a hot, massive star near the clouds.
Another picture is called “The Pillars of Creation.” The Pillars of Creation are actually columns of cool interstellar hydrogen gas and dust that are also nurseries for new stars. The formation is part of the "Eagle Nebula" a nearby star-forming region 6,500 light-years away in the constellation Serpens.
Pillars of Creation
These amazing pictures taken by the Hubble Telescope reveal the beauty and the mystery of the universe. Hubble, looking millions and millions of years back into the history of the universe, can see amazing features that have dazzled the imaginations of people everywhere.
One night, an Israelite poet, looking at the vast expanse of the skies above, in awe of the greatness of what he saw, said: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1).
Another Psalmist, looking at the heavens above, recognizing the mystery of creation and the insignificance of human beings, burst into a song of praise: “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? (Psalm 8:1, 3-4 ).
NASA may not have called the Helix nebula the “Eye of God,” but when we look at the mystery and beauty of the universe, we have to recognize that the pillars and mountains of creation clearly show God’s glory and greatness.
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Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary