Scientists believe they have solved the mystery of sunspots.  The researchers say that studying the sun began a century ago with a man named George Ellery Hale’s observations of the magnetic field in sunspots.  The study of the sun’s solar magnetic field has been going on for a very long time and yet the mechanism by which that field is generated is still not agreed upon. George Hale’s discovery of magnetic fields within sunspots was a pioneering work, and it is known that there are solar field reversals that occur every eleven years. It is believed this is due to the existence of a global magnetic field structure within the sun. They call this the dynamo model developed in the 1980s. The dynamo theory postulates a mechanism by which celestial bodies such as the earth and the sun generates a magnetic field. The basic premise is the processes of rotation and convection of an electrically conducting fluid can maintain a magnetic field over astronomical time scales. There are three requisites for a dynamo to operate, (i) an electrically conductive fluid medium, (ii) kinetic energy provided by planetary rotation, and (iii) an internal energy source to drive convection motions within the fluid (i.e. heat). In the case of the earth, the magnetic field is believed to be induced and maintained by the convection of liquid iron in the outer core. The coriolis effect caused by the rotation of the earth organizes the fluid motions and electric currents into columns that are aligned with the rotation axis of the earth. Due to the nature of the physics behind this model, concepts such as magnetic buoyancy, diffusivity, and density, all affect the simulation results of this model. It is observed that every eleven years, the sun produced far more spots than usual. Sun spots are the dark blotches on the surface. This eleven year cycle has left researchers scratching their heads. This recent study  suggest a possible explanation that hinges upon the behavior of plasma.
- T. R. Jarboe, T. E. Benedett, C. J. Everson, C. J. Hansen, A. C. Hossack, K. D. Morgan, B. A. Nelson, J. B. O’Bryan, J. M. Penna, and D. A. Sutherland, The nature and source of solar magnetic phenomena, Physics of Plasmas 26, 092902 (2019); https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5087613
- J. O. Stenflo, Space Sci. Rev. 210, 5 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11214-015-0198-z
This new model of the sun, scientists believe the sun is covered in a thin layer of flowing plasma that moves at varying rates, swirling, twisting, and generating electromagnetic (EM) radiation. It is believed that the layer is continuously growing, the sun manufactures this plasma layer at the surface. At the eleven year point, the plasma layer becomes too large to be stable, and begins to leave the surface of the sun. It was originally believed the spots were generated from deep within the sun with forces blasting the plasma off of the surface and leaving behind a stellar scar. This study suggests that the surface sunspots are born within this thin plasma layer just below the surface. This new model was inspired by research on fusion reactors which involved the use of magnetic fields to manage plasma and heat generated by fusion similar to how the sun functions. The model predicts that the sun violently twists and accumulates the plasma until it is shed off due to instability and a sunspot is what remains. This paper proposes that the dynamo activity occurs within the thin layer of plasma on the surface of the sun. This is a surface dynamo model as opposed to an internal dynamo model. Researchers believe this is consistent with observations of the solar features we see today. The discovery of the nature of the dynamo and the global magnetic structure that is presented in this paper has allowed a new paradigm for understanding of most of the solar magnetic activity, some of which has not been well understood. Researchers still do not entirely understand the mechanism behind the surface plasma EM fields. Unlike other interpretations of the solar data, the surface dynamo is closely coupled driver of solar magnetic activity. This research may be a breakthrough for solar magnetic research and there is yet a lot of work to be conducted!
