Frequently Asked Questions - Astronomy

The questions below are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Creation and Astronomy. If you are looking for the FAQ section for questions asked about this ministry, the 4th Day Alliance, please click here: 4th Day Alliance FAQ.

Did the People who Wrote the Bible Believe that the Earth was Flat?

Absolutely not. This false claim is not supported anywhere by any text in the Bible. In fact, the Bible was quite scientifically advanced when it stated nearly 4000 years ago in the book of Job 26:7 "He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing." Also, Isaiah 40:22 refers to the "circle of earth." Of course everyone knows that a circle is round. The truth of the matter is that people who believed in a flat-earth, would have known better if they just would have read the Bible and believed it.

Was the fourth day of creation really only 24 hours long?

Yes, it was an actual 24 hour day. God was there when he did it, and that is exactly what he told us he did. Genesis 1:19 very plainly includes the following text, "And the evening and the morning were the fourth day." The phrase "evening and the morning" really could not more plainly express to us the fact that God intends for us to understand this text in the most obvious sense. That is, that this day was a regular 24 hour day with an evening and a morning. There have been many attempts to make the days of creation week much longer than the Bible teaches. However, in every case these attempts are made simply to twist and corrupt the scripture so that it aligns with the fallible opinions of men who have made anti-biblical theories in their various branches of science. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that men who hold to "billions of years" theories have compromised the word of God in favor of mens' opinions. For some scientific evidence regarding the age of the universe, click here to read about 15 evidences from Astronomy regarding the age of the universe.

Is there a way to scientifically explain the "long days" mentioned in the Bible (for Joshua and Hezekiah)?

The book of Joshua tells us the story of the time that the "sun stood still" so that Joshua and the Israelite army could finish defeating their army (Joshua 10:12-14). Of course, this had an interesting symbolic affect because the Canaanites (the enemy that Israel was fighting) actually worshipped the Sun and the Moon. So, the true one God of Israel exercised His power over these objects and actually caused the objects of worship of the Canaanites to work against them to their own destruction!

In any event, men have tried to explain scientifically how such a thing could have happened. Men have worked in vain to come up with theories to explain this event, because from a purely scientific perspective, such a feat is impossible. If the sun were to stand still in the sky, then that would mean that we have stopped revolving around it, and the earth would ultimately crash into the sun! Of course, what men fail to realize is that this was a MIRACLE! By definition, what makes a miracle a miracle is the fact that it cannot be explained by natural causes. It can only be explained by supernatural causes; that is, by God's miracle working power. Science cannot and will not be able to explain any miracles in the Bible. Miracles are simply God's way of showing us that HE IS GOD!

Is it true that computers have discovered when the "long days" in the Bible were?

No. I am not sure where this rumor got started, but we cannot find proof that it is true. Believers should never try to use false ideas or claims to support the Bible. The truth stands on its own and doesn't need any of our help! We must teach the truth and we should not invent wild stories to try and defend our position.

According to the story that has been circulated, scientists in the space program found a missing day when calculating the position of the sun and moon over the last few centuries. It seemed that the sun and the moon were not where they belonged, and they were off by a day. Allegedly, mathematical corrections were made based on the "long days" of Joshua and Hezekiah (Joshua 10:13 and 2 Kings 20:11), and when these calculations were inputted into the computer program, everything lined up perfectly. Well, this sure does make for a fantastic story, but it is not founded in reality.

Think about it. The only way to determine a change in the location of the sun or the moon is to know their EXACT position before the change took place. Of course, we have no way of finding a reference point like that in history. We must assume that the courses of the celestial bodies have continued like they do now back through history. We make our reference points from today, and work backwards. We can't choose a reference point in ancient history and then work our way forward to today. As stated previously, science cannot provide evidence for this occurence in the Bible. One can only believe it by faith. This is what God expects from us.

What are wandering stars?

A wandering star is one that is of no use for navigation since it does not keep its same relative position to the other stars. Such “restless” night lights were seen in Bible times and have since been given the name “planets” which comes from the Greek word planetes,which means wanderer. The Bible uses these planets (wandering stars) as an analogy for false teachers since they also cannot be trusted or followed because they will ultimately lead you astray. Members onlySpeaking of these ungodly teachers, the Bible states in Jude 1:4 “[these men are]… wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.” (Alliance Members can click on this link to see an online animated lesson explaining wandering stars).

