Letter: Eclipse a Beautiful Gift from God to the World He Loves

Like everyone else in South Carolina, I was staring into the mid-afternoon dusky sky on Monday, Aug. 21. The Great American Eclipse was a remarkable and awe-inspiring event.

That evening, as I listened to the news commentators share people’s reactions to the eclipse, I was disappointed that nobody gave credit to God for the heavenly show. Astrologers were given airtime as they debated the meaning of the event, but no pastors were interviewed. The best insight I came across (and I had to really hunt for it) was the perspective shared by two Christian university professors in Oklahoma’s Baptist Messenger.

“Eclipses are demonstrations of God’s glory” and serve as “yet another example of creation pointing back to our Creator,” said California Baptist University astronomer Kyle Stewart.

The predictability of the eclipse is yet another example of the way God has perfectly ordered His universe. Eclipses occur on earth because the moon is both 400 times closer and 400 times smaller than the sun, said Jay Richards, an assistant research professor at The Catholic University of America. That ratio allows the moon to completely block the sun on rare occasions. That ratio also places Earth in the small portion of the solar system where complex life is possible. If the sun were farther or closer, Earth’s temperature would not be conducive to life, Richards said.

A moon positioned differently or of a different size would cause Earth “to wobble on its axis erratically and be very hostile to complex life,” he said. “Very rare places where observers can exist are also the best places overall for observing.”

Richards added that it “doesn’t make sense if you just think the universe is the result of blind processes.” He also noted that Earth is both “the one place [in the solar system] there are eclipses” and “the one place there are observers to enjoy eclipses.”

What a blessed thought. Our world is, as far as we know, the only planet in the universe with intelligent life, and ours is the only planet in the universe that is exposed to awesome visual events like solar eclipses. It makes you wonder if the Aug. 21 event was just another beautiful gift from God to the world He loves — a divine, cosmic show that mankind cannot control or ever hope to duplicate.

Schuyler Peterson
Senior Pastor
Southside Baptist Church, Spartanburg