Saturday, March 26, 2016

You Won't Believe What the Bear Said Next...

(h/t Fr. Z) Rick Larson, a lawyer and law professor, believes he has found signs of Christ's birth and crucifixion using astronomy software. He believes he has found the exact celestial events that led the wise men from the east to Bethlehem a couple of years after Jesus' birth. He has a professionally-produced video that is compelling and inspiring. The Bear brings it up now, because he also finds significant signs when Jesus was crucified.

Would God, at the moment of creation, bake into the universe (1) the celestial mechanics and local components of our solar system; (2) the astronomical science of the correct time; and (3) the symbolism of ancient times still recognizable today, just to communicate with not only the Magi, but us? He certainly could have.

The one caveat is that the math depends on a death date of Herod the Great of 1 B.C. instead of the typically accepted 4 B.C. That pulls all events closer in time, including the birth of Christ. The weight of scholarship is against Dr. Larson. However, the story he tells through signs in the sky put a heavy thumb on the scale for the late date of Herod's death (1 B.C.).

You've really got to watch the DVD. (Bear is not providing a YouTube link because the guy deserves to get paid for his work.) The name of the DVD is Star of Bethlehem, and Larson's site is . His presentation is a bit enthusiastic in an evangelical way, but that shouldn't cause anyone problems. It is definitely worth the eight or nine bucks it will cost you at Amazon.

Now he is working on finding proof for the earthquake that is recorded at Jesus' death.

Bear gives Star of Bethlehem 5 Fish.


In local news, the cute chick-in-a-teacup would need a big cereal bowl now. Our little peepers have grown into monstrous little ungainly dinosaur creatures with huge, gross feet. And it looks like they slipped a Rhode Island Red into the package.

Blanquette, Holly and Ava are all pregnant for the Easter season. PLEASE, LORD, GIVE US GIRLS THIS TIME! We have no use for more boys. Really. Except for kebabs.

Ivy, a.k.a. "The People's Goat," suffered some sort of injury when he was butted in the head by Goatburger, our big Boer. Why the shepherdess hasn't given him the thumbs down long ago, Bear doesn't know. Bear thinks she's settled on the end of June, when's he's fattened up, though. Bear is not allowed to kill anything. He doesn't understand, unless they're still holding 1976 against him. We don't know if Ivy can't see, or there's neurological damage, or what, but he's not right. Who knew goats could hurt one another while playing?


The Bear's mate just asked him if he was doing anything on some story about Muslims trying to kill people somewhere, and he said no. "Dog bites man story." The Bear is waiting for a whole mosque to have a candlelight vigil for victims and offer a sincere condemnation of violence. Now, that would be a story. Yeah, and the Bear's going to win a Pulitzer Prize for this ephemeris.

Muslims killing people isn't news; it's a trait.


  1. The issue I have with attempts to find natural astronomical proof of the Star of Bethlehem is precisely the assumption that it was a natural light instead of supernatural origin. There's subtle modernism present when the assumption is that every sign like that must have a natural cause--even if pre-arranged by God. Perhaps not everyone could even see it, and might have been an apparition for the Magi. After all, if it stopped over Bethlehem and visible to all from Jerusalem, wouldn't there at least be some curious folks from Jerusalem?

    "He believes he has found the exact celestial events that led the wise men from the east to Bethlehem a couple of years after Jesus' birth."
    According to Matthew the Magi adored the Child in Bethlehem. Why would Joseph and Mary still be in Bethlehem a couple of years after Jesus' birth? They lived in Nazareth.

    In the CE at there is discussion of these things including the issue of a supernatural cause.

    Does Fr. Larson wrestle with any of this?

    Finding evidence of the earthquake at the crucifixion is a different case in that even if of supernatural cause it would have natural effects.

    I saw your comment over at Fr Z's where he's trying to wrangle with dates. As it happens, the Annunciation and the Crucifixion occur on the same day this year March 25th. Rorate has a cross-post on that with the tradition that He died on March 25th in the Julian calendar. Not only is there the aspect described there about the full circle completing in Christ's life, but my understanding is that there was a Jewish tradition that the prophets were conceived and died on the same day. It would make sense there too for Jesus to adhere to that tradition as a further sign, even if that was just a tradition of men.

    At any rate, Fr Z is pointing to April 3, 33. A funny thing about dates when you go back in history. In 1582, Gregory had 11 days skipped to adjust the Julian calendar. [St Teresa had a particularly long moment of death. Dying in morning following Oct 4th, she died on Oct 15th.] So, just where is Fr. Z getting April 3rd? Did some programmer overlook day skipping in an electronic calendar? March 25th to April 3rd is 9 days, and I'm not sure how many other special day skips or additions were done previously to calendars.

    1. Oops 10 days skipped, not 11. See how tricky keeping track of those days are?

    2. Maybe I just think it's a really cool idea. The astronomy is inarguable. Once you know the "launch date" the math is infallible. I am positive you are well-versed enough in scripture to find references to signs in the heaven. It's almost like an "Easter egg," a hidden little surprise for folks in the late 20th century to discovery. So I don't have any problem with it being natural, although of course it could have been supernatural. The thing that keeps me from being pushed from "really cool" to convinced is the impossibility of establishing dates with certainty. Unless Dr. Larson's findings are taken themselves as evidence which corrects the dates, hmmm?

  2. On the note of why they might still be in Bethlehem, Matthew 2:22 indicates Bethlehem, or at any rate Judea, the province Bethlehem was in, is where Joseph initially planned to go on coming back from Egypt, and going to Nazareth was a change of plans. Presumably they had been in Bethlehem long enough to put down some roots.

    On natural v. supernatural, I really don't see the modernism in supposing that it was quite likely natural. All the Scripture says is that there was a star. If anything, an actual real star out there in space makes the Church's claims MORE solid, not less, though of course a supernatural light which appeared as a star from Earth would also fit the bill. I always enjoy finding Scriptural claims which are true on multiple levels.

    All that said, nothing wrong with taking this kind of thing with a grain of salt. I seem to recall a story (won't vouch for accuracy) that when Fr Lemaitre presented his theory the Pope wanted to publish a pronouncement that this proved the Catholic account that the universe had a beginning, but Fr Lemaitre dissuaded him saying, "it's just science."

  3. Dr. Larson's explanation is discussed in the Wikipedia article on the Star of Bethlehem as one of six possible astronomical explanations:

    Heliacal Rising
    Double Occultation
    Jupiter's Annual Cycle
    Positioning of Regulus, Jupiter and Venus

    Scroll down the page here to read a summary:

    All that said, I agree with what Hrodgar wrote above about Father LeMaitre, the originator of the Big Bang Theory. Scientific theories are simply that: "A supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, especially one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained." Such a supposition or system of ideas can and must change when new facts conflicting the old theory are discovered. So while Dr. Larson's work is commendable, it is not a basis for verifying and validating the Faith. But it is fascinating.


Moderation is On.

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