What is the bright and morning star?

The term “morning star” was familiar to most everybody at one time—back when most people had a general familiarity with astronomy. There is one star in the sky that is extremely bright! Today, we understand that it is not actually a star, but it is the planet Venus. Whenever Venus is in the sky, it appears as the brightest star in the sky. During certain times of the year, this bright and morning star actually rises ahead of the sun. Since Venus is so bright, it can still be seen in the morning, even though the other stars have faded away. Furthermore, since the morning star at certain periods of the year leads the day, it’s appearance is understood as a pledge that the morning is about to dawn.

In Bible times, before we had radio-controlled atomic wrist watches, men would determine the approximate time of day by looking up at the stars. When an early morning riser looked up into the sky and saw the “bright and morning star,” it was the signal to him that the day was about to dawn. The bright and morning star was the visual guarantee that the brighter glory of the day was about to come. In Revelation 22:16, Jesus calls himself the bright and morning star, "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star." Members onlyApparently Jesus is simply stating that when we look up one day and see Jesus coming back for his church, it is our signal and pledge that the brighter glory of eternity with our Creator is coming! Without a basic understanding of practical astronomy, a Bible student can easily miss this powerful truth! (Alliance Members can click on the members only button to see an online animated lesson exlaining the bright and morning star).

What are the Pleiades?

Pleiades
The Pleiades star cluster, often referred to as the “seven stars” is a favorite target for stargazers with binoculars. The Pleiades are referenced in the Bible in Job 38:31,32, “Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, Or loose the belt of Orion?” The Pleiades are also mentioned in Job 9:9 and Amos 5:8. It is interesting to note that it wasn’t until recently that astronomers discovered that some groups of stars actually move together through space. The Pleiades is one such cluster. Not only do the stars in this group lie relatively close to each other, but they are gravitationally bound to each other and they are also traveling in the same direction. When the Bible stated that only the Lord could “bind the cluster of the Pleiades” it was literally revealing a scientific fact many years ahead of its time. Furthermore, the Bible specifically states that God made all of these stars!

What is Orion?

Orion Constellation
The constellation Orion is probably the most well-known constellation in the world. It is almost universally referred to as "the Hunter," and it dominates the winter sky in the northern hemisphere every year. Since it is positioned directly above the equator, it can be seen by people all over the world. It has two stars, Rigel and Betelgeuse, that are the 7th and 12th brightest stars in the night sky. Apparently, this constellation was very important to the ancients. Or at least, everyone was extremely familiar with it in Job's time, and this is why it is mentioned in the discourse of the book of Job (and in Amos 5:8).

Is the gospel in the stars?

The idea that the message of the gospel was found in the stars was popularized by E.W. Bullinger and Joseph Seiss. The books that they wrote concerning this can be found at our booths at homeschool conventions.

In Job 38:32, the Bible makes reference to the Mazzaroth. Apparently, this is in reference to the 12 signs of the zodiac. The zodiac in and of itself is not a mystical, astrological, or pagan concept. However, astrologers and heathens have associated the 12 signs of the zodiac with their false religions. Nevertheless, the 12 signs of the zodiac have their origin in true human history and there is good reason to believe that they originally had significance given by God unto early man.

If you were to watch the sun travel through the sky during any given day, you would find that the sun always travels across a certain “line” in the sky. This line that the sun passes through is called the ecliptic. The ecliptic is an imaginary circle on the celestial sphere that represents the sun’s apparent path during the year. This path travels through 12 known constellations, and these 12 constellations are called the zodiac.

Heathens have associated these 12 signs with their various mythologies and superstitions, but the original meaning of the zodiac was probably a message coded in the stars by God unto man about the coming redeemer. Of course, today we have the fullness of truth through the Word of God so we no longer need “coded messages.”

How can we see Distant Starlight in a young universe?

This important question is asked so regularly that we have devoted an entire section of the website to answering it. You can access this section by clicking here.

Is the universe expanding?

Certain measurements certainly make it appear as though the universe is expanding. The evidence for this is based on the redshift of light from certain galaxies. If a galaxy is moving away from us, then measurements of the galaxy's light will shift towards the red end of the color spectrum. This is called redshift. Redshift has primarily been interpreted as being caused by the doppler effect, meaning that the rapidly moving lightsource causes the light to redshift (like a police siren changes pitch as it moves away from you), or by the actual stretching of the light caused by the expansion of the universe. See this article - Why Does the Universe Appear to be Expanding?

