“The heavens declare the glory of God!” (Psalm 19:1) There are many theological and scientific truths that we can learn from the eclipse. The first is that beauty and design never just “happen” but are a reflection of an Artist and an Architect. Sometimes that beauty and design is seen in patterns and regularities, and as such can be described (and predicted) by natural laws. Of course, if there are laws, there must be a Law-giver! After all, physical laws cannot create or control, only describe.
Sometimes the beauty and design defies a “naturalistic” explanation because the phenomenon doesn’t have to be this way, and so we infer an Artist or Architect – a mind – as the best explanation. Certainly, the DNA code and the complex nanomachines in our cells are examples of this in biology. In astrophysics, more and more astronomers and physicists (Christian and non-Christian alike) are concluding that the universe not only looks designed but looks designed for us to be here and to study it. This is often called the “fine-tuning” of the universe or the “Goldilocks Principle” since everything seems to be “just right!” Our earth alone is in the narrow habitable zone of the sun, and our sun is in the narrow habitable zone our galaxy. And that’s just a start!
The solar eclipse is a marvelous example of this. With over 180 moons orbiting the main planets and the dwarf planets in our solar system, only our moon can totally eclipse the sun. This requires a very precise relationship between the relative sizes of the sun, moon, and earth, as well as the distances between them. (The sun has a diameter 400 times greater than the moon, and it is 400 times farther away. Therefore, they appear to us like they are the same size.) In addition, the only place where a total eclipse could be observed just “happens” to be the only place where there is life – and intelligent, curious life at that! An eclipse would have been wasted anywhere else.Read more
Finally, God’s creation is designed in such a way that there are “stepping stones” that allow us to probe deeper and deeper into the complexity of any part of the universe, and a total eclipse is a wonderful example of this. Centuries ago, because of solar eclipses, we were able to learn important principles about stars and space. Examples of these insights include the nature of the sun’s atmosphere, the timing of the earth’s rotation, and more recently the testing of the General Theory of Relativity.
Those principles then became the foundation for learning other things about space and stars that we could not have known, were this first step not available. (Another example of this in astronomy; if you would like to look it up, is the “distance ladder” in which each “rung” of discovery about the distance to nearby stars sets the stage for figuring out the distance to the next group of stars that are farther away.) God wants us to study and learn, and He designed the universe in such a way so as to make that possible.
There are no “coincidences,” “accidents,” or chance occurrences when your God is sovereign. We are blessed! Wherever you are on August 21, join us in worship and praise!