And another sign was seen in heaven; a great, fiery red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, and upon his heads seven crowns. His tail dragged down a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. The dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth in order that when her child was born, he might eat it up. Rev 12:3-4.
The Psalmist said, AThe heavens declare the glory of God@ (Ps 19:1, NIV). One of the best definitions of Aglory@ is that it represents character. The Psalmist tells us that the universe displays God=s character in the things that He has made.
But the author of Revelation tells a slightly different story. Satan has done his best to obliterate the image of God that has been embossed into His creation. The earth has been marred and defiled by sin and reflects God=s glory in only the dimmest fashion. So it should not surprise us that the findings of honest science on this earth might not totally agree with the Scripture record. There has been some tampering with the evidence.
But shouldn=t the condition of the wider universe be a different matter? After all, one would expect the ravages of sin to be located primarily on earth. Would not the wider universe remain unspoiled with clear traces of God=s hand? Another Psalmist begs to differ, AThe heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded@ (Ps 102:25-26, NIV).
Science bears out that the Aperfection@ of the universe is, at best, a very different perfection from what we might expect. The moon is pocked with craters, the sun is covered with spots, and planetary satellites have powerful volcanoes that alter their landscapes in destructive fashion.
Stars appear to go through life cycles in which they form, burn through a massive amount of fuel, explode and then dwindle down to cold, lifeless spheres. Black holes suck in or destroy everything that passes near. Galaxies collide and debris is cast here and there. It would seem that even in the heavens there are traces not only of God=s hand, but also of the tail of the dragon, the old serpent, Satan.1
The safest course for the people of God is to stay close to His Word. The evidence of our eyes and ears can deceive us. The words of Scripture, on the other hand, guided by the illumination of the Spirit, give a picture of God that corrects the misconceptions that are inevitable in a universe marred by sin.