Apologetics, End times, Main, z43
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Does the Bible predict a solar ‘superflare’?


Ship sailing into the sunset. Photo: Ozgur Mulazimoglu/Flickr/Creative Commons

Ship sailing into the sunset. Photo: Ozgur Mulazimoglu/Flickr/Creative Commons

Our sun experiences massive explosions on its surface on a regular basis. Up to know it was thought our sun could only produce minor eruptions compared to the superflares other suns are capable of producing.

Superflares occur when a large magnetic field on a sun’s surface collapses resulting in a massive release of energetic energy and plasma.

Astronomers were able to study superflares after NASA launched a space observatory, called the Kepler Mission, in 2009. It had on board a massive telescope intended to look for other planets in our Milky Way that could hold life.

Though it failed miserably on that front, astronomers saw other suns giving off massive solar flares, 10 to 100 times larger than what our sun typically throws off.

After analyzing this data, researchers with Denmark’s Aarhus University concluded that though our sun does not routinely give off superflares, it is capable of doing so.

Compared to most suns studied, ours has a weaker magnetic field. But they noticed that suns with the same-sized and even weaker magnetic fields as earth’s were occasionally giving off superflares.

The researchers concluded that though the risk of our sun giving off a superflare is low, it is not impossible. They said there is even evidence our sun may have given off a smaller-sized superflare in 775 AD and again in 993 AD.

They described the possibility of a superflare as “very frightening” because of its devastating impact on earth.

It would not only disrupt any satellites circling the earth, but could wipe out our electrical and communications systems on earth that we have become so dependent on.

A smaller solar explosion that took place in 1856 actually disrupted telegraph systems in existence at the time and a study of Greenland ice core samples suggested that part of the earth’s ozone layer was also destroyed allowing a large amount of radioactive isotopes to hit the earth.

If a superflare was large enough, it could also potentially destroy our atmosphere ending life on earth.

So has the Bible predicted such a superflare? Maybe.

One of the characteristics of the solar flares is heat waves. Though most of the heat associated with supeflares and the coronal mass ejections that come with them is reflected back by the earth’s upper atmosphere, not all of it is.

NASA noted a heat wave that hit the eastern and central United States between March 13-19, 2012, took place shortly after several small solar eruptions exploded on our sun between March 8-10.

Temperature records were set at 1,054 locations ranging from Chicago, Illinois to Myrtle Beach Florida. In Chicago every day between March 14-18 was above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Typically only one day in April will hit the 80s.

What would these temperatures have been if the explosions had taken place in the middle of summer?

In a report produced in 2003, Physicists Bruce West and Nicholas Scafetta said short-term spikes in the earth’s temperature are linked to solar flares stating “any significant changes in solar activity should result in equivalent changes in earth’s global temperature.”

So what does the Bible have to say?

In his vision of the end-times recorded in the Book of Revelation, the Apostle John said:

The fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun, and it was given to it to scorch men with fire. Men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent so as to give Him glory. (Revelation 16: 8,9 NASV)

The verse gives no indication of how long this heat blast would last only that it would occur. Though I had previously wondered if this referred to the global warming the earth recently went through, it did not produce a scorching heat where people “blasphemed God.”

My issue with global warming is not that it occurred, but whether it was created by humans and there is now evidence suggesting this period of warming is over.

Perhaps this verse in Revelation hints that the earth’s sun will give off a superflare beyond anything we have experienced so far and with potentially devastating consequences. It is clear from this verse, the source of this heat will be the sun and it is equally clear that God will cause it.

Sources:

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