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What does the Bible say about Astrology?

Posted on March 10 2024

Night sky stars astronomy vs. astrology

What is the biblical view on astrology? I would like to share what the Bible has to say for those who are interested in a biblical interpretation of the divination art of astrology. Astrology, horoscopes, zodiac signs, sun signs, how astronomy plays into the whole thing, it is all pretty confusing to a lot of us. Many people think that astrology was “approved by God” in the Bible. For example, the Three Wise Men saw a star shining brightly in the heavens that led them to Bethlehem and our precious savior. Is that astrology and how do we put that into perspective? Let’s take a look at that and some of these other concepts to gain some clarity. 

Let's first consider the time period before Jesus' birth. Many of us don't realize that most of the Magi, the group that the Three Wise Men were part of, were astrologers. Most likely, the Magi had been watching the heavens for years, waiting for alignments that would foretell the birth of this king. When they identified a powerful set of astrological portents, they decided the time had arrived to set out to find the prophesied leader. This was like hieroglyphic writings upon the stars by which symbols were correlated to stories that contained what had been revealed by God to these early men. Could be described as "signs in the heavens". Genesis 1:14-19 King James Version (KJV) And God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so." Signs. Signs in the heavens, I love that. This is very different from the divination art of modern astrology that predicts people's personalities, traits and what they should do on a particular day, based on the stars, planets, Sun, and Moon.

Let's go now to modern Astrology. What exactly is it? Is it similar to Astronomy? Is it the same as the Zodiac? It can be pretty confusing. Astrology is a type of divination art that involves the forecasting of earthly and human events through the observation and interpretation of the fixed stars, the Sun, the Moon, and the planets. The belief is that the relative positioning in the sky of the Sun, Moon and planets has an influence on people and the course of events in the world. According to astrology, the Zodiac sign you were born under, Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, or Capricorn, impacts your destiny.

 What does the word Zodiac mean? You might associate the word zodiac with astrology, but it has an honored place in astronomy too. The zodiac is composed of the 12 constellations that lie along the annual path of the sun across the sky. The zodiac is belt shaped path around the heavens extending 9° on either side of the ecliptic, the plane of Earth’s orbit and of the Sun’s apparent annual path.The orbits of the Moon and of the principal planets also lie entirely within the zodiac. The 12 astrological signs of the zodiac are each considered to occupy 1/12 (or 30°) of its great circle. In astrology, your Zodiac sign (often called your sun sign) can tell you about your Personality, strengths, weaknesses, confidence, self-esteem, self-image, and identity. It will also influence your life path. This is one aspect of your astrological profile, referred to as a Birth Chart. You can get one from an astrologer or by plugging your info into an online service. Your chart gives information about the sun, moon and the planets placements in the sky at the specific moment you were born. Also, your birth location is part of the profile.

What is Astronomy? Astronomy is the branch of science that deals with celestial objects, space, and the physical universe as a whole. Interestingly enough, many important figures in the early world of astronomy, like Ptolemy, Galileo, Kepler, and Brahe, some of whom we consider the fathers of astronomy today, believed in astrology. At the time there were no other scientific alternatives. Then astronomy and astrology diverged over the course of the 17th through 19th centuries. The famous polymath Al-Biruni was one of the first scholars to separate astrology from astronomy in the late 10th and early 11th centuries CE. He differentiated astrology from astronomy because he understood that astrology was more of an art or practice and he did not respect its weak mathematical and scientific foundations.

What does the Bible say about those who consult with astrologers and use astrology as guidance for their lives? The very first time astrology is mentioned in the Bible is in the book of Isaiah. Isaiah 47:13-15 NIV. "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. Surely they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up. They cannot even save themselves from the flame… Each of them goes on in his error; there is not one that can save you."  In this passage God is speaking to the people of ancient pagan Babylon. Middle Eastern archaeology has confirmed that astrology originated in the nation of Babylon, which is now called Iraq. Cuneiform tablets have been excavated depicting horoscope charts dating from the 5th Century BC and earlier.

The practice of divination is prohibited by God. As stated in Leviticus 19:26 NIV, "Do not practice divination or sorcery." Divination was extremely popular among the pagan peoples of the Bible lands. When the Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land of Canaan, God warned them not to practice divination. Says Deuteronomy 18:9, 12 & 14 NIV, "Do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there… The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do so… Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord." Divination is actually regarded to be a grave sin. Declares 1 Samuel 15:23 NIV, "Rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry."

We all share a yearning. Within each of us is a desire for connection. A destiny and purpose, meaning, and identity. We have a deep, unexplainable knowledge that comes from within that understands that we were created for more than we are able grasp with our five senses. God created us as spiritual beings, so of course we desire a connection deeper than this material world can ever come close to providing. This need is meant to propel us to the Living Word of God. Over time, there have been ideologies and practices created to try and fill us spiritually and astrology is a very popular one.

The stars should awaken joy and wonder at God’s majesty, wisdom, and infinitude. The stars should remind us of God’s faithful, covenant-keeping nature. All the while, we acknowledge the Creator of the heavens. Our wisdom should come from God, not the stars (James 1:5). The Word of God, the Bible, is our guide through life (Psalm 119:105). Amen.

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