Good Heavens!  The Human Side of Astronomy
The First Star - Are Modern Scientific Theories and Scripture Compatible?

The First Star - Are Modern Scientific Theories and Scripture Compatible?

January 21, 2022

Was there a first star? If so, how did it form? Believe it or not, the secular material sciences have no real evidence to support theoretical models of how the first stars came to be or how the stars we see today came into existence. 

How then should we as Christians best understand naturalist models of the cosmos that take no account for God's glory? 

On this special episode of Good Heavens! Dan offers some reflections about the nature of scientific models and Christian theology. 

Book mentioned by Dr. Emma Chapman 

Podbean enables our podcast to be on Apple Podcasts and other major podcast platforms.  To support Good Heavens! on Podbean as a patron, you can use the Podbean app, or go to https://patron.podbean.com/goodheavens.  This goes to Wayne Spencer. If you would like to give to the ministry of Watchman Fellowship or to Daniel Ray, you can donate at https://www.watchman.org/daniel. Donations to Watchman are tax deductible.

How the Heavens Declare the Glory of God

How the Heavens Declare the Glory of God

January 2, 2022

Below is a link to a great new video on Daniel Ray's YouTube channel.  Dan is presenting this at an apologetics conference in New Orleans, January 3, 2022, called DEFEND.  This is at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. 

Dan brings together a number of scriptures and astronomy facts that have been discussed on the Good Heavens podcast.  The link is provided here just for Good Heavens listeners on Podbean. 

Video presentation
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBOEWiSoPcU

The DEFEND apologetics conference

https://defendthefaith.net/

 

The Star of Bethlehem - What Did the Magi See? Part 2

The Star of Bethlehem - What Did the Magi See? Part 2

December 27, 2021

This is a special combined Christmas episode with our sister podcast Apologetics Profile. 

The wondrous gift is giv’n!
So God imparts to human hearts
the blessings of his heav’n.
No ear may hear his coming,
but in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive him, still
the dear Christ enters in. How silently, how silently,

You have likely heard or sung these very lines over the course of the last few weeks. They are a verse from Philip Brooks' 1868 Christmas hymn O Little Town of Bethlehem.  Bethlehem means "house of bread." It is called the "city of David" and is the birthplace of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, prophesied as Immanuel, God with us, the star of Jacob, the sun of righteousness.

Bethlehem is a fitting name for the place where the very bread of life Himself would come into the world as an infant, as a man, for man. The One who made the stars with the breath of His mouth drew his first infant breath under the starry skies of a lowly Judean province. As Charles Wesley's famous 1739 Christmas hymn proclaims:

Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Hark! The herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King!

On part two of our discussion about the star of Bethlehem, we discuss more of the Scripture, background and history of what the star the Magi saw in the east may have been.

Though another Christmas has come and gone so quickly, let us never forget that the real star of Bethlehem was not the star itself, but the bright and morning star (Rev. 22:16, the star of Jacob (Num. 24:17), the Creator of the stars and the entire cosmos (Gen. 1:1,14; Col. 1:16-20; John 1:1-14), incarnate as a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger (Luke 2).

Wayne Spencer's article on The Star of Bethlehem. 

Brady Blevins' profile on Zoroastrianism. 

If you like Good Heavens! be sure to check out our sister podcast Apologetics Profile, also produced and hosted by Dan. 

Podbean enables our podcast to be on Apple Podcasts and other major podcast platforms.  To support Good Heavens! on Podbean as a patron, you can use the Podbean app, or go to https://patron.podbean.com/goodheavens.  This goes to Wayne Spencer. If you would like to give to the ministry of Watchman Fellowship or to Daniel Ray, you can donate at https://www.watchman.org/daniel. Donations to Watchman are tax deductible.

Stars, Song, and the Incarnation - Christmas with Dr. Christina George

Stars, Song, and the Incarnation - Christmas with Dr. Christina George

December 23, 2021

The ancient way of understanding creation included a harmonious relationship between man and the cosmos we inhabit. This included the wonderful notion of creation being able to “sing” and declare the glory and radiant praise of the One who created everything, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Music and song are as much an integral part of creation as are the air we breathe and the food we eat.  But this enchanted and sacred way of understanding the cosmos is largely lost to our culture today. How might we recapture it?

On this special Christmas edition of Good Heavens! we talk with musicologist Christina George about music, song, creation and how they all point us to Christ Jesus our Lord.

