All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! 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).
“It is written in the stars!” “I’m an Aries, what’s your sign? Oh, you’re a Gemini? Oh gosh, we’ll never get along. I could never live with a Gemini.” “I read my horoscope for this week — it said I’m going to finally meet my soulmate! Can you believe it?” We have all heard such and more, haven’t we?
Of course, some people adopt the ideas surrounding astrology much more aggressively and enthusiastically. Some just use it as a fun tool or plaything — sort of like a Ouija board. How often have we heard people talk about their horoscopes or Ouija board findings and “hope it comes true” or doesn’t?
A survey by Pew Research, published in 2018, found that some 29%, almost one in three adults, believed in astrology to at least some degree. The survey also found that one in four Christians also believed in astrology to some degree.
Of course, horoscopes appeared daily in printed newspapers, beginning in the 1930s and continuing until — well, even today for newspapers that still appear in print.
But what is astrology? Is it merely the study of celestial objects, like the sun, moon, and stars? Or is it something more?
Is astrology scientific, as many claim? In some ways, it might seem so. Astrology uses scientific knowledge of heavenly bodies, as well as tools that certainly sound scientific.
Taking it a step further, some use astrology to make predictions and set expectations about people’s personality traits, and even future events.
These same people believe that astrology is supported by evidence — a litany of people who feel that astrology has worked to improve their lives.
But…is astrology actually scientific? More importantly, what does the Bible say about astrology and “the Zodiac?”
What Is Astrology?
Astrology is a belief, and corresponding study and analysis, that one’s personality and destiny are governed by astronomical phenomena at the time of their birth and then throughout their lives.
In other words, your fate, your fortune, and your entire life is, to a very great extent, determined by the sun, the moon, the stars, and the planets.
The underlying principle is that the positions of those heavenly bodies have the power to influence not only your persona and behavior, but also to impact the daily, weekly, and monthly events in our lives.
A quick Google search of the beginnings of astrology might tell you that this belief system originated in or around the third century B.C. — some 2400 years ago, making astrology a rather ancient theory and belief system.
Several ancient cultures also adopted some form of forecasting of earthly and human events through the observation of celestial bodies. Many transferred their beliefs into some form of religious worship of God or gods.
Astrology contends that one’s destiny can be accessed through one's “horoscope” — the chart that attempts to describe that fate. This chart is made up of the 12 signs of the Zodiac — or 12 constellations associated with the earth’s travel around the sun over the course of the year.
The paths of the moon and other visible planets also are believed to have a significant impact on one’s horoscope, and thus require quite specific interpretations.
In a great many ways, astrology may seem scientific. Often astrology is confused with being associated with the study of astronomy — the specific branch of science which deals with space, celestial objects, and the physical universe.
After all, as mentioned, astrology does use scientific-sounding tools, such as star charts. However, you will find few actual scientists who would support the idea of astrology as a science.
Science evaluates ideas and constructs against evidence from the natural world, then accepts, rejects, or modifies those ideas as evidence dictates. Astrologers, and by default astrology, do not take that same critical perspective on their own studies, and actual “evidence” is impossible to measure.
Is Astrology in the Bible?
Some have attempted to argue that the Bible contains clear evidence for astrology. As a matter of fact, the constellations have indeed been studied and tracked for thousands of years.
Both the Egyptians as well as the Greeks knew of the Zodiac to monitor the seasons, long before Christ.
And a great deal has been written associating constellations with God, the Bible, creation, as well as with God’s redemptive plan.
This is evidenced by many who refer to the Star of Bethlehem as an astrological event — and the Magi as being highly trained in astrology, coming from Babylon to the east. There can be found rather long arguments for the constellation of Pisces behind Jupiter and Saturn, and so on.
Of course, one issue with such an argument is that the term used in Matthew’s gospel is from the Greek word Magos, which is an occupational title referring quite specifically to the Zoroastrian priests of the late Persian Empire. There is zero evidence or comment that the star had anything to do with astrology.
However, that is not to say the Bible has no references to the stars or to constellations. In fact, the first mention of man’s relation to the stars can be found in the beginning — Genesis 1:14-15:
And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.”
The Bible also teaches that God arranged the stars into recognizable groups. The Book of Job twice mentions three of these — the Bear (Ursa Major), Orion, and the Pleiades then adds “the constellations of the south” (Job 9:9; 38:31-32). The minor prophet Amos also mentions two of the same: “He who made the Pleiades and Orion…” (Amos 5:8).
God also used the innumerable stars as an illustration of his promise to Abraham and his impact on humanity.
He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars — if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be” (Genesis 15:5).
Further, the Bible clearly uses astronomical events as witnesses and evidence for the final judgment, to be seen in the stars.
The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light (Isaiah 13:10).
The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine (Joel 3:15).
These prophecies were repeated by Jesus in the gospel of Matthew:
“Immediately after the distress of those days‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken” (Matthew 24:29).
Clearly, the Bible has much to say about stars — primarily that God created them, and that creation reflects his power and majesty, and in the stars, we will see evidence of the day of the Lord and his judgment to come.
Astrology too is mentioned — but only in derision. The royal astrologers of Nebuchadnezzar’s court were put to shame by the young Jewish prophet Daniel, (Daniel 1:20) as they were entirely incapable of interpreting the king’s dream, while God gave Daniel the answer the king sought:
Daniel answered the king and said, “No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked… (Daniel 2:27, ESV).
The Bible specifically singles out astrologers for an unpleasant fate:
“…they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up. They cannot save themselves from the power of the flame” (Isaiah 47:13-14).
How Should a Christian Respond to Astrology?
The fascination with astrology, the Zodiac, and horoscopes, is a direct reflection of people's desire to find the direction for their future, as they seek wisdom beyond their own.
No different than Adam and Eve wishing to gain the knowledge of good and evil the forbidden fruit offered, so astrology represents men seeking what remains the domain of the Lord.
In other words, astrology is one more source of divination of the future — no better or different than a Ouija board, tarot cards, or a fortune-teller. The Lord never intended the stars to be a source for mankind to discover his will for our lives.
Astrology is an attempt by humans to find God’s divine will through means other than what God has appointed and — and attempts to attribute to the stars and planets power that belongs to God alone.
Indeed, we can use the stars for a great many things — for navigation and track of time, but not to determine our personalities or our future.
Let’s use the stars as God intended — as a source to awaken in us true amazement and appreciation of God’s creation. Let us look to the heavens with awe and wonder and acknowledge God as the Creator of the heavens we see. And let us recognize that our wisdom comes from the Father alone (James 1:5) and not the stars.
For further reading:
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Greg Grandchamp is the author of "In Pursuit of Truth, A Journey Begins" — an easy-to-read search that answers to most common questions about Jesus Christ. Was he real? Who did he claim to be? What did he teach? Greg is an everyday guy on the same journey as everyone else — in pursuit of truth. You can reach Greg by email [email protected] and on Facebook.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
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