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Astrology and the Bible

The subject of astrology and spirituality based on input from "The Universe" has come up a few times in the Chat Rooms and within the List Serve so I have chosen to add this Article so that others will know how the Admin of Christian Gays feels about it.

I believe that the Bible teaches that God created (Genesis 1:14, Psalm 8:3), and arranged the stars into recognizable groups (constellations) (Job 9:9, 26:13, 38:31,32 and Amos 5:8) for "signs" and "seasons". He calls them by name (Psalm 147:4).

However, I believe that the term "signs" has been misinterpreted to substantiate things like astrology and horoscopes, when the real meaning is that they were to be navigational indicators for people to chart their courses around the earth and through the galaxies, and for a guide to the seasons, tides, weather, etc.

Definition: "Astrology is an interpretation of an assumed influence that the stars and planets exert on human destiny."

I'm sure you know the story of Daniel, the interpreter of dreams and visions. His information came directly from God and he said that - "No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about". (Daniel 2:27)

Isaiah 47:13,14 states most clearly "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." Whoa! That's pretty strong language! Read it again if you didn't get it the first time.

Deut 18:10-12 says, "Let no one be found among you . . . . who practices divination . . . Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord, and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you."

Now granted, these are all Old Testament references so they were written for the Jews in that period of time, and for the purpose of keeping God's chosen people free from the pagan worship that surrounded them. However, astrology opposes basic biblical teaching in that it advocates faith in something other than God (i.e. the created, not the Creator), and it is a form of divination (definition: the practice of seeking knowledge of the future or the unknown by supernatural means.)

Proverbs 3:5,6 says, "Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In ALL your ways acknowledge HIM and HE shall direct your paths."

I personally believe that our guidance should come only from God Him/Herself in the form of basic biblical principles and through prayer to God, our Creator, not in "the universe", since the universe is God's creation.

We should use the stars to acknowledge with wonderment the awesomeness of God, and to keep track of time and place, while always recognizing that our wisdom and direction comes from God, not the stars or the universe or any created thing. Yes, God uses people, situations, nature and all kinds of things to direct our paths, but I believe it is wrong to seek knowledge from those sources. If God chooses to use them in some scenarios, wonderful! But we should not be looking to some other supernatural means for our direction.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." James 1:5 (New Testament!)

In addition, I don't believe in "luck" - either good or bad. I believe that God is in control of all things, and either chooses to "bless" me with good things, or to allow bad things to happen to me, either for the purpose of teaching me lessons in grace, or perhaps for His glory as a lesson to others on how my attitude is, in response to the bad things that happen to me. Therefore I will never say that I am "lucky". I will always say that I am "blessed", giving God the glory and acknowledgement.

Now having expressed my beliefs, I want to admit that I have been wrong before about interpretation of scripture, specifically with regard to my previous understanding of homosexuality, and so I am always interested in learning more, and having my beliefs challenged if others can use Scripture to do so. I welcome any comments.

by Mary Pearson

Addendum by Rev John Brown

I read with interest your article on Astrology. It was good as far you went with it.

God condemns any attempt to use anything to find out the future, other than Him. That would include, I believe, horoscopes, fortune tellers, palm readers, tarot cards, crystal balls, witchcraft or any other means by which we try to learn and predict the future from sources other than God.

But, you may say, the wise men who showed up in Matthew 2 to visit Jesus were Magi - practicers of magic, including astrology, alchemy and other forms of "enlightened" knowledge. What were they doing visiting Jesus? Does God approve of astrology?

In ancient times there were two types of astrology practiced, which causes some confusion.

The first type of astrology is what we are familiar with today.

In Isaiah 47:13, God told the nation of Israel to go to their astrologers and stargazers to help them, saying that it wouldn't do them any good.

The word used here for astrologer refers to a horoscopist or one who makes horoscopes for predicing the future. Essentially God said that the people of Israel were trusting in that which would not help them, instead of trusting the One who could.

I believe the same may also be true of Christians today who may trust in their horoscopes or other things, rather than God, to direct their lives.

There are 7 other references to astrologists, all found in Daniel, specifically
Daniel 1:20, Daniel 2:2, Daniel 2:27, Daniel 4:7, Daniel 5:7, Daniel 5:11, and Daniel 5:15.

The word used in all the above references for astrologers means practicers of enchantments or conjurers for purposes of divination. Though they tried with everything they had to predict the future and tell the king what to do, Daniel outshone them all, with the help of God.

Where the astrologers failed, and were almost put to death for not knowing, Daniel came through with the right interpretation and saved them all. His power/knowledge came from God. We should be like Daniel and get our information from God.

We also encounter astrologers in Acts 8:15-24 in the story of Simon the Sorcerer, and again with Elymas in Acts 13:8-12.

So now we come to the New Testament and the story of the Magi/Astrologers who showed up to visit and honor Jesus as the King of the Jews. The word Magi refers to astrologers, oriental scientists, sorcerers or magicians.

The second type of astrology at the time was what we would call astronomy. These astrologers studied the stars in order to know the seasons, to know when to plant and harvest, and to try to predict the weather.

Numbers 24:17 speaks of a star coming out of Jacob, along with a Scepter out of Israel, to smite Moab and destroy the children of Sheth.

This was believed by the early Jews to be a prophecy of a coming Messiah. When the star arose it would herald the arrival of the Messiah. The Magi were in Babylon when the Jews were there during their captivity. It is likely that the Magi knew of this prophecy involving a star, and would have recognized it as an omen of great significance.

We know that they had seen the star in their homeland, then followed it, ultimately, to where Jesus was. Thus they were not astrologers as we understand the word to mean today, trying to divine things, enchant people, or find out things only known to God. Instead, they searched the sky, and found the star that would lead them to their destiny, to meet and worship the Christ child.

This would infer that these Magi were believers. Another indication is that God was able to speak to them, to warn them not to go back to Herod. So they went home a different way, thereby saving their lives, as Herod would probably have killed them if they had returned to him.

This explains what the Bible has to say about astrology. As it is practiced today I believe it is not of God, and should be avoided by Christians.