Dr. Christie George is a pianist and musicologist from the Pacific Northwest. Her research centers around music’s place within the academy and changing conceptions of good taste insofar as taste relates to the nature of the self and one’s apprehension and perception of beauty. She has written and presented on topics including taste and the philosophy of art, German Idealism, the role of the self in contemporary worship music, and the phenomenology of Jean-Luc Marion at conferences in the U.S. and Europe. She currently serves as Assistant Professor of Music at Sterling College where she teaches courses in Applied Piano, Aural Skills, Music History, and Music Theory.

https://cjgeorge.com/
Antiphons mentioned in this broadcast. 

Ad Missam in Vigilia, Gradual: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3l68I7zAuhU

J.A.C. Redford, "O Oriens": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5OppzQgMZI

Podbean enables our podcast to be on Apple Podcasts and other major podcast platforms.  To support Good Heavens! on Podbean as a patron, you can use the Podbean app, or go to https://patron.podbean.com/goodheavens.  This goes to Wayne Spencer. If you would like to give to the ministry of Watchman Fellowship or to Daniel Ray, you can donate at https://www.watchman.org/daniel. Donations to Watchman are tax deductible.

The Star of Bethlehem - What Did the Magi See? Part 1

The Star of Bethlehem - What Did the Magi See? Part 1

December 20, 2021

This is a special combined Christmas episode with our sister podcast Apologetics Profile.  

When we think of stars today, the first thing that may often come to mind are celebrities, Hollywood stars. If one evening you found yourself underneath the glowing industrial-scale light pollution of Los Angeles, you're probably more likely to see a famous celebrity than any single star in the sky. We are more likely to follow celebrities nowadays than we are stars in the sky.

If you happen to be a professional or amateur astronomer, however, perhaps your interests lie in knowing what stars are made of, their colors, distance from Earth, age, radius, in what constellation they may be found, or if they have a companion.

But why are there any stars in the sky to begin with? Are the uncountable multitude of celestial diadems just a freak accident of nature? Is that just the way the universe is? Is there any deeper purpose or meaning to them beyond just their quantitative, scientific aspects? Modern science cannot answer such questions. Some secular scientists even suggest asking these questions is a waste of time and a fool's errand.

One interpretation of the stars suggests there is no greater meaning than their physical nature. They just exist and that's it. Modern science suggests the atoms in our bodies actually came from the stars and by studying them we can know more about our origins, existence, and future.

Another interpretation is that the stars and constellations hold secrets about our births, our respective personalities and our future, our fate.

Biblically, the stars are creations of Christ. They don't tell us our future. They don't tell us more about ourselves, our personalities, or about what we ought to do with our lives or who we should marry.

They are not finally about us.

Stars, and the heavens in which they reside, all declare the glory of God. They were created for signs and for seasons and for days and years. They were created through Christ Jesus and for Him. They are numbered and named by God Himself. They are silent messengers of divine glory. The LORD Himself told Abram that his descendants would be as the multitude of the stars in the sky. And in Revelation 22:16 Jesus identifies Himself as the "bright and morning Star."

So then it is no surprise that we find reference to a star in Matthew's gospel. A single, silent, enigmatic sign that led wise men, the Magi, to Jerusalem to inquire about He who had been born King of the Jews.

But what was the star? What exactly did the Magi see? Was it an actual astronomical phenomena or a miraculous manifestation of light?

On this special two-part combined Christmas episode of Apologetics Profile and our sister podcast Good Heavens! we discuss the many ideas that have been proposed for what Matthew's star may have been. But more importantly, we offer a reminder of who the star is really all about.

So like the Magi and the shepherds did, come and lift your eyes up on high and see what the star and the angels proclaimed long ago. Come and see wonders await you in discovering Immanuel, God with us, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Wayne Spencer's article on The Star of Bethlehem. 

Brady Blevins'' profile on Zoroastrianism. 

If you like Good Heavens! be sure to check out our sister podcast Apologetics Profile, also produced and hosted by Dan.  

Podbean enables our podcast to be on Apple Podcasts and other major podcast platforms.  To support Good Heavens! on Podbean as a patron, you can use the Podbean app, or go to https://patron.podbean.com/goodheavens.  This goes to Wayne Spencer. If you would like to give to the ministry of Watchman Fellowship or to Daniel Ray, you can donate at https://www.watchman.org/daniel. Donations to Watchman are tax deductible.

