The Great American Eclipse is coming to a sky near you on August 21.
There are many things that make this eclipse unique. It will be the first time since 1979 that the continental US experiences a total solar eclipse, the first time in 99 years that a total solar eclipse crosses our country from coast to coast, and the first time since 1776, the year of our nation’s founding, that a total solar eclipse visits the US and no other country. It will also be the first time a total solar eclipse has occurred in a developed country in the age of social media.
The Great American Eclipse will darken a 60-70 mile-wide section of America from Oregon to South Carolina, giving millions of us the opportunity to see it. Here in Steele County the sun will be about 85 percent eclipsed, which is still impressive, but why not take the short drive down I-35 to experience this once-in-a-lifetime event?
Many consider a total solar eclipse the most spectacular sight in nature. The sky gradually darkens as the sun is covered by the moon while the sun’s corona, a shimmering haze around the sun, becomes visible because the light of the sun is blocked out.
An eclipse of this magnitude highlights the differences in worldviews between those who believe in a universe specially created by God and those who believe in Evolution.
Evolution-oriented scientists call it a “remarkable cosmic coincidence” that the sun appears to be the same size as the moon in our sky. The sun is 400 times larger than the moon but because the moon is 400 times closer to the earth than the sun they both appear to be the same size in our sky, thus making it possible for a “perfect fit” total eclipse to occur.
Those of us who believe that God created the heavens and the earth don’t see this as a coincidence but the way that God “set them in the expanse of the heavens”: “And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:16-18 ESV)
Evolutionists believe that the earth and moon are approximately four and a half billion years old. Those who believe that our universe came to be through the creation of a grand Designer believe the universe to be 10,000 years old or less.
Add to the mix that the moon is moving away from the earth at a rate of approximately one inch per year and things get interesting. The moon receding from the earth at a rate of one inch per year is no big deal if the earth-moon combination is around 10,000 years old; the moon would move away from the earth roughly 833 feet in that amount of time. But the moon receding from the earth at a rate of one inch per year for a period of four and a half billion years means the moon started out tens of thousands of miles closer to the earth, a situation that creates all kinds of other problems.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about our sun is its stability. Astronomers have found stars that are very similar to our sun throughout the universe but nearly all of them have measurable changes in brightness. The variability of our sun is so miniscule that even the best scientific instruments can’t measure it. And it would be disastrous for life on earth if the brightness of our sun varied by even one percent. (By the way, the words disaster and disastrous come from a Greek word that literally means “bad star.” These words originally referred to calamities that happen on earth due to the unfavorable position of stars or planets.)
Again, our sun’s stability and the instability of similar stars found throughout the universe points to a Designer instead of the random processes of evolution.
There is also a reason why scientists can predict the exact timing and location of this historic eclipse and any future eclipses. Despite all the storms and chaos in nature, we still live in a very organized, “law-abiding” universe that makes it possible for us to measure things and predict how they will act. Those who believe that God set things in place in the universe see this as God’s hand at work while evolutionists see all the orderliness of the universe as a stunning coincidence.
Before scientists figured out the precise movements of the sun, moon, stars and planets eclipses such as the one that is about to take place would happen “out of the blue,” causing widespread panic among people on earth. I, for one, am glad those days are over.
Millions of Americans will lift their eyes to the sky to view the phenomenal beauty of the Great American Eclipse on August 21. Some will see coincidence; others will see a divine work of art, which is about what one would expect in this world of profoundly different worldviews.