Totality: God’s Scientific Signature On Life

eclipse1I jaunted down to Idaho on Monday in a bid to catch the solar eclipse in totality.

Had to take a day off work to do it. 900 miles of driving in 28 hours. The same weekend as a 35-mile hike. I was too exhausted to stay awake on the drive back to town after the event (my aunt drove back), and I got a bit sick at work the following day.

Worth it.

Words suck to describe a total solar eclipse. The awe, the indescribable wrongness of a giant hole-like thing staring down like a glaring eye – it’s bizarre. Chilling. Powerful. The shadow rushed towards and over us from the western horizon. Everything got cold. The corona hung frozen around the moon’s edges like white fishnets (or Bernie Sanders’ hair). It looked – well, three-dimensional. Like real objects blow you away after you’ve only viewed the 2-D pictures.

But the most awe-inspiring part was the scientific articles I read beforehand.

It’s mind-blowing that the moon (which drifts infinitesimally further from Earth with each orbit) is at the right distance from Earth to create solar eclipses at the exact time in history when there are intelligent witnesses on Earth to see it. Mind-blowing, that is, unless you’re a Christian. Then you see the purpose – God putting on a light show for his creations.

But the science of the whole thing added more for me.

I’ve known for a while about planetary habitability – the byzantine list of conditions required for a planet to support life (as we know it). The known list grows longer every year. Our tiny blue dot is really one in a trillion, in turn supporting the idea that life didn’t happen here by accident.

The most well-known of these conditions is that a planet must inhabit its star’s “Goldilocks Zone” – the band around the star whether it’s neither close enough to boil life nor far enough to freeze it. Just right. “93 million miles between Earth and sun” isn’t just a handy fact for passing a 7th grade science test. It’s a target that Earth needed to hit to be habitable, and it hit with the precision of Robin Hood.

Another condition is the size and distance of our moon. The moon plays a role in tides and plate tectonics, both of which play vital roles in habitability. Without a moon the size and distance of ours, life would again be challenged.

But for some reason, all this never came together for me until now.

The fact that the apparent sizes of the two celestial bodies match up so well, allowing total solar eclipses, also reflects their unique roles in sustaining life on Earth. If either entity were a different apparent size, not only would total eclipses incidentally be impossible (they don’t happen anywhere else in the solar system), but it would betray that said entity was not in position to support Earthly life.

The solar eclipse is a signature of God’s fine-tuning.

Chew on that one.

And yes, I’ll be driving even further to catch the 2024 show.

13 thoughts on “Totality: God’s Scientific Signature On Life

  1. Brandon, I was riding through it. I had a dentist appointment on that day. When I came out of the dentist’s office, the driver pointed out the shadows that were beginning to show on the trees. The shadows got longer and longer. Cars had to turn on their headlights. Porch lights came on, and park lights came on too. We rode through the darkness. Eventually the moon moved from the right to the left slowly letting the sun shine once again. It was like someone was raising the window shade letting the light in a room. I’ll never forget it.

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  2. I got to see the show with family. Where we were, we did not experience everything you saw–the rushing shadow, the total darkness. We did see the corona of the sun for about a minute, but even then the darkness was more like dusk than midnight. Yes, I’m looking forward to the next one. J.

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  3. Amen!
    Psalm 19:1
    The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

    I took off work also, and drove 450 miles. It was so much more amazing than I imagined it to be. I watched videos and such and thought I was prepared for what I would see. No. I have decided it is simply one of those things you cannot simply take a photo of and show all the beauty or the awe of something that God has created.
    I like how you described the appearance of an eye look. I had thought the same. The moon in the middle as you stare up into the sky was so strange.

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      • No regrets from me either. It was awesome and the diamond! I thought it was like God giving us a glimpse of His amazing glory. Reminds me of when Moses asked God to show him His glory and God told him no one can see it and live. (Reminded me of that because how many times did we hear…don’t look at the sun, wait for totality or you will hurt your eyes or blind them)…then, God has Moses get in the cleft of the rock next to Him and covered him as His glory went past and then Moses could see the back of it!
        I loved that thought. God loves us and wants none to parish but all to realize by every thing that He is and He alone is God!

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