The question – and it’s a great one – that the author convincingly attempts to answer, is who named these constellations …and why?
Story In The Stars – Discovering God’s Design and Plan for Our Universe
FaithWords / Hatchette Book Group
ISBN: 978-1-5460-1074-6 (trade paperback)
Founder of the Christian Research Group (2018), author, teacher, and TV host (Canada’s 100 Huntley Street) Joe Amaral has turned his gaze to the night sky in the fascinating FaithWords book, Story In The Stars – Discovering God’s Design and Plan for Our Universe. Carefully delineating the difference between astrology (studying stars and planetary formations as a predictive guide) versus astronomy, which is simply a measured study of the heavens, the author proceeds to illustrate God’s sovereign design of the stars and planets. Of course, Biblically literate readers will know that astrology is forbidden in scripture – but it might surprise some to realize that the Bible is full of references to the night sky that indicate that God put His message in the stars so that all languages and cultures would be able to look up and see a picture-story of His plan of redemption for man.
“They know the truth about God,” declares Romans 1:19-20, “because He has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God has made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” This passage from the New Testament as well as several references to the old (Psalm 19:1-4, states that ‘the heavens declare the glory of God,’ and that the skies wordlessly ‘pour forth speech …to the ends of the world’) buttress the author’s argument for the inescapable collusion between, yes - even the signs of the zodiac, and the story of the Gospel. For those that read that last sentence with raised eyebrows, Amaral points to Biblical passages – in Job, for instance – that mention constellations and star formation by name that are clearly what we’ve come to know as the signs of the zodiac, from Virgo (The Virgin) to Leo (The Lion).
The question, and it’s a great one, which the author convincingly attempts to answer is who named these constellations …and why? After all, looking up at the stars that form these heavenly pictures, no one actually sees a virgin, a serpent, a lion, a bull, etc. Yet “every major civilization,” points out Amaral, “has always seen the exact …constellations” Through Biblical study as well as information from the historian Josephus, Story In The Stars – Discovering God’s Design and Plan for Our Universe makes a convincing and reasonable case for God as the designer and namer of the constellations.
Using scientific astronomical software to trace star formations back through the centuries, the author makes an intriguing argument for major star-activity and interaction with key events in Jesus’ life, from His birth, to resurrection and ascension – being sure to make no implications about dating Christ’s return. For those that are less scientifically or mathematically oriented (like myself), there might be a moment or three where the eyes might glaze over – and there might be a claim or two that are a bit presumptuous – but there’s a lot of good information in this book that any Bible-believing reader will want to consider.
The author mixes scholarly work with a friendly ‘wow, how about that’ style that keeps things down to earth (no pun intended) and is careful not to ruffle theological feathers with outrageous or non-Biblical claims. A respect of orthodox Christianity and the personal atoning work of Christ cannot be missed in the text and there’s much to learn that might surprise the reader – for example, Amaral points out that the Big Bang Theory is historically a Christian point of view first posited in 1927 by Georges Lemaitre, a Roman Catholic Priest! This fascinating subject is worthy of looking into and Story In The Stars – Discovering God’s Design and Plan for Our Universe is an excellent overview and introduction. Besides, the author reveals he’s a Stryper fan in the Acknowledgements section. That’s gotta’ count for something.
- Bert Saraco