By Raymond E. Harris
The desire to look into the future and to know the unknown has been with man in all lands and ages. Since this is beyond the natural man, man has desperately looked into every dark corner and superstitiously accepted absurdly foolish methods attempting to gain the fulfillment of his longings. This quest for supernatural knowledge and power has inevitably led man away from God and into idolatry. Hence, in Deut. 18:9-14 God warned, “When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God. For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the Lord thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.” Hence, to turn to a witch, an astrologer or a diviner of any kind was and is to practice a form of idolatry and is strictly forbidden by God.
From the most ancient times astrologers have been the “Dividers of the Heavens.” The earliest of such divisions appear to have been into the four quarters, north; south, east and west. Astrological tables of this character have been discovered in considerable numbers. This proves that the early prognosticators did not have any real understanding of astronomy. The unknowing astrologers simply functioned as priests and “Wise Men” of various idolatrous systems of religion as the planets became the objects of worship. It should be noted further that the evils of astrology were not limited to the “Heathen Nations.” Israel and Judah were both condemned for practicing such. In 2 Kings 17:16, the sin of rebellious Israel is clearly stated, “And they left all the commandments of the Lord their God, and made them molten images, even two calves and made a grove and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal.” In 2 Kings 23:4-5 in the account of King Josiah’s reforms, we have the following: “And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel. And he put down the idolatrous priests whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven.” From this we see how extensive and brazen Judah’s idolatry had become! They had set up a priesthood for worship of the sun, the moon, the planets and all the host of heaven and had the audacity to practice such in the temple of the Most High God.
Astrology has evolved from the crude, ignorant, superstitious worship of the planets to the present sophisticated, ignorant, superstitious worship of the planets. It all began with the Babylonians. However, the mathematical working out of the order of the planets came from the Greeks. And so in the hands of the Greeks, astrology passed from a religion into the appearance of a science. In ancient times the planets were worshiped and diviners consulted them for the benefit of kings. But with the strong individualistic tendency of the Greeks, the fortunes of the individual became the most frequent subject of inquiry. From this sprang the idea of determining the character and future of a man from the position of the stars at his birth. Greece was indeed the birth place of the Zodiac.
Modern astrology continued to evolve as the Egyptians and the Jews added their significant elements. From the Egyptians came the concept of dividing the day into 24 hours. This allowed for more precision in time keeping. And from the Jews came the seven day continuous running “free week.” This evidently worked out better for them than the 10 day Egyptian week which attempted to divide the month into 3 equal periods. And eventually all of this jelled together in Egypt. Yes, astrology was born in Babylon, nurtured in Athens, practiced in Jerusalem and perfected in Alexandria. The writings of Claudius Ptolemy, in about 130 A.D. portray a system of astrology which, though modified in details, is in effect that in use today.
Faithful Christians have always opposed astrology. This opposition has both an intellectual and scriptural foundation. To begin with astrology is an absurdity. The planets are material and physical in nature and are not seats of power which belongs to God alone. The divisions of the heavens (the zodiac) upon which the predictions are based are purely imaginary.
Secondly, Christians of more modern times have had the benefit of science to fortify what they had always known from the Bible. With the discoveries of Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler, it was shown that the earth is a tiny planet moving around the sun and that in fact our sun itself is but a small star among the myriad stars in the sky. Hence, our earth is not the center of the universe as astrology claims. This knowledge makes it all the more ridiculous to suppose that the relative positions of the sun, the moon, stars and planets at the exact moment of ones birth could dictate and control the lives of every person on our mini-planet earth! With the discovery of new planets such as Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, astrologers have been further embarrassed, but they refuse to concede their errors that so obviously identify them as practitioners of a false religion and a pseudo-science.
However, the Christian’s contempt for astrology comes mainly from his knowledge of God’s word rather than from the discoveries of astronomers and scientists. The child of God knows full well that the sun, moon and stars are the creations of God and not the source of some strange mystic power that molds and controls every living person. Not only do Christians understand that to turn from God and to any other source for supernatural guidance is idolatry, but they remember well how God’s men cried out against divination and enchantments from Moses to Daniel to Paul. In 1 Cor. 10:14, Paul briefly but clearly warned, “Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.” Hence, the child of God realizes that astrology, which is idolatry, is a work of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21). He realizes astrology is an abomination to God and so he will leave it alone. Astrology should no more be looked upon as a joke or a light hearted and innocent pastime, than should witchcraft or spiritualism.
Remember, through the inspired word, God has provided for us doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness, that we may all be perfect (mature), thoroughly furnished unto all good works: Conversely, the stars are but material creations of God and they are not sources of wisdom or insight into the future.
Truth Magazine, XX:13, p. 8-9
March 25, 1976