The past month was very busy, and I haven’t quite been able to pull myself back into blogging. Hopefully that will change with this month, and I have at least one significant project I plan on starting. In the meanwhile, I was struck by this passage from Michael Ward’s Planet Narnia and wanted to share it here:
It must be emphasised that the pre-Copernican model of the cosmos was a Christian model for all its acceptance of astrological influence. As Lewis points out in English Literature in the Sixteenth Century, astrology and astronomy were not really distinguishable until the Copernican revolution and no Christian theologian before that time had denied the general theory of planetary influences or the significances of constellation. The planets were not to be worshipped or regarded as determinative in their influence, and the lucrative and politically undesirable practice of astrology grounded predictions was to be avoided, but within these parameters the Church was content to sanction what we would now call ‘astrology.’ After all, the Bible appeared to support the belief that there were seven planets and that they possessed influences. The author of the Book of Judges (5:20) records, “They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera.’ (Lewis alludes to this verse in Out of the Silent Planet: ‘The stars in their courses were fighting against Weston.’) The author of the Book of Job as translated in the King James Version mentions the ‘sweet influences of Pleiades’ (38:31). (Lewis glances at this verse in his poem, ‘My Heart is Empty,’ with its reference to the heaven shedding ‘sweet influence still on earth.’) And throughout the Bible the stars are seen as ‘signs’–most notably at Bethlehem, signifying the birth of Christ—and sometimes as a celestial court or angelic choir. Christ himself is shown in the Book of Revelation (1:16, 20; 2:1) holding the seven stars—that is, the seven wandering stars, the planets—in his right hand, a vision that Austin Farrer, Lewis’ close friend and an expert in apocalyptic imagery, understood to be a portrayal of Christ’s lordship over time, ‘for it is after these seven that the weekdays are names.’ Saturn gives Saturday its name, the Sun Sunday’s, the Moon Monday’s and so on.