We have a small ranch in southern Utah far away from the bright lights in the city. One of the joys of being on the ranch is stepping outside on a moonless night and looking up at the vast extremities of the Milky Way. Gazing into space is an incredible way to look back at our earth. To contemplate both its significance and insignificance.
The same God that created our magnificent earth created the universe. On the first day god created light and said that it was good. On the second day he created the firmament, or atmosphere. On the third day he created oceans, land, and plant life. On the fourth day he created the sun, moon and stars. Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs and seasons, and days and years.” Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. Genesis 1:14–16.
Of course the framers of the Bible paid close attention to the sun and moon because they have such an immediate impact on our planet, but it's interesting that the mention of stars is almost like an afterthought, “He made stars also.” Especially considering the fact that scientist believe there are 200 to 400 billion stars in our own galaxy. The Milky Way is only one of what many estimate is 100 to 500 billion galaxies. The largest galaxy scientist have discovered has over 100 trillion stars. Together, all the galaxies in the universes we can see, contain an incomprehensible, 30 billion trillion stars. Making the existence of this tiny planet seem very trivial.
In the midst of all that creating, God took time to form our sun and give the planet on which we live light and life. Our planet is perfectly positioned, not too close to the sun (and therefore too hot) or too far away from the sun (and therefore too cold). Earth is situated so that a vast variety of plants, animals and people can thrive. Plants convert light into a substance that we can eat and release oxygen into the air so that we can breathe. In all the mass, swirling complexities of the universe, God took care to make sure that this earth was established to sustain the kind of life we needed to progress. We are so important to Him, that He provided a place for us that would ensure not just our survival but our advancement.
Moses, on Mount Sinai saw the beautiful, boundless universe and declared, "I know now that man is nothing.” Yet the very existence of our own earth, the meticulous care that God took to create it for us, testifies that the worth of souls is great in the eyes of God. “This is a paradox of man: compared to God, man is nothing; yet we are everything to God,” Dieter F. Uchtdorf.
Looking up at the billions and trillions of stars we may feel a sense of insignificance as we experience all the grandeur set before us. We also experience a sense of wonder - elation mingled with peace. That feeling of awe is the inner knowledge of our individual importance to God. The most powerful being in all of existence created this earth for you and for me. He created it because He knows you, and He loves you. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”