I was recently in the Florida Keys doing some filming for an upcoming project. At the end of each day, we showered, grabbed a bite of food, and high-tailed it out to the shore to watch the sunset. It is just a thing I love to do when I am near the coast.
But I noticed something interesting.
We weren’t the only ones doing this. Each night, almost all the folks from our hotel would gather down by the dock or beach or balcony in order to watch the harbinger of the end of the day. They brought their beach chairs, iced drinks, and cameras, indicating that this event was planned and anxiously awaited.
I started to think about that. Everyone loves a good sunset. It is beautiful! Red, orange, yellow, and even purple colors the sky as if it has been painted. Cell phones come out, people take silhouette-shots of themselves or they wait for a sailboat to glide by as that big yellow ball meets the water.
Why do we act like that?
Well, first of all, think about what a sunset is. The sun isn’t actually setting in relation to where we are, rather, the Earth is spinning on its axis and is turning away from the sun. As we are viewing it at more of an angle, the light it is emitting begins to bend through a greater part of our atmosphere and reflect off dust particles in the air, off of clouds, and off of the water. That’s why sunsets are often more colorful than sunrises. At the end of the day, there is more dust in the air from wind movement (due to the sun heating up the air at daytime) and even from the activities of animals and people. There’s just more for light to bend and bounce off of.
So when people take time out of their day to walk outside and stare at the sky for a few minutes, think about what they are looking at. Is it simply light bending and bouncing around lots of gases and dust so we can see its different wavelengths?
Animals don’t take the time to watch it. Why do we?
I think that is because we are seeing MORE. We aren’t just looking at the physical parameters of light. Yes, there is some sciencey stuff going on, but we are marveling at its beauty. We have the ability to identify things that are beautiful, going beyond what kinds of light waves enter our eye.
We have the capacity to appreciate it.
Now, whenever I see “something more” than pure science, I have to believe that there is “some ONE more.” There is really no evolutionary advantage to admiring a gorgeous sunset. We are created to enjoy God’s glorious creation as it gives testimony to His greatness.
Many animals in the world aren’t able to see (think worms and snails), and of those that can, many cannot see color. But even IF they can see color, they don’t have the capacity to enjoy and appreciate it.
We have that “something more” because God desires to know us and have relationship with us. So science in itself is not enough. It is a means of helping us to better know our Creator. That’s why I love studying our world so much!
As I was watching the sunset last night and realizing these things, I wanted to start jumping around and telling everyone what I was thinking. WE ARE BEAUTIFULLY MADE TO ENJOY BEAUTIFUL THINGS! They are made as a testimony to God’s glory!
Hopefully, next time you see a sunset and start to gasp at the colors, I hope you will think about why you are in awe.