Monthly Archives: December 2014

The Star of Bethlehem

Was the Star of Bethlehem myth or fact? I am greatly indebted to Wayne Taylor of Louisiana for pointing me to Rick Larson’s excellent video on this subject. It is yet another example of modern science supporting belief in God.

Computers today can reproduce how the sky looked from any point on Earth at any time in history. Armed with this new knowledge, here is a spectacular theory that supports every claim in the Bible. To shorten this, I’ll give you the events in chronological order, and you can go back yourself to check how these match exactly up with the Biblical statements in the second chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, and with dozens of other Biblical references and historical facts. I haven’t personally been able to confirm all the details, but I have summarized the theory below.

Mid-September, 3 BC – Babylonian astronomers, the best in the world at that time, who are probably of Jewish descent (remnants of the Babylonian captivity), witness a spectacular triple conjunction of Jupiter (known to the ancients as the “King Planet”) and the star Regulus. The Babylonians called this star “Sharru,” meaning “the King”, and Regulus was also known as the “King” star by the Romans). Jupiter passes Regulus three times, and traces a crown above it. Regulus is the brightest star in the constellation of Leo the lion. The Bible in different places compares the Israelite Tribe of Judah, the tribe of King David and Jesus, with a lion. This triple conjunction of the two kings is a very rare event, and suggests at least that something kingly is going on or is about to happen in Judah. This could be the date of Christ’s conception, where the Angel Gabriel appears to Mary. Remember that planets in those days were thought of as wandering stars, because they appeared to move around the heavens.

February 5, 2 BC – The Roman Senate orders an empire-wide census. Joseph and Mary go to Bethlehem, the town of King David, to be counted.

June 17, 2 BCNine months after the Jupiter/Regulus conjunction, the King Planet Jupiter joins the planet Venus, universally associated with femininity, in conjunction. This is the closest alignment of Jupiter and Venus in thousands of years on each side of this date. The planets are so close that they appear to the naked eye to be touching. It is the brightest “star” the Babylonian astronomers will ever see. This conjunction takes place in the constellation of Virgo the Virgin. Jesus is born. The sacrificial “lamb of God” is born in Bethlehem, which is where thousands of sacrificial lambs that were bred for the Temple at Jerusalem were born. He is born in the late spring, not winter, and the shepherds who cared for those lambs were out in the warmer weather sleeping with the flocks during birthing season.

Late December 2 BC – The Babylonian astronomers, known as “magi” or wise men, arrive with their entourage in Jerusalem. It’s a long and difficult journey, and there was doubtless time needed to prepare. They ask Herod “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star [rising] in the East, and have come to worship him.” Herod doesn’t have a clue. (This shows the star was not a comet or supernova.) Herod asks his priests where the Messiah is to be born, and they quote him the Old Testament prediction of Bethlehem of Judea. Herod tells the magi to go and report back.

December 25, 2 BC – The magi leave Jerusalem and head due south to Bethlehem, only five miles away. Jupiter is directly south on this date as they walk out of Jerusalem, and they get to Bethlehem by following the “star.” On this exact date Jupiter goes into retrograde motion, it appears to “stop” its wandering among the stars. The magi bring gifts; it is the first Christmas. Jesus is no longer a newborn infant; the original Greek refers to him as a toddler at this point.

The heavens operate like clockwork. For these cosmic events to have accompanied the birth of Jesus, God had to have known the exact dates when the Solar System was created 5 billion years ago, and perhaps when God flung the universe into existence 14 billion years ago.

Merry Christmas!

An Inconvenient Truth

You may remember a 2006 documentary with Al Gore talking about global warming. It was titled “An Inconvenient Truth.” The film described global warming as “an inconvenient truth,” because, although the scientific evidence was overwhelming, many people were in denial.

Could the existence of God be an inconvenient truth for our society? The scientific evidence is overwhelming. My book “counts” through seven areas of science where, in the last few decades, new mainstream scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports the existence of God. To name just two, there is no atheist explanation for the origin of life, and Darwin’s theory of unguided evolution has been emphatically disproven. The “emperor” of Darwinian Theory has no mathematical clothes.

So why is our society so hostile to God? I think the answer is complex, and varies from individual to individual. Perhaps part of it is we don’t want to be bothered. We don’t want to take time on the weekends to go to church or synagogue or mosque; we don’t want to part with any of our income, which of course we attribute solely to our own talents and not to God.

Perhaps another part is that we like to think we are in control. We like to think we are the masters of the universe. We don’t want to acknowledge a higher power.

Perhaps a third reason is that advertising dominates our culture. You can talk all you want about the glories of your favorite professional sports team, but know this – that team exists because its sponsors want you to buy their products. Advertising is everywhere, and it bombards us with the message that life is about money and spending it to buy the right products. Advertising and God don’t mix well.

I’m not sure about these reasons. I majored in math and physics, not sociology. So in this week before Christmas I’ll just leave you with a question. Do you think that, for some people, and perhaps even for yourself at certain moments at least, the existence of God is an inconvenient truth?

Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas!

Our Special Earth

The many very special qualities of Earth suggest it was designed for life. My book describes these qualities (Chapter 13), and argues they support belief in God. Here are two new items that support this hypothesis.

A paper by two astrophysicists looks at how often and where gamma ray bursts take place. Gamma ray bursts are the most powerful explosions in the universe. They can fry a planet from thousands of light years away. The scientists conclude that 90% of all galaxies have too many gamma ray bursts for life to survive. They also conclude that there would have been too many gamma ray bursts in all galaxies for the first five billion years after the Big Bang for life to survive.

Forbes magazine recently ran an interview with an atheist and an agnostic discussing how critical plate tectonics are for the existence of life. Earth’s crust is divided into large plates, and plate tectonics is the process of continents drifting and colliding, with rock grinding and mountain ranges being formed and earthquakes. Plate tectonics keep Earth alive and dynamic. Plate tectonics recycle chemicals, and this “allows for a very rich planetary atmosphere with an extended life.” Earth is the only planet in the Solar System with plate tectonics. Plate tectonics help to create granite, and “if you can’t make granite, you’re not going to have continents.” Plate tectonics recycle carbon, and help to keep Earth’s temperature stable.

So the consensus continues to grow that Earth is special.

Thanks for reading.

Layers of Information

I’ve noted previously the September 2012 announcement by ENCODE – a worldwide collaboration of 450 top scientists – that most and likely all of our 3.2 billion letters of DNA code serves a purpose. That made the front page of newspapers worldwide. This week I want to focus on their lesser known but equally stunning announcement in December 2012 – DNA contains two layers of information.

How can chance build a code with more than one layer of information? Physicist Rob Sheldon is reminded of a Bach fugue that can be played by flipping the music upside-down on the music stand. That’s a highly designed, incredible piece of music.

There’s a good argument that layers of information are predicted by intelligent design. A designing, powerful intellect would want to make maximum use of the available space. Humans do this with phone, radio, and television frequencies, and many other places. Space is often limited, and we want to transmit as much information as possible in that space.

Other scientists have found evidence that our DNA contains even more information. Some studies show that the amount of information in a section of DNA is proportional to the cube of the length of DNA. According to these studies, twice as much DNA typically contains eight times as much information. That is mind-boggling design.

All of these findings contradict Darwin’s theory of unguided evolution; that our DNA code arose through natural selection acting on random mutations. Personally, I’m not aware of any Darwinist response to ENCODE’s announcement that DNA contains two layers of information. As Paul Simon put it, “A man hears what he wants to hear, and disregards the rest.”

Thanks for reading.