Anchor Sunday School Class
by Bob Marsh
Summer has Arrived on Schedule
This morning’s Wall Street Journal has a fascinating and potentially bewildering article dealing with “the first day of summer, that annual summer solstice.” I find the first few lines absolutely amazing. Read them and see if “blows your mind?”
“The annual summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere marks the first day of summer—and longest day of the year—in that half of the world. It coincides with the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, which marks the start of winter and the shortest day of the year there. Though their exact dates vary by a day or two each year, solstices happen every June and December. They occur at the same time all over the world, though their effects contrast on opposite sides of the equator.”
The question that exploded from my struggling brain: HOW DO THEY KNOW THAT??? WHAT EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE SUSTAINS THE FACT THAT THE SOLSTICE IS AN ANNUAL OCCURRENCE? OK, I confess this is a rhetorical question, for the answer boils down to “it has been doing this for thousands of years so we BELIEVE it will occur again this year.” Let me give another reasonable answer: “We observe that in the universe there is design, there is order, there is a creation that seems to be predictable.” Point well given. However, there is no EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE that because the solstice occurred last year it will occur this year (I am aware that the term EMPIRICAL needs careful defining).
The philosophers and theologians debate with arguments such as COSMOLOGICAL AND TELEOLOGICAL, and brilliant minds through the centuries have pondered “CAN SOMETHING COME FROM NOTHING?” Although I am aware of such philosophical “cacophony” I would never state “I have the answer to all the esoteric questions.” What I would categorically state is we do not give away our brains in stating that CREATION IMPLIES A CREATOR, DESIGN ALLOWS ME TO POSTULATE A DESIGNER, AND LAWS OF NATURE POINT TO A LAW GIVER. No, as a professing believer in a personal Creator, Designer, Law Giver, I declare it is not intellectual suicide to embrace “IN THE BEGINNING GOD!” Of course it is imperative to wrestle with questions that come forth from such an astounding declaration, and that is the challenge that daily confronts the Christian thinker.
Let me share some of my thoughts which came from reading the article in the WSJ: The Solstice is integral to what theologians speak of as GENERAL REVELATION. The Psalmist were constantly pointing to the vastness of the universe as a manifestation of the GREATNESS OF THE CREATOR, as a part of God’s general revelation. For some, this vastness has led to cynicism, agnosticism, insisting that we are insignificant, swallowed up by the vastness, “sound and fury, signifying nothing.” One agnostic in a pitiful elegiac cry moaned “we cry aloud, and the only answer is the plaintive echo of our despairing voice. We are orphans in this vast corpse trench called the universe!” However, whatever else the SOLSTICE indicates, it certainly allows us to think of a POWER BEHIND CREATION, a power that reveals intelligence, design, and what appears to be immutable laws. These laws permit our scientists to put on their calendars “SOLSTICE COMES JUNE 21st.” Call it a “leap of faith,” or “walking by faith,” whatever, but as those who have made the decision to “confess with our mouths the Lord Jesus Christ, and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9 10),” we are convinced that: “He who created you, He who formed you says, fear not for I have redeemed you, I have summoned you BY NAME FOR YOU BELONG TO ME.” (Isaiah 43:1)
Simplistic? Naïve? The fact that the SOLSTICE has been on time for who- knows-how- long, at the least does not chide me for believing in a PERSONAL BEING WHO KNOWS MY NAME AND PROMISES THAT “NOTHING WILL SEPARATE US FROM HIS LOVE.” Summer has arrived on schedule. Wow!! Amazing!!