What Is the Big Deal with Astrology?
Have you ever read your horoscope? These popular columns based on your zodiac sign (Aries, Taurus, etc.) can be found in newspapers and magazines everywhere. They supposedly describe your personality and what your day, month, or year will be like. Horoscopes are rooted in astrology, an ancient practice that began with the Babylonians who thought that the planets were gods or homes of gods. It's important to know that astrology is not the same thing as modern astronomy, which is the science of studying space and heavenly bodies; in ancient times, however, astrology and astronomy were practiced together.
Astrologers believe that when you are born, the position of the sun, moon, and planets represents your character, your potential in jobs and relationships, and general circumstances of your life. Astrologers make a chart of this planetary pattern and interpret it for people who consult them. Some of the so-called insight given by horoscopes and astrologers is true, because we all share similar human experiences, fears, and desires. An astrologer may make good guesses in some cases, giving the impression that he or she tapped into a mystic source of truth. Also, because astrologers engage in an occult practice forbidden by God, they may actually have help from the demonic world. For one or more of these reasons, it can seem that astrology "works." However, whether or not astrology works is not the main thing a Christian should be concerned about. Rather, Christians should seek to know what God thinks of astrology.
Astrology is a form of divination, also called fortune-telling. God denounces divination and fortune telling in Deuteronomy 18:10; 1 Samuel 15:23; 2 Chronicles 33:6; Isaiah 2:6 and Acts 16:16-25. In Isaiah 47:14, God says astrologers "are like stubble; fire burns them up. They cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame. "Speaking against the practice of looking to heavenly bodies for supernatural guidance, God said "When you look to the heavens and see the sun, moon, and stars – all the array of heaven – do not be led astray to bow down and worship them" (Dt 4:19). Deuteronomy 17:3; Jeremiah 8:1-2, 10:2; and Acts 7:42 give similar prohibitions. Astrology is denounced in Daniel 2 as being a replacement for seeking God for wisdom and counsel.
What about the wise men who came to visit Jesus, who "saw His star in the east" (Mt 2:2)? God does not tell us exactly what the star of Bethlehem was of why the wise men thought it signified the birth of the King of the Jews. Matthew tells us that the star stood over the place where Jesus was; it is impossible for an actual star to do. Therefore, many believe it was not a literal star but some supernatural phenomenon. In any event, God may have used these wise men, but this does not mean He approves of astrology.
Aside from being forbidden by God, astrology can lead people into other occult or New Age practices and beliefs. Therefore, it is wise to avoid horoscopes and all forms of astrology.
This article can be found in "Apologetics Study Bible for Students", page 294.
Please also see our comprehensive study for the book of 1 Samuel that includes commentary from www.enduringword.com.