Question: "What does the Bible say about astronomy?"
Answer: Astronomy is the science which studies the properties of the heavens and the objects therein and, as such, is devoted to the analysis of a portion of God’s creation. Genesis 1:1 declares that “in the beginning, God created the heavens” and that on the fourth day of His creative acts, “God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars” (Genesis 1:16). The Bible therefore teaches that the origin of the heavens and all astronomical bodies contained in them is God Himself, the Creator of all things.
The Bible portrays the Lord not only as Creator of the heavens, but as their ruler and sustainer as well, “sustaining all things by his powerful word” (Hebrews 1:3). Psalm 102:25-26 reminds us that “the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish but you remain…Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded.” Isaiah tells us that God “stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in,” and the use of the present tense implies that even to this day, God continues to interact with and sustain His heavenly creation (Isaiah 40:22). Again, we see that “he who made the Pleiades and Orion, who turns blackness into dawn and darkens day into night…the Lord is his name” (Amos 5:8). This verse refers to the Lord as Creator of the constellations and the One who orchestrates the transitions between day and night. The Lord thus maintains complete control over the heavens and sustains them by His power in their daily and yearly rhythms.
Moreover, the heavens are a medium which God uses to clearly and unmistakably communicate His existence, power, and glory. David tells us that “the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1). The apostle Paul is emphatic on this point; although he does not explicitly mention the heavens, he makes it clear that “since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made” (Romans 1:20). The heavens therefore leave humanity without excuse for any disbelief in God’s existence and power, for “God has made it plain to them” (Romans 1:19).
What, then, is the proper response to what astronomy tells us about the universe? We find an exemplary response to God’s heavenly creation in Psalm 8: “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?...O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8:3-4, 9). The universe reminds us of our own insignificance in comparison to God’s greatness, yet it also declares to us the humbling and astonishing truth that He cares for us. A biblical understanding of astronomy therefore displays the glory and grace of the God who created, sustains, and rules the universe. It is the gravity of this realization which moves us to worship.
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