Vastness Explained

Vastness…it is immense, even cosmic. And we humans cannot fully comprehend what true vastness is.

We should try. What is vast to you? Your example should be immense and measureless. Your example should cause you to feel small. Feel small, even if it makes you uncomfortable. Your example should cause you to feel powerless. Not helpless-but almost.


In abstract situations such as this, we benefit from concrete examples that enable us to visualize the abstract.


When thinking about vastness, one of my favorite models to exemplify what vastness is comes from a finite example. The example is a prairie. The French word for a place of grass and flowers is prairie. Prairies occur worldwide in North America, Asia, Europe, South American and Africa. They are characterized as places of moderate temperatures, moderate rainfall and vast stretches of mostly flat, treeless land. The word vast can be used to describe prairies before agriculture cultivation of the land began.


Even today, there are places in the world where thousands of acres of continuous prairie exist. But size in acres is only one part of the vastness of a prairie. The life forms found on a prairie are another vast seemingly limitless realm. 40 to 60 different species of grass alone can be found in a prairie. Before agricultural development this grass fed between 30 and 60 million bison on the North American continent. Mixed with the grasses an amazing 300 species of flowers with unique characteristics that give each plant climate matching traits that allow the plant to grow on a prairie. Plants native to prairies can withstand drought, fire, intense sun and intense cold.


In a prairie in summer a nearly incalculable number of insects can be found living in prairies. A better word may be invertebrates. Biologists believe there are approximately 11,000 species of grasshoppers living in the earth’s grasslands. This is simply because they have been studied them more than other invertebrate species. Consider the vast and to humans’ uncountable numbers of insects, spiders and other invertebrates that live in the earth’s grasslands. As we do so we are only starting to comprehend vastness.


What is the source of vastness? Ask GOOGLE for the answer. You will discover there is no answer. The answers GOOGLE gives relate to the universe. That vastness exists is undeniable. But, the true source of vastness is God.


A vast God can create a vast prairie and all the life in it. The Bible records God as a vast Creator and gives the oceans of the world as a second example. Here is the ocean, vast and wide, teeming with life of every kind, both large and small. Psalm 104:25


Consider vastness for another reason. We are all sinful. Like it or not, and whether you are willing to admit it or not-you are sinful. Like me. We lie, steal, cheat, commit murder in our hearts and we want what others have-we covet. We all need a vast forgiveness. We are a mess and in need of a vast unfailing love that forgives us of all our sin. In your heart, you know it’s true.


There is eternal and infinitely good news. God’s love is as vast as His creation! Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Psalm 36:5


Still thinking about vastness? A prairie or an ocean can remind you of the vastness of God’s great love for you, for me. He is as near to you with HIS vast love as a prayer. He is at hand. Tell Him what you need. His vast love will never run out.


Author: davidwellis

What does a grandfather, husband, former public school teacher and Education Specialist for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service with many life experiences in nature do with them? A naturalist with a camera-makes outside a daily destination. My confidence is that God will guide my words, and photos. We live in a magnificent world, come and look at it with me through eyes, lens and words. To God be the glory. Current Profile Photo- Prickly Ash, the name summarizes this brushy undergrowth well. It fascinates me with its thorny branches. Seeing a vine wrapped around the trunk called for a photo.