Some say religion and science do not mix, but Pastor Anthony Pittenger of Bethany Lutheran Church in Port Orchard, Wash., disproved that with his lecture on the moon.
Pittenger attended Bethany when it was still a two-year institution. From there, he attended Minnesota State University Mankato, and received a degree in general science ecology with a minor in geology. He has been pastor at Bethany Lutheran since 1996. He has served on the Evangelical Synod Youth Board for the past 12 years.
The Lecture Hall in Meyer Hall was nearly full of students and community members. Luke Meilner, a senior, said that the topic of the moon was very interesting to him, and “It fits right in with what we’re learning in History and Philosophy of Science.” Reid Anderson, also a senior, shared his thoughts after the presentation. “The most interesting thing was that it was so much larger, that it was ten times larger than Titan and 100 times larger than anything else. That was by far the most interesting or the most enlightening thing,” said Anderson.
Pittenger focused mainly on the alternative theories to creation that the scientific community has to explain the creation of the moon. These theories included a vast scope of ideas, but the conclusion was always speculative. Pittenger said that in his research, the scientists always say that they do not ultimately know the origin of the moon.
The reason that the origin of the moon is so difficult to account for outside of creation is because of its spectacular effect on the earth. The moon is made up of material that is completely chemically different than the material which makes up the earth. The moon controls the tides of the oceans around the world, and becomes brighter at planting and harvest times. This is not an accident, says Pittenger, but a divine design by God to make a “lesser light to rule the night” as seen in Genesis 1:16.
When asked about his interest in astronomy, Pittenger said that it ultimately stemmed from his curiosity of the world around him. “Especially things in the natural world, not just enough to know ‘oh, look, there’s a bird,’ but I wanted to know what kind of bird it was.”
During the lecture, Pittenger talked about the absolute expanse of our galaxy. He said, “Does that mean that we are so tiny and insignificant that there could not possibly be a God at all, that this is made for us, or does it actually mean, look how he condescended to love us? These galaxies have always been there, and some of them we haven’t even seen or discovered, but they were always there.”