On Faith: What really was behind the ecilpse?
Yes, I am well aware that just about everyone is sick of talking about the solar eclipse we witnessed recently, but I am going to talk about it anyway. It is a pretty interesting and somewhat rare phenomenon, so it generates a lot of interest. It was such a big deal that the State of Wyoming, which normally has about 585,000 residents, nearly doubled that when visitors flocked to areas of the state experiencing the totality. A bunch of visitors have even stuck around to visit Yellowstone while they are at it, and some Wyoming natives are even secretly hoping the intruders become bison and grizzly bear bait. But, even for their rarity, eclipses have been spoken about many times during world history, particularly in the Bible.
Some would argue that science alone lies behind all of this, and that there are no direct Biblical connections. Sure, moon must pass in between the Earth and Sun and just the right time in order for it to happen (and that is science), but how did they get there in the first place? There are several scriptural passages that mention eclipses of one shape or another; among them are Exodus 10:21-22 “And the Lord said unto Moses, stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days.” (KJV), and in Matthew 24:29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.” (KJV). God seems to love to use imagery and signs to let us know of the gravity of situations, and maybe even to show that big changes are imminent.
Perhaps the greatest and most well-recognized use imagery to convey such gravity, though, comes during Jesus’ crucifixion. In Mark 15:33 we read, “And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour” (KJV). This was a very significant event, and blocking out the brightness of the sun was a sure way to get people’s attention.
While we did not experience a lot of darkness during the eclipse here in Craig, there was a palpable feel to the darkness that did fall. Did you feel it? I did, and it is hard to explain. It was an eerie, but calming feeling, one that reminded me that God is always present. The eclipse was a sign from Him; of what, though, we may not immediately know. It is, however, a sign of His greatness and power and His love for all of us. It was something of a gentle tap on the shoulder from Jesus that said, “Hey, my Dad did this. Pay attention.” I believe.
Gerard Geisis a pastor at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.