The Sun and the Glory of God - Part 2

The Sun and the Glory of God - Part 2

December 5, 2021

The sun is blinding and deadly (if we got too close to it) yet it is also life-giving and sustains the planets in their orbits. How can something so lethal to our existence also be so necessary for our existence? 

The sun reminds us of God's attributes in this regard. God is holy and dwells in unapproachable light. No human being can look upon or be in the presence of God's unmitigated holiness and not perish. But God is also absolutely necessary for the existence of the universe, our solar system, our sun, and our very lives. We cannot look upon His face and live and yet He upholds the universe by the word of His power, sending rain and sunshine on the just and unjust alike. 

In the person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, we can come into His presence. Our God is both a sun and shield. At once holy and lethal but also our protector and advocate in Jesus. 

On part two of our episodes on the sun, we discuss some of the fascinating and God-glorifying aspects of the sun, everything from coronal mass ejections, helium, hydrogen, Fraunhofer lines, to how it will one day be no more. 

From it's creation to its darkening at the cross to the end of its days when the Lord Jesus returns and recreates the heavens and the earth, the sun, like a good and faithful servant, has declared the glory of God. So come and see (but wear eye protection and don't look at the sun directly!) 

We hope these episodes will edify and encourage you in your walk with Christ. And if you're not a believer, we hope they give you some light into the nature of who Jesus is. 1 Cor. 10:31. 

Podbean enables our podcast to be on Apple Podcasts and other major podcast platforms.  To support Good Heavens! on Podbean as a patron, you can use the Podbean app, or go to https://patron.podbean.com/goodheavens.  This goes to Wayne Spencer. If you would like to give to the ministry of Watchman Fellowship or to Daniel Ray, you can donate at https://www.watchman.org/daniel. Donations to Watchman are tax deductible.

The Sun and the Glory of God - Part 1

The Sun and the Glory of God - Part 1

November 27, 2021

How does our sun point us to the glory of God? It's massive! It would take 109 planet Earths to cover the 864,000-mile diameter of the sun. It's blinding, powerful, and according to modern science, the sun sits on an invisible, fireproof canvass of space-time fabric! 

It is truly a wonder to behold. As long as man has lived and moved upon the Earth, humans have studied our nearest star, worshiped it, sweated underneath its heat, performed rituals by it, kept time with it, raised crops with it, and sent satellites and telescopes up into the heavens to observe it more closely. 

And for everything we do know about it, there remains much mystery. 

So come along with Wayne and Dan and see the sun as a marvelous creation of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Bible describes God as a "sun and shield" in Psalm 84:11.  The sun and all stars give Him praise (Ps. 148:1-3). 

 

Podbean enables our podcast to be on Apple Podcasts and other major podcast platforms.  To support Good Heavens! on Podbean as a patron, you can use the Podbean app, or go to https://patron.podbean.com/goodheavens.  This goes to Wayne Spencer. If you would like to give to the ministry of Watchman Fellowship or to Daniel Ray, you can donate at https://www.watchman.org/daniel. Donations to Watchman are tax deductible.

The Beauty of the Pleiades!

The Beauty of the Pleiades!

November 8, 2021

You may have mistaken them for the Little Dipper - a small little bluish-white cluster of stars that look like a cart, a plough, or to some even a question mark. It is the asterism (stars that are not a constellation but a smaller group of stars within a larger constellation) of Taurus the Bull, visible in the early fall mornings and clear wintry nights. 

Poems, stories, songs and myths surround this beauteous gem of the night skies. A Japanese auto manufacturer even features them as their main logo. The nineteenth-century English poet Alfred Lloyd Tennyson penned these famous lines about them: 

Many a night I saw the Pleiades rising thro’ the mellow shade,

Glittering like a swarm of fireflies, tangled in a silver braid.

They have been useful to many cultures for keeping time, knowing directions, and as an aid in knowing when to plant and harvest crops. They are recorded in the Old Testament, and in the ancient Greek poetry of Homer, Hesiod, and Aratus. They are M-45 in the famous catalogue of 18th-century astronomer Charles Messier. 

Just as Jesus intended them to be. 

And, by the way, all of that is just a sampling of how the heavens do indeed declare the glory of God!  So come along with Wayne and Dan as they explore the wonder, stories, and science behind an ancient and wondrous little cluster of stars we call the Pleiades.

