Updated: Oct 16, 2021
The Love of God
“Could we with ink the ocean fill, And were the skies of parchment made, Were every stalk on earth a quill, And every man a scribe by trade; To write the love of God above Would drain the ocean dry; Nor could the scroll contain the whole, Though stretched from sky to sky.”
These are the lyrics to the third verse of a song entitled “The Love of God.” Some of you may be familiar with it. We sang it this morning in church. When we got to this verse, and as we were singing it, I started thinking about the fact that this is literally true; not just metaphorical, as well as some of its implications. Let’s have a little fun with it.
The first line reads “Could we with ink the ocean fill.” It takes several hours to fly across the oceans from continent to continent, moving at about 500 mph or better. The surface are of the ocean is about 139,433,844.72 square miles, covering over 70% of the surface of the Earth; over 2 times as much surface area of the continents, which are really big. [Think about how long it takes to drive from New York City to Las Angeles.] It has an average depth of about 2 miles. That would make the volume of the ocean about 321,003,271 cubic miles; around 352,670,000,000,000,000,000 gallons. That would be lot of water, rather, ink, if we were somehow able to manage to do as the song lyrics we are discussing suggested.
The second line reads “And were the skies of parchment made.” The sky, as it were, has at least as much surface area as the surface of the earth, depending on how we look at it and define it. If we were to define it with an arbitrary value such as being as large as the plane of the solar system out to the orbit of Pluto, this would be a surface area of 50,000,000,000,000,000,000 square miles; that’s a lot of parchment (paper). Saying that one could certainly write a lot information on that much paper just may be considered to be just a wee bit of an understatement.
The third line reads “Were every stalk on earth a quill.” A stalk is essentially the stem of a non-woody plant. Grasses have stalks, so do many other plants. I could not find data on how many actual herbaceous (non-woody) plants there are on earth at any given time, but I did see an estimate of there being 1,600,000,000,000,000 blades of grass on the earth at any given time. That would potentially be a lot of quills, and considering that is only grass, that is a low estimate.
The fourth line reads “And every man a scribe by trade.” There are currently over 7,800,000,000 people living on earth today. If we were to take just the males, that would be roughly half of that; just under 4,000,000,000. If all of these men were writing four 300 word pages per hour, and we had every one of these men writing 40 hours a week, 5 days a week, 48 weeks out of the year for a 30 year career. That would be 55,000,000,000,000,000 words. It would take well over 70 million years just to speak all of the words written, speaking at a rate of 2 words per second. This doesn’t take into account all of the other people that have lived over the past 6000 years, or who will live in the future.
The songs then goes on essentially to say that even with such extremely vast resources as these, we would not be able to adequately express the [infinite] love of God. I would assert that we couldn’t even begin to do so. As large as the items mentioned in these song lyrics are, they are finite. God is infinite (He made all of these resources), His love is therefore infinite.
We all would like to think that whoever we call our best friend truly loves us; loves us enough to honestly look out for our best interest, tell us the truth, take care of us, and even lay down his or her life for ours. If you are a believer in Christ, that is a very minimal description of your best friend. Your best human friends can love you very much, and even demonstrate it, but your true best friend; Jesus, loves you in a way that would be best illustrated by the vastness of the universe itself and demonstrated by the sacrifice of His life for your eternal life with Him. If you don’t have Jesus as your best friend [savior], you can change that right now. Just trust/believe that Jesus, the true God, the Alpha and Omega, died for your sins in your place, that He was buried and rose again on the third day. Trust that He fully paid the price for your sins and has freely given you His righteousness. Please read the other articles on this website as well as Angles of Salvation; a short book that is all about this topic and deals with many aspects of it, also linked numerous times on this website. Thanks for reading the post and God bless.