What we learn here from the Scientific research on the dynamo model, the earth’s magnetic field is generated from deep within, while the sun’s magnetic field is now proposed to be generated at the surface. The spiritual insights that we receive from this phenomenal research into the function / generation of the sun’s electromagnetic field, the thin plasma layer begs the question in relation to spiritual matters whether our beliefs are only just skin deep? The Talmudic description of the one who saves a life, the rabbis say “it is as if he has saved an entire world” (Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 37a). What this suggests is we are a product of our lives, each of us, what we have experienced in our lives shape who we are, what we believe, and how we live our lives. In a large part, we end up believing in what we have been exposed to and what has been repeated back to us while we were growing up, whether voluntarily, or involuntarily. (There is a vast amount of research on this topic, look at those who have been abused growing up, or born into a cult, have had consistent negative influences i.e. drug abusing parents, etc., this effects their entire world view and behaviors in this world and our culture and shapes their entire lives.) What happens is we form judgments based upon our past experiences, or what others say or do, these may be rooted in negative experiences, and these things tend to overrule rational thought and the scientific method of questioning, searching, and conducting due diligence on what we don’t fully understand. Take for example, making conclusions based upon what has been seen or heard are only surface level assumptions. This is what is happening in the scientific research on sunspots, we are only able to externally observe what is taking placed upon the surface of the sun. Surface level assumptions are what I would wager (bet) this is pretty much the general consensus in the Christian faith today, people go to church, listen to a sermon, they are presented the gospel message from a very superficial and surface level perspective, and a judgment is made on the manner in which one is saved from a very abstract perspective. As the people of God, we need to understand the foundation of our faith, and the place to begin this search is in the original sacred text of the Bible. The idea of “due diligence” is to seek after the uncertain and the unknown on our own which takes time and effort, instead of reading the cliff notes, taking the easy way out and making quick assumptions or relying on indirect sources, hearsay, or present day third person sources. This draws us back to the idea of whether what we believe is only skin deep? If we have approached our spiritual life to do only what is easy, can we really say that we are the children of God? Let me explain what I mean…
One of the major issues today is on the topic of interpretation of the Scriptures. Under the idea of interpretation, each and every one of us, when we read the Scriptures, we are interpreting that is happening, why, and how these things apply to our lives. When studying or reading the Scriptures, we ask questions (i.e. closed questions vs. open questions), those that have definitive answers and those that do not. For example, asking about a person’s age or location (person, place, or thing) is a closed question having a definitive answer. The open ended question asks a more general question from one’s personal opinion, like “how do you think Jacob felt when he thought his son Joseph was dead?” and “how do you think this affected his faith?” In the traditional Jewish interpretive method, the rabbis generally rely upon closed questions with definitive answers which focus upon the literal meaning of the text (the peshat, פְּשָׁט). The plain, historical meaning (called peshat: פְּשָׁט) is used as a baseline for further ways of interpretation. Take for example the fourfold system called “Pardes” (פָּרְדֵּס), an acronym formed from the names of each of these four categories or levels. Rabbinic interpretation in addition to the Peshat, also traditionally include the alluded meaning (i.e., remez, hint: רֶמֶז), the moral or homiletical meaning (i.e., drash: דְרָשׁ), and the esoteric meaning (i.e., sod: סוֹד). Each of these methods of interpretation have their own ways of reasoning, for example, interpretation from the drash level does not apply to the peshat (simple or plain meaning) level. A general principle is that these methods of interpretation (the extended meaning) will not contradict the plain meaning. In other words, ultimately there will not be a valid “deeper meaning” that violates or contradicts the plain sense that is revealed through the careful study of the historical and grammatical context. Notice how today there are many heresies that are being taught that are based upon the failure to have due diligence in the careful study of the historical and grammatical context of the Bible. This draws us back to the idea of due diligence, and whether our understanding is purely superficial or skin deep as opposed to truly understanding. Now this is connected to whether we truly want to be in a relationship with God or not? Taking the easy way out is an earmark sign of not wanting to put the effort into relationship. (This typifies the Sunday only relationship many people have with God.)
Relationships take effort and a desire to serve, there are no easy ways to having a true and deep relationship with the One we love!
