Well, the much-anticipated solar eclipse of August 21, 2017 is over and the millions of people who drove to areas of the United States to view it in the “total-eclipse-path” will be headed home. Our daughter and family live in one of those paths, near Albany and Corvallis Oregon, where nearly half a million visitors came to see the phenomenon. Gas stations were running out of gas and grocery stores shelves were looking pretty bare! Crazy! We heard about one group from Japan who had rented an entire campground way in advance to come over and experience the total eclipse.
(We worked outside here in Northwest Montana most of the morning and stopped occasionally to use our piece of cardboard with a pinhole to project the 88-90% eclipse onto a piece of white paper!! Think of the time and money we saved!)
Actually, the reason that astronomers could so accurately predict the path and timing of this—or any other—eclipse is because we live in an orderly universe created by our amazing, powerful God. The words God spoke to Moses which were recorded on the stone tablets, are these: “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them…” (Ex. 20:11). In the longest prayer recorded in the Bible (Neh. 9:5-38), Ezra began by acknowledging God’s majesty, saying: “Thou alone art the LORD. Thou hast made the heavens, the heaven of heavens with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. Thou dost give life to all of them and the heavenly host bows down before Thee” (v. 6). On the fourth day of the creation week, God made the two lights for day and night (Gen. 1:16), and then—almost like an afterthought—“He made the stars also.” Nothing, of course, is an afterthought with God, but this emphasizes the relative importance of these parts of His creation.
Whether or not the earth is the geographical center of the universe, Earth is the center of God’s interest in the universe. This is where He created man and woman in His own image and where He will reign over His creation in the ages to come. The prophet Isaiah recorded God speaking to him, saying: “For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it as a place to be inhabited)…” (Isa. 45:18). The primary purpose of the stars, as well as the sun (also a star) and moon, was “to separate the day from the night; and… be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years” (Gen. 1:14,15). They could not fulfill these functions, of course, if their light could not be seen on the earth, so we can be sure that these heavenly bodies and their light rays were created—like Adam and Eve—full grown, in a state of functioning maturity.
Even before “God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1), God knew that millions today would be viewing a solar eclipse across the United States of America! And that is a demonstration, not only of the omniscience of God, but of the orderliness of His creation and the fact that He has been sustaining what He created and made. In his letter to the believers at Colossae, Paul writes in reference to Christ: “And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible…all things have been created by Him and for Him: And He is before all things and in Him all things hold together” (Col. 1:15,16).
The word we often use to refer to God’s creation is cosmos, referring to the entire universe as an ordered system, as opposed to “chaos,” a disordered system. Surprisingly, our modern word for “cosmetics” also comes from the same source, which technically speaking constitutes any kind of adornment that transforms something ugly and disordered into something beautiful and well-ordered! Part of this “orderly universe” is demonstrated by how God carefully oriented the sun and moon with respect to the location of the earth. Today, after the eclipse, as we viewed the sun projected on our piece of paper through the pinhole in a piece of cardboard, it appeared as just a tiny circle. It may also appear relatively small in our sky because it is 93 million miles away, but the sun is actually 109 times the diameter of Earth and over a million times the volume of Earth. It is the largest single object in our solar system and comprises 99.86 percent of all its mass. If a ten-pound bowling ball represented the mass of the sun, then all the planets, moons, and comets in our solar system could be represented by the combined mass of one nickel and one penny, with Jupiter being the nickel!
The sun is really a stable hydrogen “bomb” that gives off more energy every second than a billion major cities would use in an entire year! The sun is a ball of ionized hydrogen and helium with core temperatures exceeding 27 million degrees Fahrenheit. The nuclear fusion taking place in the core propagates outward, replenishing the energy that the solar surface (more than 10,000 degrees F) is constantly radiating into space. If the sun were further than 93 million miles from the earth we would freeze to death. If it were closer, we would fry. God placed it at exactly the right distance for life to exist on Earth. There is no way this is all by chance, but rather by the design of our Wonderful, Masterful, Engineer God, the Lord Jesus Christ. So, as we view such amazing phenomena as the solar eclipse today, we need to praise and glorify our great God who made such things for our pleasure.
But by far the greatest event in history to demonstrate what God thinks about us took place when God sent His “SON” into the world to be “the light of the world” (Jn. 8:12), and to give His life as a payment for our sins (II Cor. 5:14; I Pet. 2:24) so we could have eternal life with Him (Jn. 3:16). Have you believed in Him and received Him into your life (Jn. 1:12)? The sun is not the primary source of life—God is, the One who made the sun. Jesus Christ, God the “Son” is the way, the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father but through Him (Jn. 14:6).