Signs And Portents

Have you heard about the brilliant comet that is to pass Earth toward the end of this year? They say it will be so bright in the sky, as bright as a full moon, that this is not only a once in a lifetime astronomical event, but a once in a civilization astronomical event.

What does it mean?

What do you mean Mr. Archbold, what does it mean? It means that a ball of ice and gas, warmed by the Sun, will reflect light toward earth. That's what it means, nothing else.  We do not look to the sky for warnings or prognostication, we are modern, civilized.

I suppose I agree with that. But...

As Christians, we  do believe that God has used astronomical events in this way before, most notably the Star of Bethlehem.   God chose to use a celestial sign, most likely the alignment of planets according to one theory, to foretell and to announce the birth of His Son. So we must acknowledge that God can and has done this before.

So I suppose the question should more properly be phrased, "Would God use celestial signs again to announce, poke, or prod modern man?"

I think this is more...

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*subhead*Where do we look?*subhead*


  1. How many other cultures on Earth do still put major weight on signs in the sky?

  2. @ Foxfier: All of them.

    All of Asia is huge into astrology, even in much of the Islamic world. Especially in East Asia; do you know how much of business life in Japan, Korea, and even China is governed by whether the horoscopes (among many, many other omens) are auspicious or not? Japan may've abolished its ministry of divinations in 1876, but training in that system is one of the divinity degrees offered in every Japanese university.

    The same is true of pretty much all the non-assimilated Native Americans; Navajo astrology was actually studied in some depth by the Franciscan priest Berard Haile.

    Africans and Aboriginal Australians, even when Christian, put a lot of stock in omens in general, and the same is true of Polynesians.

    Of course, other than the Asians, most of those cultures are endangered or minor enclaves—but that's because your question is almost functionally equivalent to "How many other cultures are there on Earth, period?"

  3. I was delicately pointing out that just because the US and sister cultures don't currently take astrology seriously doesn't mean that there aren't many current cultures that do put the same ancient weight on the signs.

    Just like the current tempest in a teapot over the Pope implying that capitalism isn't the One True Belief System, folks can get rather focused on everything being related to us.


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