Sunday, April 19, 2009

stars and Christianity

We’ve had a few days break as a family, which included an evening star-gazing at Mt John, Tekapo. It was chosen as one of the best places in the Southern Hemisphere to launch astronomy research, became a University research centre and is now open to the public.

It was a fantastic experience, a warm nite, soft cafe light, expert guidance and insight into a vast space. Sometimes the vastness of space freaks me, but this evoked a deep sense of peace.

And it got me thinking about the essential role of star gazing in Christian history. Just a few examples, and there are surely more …
: Abraham who found his future written in the stars
: Magi who followed the stars. As I have written here: For a Jew, following stars was idol worship. And so by including magi, Matthew is telling us that all sorts of people can seek Jesus, and they are not always from folks we’d prefer. That Jesus is not just Savior of his Israel! But he’s the saviour of all people.
: passages in the book of Revelation, in which Jesus is the morning star, and if I remember my theological education, Revelation does engage with the signs of the Zodiac.

I wonder what Christianity misses if we neglect the stars and what it might mean to recapture them? Worship wrapped in warm blankets outdoors with hot chocolate?

Posted by steve at 10:47 PM


  1. Is all you are getting at what Kant wrote? Two things fill the mind with awe, the starry heavens above and the moral law within.

    I am sorry but I otherwie miss the point of your post.

    Comment by Madeleine — April 24, 2009 @ 12:40 am

  2. Hi Madeline,

    I found it interesting to apply your Kant quote to the 3 Biblical characters I mention in my post … – what did Abraham find in the stars, but a hope and a destiny through a sense of God speaking
    – what did wise man find, but a pathway toward the Christ
    – what does it mean for the writer of Revelation, but that Jesus outshines the astrologers around him,


    Comment by steve — April 24, 2009 @ 9:05 am

  3. Steve.

    I wish I could remember the paper or review I recently read which talked about the idea that sin affected us here but the heavens were unaffected and thus we could learn true knowledge from the stars. Led to the whole astronomy movement within science that was acceptable to Christians while other forms of science were suspect. I think it was an RBL review let me know if you want me to follow up.

    Comment by David Morgan — April 26, 2009 @ 11:13 am

  4. I’d love to see that David. I’m thinking about a 3 week series on “Grow through stars”, so am looking for useful resources that keep it Christian,


    Comment by steve — April 26, 2009 @ 3:54 pm

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