Fish Eaters: The Whys and Hows of Traditional Catholicism

"Praise ye Him, O sun and moon: praise Him, all ye stars and light''

The Pillars of Creation

In the constellation Serpens is the Eagle Nebula. On April 1, 1995, a picture was taken of this nebula by the Hubble Telescope, and the results were spectacular. In the nebula are huge pillars of gas and dust that are busy forming new stars. These structures were named "the Pillars of Ceation" because of a sermon -- "The Condescension of Christ" --  made by Baptist minister Charles Spurgeon. National Geographic Magazine relates the story of the name:

In calling the Hubble's spectacular new image of the Eagle Nebula the Pillars of Creation, NASA scientists were tapping a rich symbolic tradition with centuries of meaning, bringing it into the modern age. As much as we associate pillars with the classical temples of Greece and Rome, the concept of the pillars of creation – the very foundations that hold up the world and all that is in it – reverberates significantly in the Christian tradition. When William Jennings Bryan published The World's Famous Orations in 1906, he included an 1857 sermon by London pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon titled "The Condescension of Christ". In it, Spurgeon uses the phrase to convey not only the physical world but also the force that keeps it all together, emanating from the divine: "And now wonder, ye angels," Spurgeon says of the birth of Christ, "the Infinite has become an infant; he, upon whose shoulders the universe doth hang, hangs at his mother's breast. He who created all things, and bears up the pillars of creation."

Two pictures of this beautiful bit of God's universe:

The original 1995 Hubble telescope photo. Click to enlarge.

A picture of the Pillars taken in 2014. Click to enlarge.

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