Astrology is a divination art that teaches the relative positioning in the sky of the Sun, Moon and planets influences individuals and the course of human affairs. It is based on the magical belief that the planetary positions at one’s birth time and birthplace determine that person’s personality, life events, challenges, and spiritual path. In the Hebrew language, the actual word for astrology (mazalot) literally means “divining the heavens”. Divination involves foretelling future events or revealing secret knowledge through signs and omens or other supernatural agencies. Astrology has become very popular nowadays.
From posters in our streets to horoscopes in newspapers and the internet, many will claim to have information about life from an astrological point of view. This is usually very enticing to many. Naturally, who wouldn’t want to know what the future holds for them? According to Living Facts, 29% of American adults believe in astrology. About Seventy million Americans read their horoscope daily. This shows us that astrology is a global issue.
Origin of Astrology
Astrology entails more than just the horoscope columns in the newspapers and magazines. Astrology is an occult practice rooted in ancient Babylon. Considerable importance was attached to such phenomena as eclipses and meteors in Babylon. Individual stars and constellations were given names, and when they began to be worshipped as gods, a way was opened for astrologers to start making predictions about how heavenly bodies affect people on earth. In the second millennium b.c., Babylonian astrologers drew up horoscopes indicating what might be expected to happen each month.
Once the astrologers had compiled everything, they were used year after year without change. The superstitious Babylonians also devised the zodiac, a division of the celestial sphere into twelve equal parts known as signs or houses, named after the sun, moon, and principal planets. By the late fourth century b.c., Mesopotamian astrology had spread to Greece, and about a century later, it was adopted widely by the Egyptians. When The Romans absorbed the Greek culture, astrology assumed the form of a religion, and its practitioners began to design individual horoscopes.
A Warning to Christians
Can Astrology be combined with Christianity? Some argue and ask what its harm is if it can guide us somehow. The trouble is not whether it can guide us but where is it leading us (Isaiah 48:17). Anything that draws us away from God is not of God (Proverbs 14:12). Some scholars have misinterpreted the words of Jesus in Luke 21:25, “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars,” as instructions for Christians to regularly look up into the heavens for information. The scripture in Luke 21:25 is meant to prepare the Christian for the second coming of Christ. By no means does it give instructions to search for information from heavenly bodies.
In Matthew 2:1–12, we have the story of the Magi. This portion has been wrongly used to argue that astrology was deeply entwined with the Bible and its practice. We are not told the Magi were astrologers, but we are aware that astronomy existed in those days, and culturally some advisers of Babylonian kings were astrologers. However, the star they followed appeared only to them, it moved ahead of them, and it supernaturally rested above the location of Jesus (Matthew 2:9). No ordinary star does this, indicating that the “star” was possibly a supernatural light, the presence of God. There is absolutely no indication in the text that these wise men used astrology to find Jesus. Also, their journey showed the world that pagans travelled from afar to worship Jesus, showing that he was the Savior for the whole world.
Finally, another misused portion of scripture from which some claim that astrology can combine with Christianity is Daniel 1:2, 2:10. Here, astrology is said to be among the forms of “knowledge and understanding” that Daniel is taught. Again, this is a presupposition since, in the text, we are not explicitly told that Daniel was trained in astrology. Nevertheless, we know that Daniel believed in God. Because of his firm stand in the Lord, God enabled him to respond to the king’s questions in a way that even his astrologers could not (Daniel 2:27-30). Another argument favouring the marriage of astrology and Christianity is in using Psalm 19:1-2 to claim that Christians, like Jews, were assumed to know how to read the stars. However, the verses point to the fact that the entire creation reveals God, hence providing what is termed as general revelation.
The Heavenly Bodies are God’s Creation
Genesis 1:16 indicates that God is the Creator of the Sun and the Moon. Jeremiah 31:35 elevates God above the stars and all other heavenly bodies. God gives these heavenly bodies their functions, the sun to provide light in the day, and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night. God is the source of these things. Human beings are foolish to seek spiritual guidance from the created things instead of looking to the Creator himself (Romans 1:25, Matthew 4:10, 1 Corinthians 12:2). All creation worships the Creator and serves his purposes (Psalm 148:3). In other words, creation shows us, God. It cannot replace God.
Astrology in the Bible
The Bible mentions the astrologers in the royal court at Babylon and their inability to tell or interpret royal dreams (Daniel 2:10-11 and 4:7). Isaiah the prophet spoke of astrologers with mockery: “Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you” (Isaiah 47:13). Astrology is offensive to God because it attributes to planets and stars the power that belongs to God alone. Some also try to establish God’s will through astrology, contrary to God’s appointed means: his Word. God has assured us that He will guide us throughout the scriptures (Psalm 23:1-2, 25:9, 12, 32:8; Luke 1:79; and John 7:17). We are not to follow the ways of those who hate God. They will only lead us astray. The Bible says that stars, along with the sun and moon, were given for “signs” and “seasons” (Genesis 1:14); that is, they were meant to mark time for us. It is a great folly to elevate them above their purpose.
In Isaiah 47:13-14, astrologers are mentioned among those who will be burned as stubble in God’s judgment. As a form of divination, astrology is expressly forbidden in the scriptures (Deuteronomy 18:10-14). The Bible gives no room for argument concerning this matter. So, despite how subtle and alluring it tends to be packaged today, may we continually ask God for discernment. Only he can give us the power to stand firm as we entrust our unknowns to him who knows it all.