A once in a lifetime experience will descend upon our town on August 21. We’re about to find out what it’s like to be in the full shadow of the moon for 2 minutes in the middle of the day. The “path of totality” sounds ominous.
Every person here, including thousands of our friends from elsewhere (if predictions materialize), will be affected by this event. So I would like to offer context somewhat more enlightened than this being just a marketing opportunity.
On that day we will set aside our daily routines and watch creation, specifically the sun, the moon, and light. Consider two questions. Life would not exist without the sun and its light and heat. Where did it come from? God created “ex nihilo” or out of nothing. The non-theistic answers to that question depend on the pre-existence of material and energy. We know that the universe normally operates along observable principles, or “laws of nature,” hence we can predict an eclipse. Why is the universe ordered? Either matter and energy are eternal and they organized themselves, or an eternal Creator is the source of the world as we know it.
It is the Christian worldview of a God who is reliable that set the context for western civilization’s scientific advances. He is not like the unpredictable pantheon of the Greeks and Romans, nor is He like the innumerable and competing spiritual beings of animism. So, why would a God like this create? Thierry of Chartres, a 12th C. theologian said, “Because the Creator, rationally speaking, is in need of nothing, having perfection and sufficiency in Himself, it is necessary that He should create what he does create only through benevolence and love.” Behind the eclipse is a Creator that cares for you.
Science can be an act of worship when it honors the Creator. Science and faith have a common goal to embrace truth. The more we understand about the universe, the more we know about God. Astrophysicist Hugh Ross, PhD. observed, “Astronomers who do not draw theistic or deistic conclusions are becoming rare, and even the few dissenters hint that the tide is against them.” It is difficult to stare at the stars or experience an eclipse without longing to know who is out there.
And we do know. “The heavens are telling of the glory of God and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands” (Psa. 19:1). We also know that “All things came into being through Him” i.e. Jesus in this context (John 1:3). This eclipse will be a classic display of the creative power of the Savior God who loves you and inspires you to worship. That’s not ominous, it’s enlightening.