To see a great picture of the Pleiades and read more see Wayne's Blog article below:
https://creationanswers.net/answersblog

Podbean enables our podcast to be on Apple Podcasts and other major podcast platforms.  To support Good Heavens! on Podbean as a patron, you can use the Podbean app, or go to https://patron.podbean.com/goodheavens.  This goes to Wayne Spencer. If you would like to give to the ministry of Watchman Fellowship or to Daniel Ray, you can donate at https://www.watchman.org/daniel. Donations to Watchman are tax deductible.

Photo credit:  NASA, ESA, AURA/Caltech, Palomar Observatory

Fractals - The Secret Code of Creation - Part 2 - with Dr. Jason Lisle

Fractals - The Secret Code of Creation - Part 2 - with Dr. Jason Lisle

November 1, 2021

If God does not exist, then why does the universe exist? Why is there something rather than nothing?  Any naturalistic theory about the existence of our universe inevitably finds itself addressing the concepts of infinity and eternity. It's unavoidable. You cannot explain the existence of the cosmos without invoking eternality. 

This is precisely the meaning of Romans 1:18-20. Through what God has made, all mankind has clearly seen God's invisible attributes, which would include His timeless and eternal nature. 

Discovered in the late 1970s and early 80s, the mathematical universe of fractals known as the Mandelbrot Set remind us of God's infinite nature - His infinite wisdom, beauty, creativity, intelligence, power, and glory. No one had anticipated that such a small equation, Z squared plus C, run through computers, would yield such a dazzling array of shapes and patters known as fractals. 

An infinite universe of complexity, wonder, and amazing design await you! So come and see what more the fractals of the Mandelbrot Set have to tell us about the God of the Bible, the Lord Jesus Christ.

YouTube link for Part 1
https://youtu.be/_dACmhvSsTo

YouTube link for Part 2
https://youtu.be/ztXawHYORzI

For more on Dr. Lisle's work: 

https://biblicalscienceinstitute.com/dr-lisle/

Fractals - The Secret Code of Creation: 

https://biblicalscienceinstitute.com/product/fractals/

Podbean enables our podcast to be on Apple Podcasts and other major podcast platforms.  To support Good Heavens! on Podbean as a patron, you can use the Podbean app, or go to https://patron.podbean.com/goodheavens.  This goes to Wayne Spencer. If you would like to give to the ministry of Watchman Fellowship or to Daniel Ray, you can donate at https://www.watchman.org/daniel. Donations to Watchman are tax deductible.

Fractals - The Secret Code of Creation - Part 1 with Dr. Jason Lisle

Fractals - The Secret Code of Creation - Part 1 with Dr. Jason Lisle

October 24, 2021

In the late 1970s and early 80s, mathematicians and computer engineers made a remarkable discovery.  An entirely new universe of pure mathematics. 

Not a computer glitch. Not human design. Not a fluke of nature. Not anything that could be explained by chance. But an infinite series of stunning fractal patterns and designs that came from computer calculations of a very simple equation. 

 Z squared plus C. 

Plugging in different variables for Z, then substituting each answer back into the equation, the computers plotted out each answer on a graph. The results? Never-before scenes of breathtaking, complex designs, running on infinitely on different scales. 

And as our guest on this episode of Good Heavens! argues, these patterns and designs ultimately come from the mind of God, reflecting His infinite glory. There can be no mathematics without God. 

"Great are the works of the Lord, they are studied by all who delight in them" the psalmist proclaims (Psalm 111:2).  

An infinite universe of complexity, wonder, and amazing design await you! So come and see what the fractals of the Mandelbrot Set have to tell us about the God of the Bible, the Lord Jesus Christ.

For more on Dr. Lisle's work: 

https://biblicalscienceinstitute.com/dr-lisle/

Fractals - The Secret Code of Creation: 

https://biblicalscienceinstitute.com/product/fractals/

See also this Good Heavens! program on YouTube:
https://youtu.be/_dACmhvSsTo

Podbean enables our podcast to be on Apple Podcasts and other major podcast platforms.  To support Good Heavens! on Podbean as a patron, you can use the Podbean app, or go to https://patron.podbean.com/goodheavens.  This goes to Wayne Spencer. If you would like to give to the ministry of Watchman Fellowship or to Daniel Ray, you can donate at https://www.watchman.org/daniel. Donations to Watchman are tax deductible.

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