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Representations of God's glory

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"The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words;
Their voice is not heard." Psalm 19:1-3

Beyond the symbolism ascribed to the heavenly bodies in Scripture, the sun, moon and stars actually function as characters in several passages. They are personified as representations of God's glory (Ps. 19:1-6), and they are even portrayed as entities which offer praise to God (Ps. 148:3).

In Judges 5:20, we find a wonderful example of this personification. Deborah, the judge of Israel, offered a song of thanks and praise to God after winning a victory over an enemy nation and the commander of the Canaanite army, Sisera. She then sings, "From heaven the stars fought, from their courses they fought against Sisera." The implication here is that this victory was not only ordained by God, but that the force of His will, distilled into the agents of space and time, actually accomplished it. This occurrence also echoes the instance when Joshua fought the Amorites, and the sun and moon stood still in the sky, thereby aiding Israel's victory (Joshua 10:12-14).

The heavenly bodies reflect God's will and reveal characteristics of God to humanity. In the same way that poetry is capable of giving greater depth and multiple shades of meaning to a thought or idea, the sun, moon and stars, as well as other components of creation, transform the knowledge of God that we have been given through the Word into living color. Celestial bodies in their light and in their courses are the poetry of the skies. They reflect God's majesty and beauty, and they are perfectly obedient to His will.

While the sun, moon and stars provide glimpses to our imaginations of what glorious, unmarred creation may look like, we ourselves stand in contrast to this perfection. In this life, we are divided from it as we are divided from the stars. A famous line from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar captures this concept. The character, Cassius, asserts, "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves." Yet even so we are given the indescribable gift of joining in with the heavenly realms in glorifying and praising God.

Space, with all of its mystery and magnitude, is an appropriate stage on which the drama of God's glorification plays out. The Old Testament poets recognized the glory of God in the heavens, and today we can see that just as God the Son displays the reflected Glory of God the Father, so the moon reflects the glory of the sun and shows all of humanity a visual representation of the glory that exists in and between the Persons of the trinity. We have these incredible characters to teach us about God's character, His will, and all the praise that is to be rendered to Him.

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