God’s Nature in the Mundane
By: Jim Virkler
Mundane is a word with an interesting and varied meaning. Usually it connotes earthly, everyday, or commonplace as opposed to spiritual or heavenly. Sometimes it carries the meaning “not interesting.” Many, perhaps most, physical events surrounding us may be described as mundane. It is incumbent on us to see God’s work in the usual, unusual, and even the less common extraordinary in our mundane experience.
Since our blog has a goal of being inspirational while focusing on science and its relation to faith, bear with us as we chronicle events which may be described as both common and uncommon. We have selected several mundane astronomical events to highlight. There is danger in losing sight of the wonder provided by mundane events.
Astronomy provides a glimpse of divine order and coherence. Celestial events visible from Earth can be foretold centuries in advance to the accuracy of seconds. In like manner, astronomers pinpoint precise times of past events to the accuracy of seconds. This is possible because motions such as planetary revolution and rotation are known with incredible precision. Slight changes in Earth’s orbit over long time frames are also known with virtually complete accuracy.
Annual repeating cycles of change in sunrise and sunset times as well as seasonal beginnings and endings resulting in progressive gradual changes in temperature may be perceived as mundane changes. Even the daily changes from day to night may be considered ordinary unless we permit ourselves to be fascinated by the onset and retreat of light as the sun apparently revolves around us 360º due to the real 360º rotation of our planet. Nothing is more mundane than the approach of the daily bath of sunlight spreading over the planet and receding into darkness each evening.
As we write in late August, daylight length at our latitude has decreased almost two hours. Before the shortest Northern Hemisphere day arrives in December, daylight will decrease by an additional four hours. In our lifetimes we experience many predictable cyclical changes in lengths of light and darkness. Seasonal changes are related to these interesting transitions. Life sustaining agriculture interlocks with repeating cyclical events. Humanity is gifted with ability to adapt to changes at many levels of experience.
Science enthusiasts may be more interested in basic mundane science facts such as the astronomical details we described above. The mundane may point to the miraculous depending on how we define our terms. God’s glory is manifest in mundane events. There is no paucity of usual, unusual, and occasionally extraordinary events. Ours is the special world God created particularly for us. Divine blessings are evident at each event level. Apart from the plan of redemption the counsel of Scripture deals primarily with mundane events and how we most prudently cope with them. Truly transcendent miracles rarely occur.
“This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). This verse, along with Acts 17:28, “For in him we live and move and have our being” highlights goals for our devotional view of mundane events.
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Jim Virkler, a retired New Jersey public school science educator, now devotes his time investigating the harmony of scientific discoveries and Christian faith. He and his wife, Eleanor, now reside in the mid-west near their children and grandchildren.