Bible Question:

I was reading about the darkness at the time of Christ's death. Is it really true that a solar eclipse of the sun is not possible at the full moon?

Bible Answer:

This question is important because historians are agreed that there was darkness at the time of Jesus Christ’s death. A careful study of the time at which Christ died reveals that He died on April 3, A.D. 33. The Bible also tells us that the darkness lasted for three hours (noon to 3 pm). This is much too long for a solar eclipse.

And it was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, the sun being obscured . . . (NASB) Luke 23:44-45

These verses say the sun was obscured. If we look for natural events to explain this event, this can only happen when the moon passes between the sun and the earth. This is called a solar eclipse. But this could not have occurred because the Bible also tells us that Jesus died on a Friday just before Passover (John 19:14-16). This is important because the Jews scheduled Passover during a full moon. A solar eclipse cannot occur during a full moon. There is a second reason a solar eclipse cannot explain the darkness. Astronomical records show that no solar eclipse occurred on that date anywhere near the city of Jerusalem.

Solar Eclipse

A solar eclipse can only occur when the moon passes between the sun and the earth. When this happens, the moon is referred to as a new moon. When the moon passes between the sun and the earth as shown in the figure, the sun’s rays are blocked and part of the earth is darkened.

Solar Eclipse Creates Darkness On The Earth

Ian also provides a detailed discussion of other types of solar eclipses at his website. This is a great website for study.

Full Moon

A full moon only occurs when the moon is behind the earth. The expression full moon means that it appears in the night sky as fully illuminated and completely round. This means the moon must be behind the earth, otherwise the light reflected off the moon would not be seen on earth.

Full Moon Creates Light On The Earth

Conclusion:

We have already pointed out that a solar eclipse did not occur on the day Jesus died. An eclipse could not have occurred during Jesus’ crucifixion since the moon was in the wrong position. Natural events cannot explain what happened. The universe responded to the Creator’s suffering and eventual death. A supernatural event occurred which testifies to Jesus’ divinity.