The Solar Eclipse and the Death of Jesus

There could be no more profound religious moment, than to have been witness to than the three hours of darkness that fell upon Golgotha and the Middle East at the time of Jesus’ death. As awesome as “the star” that existed for two years to guide the Wise Men to the home of the Christ Child… is the Solar Eclipse that defies scientific explanation. Let’s take a serious look at why this eclipse is believed by the faithful and rejected by science.

Jesus’ Crucifixion is described in all four Gospels and has time and again been proven to have been a historical event. The Books of Matthew and Luke reference the three hours of darkness specifically (Matt. 27:45, Luke 23:44).

The problem scientist have with this, is basically that there is no “total” solar eclipse that could possibly last three hours, thereby blocking out the sun. The most that a total solar eclipse could last is 7 minutes and 31 seconds, no longer. Now also take into consideration that this happens less than 10 times in any 1,000 year period of time. A total solar eclipse thrusts the region it is affecting into what would seem like a moonlit night. Birds would have flown home to roost, some flowers would begin to close, much of nature would respond in its usual fashion as if night were falling. It is the fundamental belief of scientists that the universe is rational and ALWAYS follows certain natural laws and these laws of nature NEVER change.

On the other hand, in the Vatican Codex, the oldest copy of the Greek Bible in existence, the Book of Luke actually speaks of a solar eclipse. This is backed up by a Greek historian named Phlegon, a first century historian who recorded a solar eclipse at precisely the time of Christ’s death. Phlegon wrote a history entitled The Olympiads, in which he records during the rule of Tiberius Caesar a three hour eclipse of the sun. Origen mentions Phlegon in his work “Against Celsus’ Book 2: “The darkening of the sun took place at the time of Tiberius Caesar, in whose reign Jesus was crucified, and the great earthquakes which then took place, Phlegon, I believe, has written an account in the thirteenth or fourteenth book of his Chronicles.”

So, back to science. There are among scientists numerous nit-pickings and tedious evaluations of the actual dating of the Crucifixion, the existence of a full moon or not, and general disagreeing on the precise flow of events. And the same could be said about theologians, with one exception; scientist will not acknowledge a supernatural event, whereas theologians will! Scientist view the whole event in the rational sense that God, however one perceives him to be, is not a whimsical God, but a God that set the natural laws and they are never violated. They are absolutely right…God has given all creation, that which we know and don’t know that exists in this natural universe we live in, its order, place, dignity, stability and direction. BUT, somehow, acknowledging the “supernatural” possibilities (also a BIG feature and capability of the Creator) falls outside of the rational and deserves no consideration.

It all comes down to the categorical acceptance of God’s divine capabilities to exercise a “supernatural” moment in time: to the faithful no explanation is necessary and to the scientists, no explanation will ever suffice.

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