Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Astronomy, Astrology, and the Bible

I remember when I first began coming across facts about astronomy in the Bible. It was and still is amazing - how the Bible confirms science. Or should I say, science confirms the Bible. When you look at passages that describe the heavens, the stars, the moon, the sun and the earth itself, written long before telescopes were invented, it awakens you to the fact that God is Designer/Creator, and His revelations about the universe are found in scripture.

Many people who lived in the days of Columbus believed the earth was flat. Obviously, they never read the Bible! The prophet Isaiah, who lived approximately 700 years before Christ, describes a round earth. "He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth..." (Isaiah 40:22)

The book of Job is considered by most scholars to be the oldest book in the Bible, and yet it implies gravitational forces!  "He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing." (Job 26:7)

Even evaporation is described in the Book of Job!  “He draws up the drops of water, which distill as rain to the streams." (Job 36:27) Wow!  "He wraps up the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight." (Job 26:8)

Here's a good question for you when you look up into the heavens on a starry night. "Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these?" (Job 40:26)  Who created all these? Of course, the answer is God. "It is I who made the earth  and created mankind upon it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts." (Isaiah 45: 12)

There are some things we simply can't comprehend. Like, where does the universe end? And if it ends, what's on the other side? And maybe there's a reason why we are not able to understand it all. Maybe such mysteries are God's way of demonstrating that His knowledge is far greater than ours. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:9)

And we can try with all our might to theorize and speculate how the earth was formed, but to the scientists who leave God out of the picture when it comes to answering the question of how the earth was made, God may very well be saying to them......... “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! (Job 38:4-5a) Ha. I love it when God is being sarcastic!

I think the prophet Jeremiah sums it up pretty well. "He made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding." (Jeremiah 51:15)

While astronomy is the science of the universe, astrology, on the other hand, is the practice of tracking the position of celestial bodies with the belief that they influence earthly occurrences and human affairs. Astrology is interesting because it's tied to astronomy, but there is a problem with it. God doesn't like it! And He doesn't like us to use it, especially if we use it as our life's guide.

Are you one of those who can't wait to get the morning paper, or the internet, to see what you daily horoscope says? Maybe you plan your day, or your week, around it. If so, you might want to rethink this practice. God is a jealous God in the sense that He wants your complete trust and faith in Him, and in Him alone. “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God." (Exodus 20:4-5a...one of the Ten Commandments)

God has made it clear that we should be loyal to Him exclusively, and turn to nothing or no one else. "And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord." (Deuteronomy 18:10b-12a)

Do the planets and their alignment influence us? Maybe. Does a full moon affect man's behavior. It sure seems like it! You see the question is not about whether all these things are real or not. The question is this: "In whom or in what are you placing your trust?" That is exactly what God is asking you!

We can look at the heavens with awe and wonder because the universe is fascinating and incredible. But as far as the stars and planets are concerned, we are warned. "And when you look up into the sky and see the sun, moon, and stars—all the forces of heaven—don’t be seduced into worshiping them." (Deuteronomy 4:19a) Over the centuries, mankind has fell to this temptation of looking to the stars and planets as the controlling force in one's life. This distracts tremendously from God Himself. "They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen." (Romans 1:25)

The prophet Isaiah didn't think much highly of astrologers either. "All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you." (Isaiah 47:13)

The bottom line is this.....God wants your trust and faith in Him only. Forget relying on fortune tellers, astrologers, and psychics, or anything else for life's answers. Just rely on Him. That's where our faith should be placed.

And as far as astronomy is concerned, if you are looking to the stars to reveal something to you, let it reveal this.......His glory! "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." (Psalm 19:1)

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