Wonder in the Science Classroom

To study science increases our wonder at the majesty and mystery of God.

Susan Koppendrayer

After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:9-11

Have you ever wondered what exactly was the Star of Bethlehem? We can use scientific tools to explore what it might have been, but, as is common with many wondrous acts of God, sometimes we find that there may not even be a scientific explanation. The best and truest scientists (and science teachers!) embrace wonder!

Here are two articles, one secular and one Christian, that look at the Star of Bethlehem in a way that allows for the possibility of a miracle.   

This article from secular Space.com quotes professor of theoretical astrophysics and cosmology at the University of Notre Dame, Grant Mathews: “Nothing in science is ever case closed, nor is it in history,” Mathews said. “We may never know if the Star of Bethlehem was a conjunction, astrological event or a fable to advance Christianity. Maybe it was simply a miracle.”

The article from the Christian publication, Answers in Genesis, discusses the science and ultimately concludes “that the Star of Bethlehem cannot be explained by science! It was a temporary and supernatural light. After all, was not the first Christmas a time of miracles?”

While the tools of science may someday be able to explain the light that led the three wise men to that baby born in Bethlehem, even scientists agree that there may be no scientific explanation at all! Like our science teachers within the Greater Pittsburgh Christian Schools Network, it takes a wonder-filled scientist and science teacher to be able to embrace mystery.

Leave a Reply