For hundreds of years, astronomy played a vital role in the foundation for a solid liberal arts education. While the trend has moved away from that standard, the modern classical education movement advocates a form of the traditional curriculum. Even so, astronomy often remains relegated to an optional high school elective or limited to a six-week unit at the end of a geology text.
Astronomy offers a unique opportunity for educators to explore themes that provide deep connections to the Christian worldview. Here are three big ideas about astronomy that can be integrated into any curriculum:
1. The universe had a beginning.
This claim is one of the most foundational components of the Christian worldview (Gen. 1:1; Heb. 1:10). Astronomy texts usually cover this topic as part of big bang cosmology. Rather than avoiding this topic as a potential threat to the Christian faith, teaching a unit on big bang cosmology presents a great way to discuss the compatibility between the Bible and science.
2. The universe appears to have been designed for the benefit of humanity.
Genesis 1 and other creation-related passages outline God’s purposeful progression that culminates in the creation of Adam and Eve. Before God made a planet, he created the universe. Before he made plants and animals, He made land and sea where they could dwell. Like a series of steps, each carefully built on top of another, God orchestrated the location, age, and sequence of events in order to facilitate the creation of a home for humanity.
Astronomy provides many beautiful illustrations of this idea. New discoveries continue to reveal that the features of our planet and solar system, and even the very laws of physics themselves, demonstrate fine-tuning. See our DVD Journey Toward Creation for specific examples.
3. Studying the universe and its features is part of God’s revelation.
Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God.” Psalm 50:6 says, “The heavens declare His righteousness.” When we study creation, we are studying part of God’s revelation about Himself to humanity (see also Rom. 1:19–20). Conversely, when we neglect to study God’s creation we miss out on part of God’s message to us. Christian educators can use this perspective to inspire their students to diligently explore the mysteries of the universe.
Jesus commanded us to love God with our mind (Luke 10:27). A detailed study of astronomy should be an essential ingredient for any well-rounded Christian education.