No one know for sure if the universe is really expanding. However, the redshift of light is real, and it does seem to indicate that the universe is expanding. This is an exciting discovery! The Bible actually appears to makes to make reference to this. In at least 11 scriptures the Bible states that God "stretched out the heavens." This seems to explain the apparent expansion of the universe as indicated by redshift. The scriptures are included below:
  • Job 9:8 "[God] Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea."
  • Psalm 104:2 "Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain."
  • Isaiah 40:22 "It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in."
  • Isaiah 42:5 "Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein"
  • Isaiah 44:24 "Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself."
  • Isaiah 45:12 "I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded."
  • Isaiah 51:13 "And forgettest the LORD thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor?"
  • Jeremiah 10:12 "He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion."
  • Jeremiah 32:17 "Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee."
  • Jeremiah 51:15 "He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding."
  • Zechariah 12:1 "The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him."

What was the Star of Bethlehem?

The star of Bethelehem was another miraculous occurence. Of course many failed attempts have been made to explain what it was. Some men have tried to use legends concerning the behavior, names, and mythological beliefs of the planets to create a message in the stars that signaled the wise men. Others have said it was a comet. Some have tried to state that it was a special alignment of planets. Others have come up with other ideas. All of these explanations fail to explain what really took place.

The Bible plainly teaches in Matthew 2:9 that "…the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was." There is not a celestial object in the night sky that can possibly lead a group of men across miles of terrain to a specific house in a little town. The bright light that they saw literally led them to a single, solitary house. This was a miracle. However, this does not necessarily negate the possibility of the star being a true, historic, and astronomical event. Apparently there was a real astronomical event that led the wise men to Jerusalem. Once there, it appears that the Lord provided a miraculous sign to lead the wise men to the house where Jesus was.

However, there are 2 important messages that should be seen in this incredible story. First, it was the wise men (the Greek word used here teaches us that these men studied the stars) who were chosen by God to see and follow a light that led them to the Messiah. Therefore, it is apparent that God uses astronomy as a means of teaching and instructing. Furthermore, it is evident that only men who already had a familiarity with astronomy could have been used in such a way. Secondly, the experience was a foreshadow to our day and time when all are invited to follow the light of God's word to lead us to Jesus Christ. It is a universal invitation unto all!

The 4th Day Alliance gives a presentation regarding this topic. See the presentation list here. Additionally, we have posted a critical review about the Bethlehem Star presentation created by Rick Larsen.

Can Astronomy lead somebody to Jesus?

God can use practically anything to lead someone to Himself. However, it is true that astronomy has a special way of drawing people in towards an interest in their Creator. The following scriptures seem to express this very well:

Psalm 19:1-4 "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. 2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. 3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. 4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world…" Here the Bible declares that the heavens are a sign to the whole world that there is a Creator. The signs of the heavens cross all language and cultural barriers. Everyone on the planet can look up into the night sky and see the order of the astronomical universe that God placed their for us!

Romans 1:20 "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse." This scripture makes it clear that the signs in God's creation so clearly indicate to the world that THERE IS A CREATOR, that this truth will stand against all unbelievers on the day of judgment. In short, nobody will be able to stand before God on judgment day with an excuse and say, "I didn't know there was a God. Nobody told me." God's creation alone, particularly the creation of humanity and the order of the heavens is enough to make the entire world "without excuse."

Will there be signs in heaven before the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ?

The Bible has many references to the second coming of Jesus Christ which describe strange and dramatic events in the heavens associated with his coming. Since the order of the heavens is so stable and constant, any deviation from the norm would definitely be a signal to the world of some impending terror. Furthermore, heavenly signs can be visible by the entire world as opposed to some local earth-based sign. The following portions of scripture seem to associate heavenly signs with the coming of Jesus Christ: Matthew 24:29, 35; Revelation 6:12-13, Revelation 8:10-12.

However, it must be noted that many prophetic phrases use astronomically-associated terms as metaphoric language that denote judgment and destruction and should not always be taken in a literalistic sense. One must study the context of the scriptures to determine what the author is conveying. In any event, only time will tell what will become of this world…

How are Star Distances measured?

The answer to this question can be found on this page: How Are Star Distances Measured?