God: Author of Magnificent Variety

The divine placement of the heavens, the size of the moon, and the characteristics of the moon-earth-sun dance permits and observer to have radically different views of the heavens in one sitting. Light changes on the lunar surface from day to day create endless opportunities to see varied terrain. Eyes alone can see the variety in deep sky objects: from galaxies to open clusters to monstrous asterisms or patterns of stars. When optics are added, the variety that an observer can see in one night becomes limitless. So there is no night in which an observer cannot choose to ponder on the wonder of it all. Scripture after scripture speaks of the precision, intended placement, and visual variety of the heavens. Whether one looks at Genesis 1, Psalm 19, I Cor 15 or countless other references, it becomes apparent that we were intended to see the variety of things we see. Of course, they point to attributes of their Creator: His care, His power, and His incredible variety.

During a recent week when traveling, I had the opportunity to observe and study a moon scene and a popular galaxy. One is close; one is far. The moon has no light but reflects light; the galaxy is a caldron of stars within a ‘star city’ — full of light and complete with a nucleus, arms, and structure within the arms. One scene was studied from the rural hills and plains of the Central US; the other was studied when we were between belts of snow-capped mountains in Montana.  The effort to study and sketch anything in the heavens confronts the mind: challenging it to cope with the differences within each scene–the lights, the darks, the changes in density, the shadows, the shapes, and the list could go on. But the real value is standing back from observing sessions (like these two) to ponder the wonder of it all. In this case, the drama of the week during which the observations occurred was the differences and contrast between the lunar scene and the galaxy. Contrary to the popular theories that try to deal with heavenly origins from observable processes over billions of years, the moon and any galaxy hang in sky where placed and given motion or specific characteristics by Jesus Christ not many thousands of years ago. You may choose the believe some sort of self generated complexity over eons, radical changes in density and temperature of empty and limitless space to the core of a star, but the theories, usually touted as fact, are woefully inadequate and are incongruent with many known physical laws. In contrast, the scriptures a clear about the origin of the heavens. This makes observing all the more exciting, as one sees the deliberate finger of God in a language that is universal, because the heavens declare His glory to anyone, anywhere, and anytime. They comprise His signature that is displayed any clear night.

The first sketch shown below is a lunar region just west of center a little after the last first quarter. I remember the night well because the wind was cold and gusty against a crystalline sky.


The second sketch is a popular galaxy but I studied it with the help of astro video. It is bright, big, and filled the screen. It remember this night well also, because it was peaceful and quiet with the background smells of a campfire. We were in the plains, which are wonder by themselves. The night ended because I was getting tired but not because I had captured all the detail I wanted to record. The God of Variety is the recipient of that thanks–for both nights and a fresh appreciation for the stark contrast among things we can observe in the heavens.

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