Of course, what this all meant was simply that these immemorially ancient and vast objects (sun and moon), though as different in size as a single BB and a super gigantic beach ball – one that was over six feet in diameter – would from our perspective here on Earth seem almost precisely the same size. So if they ever just happened to align in the sky, they would match up perfectly. Not almost perfectly. But perfectly, and bizarrely so.
What might be the odds of this just happening randomly? Almost all the planets in our solar system have no moons or many moons (Jupiter has 60) of incredibly varying sizes. So this sort of thing doesn’t happen anywhere else in our solar system. But our planet has just one moon that happens to be just the right size and just the right distance from Earth.
I found the precision necessary for all of this unbelievable. The more I thought about it, the more I knew that there was no way this could be a mere coincidence. It seemed almost planned. In fact, it seemed utterly planned, as all things of such precision must be.
To bring this closer to home, imagine holding a BB twelve inches from our face and then asking a friend to carry the six-foot diameter beach ball as far down the beach as necessary – until it appeared precisely the same size from our perspective as the tiny BB. Keep in mind our beach ball is six-feet in diameter while a normal large beach ball is less than two feet in diameter. Our friend would have to hike 400 feet before the giant beach ball and the tiny BB matched up in size. That’s about the distance from home plate to the centerfield fence in most major league baseball stadiums.
So can the sun’s and moon’s diameters – and distances from Earth – be merely coincidentally matched up this perfectly? Everything about it makes that seem ridiculous. But of course you can decide for yourself.
Three thousand years ago a man in Israel wrote: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” That man didn’t have a telescope or a Brittanica, but he saw something many of us today still do not see. He saw a God behind it all. It may be true that seeing a Grand Designer behind these breath-taking events requires what we call a leap of faith; but it may also be true that seeing mere coincidence behind them requires an even greater leap of faith. In my mind, much greater. But…you may be the judge.
Thanks you, Eric Metaxas http://ericmetaxas.com/
Old Grandpa Lloyd
A two-parter on God’s other book:
Are solar eclipses proof of God? By Eric Metaxas
Published August 20, 2017 Fox News
On Monday something will happen in the U.S. that should startle or at least perplex anyone who gives it any thought. I am referring to the full solar eclipse you may already be anticipating. To be clear, thinking about what is about to happen has little to do with the sheer visceral experience of being amazed by it, as we must be. Before thinking about it, we should perhaps first simply goggle at it, at the monumental majesty of these monstrously large heavenly orbs, both of which we typically take mostly for granted.
Is it not remarkable that these ever-present objects – though separated by nearly one hundred million miles – should once in a very great while perform this curiously perfect dance? But to what end?
So this sort of thing doesn’t happen anywhere else in our solar system. But our planet has just one moon that happens to be just the right size and just the right distance from Earth.
But what might make us start to think a bit about this event is that this celestial pas de deux is being performed only for us. Anywhere but here on this planet on Monday, the view of these two objects is nothing special. It is only what we see from our terrestrial vantage point that is special. It’s almost as though what we will marvel at was artfully arranged specifically for our benefit. Which brings us to the curious and startling part of the story.
About fifteen years ago an odd idea popped into my head. Google was just a gurgling infant. But I happened to have a sturdy Brittanica nearby and I pulled out a dusty volume and quickly discovered the diameter of the sun. It is precisely 864,576 miles. The diameter of the moon was listed at 2,159 miles. I then looked up the distance from Earth to the sun, which varies slightly, but is generally given as 93 million miles. And then I found the distance from Earth to the moon. That varies slightly too, so the average is given as 239,000 miles.
Armed with these four figures, I did some simple math. I divided the sun’s diameter (864,576) by the moon’s (2,159) and got 400.452. If my strange hunch was correct, dividing the distance from the Earth to the sun (93,000,000) by the distance from the Earth to the moon (239,000) should give me something similar. It certainly did. My calculations yielded 389.121. And there it was. I stared at the numbers, amazed. Was the correlation in these ratios mere coincidence?
To be continued.
Old Grandpa Lloyd
Every now and then I take a lick about my theology. I love Jesus, my church, and the Scriptures. But a literal, inerrant Bible?
How about two-million souls wandering the barren Sinai desert with herds and flocks for 40 years. Or the Noah’s hand-made Ark sustaining a million pair of critters large and small, afloat for ten months. Maybe the Bible is more complex than we think.
The Bible blends 66 ancient manuscripts written over 1600 years on cumbersome leather scrolls. Who recorded Israel’s story from Abraham to Moses? Not Moses. The account records his death. And who gathered 150 poems and songs from hundreds of years to give us our blessed Psalms?
No individual owned a Bible in ancient times; all teaching was oral. The single-volume Bible had to wait 1400 years for Johannes Guttenberg’s printing press. A fascinating, tangled history precedes today’s Bible, with many fingers in the pie; some unsanitary.
You can’t do theology apart from history. Do you imagine Isaiah or Malachi ever imagined their writings would one day be bunched together with others in a single book?
From the first to the last, writers of the Bible pointed toward a coming Redeemer. He came in the fullness of time, God’s Living Word. He claimed all authority, so following Jesus, I can’t go wrong.
When the Bible-versus-science argument thunders around me, I think of poor Copernicus and Galileo. How sure literalists were back then! Raise your hands, all you who believe the sun revolves around Planet Earth.
My creed is simple: Mystery, Sovereign Grace, Incarnation. I’m fully content.
Old Grandpa Lloyd
Back in the 60s, I was elected the first—and only—director of men and boys work for our Baptist General Conference. Christian Service Brigade had been adopted as our boys’ program. I worked up a four-point men’s program remarkably like the plan Promise Keepers would put together years later.
A key plank in my men’s work platform was the home, including father/son relationships. Scouting taught me the spiritual values and man-boy bonding inherent in outdoor treks. I created a program called the Wilderness Way to teach leadership basics and give boys a genuine wilderness experience.
The Wilderness Way stirred up a hornet’s nest. Critics declared camping belonged to the Christian Education department. Bible camp is for teaching the Bible. How can you do that paddling or backpacking all day? Attempts to explain my wilderness philosophy or Bible discovery plan did no good. Since trail camping was a long tradition in boys work, I licked my wounds and plowed ahead.
Last Sunday healed those wounds from long ago. Son Keith, who was visiting, drove Norma and me to Chisholm for homecoming Sunday at the Baptist Church, where Keith had been pastor 30 years before. The Baptist sacrament (potluck) followed morning worship. Norma and I found a table. While Keith roamed, Norma chatted happily across the table with Carolyn McClellan, a new friend. Old timers I knew from long associations in the area stopped by to shake hands.
One not-so-old man made my day. He thanked me warmly. He had been on a canoe trip I led when he was a kid, his first taste of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. He and friends had returned year after year.
Take that, you critics.
Old Grandpa Lloyd
Whoa! My recent Hole News comment on wondering if anyone reads my my stuff was mostly whimsey, not fishing. But thanks to a bunch who responded, some from way back. I tell people I’m really famous, but nobody knows.
I write with Longfellow’s Archer philosophy: I shot an arrow into the air, and where it landed—I don’t care.(I live that way too). I grab a blog idea and take off, seldom knowing where I’ll wind up. I’ve had great adventures writing fiction, following my characters.
I don’t wake up each morning praying God will guide me. Guidance is built into the Jesus-following process. I put my feet on the floor, grab my walker Matilda, and start waltzing. Que Sera Sera.
You say that’s not spiritual? I know. But it works.
Thanks to everyone who reads me. Special thanks to those who now and then respond. I love you all. When you creep up on 94, you’re not shy about expressing love.
Old Grandpa Lloyd