Atheist's Attacks

Answering Humanist's Accusations Against the Bible

Christian Resources

Science IS NOT Superior to the Bible?

Does the Bible teach comets, eclipses and meteors are signs from God?

THE HUMANIST'S CLAIM: Supernatural Signs in the Heavens

Bible stories led the Christian world to believe – for centuries – that God sends humankind signs in the heavens.

Christians thought comets warn of divine anger and imminent punishment;[42] stars and meteors portend beneficial events such as the birth of heroes and great men;[43] eclipses signify divine distress in response to events on earth;[44] and storms and other destructive weather result from the anger of God or the malice of Satan.[45]

Here are the references:

[42] White, Vol. I, p. 174, 175.

[43] White, Vol. I, pp. 171-173, 176.

[44] White, Vol. I, pp. 172, 173.

[45] White, Vol. I, pp. 331, 337.

If you've been reading these pages in sequence, you know that pretty much any claim that references Andrew White is false. I'm sure he has written some things that are factual, but they don't seem to be showing up on the humanist's web page attacking the Bible.

Let's do some digging and look at specific examples from White's book. My copy is a Kindle version, so I'm not able to see page numbers and look up the references listed above..

Theological Theory of Comets

We'll be looking at Andrew White's book "A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, Vol. II," This is chapter IV, titled: "From 'Signs And Wonders' To Law In The Heavens." I'm reading a Kindle version of this book and the quotes from this book (below) are identified by their Kindle location.

What initially strikes me upon reading this chapter is it is packed with general statements about Christians believing things such as comets were signs from God. Here's an example:

"Myriads of good men in the Christian Church down to a recent period saw in the appearance of comets not merely an exhibition of 'signs in the heavens' foretold in Scripture, but also Divine warnings of vast value to humanity as incentives to repentance and improvement of life-warnings, indeed, so precious that they could not be spared without danger to the mortal government of the world." (Kindle location 3564)

Over and over White infers that beliefs in signs were supported by scripture, but he never gives a specific scripture reference. It makes no difference if the whole world believes something is Biblical, if it is not in accordance with what scripture actually says, it is not true.

White references historical Christians... let's look at an example. I picked John Knox (1513-1572) because he is well-known and respected. He was a leader of Scottish Reformation and founder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. White writes:

"John Knox saw in comets tokens of the wrath of Heaven... " (Kindle location 3640)

White references Knox's "Histoire of the Reformation of Religion Within The Realm of Scotland" as his source, but gives no page number, nor even a chapter. I'm looking at a copy of this book right now. It is 677 pages. Who knows where the comment about comets might be buried, if it is there at all. Calvin College has a searchable copy online. But a searches "comet" and "comets" turned up nothing.

It is Scripture That is Important, Not People's Opinions

I read all of White's chapter, and there was not one scripture reference. Even if Knox believed comets were tokens of the wrath of heaven, if this belief is not supported by scripture (and it is not), then it is not Biblical.

Yes, people professing to be Christian believed that comets were signs of a coming disaster. Pope Calixtus III (1455-1458) excommunicated Halley's Comet*, considering it to be from Satan. But that says nothing about what scripture actually teaches. And White provides no evidence at all that scripture teaches any of the above claims the humanists make... White just asserts they are true and gives examples of people who supposedly believed these superstitions.

Ulrich Zwingli, A Giant of the Reformation

White writes: "Zwingli, boldest of the greater Reformers in shaking off traditional beliefs, could not shake off this, and insisted that the comet of 1531 betokened calamity." (Kindle location 3674). White gives no supporting reference for this statement.

I selected Zwingli because I have references that mention a conversation Zwingli's had about Halley's comet. The following is from "Ulrich Zwingli, the Patriotic Reformer: A History" by William Maxwell Blackburn (1868) page 286.

It was the famous comet of 1456 and 1531. It created a terror through all the land. The learned men of that day were not free from superstitious notions in regard to such appearances. "What may that star signify?" inquired the abbot (George Miller inquiring of Zwingli). "It will light me," replied Zwingli, "and many an honest man in this confederacy, to our graves."

Yes, Zwingli was superstitious about comets. He apparently believed Halley's comet was a sign that he, and other reformers, would die. Does that mean the Bible teaches that comets are a sign of God's anger and coming punishment? No. What it means is that Zwingli embraced the superstitious beliefs of his time.

Scripture Says...

In Genesis 1:14 we read: Then God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;

What are these "signs" scripture refers to?

The Hebrew word translated as signs is Strong's 226, which means a beacon, monument, a reminder of one's duty. For example, the rainbow is a sign... it is a reminder of the Noahic Covenant in which God promises never to flood the entire world again. What are the sun, moon and stars a reminder of?

1 They are a testimony to God (Psalm 8 and Psalm 19, and Romans 1:14-20)

2. The are a reminder of divine judgment (end times judgments in Joel 2:30 & 31, and Matthew 24:29)

3. They are signs guiding navigation (Matthew 2:1 & 2)

Nowhere does scripture say that the sun, moon and stars are signs of divine anger and imminent punishment, the birth or death of prominent people, or of divine anger as the result of an event or action on earth.

Does God Cause Natural Disasters?

No. There have been very limited and unique times in the past when God worked supernaturally and caused natural disasters. There is a time coming, called the Tribulation, during which God will cause huge "natural" disasters. But, God does not cause natural disasters today. Natural disasters are... natural. They result from the fall and the broken natural of all of creation. And God allows the consequences of our sin, some of which are natural disasters, to run their course.

Conclusion: There is nothing in the Bible supporting the notion that signs in heaven foretell the future (disasters, births, deaths, etc.) nor that they are signs of God's anger. Believing in signs in the stars is a superstition that began early in fallen man's history, and continues today. Just look for the daily astrology predictions in your local news paper.

What's next? Additional Errors About the Physical World

The Bible has verses mentioning dragons (Jeremiah 51:34), unicorns (Isaiah 34:7), and cockatrices (Isaiah 11:8). These passages led many naturalists in the Middle Ages to think such mythical creatures actually exist.[46]

This is an interesting one... I love "dragons" in particular. Were they real? Did people and dragons live together? Get the fascinating answer here...