“Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever”
The small, almost throwaway comment about the creation of the stars in Genesis 1:16 – “He made the stars also” – is well known. Other passages in the Bible allude to the vastness of the Universe and even to individual astronomical objects such as the constellations of Orion and the Bear, or Great Bear as we know it. So people in Bible times were not ignorant of the vastness of space, but the limited description of the creation of the stars in Genesis 1 emphasizes the greater importance God places on the creation of mankind. As we have often commented, the mention of stars in Genesis 1 includes not only what we would think of as stars today, those hot balls of glowing gases, but also all other astronomical objects, including planets, comets and much more.
The word planet is a word of Greek origin (πλανηται) and literally means “wandering star”. Before the discovery of the solar orbits of the planets, and well before the discovery of outer planets Uranus and Neptune, these wandering stars were so named because their position in the sky was not fixed night after night, but changed against the further “fixed” stars.
Planets were known in Bible times because Jude uses their wandering nature in verse 13 of his epistle to describe those who reject that “fixed universe” of the authority of God’s word and warns that their lack of fixity will result in their end if they do not repent.