|Flammarion Woodcut depicting a flat earth with a curious traveller peaking out into the world beyond.|
The night sky has captured the hearts and minds of mankind since the beginning of time. It is great and unknown, challenging human intellect and imagination. Perhaps this is because “the heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands” (Psalm 19:1-2 emphasis added). That glory is a beautiful mystery to man; he desires to know it and understand it. And so the he lifts his eyes to the night sky and ponders...
The Glory Distorted
Unfortunately there is one who desires to silence the testimony of the heavens and his greatest tool is perversion. We can see Satan's distortion of the heavens clearly in ancient pagan religions as well as in astronomical and astrological studies today. It is important to note that while these distortions of truth are influenced by the devil, they are also evidence of man's own rebellion. While rejecting God, mankind desperately seeks for wisdom apart from Him, including knowledge of the skies that mystify the greatest minds. Therefore astronomical studies are often simply a result of man attempting to explain the universe apart from God. All he can come up with is a distortion.
Our article, “The Heaven’s Declare”, describes God’s purpose for the stars as proclaimed in His Word. The heavens ultimately exist to bring Him glory and praise, and therefore, when you remove God from the equation, they become a mystery. Satan uses this mystery as a key element in his counterfeit religion, seen throughout the world in the influences from Babel.
Beware the heavens!
God is not ignorant of Satan’s work and He cautions in Deuteronomy 4:19, “beware lest you lift up your eyes to the heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars... and be drawn away and worship them”. Yet in man's rebellion, they did not heed this warning. Rather, in ancient times, the study of the stars was integral to nearly ALL religions. As astronomers and astrologers* studied the skies they noticed a correlation between natural events and astronomical signs. Rather than attributing this to an ordination in place by God, they deified the stars, choosing to believe that the heavens controlled the natural events occurring on earth.
|Egyptian sun worship|
This perversion dates all the way back to the religion of Babel where men built their tower “into heaven” (Genesis 11). As God scattered them across the earth, their religion went with them. In ancient Egypt for example, society and religion was centered on the worship of astronomical bodies. Egyptians associated the sun with their god Ra, the moon with Khonsu, the constellation Orion with Osiris, the god of the afterlife, and many more. Each planet was thought to be a characteristic of the god of the skies, Horus. They believed that the Big Dipper, which is shaped like a sickle, could carve statues that came alive in the afterlife. Furthermore they deified their Pharaohs and thought that after they died, they became one of the stars in the heavens.
Greek Philosophy and the Stars
Another perversion of the truth is the damage done by the Greek philosophers. The ancient Greeks were famous for the myths of their gods and heroes, after whom many of the stars and constellations are named. Interestingly they were actually among the first to move away from the mystical aspect of star worship . Greek philosophers wanted more answers about the function of the universe, rather than simply attributing it to the working of the gods.
|The Greeks taught that the Earth was the center of the universe.|
Image credit: http://thelonggoodbye.wordpress.com/2010/10/17/celestial-map-c1708/
Astronomers, who were often philosophers as well, were the ones to determine that the earth was the center of the universe. This theory, along with many others, was eventually proven false but it started a long search for answers. More often than not these men were searching for ways to make sense of the universe without God. Philosophers, such as Aristotle, presented the idea of an eternal universe in direct contradiction to the truth of creation. Needless to say, rather than the heavens filling them with an awe of God, they attempted to use reason and logic to make the celestial bodies suit their own purposes.
The Perversion Today
However this perversion is not simply buried in the past along with the ancient civilizations; it is alive and well even today. As our article “Babel is Not Gone” points out, the Babylonian practices may seem more hidden in our society, but the counterfeit is still here.
Studies have shown that 98% of Americans know their star sign and millions read their horoscopes each week, proof that in some ways, mankind is still worshipping the skies. A horoscope is an inference related to the position of the planets and the zodiacal signs to foretell events or determine an individual's character or personality traits . The future, much like the depths of space, is another tantalizing unknown that entices man.
Furthermore, people will do anything to shift the blame of their own personal faults onto something else and if they can blame it on the stars then they will. Horoscopes give people an excuse that their failures are simply part of their personality make-up, determined by fate and the universe. It makes them exempt, in their minds, from the judgment of a just God.
The Science of Astronomy
The heavens have been misused in another outlet of our society: astronomical science. Secular astronomers have attempted to prove evolutionary theories by finding evidence in the universe that proves an old earth. They use big names and fancy words to intimidate the general populace who are content to simply nod their heads and accept what they are being fed. People do not realize that evolutionary theories about a 13.8 billion-year-old universe are not in the least bit stable. Over the last few decades countless theories have been changed, revised and edited in order to fit what scientists want to be true.
|Image Credit: grandunificationtheory.com|
Christians are often hopeless, assuming there is so much data supporting an old universe and a "Big Bang" that there is no hope in refuting it. Yet this is not so, in fact there is overwhelming evidence in space that enforces the truth of a young earth. Read this article from Answers in Genesis to discover how the "Stars of Heaven Confirm Biblical Creation".
Who is the authority?
It is clear throughout history and in today's society that God's intentions when He said, “let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens” (Gen.1:14) have been corrupted. Under the influence of the father of lies (John 8:44), man has used the heavens for their own purposes. Be it star worship or the use of astronomy to “prove” evolution, the lie has the same roots and same motivation: to deny the Creator.
Truthfully, it is not a matter of astronomy, but a matter of authority. As The Genius of Ancient Man describes in chapter 2, starting with the authority of Scripture is essential for a correct interpretation of creation. Whose word is true: God's or man's? Jesus illustrates this struggle in Matthew 7:13-14: “the way is broad that leads to destruction... and the way is narrow that leads to life.” There are two paths, two religions, two kingdoms, but one choice: to choose to submit to the authority of God and His revelation or to choose to reject all truth and “[exchange] the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man” (Rom. 1:23).
* Astronomy is the scientific study of the universe and celestial bodies while astrology studies how the movements of the heavens influence human affairs.
 Britto, Angela. Ancient Religion and Astronomy. http://astro.utoronto.ca/~bclarke/AST199M/Astronomy_Ancient_Religions.htm. (Accessed March 25, 2013).
 Shuttleworth, Martyn. Ancient Astronomy, Science and the Ancient Greeks. 2010. Explorable.com. http://explorable.com/greek-astronomy. (Accessed March 25, 2013).
 Aristotle and the Eternity of the Universe. philosophy.stackexchange.com. http://philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/2281/aristotle-and-the-eternity-of-the-universe. (Accessed March 25, 2013).
 Merriam-webster.com. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/horoscope. (Accessed March 25, 2013).