Over two thirds of the earth’s population lives in metropolitan areas. A vast majority of that population rarely sees the night sky without the heavy effects of light pollution. There is a parable of the heavens in this post, but let us start by introducing an observation sheet and a Uganda story first.
The simple observing sheet that is shown was developed only an hour after local sunset in the southern Utah in a northern section of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument at a small campground about a 100 yards from Route 12. We were sandwiched in a small valley between walls of cliffs. When I looked southwest, toward the opening in the lower valley, the sketch shows you what I saw.
The greyed area of sky on the right is a small section of our Milky Way Galaxy; it is marked on left by the stars of Sagittarius (it looks like a teacup that is being poured out). The star to the right (under the tree) is actually a planet. This section of sky is normally obscurred by light or pollutants in most places in the US at this time of day and year since it is very near the horizon. Within an hour of the observation I ventured out and looked straight up to see detail in our galaxy around the constellation Cygnus that I had not seen in years. The light from the stars and sections of the Milky Way was bright enough to nicely define the gravel road through the dark campground. Conditions were almost as good as rural Uganda, where I had seen the stars and our galaxy around midnight on a clear night in 2009. On that Ugandan night, the star light cast shadows under trees. When these types conditions prevail, the heavens are truly a remarkable sight and make scriptures, like Psalm 19:1-3 and 1 Corinthians 15:40-41, make perfect sense.
So before I proceed with the parable, consider reaching a dark area on a clear night sometime and see the night skies for yourself. In general terms, dark areas for observing equate to large distances (30-40 miles) from small towns and over a hundred miles from medium-sized cities. If you have this opportunity, remember that your eyes take more than 20 minutes to adapt to night conditions.
Now the parable…
The burden of the effects of sin in human behavior are immense. Consider the general atmosphere of violence, wrong doing, disease, and famine that affects every culture, nation, institution, and location. Contrary to the evolutionary mantra that says we are getting better, we are, indeed, a broken race on a terrestrial sphere that is often not very kind. We are in desparate need of a saviour. The biblical creation viewpoint, echoed in so many scriptures, is accurate: we go our own way and think it is right in our own eyes. And, the universe itself is subjected to a curse that is a consequence of sin. The result is a historical- and current events-confirmed mess. We are unable to make the situation better on our own.
The atmosphere of sin that darkens souls is like light pollution in cities that hides the heavens. To see the heavens requires getting away from light pollution. To see God means getting away from the sin that pollutes our souls. We can see the heavens by leaving light polluted areas. We can have light in our souls by asking God to save us from our sin-polluted souls. He is able to do it.
When His light and peace come to a soul, it is very much like seeing the heavens on a clear night in a truly dark area–away from light pollution. Going to a really dark place enables us to see the heavens clearly; star light becomes distinct. In a similar way, people that call upon the name of the Lord find that He removes the pollution from the center of their being and replaces it with the Light of Life, Jesus Christ, who brings His peace. The change, often called “being born again,” begins a transformation that affects lives–even in a world characterized by the consequences of sin.
John 3:19 This is the verdict, Light has come into the wrld, but men loved darkness instead of light, because their deeds were eveil…whoever lives by the truth comes into the light…
John 1:3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.