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Pluto and Our Father of Lights

Images from space have continued to wow from various exploration probes and the new telescope. These new images come with new discoveries about God’s creation. One such discovery involves the planet Pluto. In 2006, the space probe New Horizons was launched with the primary mission of observing Pluto. It arrived in 2015 and sent back remarkable photos of Pluto and its moons. The largest moon is named Charon. It is only slightly smaller than Pluto and orbits very closely to the planet. Because of this, they are tidally locked heavenly bodies. Meaning, neither body rotates on an axis. They are locked sharing the same view of one another forever. Also, Charon doesn’t spin around Pluto. They both orbit around a point in space in an orbital trajectory around the Sun. It is the equivalent of two people facing across from another on a spinning merry-go-round, then that merry-go-round spinning around in a much larger circle. This means that the two are always looking at one another and never look away. Also, due to this orbital pattern and Pluto’s low gravity, materials from Pluto’s surface make their way to the surface of Charon. This locked gaze and material transfer reminded me of a passage in the book of James.

“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures” (Jas. 1:17-18).

What lessons can we glean from this passage? First, any truly good thing in our lives comes from God. That is true for everyone, saint or sinner. It is not because we deserve these things but because of His goodness (Matt. 5:44-45).

Second, God is our “Father of lights.” We are to be children of light. “You were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light” (Eph. 5:8). We have been called “out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9).

Third, the Father of lights doesn’t change. If a light source moves its position, then the shadows it casts also change. It is for this reason the passage in James mentions “no variation or shifting shadow.” What an immeasurable blessing to serve the God that doesn’t change on a whim (Mal. 3:6; Num. 23:19; Heb. 13:8)! His message is consistent. That means His grace, mercy, love and all His attributes never waver.

Lastly, He created us by His word. Mankind is the “first fruits” of His creation. Despite all the trouble and hurt we have caused Him, He still says we are the best thing He ever made. Looking into your child’s face, which father among us wouldn’t say the same thing?