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Bible Helps:     How Long is Eternity

The Eternity of God
by Stephen Charnock

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How Long is Eternity
Just some thoughts!

1. Eternity is so long that if you should begin now, and count every drop of water there is in every river, lake, and ocean on this globe, when the last drop is counted it would only be just begun.   — Source Unknown

2. If you would take every particle of sand and dirt of which this earth is made, and count them all, and stop an hundred years between the counting of each particle, then, when all were' finally counted, Eternity would be just as long as when you first began.   — Source Unknown

3. Imagine a globe of solid iron the size of the Earth. Every ten thousand years a sparrow comes along and, just once, brushes the surface with its wing. Once the globe of iron has been totally worn away by this action, only the first second of eternity has passed.   — Source Unknown

4. There is a mountain made of the hardest diamond. It's one hour deep into the earth, one hour up toward the sky, one hour long and one hour wide. To this mountain comes a little bird, once every hundred years, to sharpen its beak. And when this bird has worn away the whole mountain, the first second of eternity has passed.   — Source Unknown

5. Picture a parakeet in your backyard next to a sandbox. You take a pail, fill it full of sand, and then let some of the grains of sand fall through your hands. One bucket of sand has thousands of grains of sand. Let's imagine that you could instruct that parakeet to pick up one of the grains of sand in its beak, fly to the moon and drop it off. Let's say it takes one million years for the parakeet to get to the moon. He puts the grain of sand down and flies back to earth. It takes a million years for him to get back. He then picks up the next grain of sand and flies back to the moon. He drops off that grain and flies back to earth-a million years there, a million years back. One by one the parakeet takes each grain of sand in your sandbox to the moon. When he is finished, you take him down to Key West, Florida and there you show him the Atlantic Ocean and the beach which runs along the coast. You tell him, "I want you to start clearing off the sand on this beach one grain at a time." He starts there, then works his way up to Miami, then to Jacksonville, Hilton Head, Charleston, New York City, Boston, and up toward Maine. He takes each grain of sand to the moon one at a time, a million years there, a million years back. When he's done with all of that, you take him out to the West Coast and from Mexico all the way up to California and Oregon, you tell him to take one grain of sand at a time and fly it to the moon. When the parakeet finishes with all of that, you say, I've got this other little spot called the Sahara Desert. I want you to clear the sand off of that place one at a time." When he finishes that, you say, "Three-fourths of the surface of the earth is water. Let me drain the oceans dry. At the bottom of the oceans you have a lot of sand. Take all of that sand to the moon, one grain of sand at a time, a million years there, and a million years back." When he finishes, if you could add up all of the millions of years it had taken to remove all of the sand from all of those places, eternity would just be beginning.   — Source Unknown

6. Have you ever pondered how long eternity is? Perhaps one could get a slight glimpse of eternity if he would try to calculate the value of every leaf that has ever grown on every plant and tree since creation and multiply that huge number times 10,000. If each unit was a year, that alone would be a staggering number, but it still isn't close enough to the concept of eternity. Much more needs to be considered. Let's add to that value another one produced by multiplying every hair that ever grew on every person, from the creation of Adam to present, times 10,000. To that we should next multiply 10,000 times every grain of sand along all of the seashores and coastlines throughout the entire world. To this we then should add the value produced by multiplying 10,000 times every snowflake and raindrop that ever fell from the creation of the world. But then this is still much too small a number! To that we should multiply 10,000 times every dust molecule that has ever floated in the air that is far too small for us see with the naked eye. And add to that number 10,000 times every star in all of the innumerable galaxies in the universe. But even then, if all those incalculably large numbers were added together and that number would be years as we know it now, that could only be the first second in eternity!   — Source Unknown

So How Big is God
If He Made All the Sand of the Earth and the Stars of the Sky?

So how many grains of sand are there in the world?

You could start off by trying to guess how many grains of sand there are in a spoon of sand. Use a magnifying glass to count how many grains fit in a small section. Then, count how many of those sections fit in your spoon. Multiply the two numbers together to get an estimate. "Using this same principle, plus some additional information, mathematicians at the University of Hawaii tried to guess how many grains of sand are on the world's beaches. They came up with 7,500,000,000,000,000,000, or seven quintillion five quadrillion grains of sand." That number is 7.5 x 10^18 or 7.5 billion billion.

How many stars, galaxies, clusters, QSO's etc. in the Universe?

To get the total stellar population in the Milky Way [that is, in our galaxy alone], we must take the number of luminous stars that we can see at large distances and assume that we know how many fainter stars go along with them. Recent numbers give about 400,000,000,000 (400 billion) stars, but a 50% error either way is quite plausible. So in our galaxy alone, there might be between 2 x 10^11 and 6 x 10^11 stars.

How many galaxies in the Universe?

The Hubble telescope is capable of detecting about 80 billion galaxies (although not all of these within the foreseeable future!). In fact, there must be many more than this, even within the observable Universe, since the most common kind of galaxy in our own neighborhood is the faint dwarfs which are difficult enough to see nearby, much less at large cosmological distances. For example, in our own local group, there are 3 or 4 giant galaxies which would be detectable at a billion light-years or more (Andromeda, the Milky Way, the Pinwheel in Triangulum, and maybe the Large Magellanic Cloud). However, there are at least another 20 faint members, which would be difficult to find at 100 million light-years, much less the billions of light years to which the brightest galaxies can be seen."

So the lower end estimate for the number of galaxies is 8 x 10^10.

If we accept even the lower end of these Hubble figures, and if our Milky Way has a typical number of stars in it, that puts the number of stars in the universe to be at least (2 x 10^11) x (8 x 10^10) = 16 x 10^ 21.

So if we round the number of sand grains to, say, 10^20 and round the number of stars to, say 10^22 then there are at least 100 stars in the universe for every grain of sand on earth.   — Source Unknown

"He telleth the number of the stars ; he calleth them all by their names. Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite." Psalms 147:4-5

"How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand." Psalms 139:17-18

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© 1999 The Old Time Gospel Ministry
"When to seek God has become life and to glorify God has become self, then you have truly found God."