by Chris Breva
A scientific answer to the Christmas star, proving it's reality.
|Yesterday's blog entry was how science has to my satisfaction become a basis for my Christian faith. Today I am going to examine scientific evidence for the reality of the Christmas star. The timing of the star will appear different than the date on which we celebrate the birth of Christ, but the Bible gives us no authorization to celebrate His birth to begin with. Christmas is a man made celebration that came about because the Roman church wanted to prevent recidivism to paganism in celebration of the winter solstice, which for pagans had been a major holiday. The birth of Christ was actually probably in the summer. The Bible doesn't actually say but hints are given. One hint is that it occurred after Augustus Caesar ordered all the citizens of the Empire to return to their homes for a census. Such an order would have been given in the spring to allow for travel time, the census itself, and a safe return before winter set in again. Even Caesar had common sense.
Another indication was the account of the shepherds. This is found in Luke Chapter 2: 8 - 20. The shepherds in this account were in the field with their sheep. Whether the star was witnessed by them is not stated. Assumptions would be that if the magi saw it they would see it to as would anybody else. The point is however that no shepherd in Israel would spend the night out in the field with their sheep in the winter. The average day time high for Israel during December is 46 degrees F or about 6-10 degrees C. The night temperatures could easily be half of that, much too cold to herd sheep, not to mention that there would be no grazing for the sheep anyway..
The third indication that Jesus was born in the spring is Mary's actions. We read in Luke 2: 7 that "She gave birth to her Son, wrapped Him in cloth, and laid Him in a manger - there was no room for them to stay in the inn,"
What mother is going to wrap her baby in nothing more than cloth if it it is freezing cold outside? In the summertime babies are often wrapped in simple receiving blankets, which are plenty warm enough. So it is likely that Jesus was born in the summer, which coincides with computer generated star charts of that era today. Experts believe Jesus was born sometime between 4 BC and 1 AD with the likely date being 2 - 3 BC because of calendar differences and other counting factors. Astronomers, using computers can fix the date more precisely. The planets Venus and Jupiter were in perfect alignment with the star Regulus in the Constellation Leo on 12 August 3 BC. It would have appeared as a bright and morning star, much brighter than any other and a very unusual astronomical event. This would make perfect sense with the birth of Christ occurring during a time of traveling to Bethlehem. A manger would likely have been cold even during the spring because most barns were built as part of the home then but were left open. During the summer cloths would have been adequate.Infants have always been wrapped in receiving blankets and shepherds would have grazed their flocks 24 hours. So scientific evidence aligns with Biblical information to place the birth of Jesus Christ on 12 August 3 BC. The astronomical event scientists say would have appeared as brightly as nearly a second sun in some places and thus the Biblical term. Numbers 24:14 is a passage of scripture in which God uses a pagan prophet to speak the Jewish prophecy believed to have led the magi to Jesus. Baalam, speaking for God, says "I look into the future, And I see the nation of Israel, A king, like a bright star will arise in that nation."
Of course Hebrew texts are more precise and predict that a literal star will appear with the birth of this King. This prophecy was presented around 4,000 BC at the time of Moses and fulfilled on August 12, 3 BC as proven by scientific calculations, star charts, and the historical records of the Bible itself. The planets Jupiter and Venus aligned with the star Regulus in the Constellation Leo to cause the event. It occurred again ten months later, which would have been adequate travel time for a caravan of Magi, The second occurrence was 17 June, 2 BC. This second planetary event would have been the event that led the magi to Bethlehem and Jesus' precise location as they knew how to use it as a guide.