I saw the sun rising in the west Tuesday evening. That’s right; I saw the sun rising in the west. No, it’s not a play on words; I wasn’t out West and saw a sunrise. I saw the sun rise in the west Tuesday evening. Just after seven p.m., the last least slice of an intensely red sun barely showed at the edge of the horizon. Thirty minutes later, I saw the sun full and round, completely above the visual edge of the earth. I saw the sun rise in the west.
I was not drunk, I was not asleep and I was not in a trance. I was in an airplane.
So, no, in reality, it was not the sun that was rising; it was me. Along with a couple hundred other people who happened to be on a plane that happened to take off from Chicago at just the right time and headed in the right direction for such a wonderful little illusion. As we gained in altitude, it made it appear that the sun was rising. In fact, the earth continued its customary manner of revolution, time did not stand still or turn back, and the sun did not rise in the west.
And yet, it did.
Argue all you want; I saw the evidence for myself and it is irrefutable. There might even be other witnesses, if anyone else in a window seat on the right hand side of the plane happened to be looking out and paying attention. Okay, maybe there weren’t any other witnesses, but that’s their fault, not mine. It happened. I saw it.
“No,” you say, “the sun did not rise in the west. You’ve already said yourself that it was an illusion created by the plane gaining sufficient altitude above the earth so that the sun became visible once again. We all know that the sun does not rise in the west. It sets in the west; it does not rise.”
Well, if we’ve going to get all technical about it, the sun never sets in the west, either. The sun never rises, nor sets. It’s all about the illusions created by the rotation of the earth as it orbits the sun. The sun appears to rise in the east and it appears to set in the west.
Except for Tuesday evening, when I saw it rise in the west.
And I’m not about to let my explanation or yours ruin the wonder of what I saw. Knowing the explanation does not ruin the miracle of my nightfall sunrise anymore than the explanation of conception ruins the wonder of birth. I can accept the refractory effects of moisture in the atmosphere and still marvel at the sight of a double rainbow against the backdrop of storm clouds on the prairie.
And worship the God who has created both beauty and understanding.