The popularity of astrology has soured over the last decade. With celebrities coming out praising its wisdom, to the local suburban soccer mom reading her horoscope in the newspaper, astrology is everywhere you go. For the average Christian, though, is it something we should entertain?
What is astrology?
According to Wikipedia, astrology is “a pseudoscience that claims to derive divine information about human affairs and terrestrial events by studying the movements and relative positions of celestial objects.” Astrology dates back at least to the 2nd millennium BC, and the Hindu, Chinese and Mayan cultures have all used astrology to predict large events.
Contemporary western astrology is best known for its use of the horoscope system. Horoscopes "explain aspects of a person's personality and predict significant events in their lives based on the positions of celestial objects." We are each assigned a different zodiac house, which is depicted by the day you are born. The 12 different zodiacs are based off of different arrangements of constellations or star groupings. Astrologers look at the stars, planets and moon and watch their movements in relation to the earth, and depending on their movements astrologers believe certain zodiac signs will have different emotional reactions.
It’s important to note, however, that astrology and astronomy are two very different things. Astronomy is a known science that uses the laws of physics, mathematics, and the like to understand and learn about celestial bodies. This includes studying the moon and sending robots to mars. Astronomy seeks only to explain our universe, and does not believe it can predict a person’s personality trait or future.
Does the Bible mention astrology?
The Bible talks about our universe quite a bit. For example, the heavens are God's "handiwork" (Psalm 8:3) and He created each star individually and named them (Psalm 147:4). The Bible even talks about how stars can be grouped into different constellations, and mentions Orion, the Bear, and Draco in the Book of Job.
Some argue that because God made the stars, there is something more to them. In Job 38:32, God points to the "Mazzaroth” which is usually translated “constellations.” Some think this is a reference to the twelve constellations of the zodiac. Furthermore, some astrologers say the Lion of the Tribe of Judah spoken about in Revelation 5:5 refers to the constellation of Leo. They also say that Virgo is a reminder of the virgin who bore Christ. The Bible, though, does not talk about stars and planets as having a hidden meaning or greater significance. The Bible only tells us that the stars, moon and sun were given to us to tell time (Genesis 1:14). They also are used as navigational tools.
When it comes to the word astrology, that can be found in the Bible as well. In the Book of Daniel, there is an event where the King of Babylon has a very disturbing dream and seeks to understand the meaning behind it. In Daniel 2:2 it says "so the king summoned the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers to tell him what he had dreamed." The astrologers were a part of the king's group of wise men who practiced divination. They were later put to shame by the prophet Daniel (Daniel 1:20) and were powerless to interpret the Kings dreams. Daniel 2:27 says “Daniel answered the king and said, 'No wise men, aenchanters, amagicians, or bastrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked,”. Isaiah spoke of astrologers with mockery, saying “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).
Can Christians use astrology?
The reason that so many people are interested in astrology is because they want to predict their future and give reason to their lives. They are hoping to find their bigger destiny immediately, rather than going through life with no clear direction. This, however, is offensive to God. Instead of acknowledging our Lord for the power He rightfully has, we are attributing that power to planets and stars. Throughout the Bible, there are many passages that tell us that God will guide us and we do not need to look for outside forces (Luke 1:79, John 7:17, etc.).
Furthermore, the practice of pagan divination is prohibited by God. Leviticus 19:26 says very clearly, "do not practice divination or sorcery." Deuteronomy 18:10-14 also reiterates this, by saying: " There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or cone who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God, for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do this.” Every time that the children of Israel entertained these false beliefs (example 2 Kings 17:16) the wrath of God fell upon them.
The wisdom that we seek for our lives comes from our Lord, not from the stars (James 1:5). While astrology seems like it could be fun, it's not a true science and is a practice that can take us away from God. Do not entertain yourself with your horoscope each morning while you’re reading the morning paper. Instead, take that time to chat with the Lord about your future and the great things that are coming for you.