Sunday, December 25, 2005

Inconsistent Secularists: An Unexpected Christmas Gift

The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the firmament sheweth his handiwork.

Those were not the words that I expected to be inscribed in stone above the entrance to the Moorhead Planetarium on the campus of the University of North Carolina. My Adult Bible Fellowship class (Sunday School for those of you who aren’t up on church growth lingo) went to the planetarium show on “The Star of Bethlehem” last weekend. Despite several positive recommendations from people who had seen the show in previous years, I expected a naturalistic presentation of non-supernatural explanations for the phenomenon with some religious window dressing.

What I saw instead was a careful look at some possible naturalistic explanations tempered with occasional referenced to the possibility of supernatural activity and tied together by the conclusion of Johannes Kepler, one of the first astronomers to investigate the origin of the star. The final word on the star in the planetarium show, spoken in a reverent tone, was that Kepler “believed it was a miracle.”

Even more remarkable was the attention the presentation devoted to the texts of Scripture that describe the phenomenon of the star. I’ve read evangelical commentators who go to far greater lengths to offer naturalistic interpretations of texts that are acceptable to the secularists. I’ve heard some sermons in my life that interacted far less with Scripture. I’ve even heard a whole pile of them that demonstrated far less interest in faithfulness to the authorial intent of the text.

So is the fact that a school in the North Carolina state university system would allow such faithfulness to the text of Scripture a miracle in itself? Could it at least be enough to make me question my cessationist leanings? Well, perhaps not, but it was an unexpected Christmas blessing, and I’m thankful for it.

If you're ever in the Chapel Hill area around Christmas, check it out. It runs through January 8th.

Go ‘Heels!

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