The Bible tells us that God made the lights in the heavens “for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years” (Gen. 1:14). Since the dawn of recorded history, people have studied the stars. Interestingly enough, cultures all around the world have identified and named the same constellations, though the groupings of stars bear little or no resemblance to the creatures they supposedly represent. Is this merely coincidence or does it indicate a common origin for their names and meanings?
Various authors have studied ancient star charts and name meanings and claim that the constellations originally served as a visual aid in telling the gospel message. For example, according to Howard Rand (The Stars Declare God’s Handiwork, 1944, Destiny Publishers, Merrimac, MA), a well-known eastern prophecy had indicated that when a new star appeared in the constellation Coma (The Woman and Child), it would be a sign that the “desired son” or “Christ” had been born. Perhaps it was this prophecy which impelled the wise men to follow the star to Bethlehem to worship the newborn King.
If these authors are right, and God really did tell the story of redemption via the stars, this original account has been grossly corrupted in the widely accepted astrological system. The belief in astrology and various forms of worship of “the host of heaven” had been prevalent since ancient times. Frequently it is associated with other forms of witchcraft, idolatry, and spiritism. Many of the stars, constellations and planets have been named after pagan gods, and millions of people over the years have looked to the stars, trying to predict the future.
God strictly forbids the use of astrology and other such practices, so we as Christians should have no part in them. However, that does not mean we should not study the stars – both form a scientific and a Biblical perspective. God had a purpose for everything He created. He tells us the sun, moon, stars and planets were created for “signs and for seasons.” Have their original meanings been lost somewhere along the way? If so, perhaps they could be recovered through diligent research.
However, even if we are never able to uncover the original meanings, we can still learn much about God through His creation – His power, His creativity, His love of diversity, His immensity, His glory. “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.” (Psalms 19: 1, 2). We have so much to learn!
Originally published in the November/December 1988 issue of Think & Believe newsletter.
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