What the solar eclipse of 2017 taught us all

With awed wonderment, millions of faces were turned skyward on Aug. 21 to observe the awe-inspiring first total solar eclipse since 1918. If you lived in the narrow swath of the sun’s 60-mile-wide arc of trajectory from Lincoln, Ore., to Charleston, S.C., from 1:15 to 2:48 p.m. EDT, you experienced 120 seconds of darkness over the land.

When the eclipse was occurring, my mind turned to Hebrews 1:1-3: “God … has spoken to us in His Son … through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory … and upholds all things by the word of His power.”

Who created that stupendous, splendid sun and that magnificent moon and intersected their orbits to create a rare total eclipse? According to Hebrews 1:2, the Son did—“through whom [God] made the world.”

Before sun, moon, stars or planets ever existed, the Son was eternally one with the Father. The Son is distinct from creation itself and exists apart from it. He is not dependent upon it, but it is dependent on Him. When God stepped out from behind the curtain of nowhere onto the platform of nothingness and spoke a universe into existence, the Son was His agent of creation. The Son is not only God’s agent in creation, He is the basis of the independent existence of all created reality—including you and me! From the Son we learn the final purpose of creation—creation is the preamble to salvation!

How could our tiny, little ol’ moon eclipse the titanic hulk of the sun? It seems impossible! The sun’s diameter is 400 times wider than the moon and is so huge that 64 million moons could fit inside it! But the sun is also 400 times farther away. The result: the sun and the moon appear to be the same size from our perspective, and when they line up just right, the moon obscures the sun’s entire surface. Presto! A total solar eclipse.

But the Son cannot be eclipsed! He radiates the brightness of God’s glory according to Hebrews 1:3. “Glory” could be described as the manifestation of God’s divine attributes—divine nature in either its invisibility or its perceptible manifestation. Glory is the divine “mode of being.” Glory is as essential to the Son as light is to the sun. You don’t make the sun light; it is light!

The pre-incarnate Son shared in the divine glory because He is “God of very God,” as Nicaea put it. The incarnate Son reveals the divine glory because He is the embodied revelation of God’s essential glory. The Son does not reveal something other than Himself, nor does He reveal something other than God the Father. As one of the Sons of Thunder put it in John 1:14: “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father.” Think of it! This Son is the unique God-man; the only one who has a heavenly Father but no heavenly mother; who has an earthly mother but no earthly father; who is older than His mother and who is as old as His Father!

Get out your telescope. Train it on the night sky. Astrophysicists estimate the size of the universe to be 93 million light years across, or 28.5 gigaparsecs if you prefer. It is home to more than 170 billion galaxies. Our tiny little Milky Way galaxy, being just 100,000 light years in breadth (remember, light travels at the speed of 186,000 miles per second), is home to only 100 billion stars, including the low-rent solar system containing planet Earth. Compared to the Milky Way, our solar system proportionally would be the size of a quarter relative to the North American continent. If you could proportionally reduce our solar system to the size of a football field, the sun would be on the 50-yard line; Earth would be 93 million miles away … on the 46-yard line. Pluto would be on the goal line.

Who sustains this macrocosm called a universe? Who keeps galaxies rotating and solar systems careening at break-neck speeds yet with flawless accuracy? Hebrews 1:3 says there is one Cosmic Cop, whose badge is deity and whose whistle is omnipotence. He directs galactic traffic … because He is the Son who “upholds all things by the word of His power”!

When the moon eclipsed the sun on Aug. 21 for an hour and 43 minutes, most never knew it, but the Cosmic Cop was directing the traffic. Oh yes, by the way, He has a name. His name is Jesus, and He is God’s final revelation to us, who has made “purification of sins” according to Hebrews 1:3. The total eclipse we all experienced last week was a reminder of the unbelievable magnificence and power of the universe. But though the universe declares the glory of God, it can never tell you of God’s love for us. To us, the universe, along with our little lives in it, are all one great undecipherable hieroglyph until we discover God’s Rosetta Stone—Jesus! Amazing as it seems, the Son cares about every life on this third rock from the sun.

Because the Son came to earth, lived a sinless life, and died a substitutionary death for us all, there is an answer to your question, a solution to your problem, hope for your future, forgiveness for your sins, and salvation for your soul. Here is the Son, whose glory and whose love for you can never be eclipsed!