Thoughts on the Nature of the Bethlehem Star.
Non-Christians, especially atheists, make the mistake of assuming miracles necessarily break the laws of the universe. They think that finding a possible natural explanation of events described in the Bible somehow eliminates God as a cause. That is an obvious fallacy. If God created the universe and the laws that make it intelligible, He can also cause natural events and use those universal laws to make His purposes known. Atheists and others spend a lot of time on research and produce TV documentaries on possible natural causes for Biblical events such as the plagues of Egypt. What they fail to understand is that these same events are ultimately caused by God, even if they don’t break the laws of the universe (also created by God).
Now, to the Star of Bethlehem: many theories have been proposed for the star that seemed to track westward and stood still over the birthplace of Jesus. Remember God caused it, regardless of a possible object that may explain it. Some have said it was a comet; some have said it was a supernova that then faded away; some have said it must have been a rare conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. All of these are possible except for the change from moving westward to becoming stationary over Bethlehem.
I would like to propose another natural explanation that I have not seen discussed before. A very small geosynchronous satellite of earth could fit this description. If earth captured a meteor in a west to east orbit just at the top of the atmosphere, it could have been slowed over time through atmospheric drag. As it slowed, making it first appear to move east to west as the earth caught up with its slowing speed and then become stationary over Bethlehem as its speed came to match the rotation of the earth. We have numerous artificial weather satellites that are geosynchronous and remain stationary over long periods of time. As a low orbit object, the atmosphere would continue to erode the meteor’s speed and rapidly cause it to burn up in the atmosphere or send it plunging to earth.
The important thing to remember here is not that it might have a natural explanation, but that the precise geographic location and timing of its geosynchronous stage coincide with the birth place and timing of Jesus’ birth. The odds against this occurring are so astronomical that it can only be orchestrated by God as miraculous.