Star of Bethlehem Scientifically Confirms Biblical Events
Dr. Grant J. Mathews, a professor of theoretical astrophysics and cosmology at the University of Notre Dame and the director of the school’s Center for Astrophysics, believes the astronomical event that led the Magi to the manger where Jesus lay is quite real. The only dispute Mathews has with the Star of Bethlehem is that it may have not been a real star, since people of that time period would have perceived a star to be a bad omen.
“It’s probably not a ‘star’ somehow hovering over a manger and pointing a beam of light as we traditionally view it. Any new star or comet in the sky was usually taken as a harbinger of disaster at that time,” Mathews said. “It was most likely an unusual planetary alignment.”
Matthew 2:1-9 "Stars of Bethelehem " The Birth of the Messiah
If the planets were to align in that era, Mathews believes it was the “occurrence of the Sun, Moon, Jupiter, and Saturn in Aries, with Venus in the next-door constellation Pisces along with Mercury and Mars on the other side in the next constellation Taurus.” The ancient astronomer Ptolemy is said to corroborate this theory since the constellation Aries is associated with ancient Israel.
Michael Molnar published his own ideas on this theory in The Star of Bethlehem, and in a recent interview with Christianity Today he offered an exact date for when it occurred.
“I was amazed to find April 17, 6 B.C., was exactly when Jupiter was ‘in the East,’ a morning star,” Molnar said. “So I knew I had an answer to the Star of Bethlehem.”
This would mean that when the Bible speaks of the “the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was” would have referred to the planet Jupiter coming to rest in Aries.
“The other planets and the Sun and Moon being there would have strengthened this and held great significance to the Magi,” Matthews said. “That is why they would have arrived in Herod’s court to ask, ‘Where is new born ruler of Judea?'”
Out of all of Jesus miracles, Mathews said that such a planetary alignment is truly unique since it will not occur again for the next half a million years.