The question of interpretation involves a shared set of basic assumptions (such as the existence of God, the authority of God’s verbal revelation, the Torah, the validity of logic, that Yeshua is the Messiah of God, etc). To simply hold these basic assumptions however does not guarantee salvation. Something more is required, this is what the Scientific research on the sun draws out for us today, we are to have depth in our relationship with God. To have only skin deep faith is the earmark for taking the easy way out approach (i.e. I don’t have time for God or for Yeshua, attitude). If we do not have the desire to study God’s Word, we fall prey to the possibility of deceit (note this desire is something that is given to each of us who has a relationship with God in Yeshua the Messiah). If we do not have a desire to study or read the Scriptures, what can be said about our relationship with God? The end goal of the evil one is the intent to deliberately obfuscate the meaning of a text by undermining its authority, or by reading into it ideas that are foreign to its original intent. Look at how the serpent obfuscated God’s command on eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In this present age, we can not be superficial or only skin deep. These are the kind of people described in Matthew 7 who stood before God and Yeshua said “depart from me you worker of iniquity.” Note their response, they did many things in Yeshua’s name but yet they were workers of iniquity or sin in their lives. Something was missing that they did not understand about having a relationship with God. In the classic debates between Hillel and Shammai, they differed in many areas of interpretation, they were both biblical scholars, the goal was to discern the will of God and specifically how to apply God’s Word under different situations. Each of them took different approaches, and when a disagreement arose, there was respect and civility amongst their peers.
Now when we consider the kind of faith that is surface level, it is interesting how faith is a function of insult, ridicule, persecution, death. If there is no risk, there is no faith; the more risk there is, the more faith that results. Persecutions and trials tend to strengthen our faith and relationship with God. The tangibility of reality causes us to look at and examine what we believe and causes us to look inwardly. This is the idea of objective truth that causes faith to become real, like if someone tells you that you are not “allowed” to obey the commandments of God, this causes one to have a desire to observe the command of God. When we study the history of Israel, such as in the time of the Maccabees, the Roman government imposed a law that men were not to study the Torah, in fact, if one was caught with a Torah scroll he was put to death. This led to the Maccabean revolt and the reinstitution, cleansing, and dedication of the temple service. Fast forward to the NT period, Roman rule allowed for the Jewish people to keep their religious practices without harm. When Yeshua the Messiah came forward, he focused upon looking inwardly to the intention of one’s heart for the purpose of keeping God’s Torah. The message of the good news was that God brought His Messiah to earth because of His great love for us, that Yeshua lived a perfect life, he then gave his life for ours upon the cross. Yeshua died for what he believed, and the message is those who believe upon what he did are justified before God. The Scriptures teach us that salvation doesn’t end here, we are taught according to the Scriptures, that the Lord God Almighty will dwell in our hearts by His Holy Spirit. This is something each of us should be looking for if we are claiming to have a relationship with God in Yeshua the Messiah! The research on the plasma layer of the sun reminds us about what is written in Scripture in regards to having a relationship with God is not only skin deep. Faith in Yeshua and the indwelling of God’s Spirit sets us free from fear, from sin, and gives us the freedom to live our lives according to God’s Word! If we say that we believe in Yeshua the Messiah, and that we have a relationship with God as a result, then our lives will reflect that faith with the evidence of living faithfully before God and men according to His Word! This means without evidence of the Spirit of Truth in our lives, we are likely deluding ourselves. This is why every true disciple (i.e. student) of the Messiah has a part in the greater conversation about the life of faith according to God’s Torah. The LORD has promised to give us wisdom, if we sincerely ask Him (James 1:5-7). The point is, our faith in the God of Israel connects us to all of the great heroes of the faith and most importantly to Yeshua himself. (This is the idea of Yeshua saying “follow me” Matthew 4:19, John 5:24-25, John 8:12, or how his disciples taught to “walk in his footsteps” 1 Peter 2:21, 1 John 2:3-6.) Those who only hold onto faith that is skin deep do not understand these things, that we are a part of a redeemed community of people, the people of God, and we are called to live according to His Word turning from sin. This means that each of us are personally responsible for what we believe and why. This isn’t just about having a knowledge of, but of putting into practice our faith by the help of God! If we hold on to a surface level approach to our faith, in the end, we will be like the layer of plasma on the surface of the sun, and be ejected out and away. The Judgment Seat of the Messiah, the Lord will not be interested in whether we assented to “right ideas,” “politically correct ideology,” or “joined the right religious club.” No, His examination will center on whether we personally wrestled for the truth and lived it out in our lives and sought Him each day to help us to overcome sin in our lives!