By Irvin Himmel
Broadly speaking, astrology is a pseudo-science which pertains to the celestial bodies and their influence on human affairs. It has its :roots in the ancient paganistic religions. From Babylon it spread to other parts of the world. It is not surprising that men who worshiped the sun; moon, and stars would suppose that these heavenly bodies had control of human destiny.
“Judicial astrology” is the philosophical concept that man is a miniature replica of the universe, so each person reflects in himself and his circumstances the pattern of the heavens at the time of his birth, and that the pattern of the heavens at that time describes that person. The horoscope is a chart by which it is claimed that one may learn what is in store for him.
Astrology appeals to people who have a strong desire to know the future. In this age of frustrations, fears, and uncertainties, instead of turning to the Bible, God’s revelation of His will, large numbers of people are turning to astrology.
Recently someone handed me a newspaper clipping of an article by John R. Hawkins, a member of the American Federation of Astrologers. This gentleman shows more bias than objectivity in his attempts to make the Bible uphold astrology.
First, Mr. Hawkins takes us back to Gen. 1:14-16, where 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 …… This passage says absolutely nothing to the effect that these heavenly lights have control over all human affairs. They are signs declaring the glory of God (Ps. 19:1), signs by which we may find the point of the compass, and signs of changes in the seasons. What the astrologer needs is a proof text that these luminaries are signs of what is going to happen in each individual’s span of life.
Hawkins remarks, “In the New Testament we find Christ referring to the weather in relation to the sky.” So what? The fact that the sun, moon, and other celestial bodies have bearing on weather conditions, changes in the seasons, and the like gives no proof that they determine such human affairs as romance, marriage, business transactions, state of one’s health, and personality makeup.
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and Sadducees for being able to read weather signs but not the signs that the times of the Messiah’s reign were at hand. The “face of the sky” and the “signs of the times” (Matt. 16:1-4) were altogether different. He referred them to the sign of the prophet Jonah, which was not an astrological sign, but the prophet’s miraculous deliverance from the whale (Matt. 12:38-40). Hawkins jumps from this to the “sign of His coming” in Matt. 24, and like the premillennialists, confuses what Jesus said about abnormal conditions prior to the destruction of Jerusalem and what He said later in the chapter about His personal return. I judge that it has not occurred to Hawkins. that the language of Matt. 24:29 could be figurative (Compare Ezek. 32:1-10; Isa. 13). The professional astrologer wants people to think that wherever the Bible mentions a sign it is to be understood as an astrological sign. Jesus did not endorse astrology.
“Tradition has Abraham as an astrologer and mathematician. No wonder God referred to Abraham in relation to the stars of heaven,” says Hawkins. Tradition is not reliable. Jesus taught that men often make void the word of God through their “tradition” (Mk. 7:13). One does not need to be a disciple of astrology to be impressed with the heavens! To reason that Abraham was an astrologer because God said his seed would be as the stars of the heaven (Gen. 22:17) is about like arguing that Abraham was an oceanographer because God said his seed would be as the sand upon the sea shore.
Astrologer Hawkins contends that Joseph understood the meaning of the sun and moon and the eleven stars in his dream (Gen. 37:9), so this must have been knowledge passed down from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob and his sons. “If Joseph knew the meaning of the sun and moon, surely he wouldn’t have stopped there: he would know the significance of the other planets.” What logic! One simple fact is completely overlooked: Joseph knew what the symbols in this dream meant for the same reason he knew the meaning of the symbols in the dreams of the baker, the butler, and Pharaoh. Interpretations belong to God (Gen. 40:8; 41:16). It was God, not astrology, that gave understanding to Joseph.
Hawkins even attempts to line up Paul on the side of the astrologers. “Paul understood that the planets had differing power that God had set in order.” This is supposed to be inferred in 1 Cor. 15:39-44. Read the passage and you will find that Paul no more said that than he said the fishes have differing intestinal systems that God set in order! Mr. Hawkins assumes that if someone in the Bible refers to the sun, moon, or other heavenly bodies in any way he (1) was an astrologer, (2) had been taught astrology, or (3) endorsed astrology. His arguments to prove astrology by the Scriptures are too weak to stand un under close examination.
Astrologers were among the “wise men” called in by Nebuchadnezzar in Dan. 2, but they were powerless to make known the secret which God revealed by His prophet Daniel. The real answers to life’s problems are found in the revelation of God recorded in His Word, not in the silly predictions of astrological charts.
In Isa. 47:12,13, “the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators,” are classed with “enchantments” and “sorceries,” The Israelites were warned against the “observer of times,” “an enchanter,” and other deceivers (Deut. 18:9-12).
One woman is reported to have stayed in bed for a week because the signs were not right for her to leave the house. This illustrates the fatalistic philosophy of astrology. The sincere Christian follows the Bible, not a horoscope. He trusts in God, not an astrological diagram. He knows that he has freedom of choice rather than supposing the stars control his course.
Truth Magazine, XX:2, p. 13-14
January 8, 1976