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Solar Eclipse: Random Happenstance or a Divine Sign?

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Many folks believe in only what they can see.  So since they can't see God from their observatories, they doubt He exists.   
But others watch an amazing phenomenon that occurs occasionally over earth — a total solar eclipse like we'll see August 21st — and doubt such a thing can happen just by accident.
Astronomer and minister, Hugh Ross, of the faith-based science group Reasons to Believe finds the fit of earth's little moon over the humongous sun too exact to be mere serendipity. He sees the designing hand of God.
Ross told CBN News, "The sun is 400 times farther away from us than the moon.  But the sun is 400 times bigger.   So that's why you get a perfect solar eclipse."
On the other side, though, is astronomer Dr. Bethany Cobb Kung of Washington D.C.'s George Washington University.   
"It's a big universe and there are a lot of coincidences.  I think it's just a random happenstance," she said of the eclipse phenomenon.
Still, both the believer and the doubter are in awe of the coming eclipse and what they'll see.  
"It's going to be a spectacular event," Ross stated.  "And we've got a group of about 140 people going with us to the desert of Oregon to view that eclipse."
Kung said, "It is a pretty astounding thing that everything lines up just right for us to have this experience."
Ross said of his group, "We're going to try to get our telescopes up on top of a hill where people will be able to watch the shadow of the sun race towards us at about 800 miles an hour."
The zone across America that will see the moon 100 percent block the sun is only about a hundred kilometers wide.  But no one should despair.
"If you're not in that path of totality, there's still going to be a partial solar eclipse throughout the entire U.S.," Kung explained.  "So here in Washington D.C. for example, the sun's going to be about 80 percent blocked."
Kung's planning to set up her telescope outside on the George Washington University campus, "And just grab anybody who happens to be walking by and say 'hey, you want to see a solar eclipse?' 
But she's warning everyone they MUST wear special eclipse glasses.
"You can literally burn your retina if you look at the sun without any protection," she stated.  "And it's so bright, you need to block 99.99 percent of the light in order to look at it safely."
Ross, meanwhile, ponders just how many examples of divine, precise fine-tuning he sees from the moon to the farthest reaches of the Milky Way.
Like the fact that the mass and placement of our moon and all planets, comets and asteroids of this solar system have to be exactly like they are.
"The entire solar system has been highly fine–tuned to make possible the existence of advanced life here," he said.
The California-based astronomer points out it's like that for the entire Milky Way.   Do he and his colleagues at Reasons to Believe think that could have happened just by accident?
"We actually calculate the probability that the 854 features that we list could be fine-tuned without the supernatural intervention of the Creator God of the Bible to make advanced life possible here on planet earth," Ross said.  "And that probability we calculate must be much less than one chance in 10 to the 1,050th power. "
That's a little hard to visualize. But it's roughly the equivalent of someone winning the big ol' California lottery 150 times in a row when they've only bought one ticket each time.  

Those odds make it a little harder to believe there's no fine-tuning designer behind this fine-tuned universe.

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About The Author


As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress. Strand began his tenure at CBN News in 1985 as an evening assignment editor in Washington, D.C. After a year, he worked with CBN Radio News for three years, returning to the television newsroom to accept a position as editor in 1990. After five years in Virginia Beach, Strand moved back to the nation's capital, where he has been a correspondent since 1995. Before joining CBN News, Strand served as the newspaper editor for