Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
Have you heard about the brilliant comet that is to pass Earth toward the end of this year? They say it will be so bright in the sky, as bright as a full moon, that this is not only a once in a lifetime astronomical event, but a once in a civilization astronomical event.
What does it mean?
What do you mean Mr. Archbold, "what does it mean?" It means that a ball of ice and gas, warmed by the Sun, will reflect light toward earth. That's what it means, nothing else. We do not look to the sky for warnings or prognostication, we are modern, civilized.
I suppose I agree with that. But...
As Christians, we do believe that God has used astronomical events in this way before, most notably the Star of Bethlehem. God chose to use a celestial sign, most likely the alignment of planets according to one theory, to foretell and to announce the birth of His Son. So we must acknowledge that God can and has done this before.
So I suppose the question should more properly be phrased, "Would God use celestial signs again to announce, poke, or prod modern man?"
I think this is more a question about us than it is about God. Ancient man looked to the skies and wondered about God and what he might be trying to tell us. Modern man looks at our navels wondering nought. What God might be trying to tell us via his creation is the furthest thing from our minds. When we do look to the heavens, it is with a hubris that discounts the Creator the further we can see into His creation.
A case can be made that God used celestial signs in the past because the eyes of the ancients were turned upwards. So how would God try to reach modern man, be it His will to do so? Where are the eyes of modern man looking? If a celestial light show would not lead us to ponder the state of our soul, what might?
If God really wished to get our attention, I think he would have to point that comet straight at us. Truth be told, that might not even do it.
I suppose as a last resort, He might send us His Mother to remind us to look up?