The Archimedes Sun Death Ray
Was it an 'urban legend'? Or did Archimedes really build a death ray using the sun? The legend goes that Archimedes constructed a series of mirrors, that when pointed at an oncoming warship in unison under the Mediterranean sun, would ignite the ship into a fire that would subsequently sink it. And it would not take long to do, either. Above is a fresco at the Uffizzi Gallery in Florence depicting Archimedes' Death Ray at work.
The class of 2009 at MIT wrote up a super witty essay of their experimental efforts, complete with lots of photos, here- The Archimedes Result
The experiment worked! Here is one shot of the fake ship they constructed, burning up!
We know that God created the sun. He did that in Genesis 1:16. But have you ever wondered why God put the sun on His creation schedule on Day 4 and that He said "Let there be Light" first thing on day 1? (Genesis 1:3). He IS the Light! He doesn't need a secondary entity to illuminate His universe. His Light is first, strongest, brightest, and eventually will be the only Light filling the entire Universe. (Revelation 22:5).
It's impressive that Archimedes used the sun's light and power to shine a ray that could ignite a warship in under ten minutes. That is one strong light. But... how bright is God's light? I am mindful of the verse in Matthew 24:27,
For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
Or Luke 17:24--
For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other.
To compare, how bright is lightning? The average lightning strike peaks at 1 terawatt which is equal to one trillion (1012) watts. 10 to the 12th power means 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10. That's bright!
The metaphor for Jesus' return being as lightning evokes both the suddenness and visibility of it, and also the brightness. IMAGINE! His glory at more than full trillion wattage! No, it's unimaginable.
If we as Christians reflect (or emit) one tiny fraction of all that glory He has given us no wonder the Apostles turned the world upside down! If mere mirrors reflecting the sun can burn a ship within 10 minutes, imagine the light of a God so big He exceeds the universe's brightness of all its lightnings and suns! God's glory-light is so much brighter than the sun, than lighting, than the sun and lightning combined! Our future dwelling place will be where there is no night, where the glory of the light of Jesus Christ illuminates every iota of every atom everywhere. That's bright. And He is our Savior and friend. What a Savior He is, in Him there is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)
O Splendor of God's Glory Bright
1 O splendor of God’s glory bright,
from light eternal bringing light;
O Light of light, the fountain spring,
O Day, all days illumining.
2 Come, very Sun of heaven's love,
in lasting radiance from above,
and pour the Holy Spirit's ray
on all we think or do today.