The Solar Eclipse and the Glory of God

Apr 8, 2024
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Millions of people took their eyes off their immediate surroundings today and focused them skyward (wearing special glasses, we hope!) to see the solar eclipse.

From NASA:

An eclipse is an awe-inspiring celestial event that drastically changes the appearance of the two biggest objects we see in our sky: our Sun and Moon.... A total solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, completely blocking the face of the Sun....

In addition to inspiring artists and musicians, eclipses have driven numerous scientific discoveries. For over a century, solar eclipses helped scientists decipher the Sun's structure and explosive events, find evidence for the theory of general relativity, discover a new element, and much more....

Total solar eclipses are particularly important because they allow scientists to see a part of the Sun's atmosphere — known as the corona — which is too faint to see except when the bright light of the Sun's surface is blocked.

God's incredible universe

Today's "awe-inspiring" (NASA's term) interaction of heavenly bodies brings Psalm 19 to mind:

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.

They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.

Louis Giglio dwells on this theme in his 2011 book (co-written with Matt Redman) Indescribable: Encountering the Glory of God in the Beauty of the Universe (David C. Cook):

Everyone knows the Sun is bright, and though it sits a seemingly comfortable 93 million miles away, we all respect the intensity of its rays. And yet, we faintly know its terror. We watch it rise and set with glorious splendor, and note its stunning beams as they burst forth from the clouds and glimmer through the trees.

But...the Sun is no gentle giant. It’s an orbiting thermonuclear reactor with staggering force and destructive energy. 

The star that anchors our very existence is an exploding fireball emitting solar eruptions so forceful anyone of them could strip the magnetic information off your credit cards from a distance as far away as the Moon is from Earth.... 

[H]ow can we grasp its size and scope? If Earth were the size of a golf ball, the Sun would be 15 feet in diameter.... [Y]ou could fit close to one million Earths inside the Sun.

[And the sun is just one star] among the hundreds of billions of stars that God both created and oversees as He manages the heavens beyond our sight.

So maybe...a good plan would be to pause more often, turn down the volume of the earthbound “super-stars” we so quickly gravitate toward, and rest in the shadow of a God who exhales luminous balls of uncontrollable combustion as if they were merely fireflies on a warm summer night. 

If the power of the stars is hard to fathom, how much more so is the power of the One who holds them in place beyond our understanding.

If His are the arms that are holding you now, rest — and trust. You are in good hands. 

Written by

Joseph Slife

Joseph Slife

Joseph Slife has been a news writer for the Associated Press, a college instructor, and a radio host. He and his wife Joye have three grown sons.

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