The Star of Bethlehem
by Rick Gerhardt
One of the questions that comes up at this time of year is "What was the star of Bethlehem?" That is, "How should we understand the phenomenon referred to in Matthew 2 as a 'star' that guided wise men out of the east to the place of the young Messiah?"
The modern scientific materialist has a couple of options. He may discount the account altogether, or he may seek some strictly natural explanation that explains the event and explains away the idea that it had anything to do with the appearance of God in human form.
We'll talk about strictly natural explanations in a moment (since it is an option available to the theist as well). But we can dismiss the materialist view itself, because it is an inaccurate understanding of the world in which we actually live. The term 'scientific materialist' frequently misleads folks; it is not a scientific view, one arrived at by consideration of the scientific evidence. Instead, it is a metaphysical view (a religious one), involving belief a priori (that is, 'before the evidence') that nature is the whole show and that there is no God.
But both the evidence and reason lead away from that view, confirming instead the Judeo-Christian understanding of the universe. To put it another way, scientific discoveries–and especially the biggest discoveries of the past century–powerfully confirm the metaphysical claims contained in the Bible, many of which anticipated those discoveries by thousands of years…
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