Dark-Matter is a term used to describe invisible forms of matter that exert gravitational force affecting observable matter, but without exerting mass.
Credit: Google Images
As we discover when researching The-Origin-Of-Matter, all matter consists of various manifestations of energy. The pie-chart shown above illustrates the distribution of all the matter and energy throughout the Universe according to the latest astrophysical research.
As can be seen, all Luminous Matter that can be physically observed, accounts for only approximately 4% of the total amount of matter and energy actually making up the Universe.
The rest is referred to as either Dark-Matter (23%), or the remaining overwhelming amount as Dark-Energy (73%). They are referred to as “dark” as opposed to “luminous” because, even though their effects on observable matter can be measurably determined, they themselves are invisible. The implications are profound!
What is further also difficult to grasp, is that this so-called “Dark-Matter” is not something distant, far out there somewhere and completely unrelated to us. It is all about us - and in fact even part of us! It infuses everything, influences everything, but remains unobservable! In this context “Dark-Matter” can accurately be referred to as the “unseen presence”.
The question remains however: What is Dark-Matter? Where is it, and Why can’t we see it? The consensus among cosmologists is that it is primarily composed of a new type of sub-atomic particle that has still to be identified.
To quote from Wikipedia:
“Dark matter cannot be seen directly with telescopes; evidently it neither emits nor absorbs light or other electromagnetic radiation at any significant level. Instead, its existence and properties are inferred from its gravitational effects on visible matter, radiation, and the large scale structure of the universe. Dark matter is estimated to constitute 84% of the matter in the universe and 23% of the mass-energy.”
Cosmologists arrived at this concept from observing the structure of Spiraling Galaxies. They calculated that the centrifugal forces being exerted by the spinning action of a Galaxy should, by all reasoning, cause the stellar systems that constitute these galaxies to be flung apart!
This is not happening so the obvious conclusion is that some mysterious force is exerting enormous gravitational force that is evidently preventing this from happening. The matter rtesponsible for this cannot be observed, therefore it is described as dark-matter.
Distance: 23 million light-years
The only force that we are aware of that is capable of this is the force of Gravity. Gravity itself however is also a measurable but unexplained force whereby bodies of matter are attracted to each other. The larger the object the greater the attraction exerted, thereby drawing smaller objects towards the larger ones. This of course is also the force that keeps us glued to the earth’s surface instead of being flung out into outer space!
Scientists are able to calculate the observable mass of matter in a particular galaxy; its speed of rotation; the centrifugal force being exerted by this rotation; and the amount of gravitational pull required to counteract this. They arrive at the conclusion, reflected in the pie-chart above, that this requires almost six times the amount of gravity being exerted by all the observable mater.
To me this particular pie-chart, if nothing else, only emphasizes our own insignificance in the larger scheme of things!
The term “The Unseen Presence” as applied to Dark-Matter, in my mind, serves as a metaphor for the Holy Spirit! As with so much else in Creation we are here once again afforded a glimpse and a reflection of the essence of our Creator.
God (or “The Godhead” in terms of Christianity’s concept of the Holy Trinity) encompasses everything that exists. The tragedy of our faith however is that over the centuries an image of God has developed depicting Him as a stern “grandfather figure” out there somewhere looking down on us, and keeping record of our transgressions for which we will someday be held accounable!
This, however, is in stark contrast with what Jesus Christ, whom we regard as God Incarnate, taught his disciples. At the Last Supper Jesus prayed:
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message". John 16:20 NLT
This to me is one of the most precious passages in all Scripture! Here Jesus, knowing of His impending crucifixion, was actually also praying for you and me personally - by implication almost by name! He prayed further:
"I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me”. John 16:23 NLT
God is not just out there somewhere. He is even inside us through his indwelling Spirit, longing for a living personal relationship with each one of us. We should learn to embrace silence, empty your mind, and seek to sense His presence. Rest assured our loving, forgiving God, is waiting for us to do so!
To paraphrase Jacob in the Old Testament on waking from his dream, you will also want to exclaim:
"Surely the LORD is in this place, and I wasn't even aware of it!" Genesis 28:16 NLT.
The Holy Spirit in fact is also an "Unseen Presence" just like Dark-Matter, infusing and encompassing everything but with one difference – He can be experienced as a living presence!
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