Once a month we have the privilege of witnessing a full moon. But one day of the year (this year it was May 6th) – the moon becomes a “supermoon”, the largest full moon of the year. The moon approached within 222,000 miles of the Earth in what is scientfically known as a perigee-syzgy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system.
- Perigee = closest point of an elliptical orbit
- Syzygy = straight line made of three bodies in a gravitational system.
(Yes, I googled that. No, I don’t want the jock bloggers to give me a whirly in the world wide web toilet bowl after class.)
I gaze at the moon often. I marvel at it’s size. Many a night I stop what I’m doing, walk outside and look at it next to its countless neighbors. As I ponder the giant reflector, I think of how it came to be – spoken into existence by its Creator,
“Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness.” (Genesis 1:14-18)
Some interesting truths emerge:
- This is the second time in the first four days of creation that God created light. It would appear that God is concerned this His creation is not in the dark, by day or by night. (Interestingly, His Son would one day arrive to this spiritually dark planet and declare Himself the “Light of the world”.)
- Everything man has ever made, we created from existing material. By contrast, God made “creatio ex nihilo” or “creation out of nothing.” NO ONE else can do that. That is just one of the many things that separates a true Creator from His creation.
- From God’s divine imagination, He not only created day & night, light and darkness but also instantly produced the framework of seasons and the boundary of time.
- “And it was so.” There was no discussion. There was no hesitation. There was no committee in Vatican City to decide if the idea would have enough votes to pass. God thought it, spoke it and it was so. Impressive execution.
- “He also made the stars.” This is one of my favorite verses in all of Scripture. God had just created the sun and the moon and the intense light that is emmitted (or reflected). Immediately after this, we learn that “He also made the stars.” As if God was adding a side dish to His culinary creation… “Oh yeah, by the way – I’m not sure if you noticed or not – but I also made the stars.” Today, several thousands of years after the creation account was recorded, we have a tiny idea on just how many stars He made:
As of April 2006, we have discovered 9 stars (like the sun) in our galaxy (the Milky Way) and 185 orbiting other stars. Beyond that, we know there are about 400 billion stars in our galaxy alone. If each of them have the same number of planets (on average) as our own sun, then that’s about 4 trillion planets in our own galaxy alone. Multiply that by an estimated 125 billion galaxies in the universe and you can see just how impressive that sentence is: “He made the stars also.” Wow!
- As if the sheer volume of stars is not impressive enough, God’s personal nature is revealed in Psalm 147:4 where it says that “He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them”.
Though the sun is essential and the stars are impressive, the moon is an absolutely brilliant idea. I mean, how can He create an environment on the planet conducive to sleep (an essential need for us) and yet at the same time, allow us (and the rest of creation) the ability to safely work/eat/move around at night, when needed? The moon is the perfect solution. The giant nightlight provides the light we need, while maintaining the necessary degree of darkness without the presence of heat. Absolutely brilliant.
Besides the light factor, it is also critical for 3 other reasons:
- Most importantly, it keeps the earth from noticeably wobbling. Because the earth is tilted at 23 1/2 degrees, it would be very unstable unless the moon helped balance its axis of rotation.
- The moon creates tides that help many animals during their breeding cycles.
- The moon’s light at night allows animals to see so they can hunt for food and stay away from danger.
At the end of each day of creation, God sat back and looked over His work. At the end of each day, He made the same observation, “And God saw that it was good.”
I’m glad He does good work. It would be hard to write this blog (or do anything else) on a wobbly earth.