Q: #160. Why doesn't the Bible talk about the other planets?
By: Steve Shirley
A: The famous first verse of the Bible says, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen 1:1). At this time, everything in the universe, including the planets in our solar system were created. Man could see 5 of the 8 planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, not counting Earth) from the very beginning with the naked eye.
For thousands of years, though, planets were thought by men to be stars. "Planets" got their name when scientists and astronomers began to notice that certain "stars" had apparent motion through the constellations of fixed stars, thus they were named "planets" meaning "wandering stars."
There is no definitive proof as to when each of these first 5 planets was first discovered to be a planet. However, it appears that Venus may have been discovered by the Sumerians as early as 1500 B.C. Evidence shows that by the 6th century B.C., the Babylonians had a great deal of astrological knowledge. They were likely the first to name the 5 visible planets.
In the 1st century B.C., the Greeks greatly enhanced the astrological findings of the Babylonians, and renamed the planets after the Greek and Roman gods of their time. However, they mistakenly believed that the planets circled the Earth. It wasn't until 1514 that Copernicus refuted this theory by proposing that the Earth, as well as the other planets, revolved around the sun. When Galileo later defended this theory, based on his findings after the invention of the telescope in 1608, he was convicted of heresy in 1633 by the Roman Catholic Church and placed under house arrest for the rest of his life!
The other 3 planets were not discovered until many years later: Uranus (1781), Neptune (1846), and Pluto (1930)(Pluto is no longer considered a planet). It should also be noted that the Earth itself was not accepted to be a planet until about the 17th century.
Of course, God has always known that the planets existed, but the Bible does not specifically single out planets (although the KJV Bible uses the word "worlds" in (Heb 1:2)(Heb 11:3)). They are counted as objects in the "heavens" which is mentioned numerous times in the Bible.
It is interesting to keep in mind, however, that the Bible mentioned that the Earth is round (Isa 40:22)(written in app. 700 B.C.) WELL before this was scientifically known (the Earth was thought to be flat) and that the stars were uncountable (Jer 33:22)(Gen 15:5) when it was believed there were about 1000 stars.