Today I awoke to read the news of the incredible discovery of a “Supervoid”, a gigantic hole in the universe and the largest structure ever identified by humans. At 1.8 billion light years across, astronomers are calling it “huge”. An international team of astronomers discovered the void while studying an unusually cold patch in the universe; since 2008 they’d been working on the hypothesis that this particular cold part could be due to an extremely large void.
“[The] cold spot seems to defy physics in the sense that you would expect only a small amount of variation [in temperature] and the cold spot seems to exceed the amount of variation,” the Australian Astronomical Observatory’s Fred Watson said.
“So [it] was an anomaly, it was something that puzzled scientists and hinted that there might be things going on that we don’t understand. What we call ‘new physics'”…….. But how a gigantic hole in the universe forms in the first place, however, is a question that still remains unanswered.
This news report has blown my mind. While I often gaze in wonder at the magnificence of the night sky and ponder the stars and God’s handiwork, to know now that there is a big, blank void up there, that is 1.8 BILLION light years across, is unfathomable for the human mind to comprehend. There is so much we just don’t know or understand about our universe. Why should I therefore continue to be surprised about other unseen things that occur in this universe?
Earlier this week I had an experience that initially freaked me out, but then brought me great comfort. It was quite late in the evening and I was driving home after attending a meeting in the city. I started to feel a bit sorry for myself and was frustrated with the fatigue and general “blah” I’d been feeling lately and wondering to myself when will I ever truly get over the effects of having had breast cancer – it is now two years since I was diagnosed and the various treatments finished many months ago. Then my thoughts turned to my friend Amanda and how tired and “blah” she must have felt all the time, and yet it didn’t stop her living her life, until right at the end. Amanda was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer and lived for three years making wonderful memories with her family and friends. It is now nearly two years since Amanda passed away. On the drive home I spent quite some time thinking about Amanda, and how it would have been her birthday in a few weeks, and remembering in awe again how she lived her life. She was such an inspiration. Suddenly my jaw dropped and I let out a gasp – in the midst of my reflections Amanda’s song came onto the radio! It was an obscure song from the 90’s that was played at Amanda’s funeral as the coffin was being carried out of the church and the hearse driven away. I’ve written about this song before, not long after she died. I have no idea what inspired her to choose this song – I suspect it was partly her deliciously irreverent sense of humour, but perhaps also it was a final shout of frustration. Regardless, it is not a song that is heard very often and I’ve only ever heard it on the airwaves a handful of times. Tears poured down my face as I recognised this as a Divine moment. As the shock subsided I felt incredibly grateful and comforted that stuff like this happens. I can’t explain how or why these experiences happen but I do believe there is a 4th dimension of energy around us, involving God and the universe. I don’t believe experiences like this are coincidental, simply a random event in a chaotic cosmos. If scientists can find cold spots in the heavens that defy physics but are happy to admit they have absolutely no idea how such a gigantic hole could be formed, I am happy to leave unexplained how such a song could interrupt my thoughts on a dark drive home.