“Only knowledge from above can Move us forward.”
On Christopher Columbus’ fourth voyage to the New World in 1503, he and his crew became stranded on the island of Jamaica. Columbus’ food supply was almost gone, and his ship was too badly damaged to repair [worms had eaten through the wooden hull].
At first, the Jamaicans gave Columbus and his crew food and supplies. When Columbus and his crew were not rescued after many months, the Jamaicans finally refused to give them any additional food.
Columbus did not want his crew to starve, so he came up with a plan. Columbus could tell from his navigational tables that there would be a total lunar eclipse on February 29, 1504. He decided to schedule a meeting with the Jamaicans for that night.
At the meeting, Columbus told the Jamaicans that God was not happy about how they were treating him and his crew, so God was going to take away the Moon as a sign of his unhappiness! After Columbus told this to them, the lunar eclipse began. This terrified the Jamaicans! They pleaded with Columbus to bring back the Moon, and they said he could have all the food he wanted.
Columbus told them that he would have to go talk to God. Instead, he snuck away to watch an hourglass that he had timed so he would know exactly when the eclipse would end. Right before the lunar eclipse ended, Columbus returned and told the Jamaicans that God would give back the Moon. And, of course, the Moon reappeared.
The Jamaicans gave food and supplies to Columbus and his crew until they were rescued and returned to Europe. I guess one could say that knowledge from above or about the “above” is a good thing to have.
I find it very interesting that the Bible declares from the beginning that God created the lights in the sky. The greater light refers, of course, to the sun. The lesser, on the other hand, refers to the moon. What I want to say is this: It wasn’t until man became knowledgeable of the cosmos that he began to make strides forward in religion, philosophy, science, literature, and discovery. So pardon the pun, but it’s true. Knowledge from above can move us forward. Let me explain, please.
Before Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) defied the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church by saying that the earth moves around the sun (the church believed that the earth was the center of the universe and the sun and stars revolved around it), he was risking his life.
But Copernicus was not afraid to speak out about his knowledge of the heavens, and the world of modern science owes him a debt of gratitude (Copernicus was a scientist and devout Christian). At the time, government and religious officials did not encourage original thought for fear that new ideas would create unrest. So, a free thinker like Copernicus had to come along with his knowledge of the stars in order to move us forward in our thinking.
Before Columbus could sail to a New World, there had to be a greater knowledge of the seas and navigation. When the ancient Phoenicians took to the seas, they hugged the coastline to keep from getting lost at sea. When the Vikings took to the seas a few centuries before Columbus, they were using primitive (caged ravens to determine proximity to shore), but albeit greater knowledge and technology than the Phoenicians.
There were two basic inventions during the Renaissance that made Columbus’ journey to the New World possible—the magnetic compass and the astrolabe (forerunner to the modern sextant). Only by knowledge of the sun, moon, and stars, with a few simple instruments that measured distance between sun, moon, and stars did Columbus succeed in navigating the high seas. Here again, knowledge from above was necessary to move man forward.
Remember the importance of the stars to the wise men from the east when Jesus was born? Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 24 about His second return? What did He say would foretell His appearing? He told us the sun would turn dark and the stars would fall from the heavens. That’s interesting. Again, knowledge of the stars above will point to the soon coming King of Kings.
Now what am I saying? I’m saying that God put the stars in the sky for a purpose. Yes, they are beautiful, but there is more to them than just their beauty. The Bible declares that all His creation declares His glory. Even the stars in the sky speak of their Creator. Why can’t man do this? Why does man remain the only rebel in God’s creation who refuses to worship and adore his Creator? The Bible says that a man who says in his heart that there is no God is a fool.
There was good reason why the three wise men were called wise--they looked above them for guidance and it came to them in the form of a star. It just so happened that the star they discovered was the Christ child. The wisest discovery of all time.
(Sources cited are available)
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