What does the Bible say about astrology?

12 Zodiac Symbols and Signsby Matt Slick
7/20/2016

Astrology is a false science that attempts to use the position of the stars, planets, and the moon in order to predict the future and determine the personality traits of individuals who are born under the 12 different zodiac signs, also known as houses.  The 12 signs are twelve arrangements of the constellations (star groupings) and the exact date and time of a person's birth is what determines what house, or sign he falls under.

  • "Some modern astrologers maintain that the heavenly bodies influence human character and action through gravitational or electromagnetic forces emanating from those bodies. Ancient astrologers such as the Babylonians, however, worshiped the stars as deities. The influence of the stars was thus understood by them as a religious phenomenon...Astronomers have determined that over the course of centuries a shift (called "precession”) has taken place in the positions of the constellations. That shift has resulted in two astrological systems, the "tropical” and the "sidereal.” Although the constellations have moved out of their original "houses,” astrologers generally claim that the influence remains in the original house—but original means the position existing in the time of the Egyptian astronomer-astrologer Ptolemy."1

Astrology should not be confused with us astronomy that is the scientific endeavor using observation, the laws of physics, and mathematics in order to understand and learn about celestial bodies, their behavior, and characteristics.  Astronomy does not seek to make metaphysical predictions about one's future or personality traits.

Astrology is a form of idolatry because it advocates looking to created things instead of God to determine the meaning and direction of a person's life.

Horoscope

But, astrologers do just that and produce a horoscope which is a prediction of an individual's future and as well as a description of his or her personality traits. Of course, these horoscopes are ambiguous at best. At one website where a person could receive a free daily horoscope, it says, "What kind of day will it be for you today? Use your free horoscope to plan your day, every day - instantly!"2 So, I looked away from the computer screen and moved my mouse around and then clicked on the zodiac sign. I did not see which one it was but it said, "When it comes to love and romance you may find yourself in a bit of a pickle."  Well, such ambiguity can fit a multitude of possibilities as well as people.  Maybe today I might say something to upset my wife and find myself in a "bit of a pickle". But when horoscopes say such things as "may find" and "a bit of a pickle", what does it mean? It is left up to the individual read vague "predictions," fill in the blanks, and apply them to their own lives - in whatever way might fit.

Astrology in the Bible

In the Old Testament, the word for astrologer occurs once in Isaiah 47:13, 'habar,' הבר and refers to "cutting" or "dividing".

  • Isaiah 47:13, "You are wearied with your many counsels. Let now the astrologers, those who prophesy by the stars, those who predict by the new moons, stand up and save you from what will come upon you."

 The word is used because it refers to a person who looks at the star-based divisions in the night sky in order to determine one's future. But, it is not the only word used to describe this form of divination. Other verses in the Scripture speak of those who make predictions using occult methods.

  • Deuteronomy 4:19, "And beware not to lift up your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship them and serve them, those which the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.
  • Isaiah 47:13–14, "You are wearied with your many counsels; Let now the astrologers, those who prophesy by the stars, those who predict by the new moons, stand up and save you from what will come upon you. 14 Behold, they have become like stubble, fire burns them; They cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame; There will be no coal to warm by nor a fire to sit before!"
  • Jeremiah 10:1–3, "Hear the word which the LORD speaks to you, O house of Israel. 2 Thus says the LORD, "Do not learn the way of the nations, and do not be terrified by the signs of the heavens although the nations are terrified by them; 3 For the customs of the peoples are delusion; Because it is wood cut from the forest, The work of the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool."
  • Daniel 2:27, "Daniel answered before the king and said, "As for the mystery about which the king has inquired, neither wise men, conjurers, magicians nor diviners are able to declare it to the king."
  • Daniel 4:7 "Then the magicians, the conjurers, the Chaldeans and the diviners came in and I related the dream to them, but they could not make its interpretation known to me."
  • Matthew 2:1–2, "Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 2 "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”

We can see from the preceding verses that Israel is forbidden to worship celestial bodies (Deuteronomy 4:19), that astrologers will be judged (Isaiah 47:13-14), and that Israel was to not be concerned with celestial signs (Jeremiah 10:1-3).

Magi

Matthew 2:1-2 above is an interesting insertion into the biblical text. Since the Old Testament condemns astrology why is it at the Magi who looked to the stars came to worship Christ?  Isn't that a violation of the Old Testament?  it is most probable that their examination of the stars was not in the typical astrological sense  but that they noticed an unusual formation of the stars in the heavens. It is possible that they knew of a particular verse in the Old Testament that may have enlightened understanding and motivated them to find the Christ.

  • Numbers 24:17, "I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star shall come forth from Jacob, a scepter shall rise from Israel, and shall crush through the forehead of Moab, and tear down all the sons of Sheth."

Biblical reason for Celestial Bodies

  • Genesis 1:14-19, "Then God said, 'Let there be alights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. 16 God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. 17 God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. 19 There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day."

We can see from the text that the celestial bodies are part of the created order of God. Therefore, they are under his control. God is sovereign over them and we should seek him and not his creation for wisdom and direction in our lives. Also, we can see that God gave us the celestial bodies were for signs and for seasons, to give light, and to separate light from the darkness.  Nothing in the text that describes God's creation and explanation for his creation suggests that we should look at the stars for guidance. 

Questions

  1. How does the position of a planet or a star determine an individual's personality traits?
  2. Why are the personality traits and predictions of an individual's future written with such ambiguity if astrology is supposed to be accurate?
  3. Why put faith in something that can't be determined to be true?

 

 

   

  • 1. Elwell, Walter A., and Barry J. Beitzel. Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988, p. 223, 224
  • 2. http://www.horoscope.com/us/horoscopes/general/index-horoscope-general-daily.aspx
 
 

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.