It was about one o’clock on a cool Saturday afternoon of March 7, 1970. Several teammates and I were standing on the running track in front of Leon High School getting ready to do some extra weekend practice (believe it or not I did the shot-put). The sky was thickly overcast so we could not see the sun. Suddenly, as we were talking, something very strange began to occur. We noticed that the clouds were growing darker. In a few minutes the sky was black and all around it looked like the middle of the night. Even the street lights on East Tennessee Street started flickering on. We stood there amazed but not at all afraid. We knew what was happening because we had been told it was coming. In a few minutes the sky grew lighter again and finally we were back to daylight.
What was it? We were experiencing a total eclipse of the sun (99% in Tallahassee). Though we could not actually see the moon move in front of the sun because of the clouds, we were certainly seeing the dark shadow effect. (If you now live in Tallahassee but was not born yet, was too young to remember, or did not live there in 1970, read about the 1970 eclipse: https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/@7170883?iso=19700307)
That was the only time, in my more than 65 years of life, that I witnessed first-hand a solar eclipse- until now. On Monday, August 21st of this year, I will again have the privilege of experiencing another eclipse, this time in north Georgia where I now live. Needless to say everyone up here is excited about the once (or twice) in a lifetime heavenly event.
Big deal, you say, what good is a solar eclipse, anyway? All it does is cover the sun for a few minutes. Actually, a solar eclipse is another one of those “coincidences” of nature, as atheists like to call them, that provides something astronomers cannot observe very well at any other time. It just happens to be a fact that the Sun is exactly 400 times larger in diameter, and exactly 400 times as far away from the Earth, as is the Moon. It is that precise size-to-distance ratio that allows total solar eclipses to occur on Earth. If the sun was only a bit larger or the Moon smaller, or if the moon was only little farther away from earth, eclipses could not happen. As it is, the lunar disk fits exactly over the solar disk as seen from Earth.
But, and I think we can thank God for it, those two giant spheres are right where they need to be. Why do I thank God, because by placing them where they are at precisely the right size it allows scientists to study something that they would otherwise never see clearly, the solar corona. The online Free Dictionary defines the solar corona ( from Latin for “crown” or “wreath”) as: “The luminous irregular envelope of extremely hot and highly ionized gas located outside the chromosphere of the sun.” http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Solar+corona
In 2004, Discovery Institute scientists, Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Richards, wrote a fascinating book titled The Privileged Planet (Regnery Publishing). In that book, and in an ILLUSTRA MEDIA video of the same name, the two scientists point out how enormous are the chances that the Sun and Moon align so well for humans to be able to study the Sun. They explain how this phenomenon is just one of many such “coincidences” that allow us to observe planets, stars, and galaxies from Earth. As proponents of Intelligent Design theory they argue that this fact is no coincidence at all. It presents further evidence that the universe was designed by an Intelligent Mind who put them and us in exactly the right places in the solar system and the Milky Way Galaxy for life to exist and for humans to observe the millions of stars and galaxies in the universe.
As I said, it is another of hundreds of such “coincidences” that atheists and others with a naturalistic worldview cannot adequately explain. For those with a theistic and Christian worldview it is no problem at all. The Intelligent Designer is, of course, God.