This incredible image of a supernova was captured by NASA's NuSTAR space telescope. While pictures of exploding stars are nothing new, it is the uncanny resemblance of the particle cloud to a human hand that has captured everyone's attention and imagination. The result is that this pulsar, called PSR B1509-58 (B1509 for short) has been dubbed "The Hand of God."
Disclaimer: I am not an astronomer, I am a pastor. As such I am not overly concerned about debating the technical aspects of how something like this happens or dissecting the explanations of how this a completely natural phenomena that by sheer coincidence resulted in it looking like a right hand (not a left hand) with a hole its palm. There is no debate as to whether or not this is literally the hand of God or not, because it is clearly a particle cloud of an exploded star and besides, the Bible makes clear that God is Spirit (John 4:24) and when we use physical human attributes to describe Him we are simply using human terms in order to help us understand Him. So what the debate is really over is whether or not this is simply a SUPERNOVA sized coincidence or whether God actually had a hand in this? (no pun intended :P)
What I have learned is that people who choose to reject the existence of God will always point to the "natural" phenomena and dismiss the possibility of anything "supernatural" (that is - something outside of the physical realm) having any influence or control over the physical realm. So no matter how compelling the evidence, these types of people simply cannot entertain it for fear that they may be forced to acknowledge the existence of God and as a result be accountable to Him for their actions. I suspect that if some day a series of exploding stars is discovered that clearly spells out: "I AM the ALPHA and the OMEGA" there will still be people trying to explain it all away as "coincidental".
The Apostle Paul describes these sorts of people like this:
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Now Paul say's that simply by looking at the physical realm around us we can clearly see and understand God's invisible qualities. So I don't know about you, but when I look at that picture - what I can CLEARLY see is that there is a power far greater than "random chance" or "sheer coincidence" at work in the universe. I see the Hand of God. But I'll let you decide for yourself. So consider the following Scripture verses as you look at the picture of the "Hand of God".
Psalm 19:1: The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
(Did you catch the part about HANDS?)
Exodus 15:6: Your right hand, O Lord, was majestic in power. Your right hand, O Lord, shattered the enemy."
(Did you notice how it's a right hand and not a left hand? Take another look at the picture)
Isaiah 49:16: See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.
(what does that hole in the palm of the hand remind you of?)
Isaiah 53:5: But He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed."
John 20:25-27: Thomas replied: Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my fingers where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
(At what point does doubt end and faith begin? Before or after you see the nail scarred hands of Jesus?)
On different occasions Jesus disciples asked Him about what signs would proceed the end of the age and listen to what He said:
Luke 21:11: There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.
(What constitutes "great" signs from heaven?)
Luke 21:25: “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves".
(If you were going to put a "sign" in the stars that would be obvious for anyone who saw it, what would YOU make it look like? Maybe something like this?)
Or how about this?
This is a picture from the Hubble Telescope of what they have named the X formation which is located at the very center of the whirlpool galaxy, which is apparently located at or near the very center of the known universe. But though it resembles an X, it also bears an uncanny resemblance to a cross - just another coincidence?
Philippians 2:15: "Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross."
Whether on earth or in the heavens, the cross of Jesus Christ is the sign of God's triumphant victory over satan, sin and death.
Jesus died on our cross, in our place, taking the punishment for our sins upon himself so that we could be forgiven, receive God's free gift of salvation, and enter into a never-ending relationship with Him.
For this reason I choose to agree with the Apostle Paul:
Galatians 6:14: May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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