Do you read your horoscope when you see it in the paper? Or do you subscribe to one of the astrology apps on Facebook or Google?
Do you consider yourself a Bible-believing Christian?
Lately I’ve noticed that a number of acquaintances, both from church and otherwise, are making references to their horoscopes for the day. Since I’ve always believed that God got pretty angry about people consulting astrologers, I was quite disturbed by this. How had I arrived at my opinion? Was it Biblical? Seems like it was time for some research.
A quick Google search turned up a number of websites on both sides of the issue. Many Christian sites were quick to condemn the practice, and they cited numerous verses to support their position. (One explanation that I particularly liked is at GotQuestions.org.)
Other websites claimed that the Bible makes numerous references in support of astrology. These also cited numerous verses to back their assertions. Clearly, sorting this out was going to take some effort.
After carefully reading the passages mentioned on both sides of the issue, and checking the historical context, I decided to stick with my convictions. To say that consulting our horoscopes makes God angry is a huge understatement. I believe it cuts Him to the core. Here’s why.
Why did God create us in the first place? As the Trinity, He was completely sufficient in Himself. He lacked nothing. So why did God make people? I believe God created humans so that He could have friends. He had so much love, he wanted to spread it around. He wanted us to hang out with Him. He wants to be our Source, our Sufficiency—because only God can truly meet all our needs. Anywhere else we may look will never measure up. We’ll be settling for mediocrity… or worse.
When we consult our horoscope, we’re trying to gain guidance from a source other than God. We want to know the future, or perhaps the best course of action. And rather than coming to the One who knows everything, we ask some balls of burning gasses and some rocky spheres.
Not only would God consider this a major insult, He’s sorrowful because we’re not getting the answers we truly need. It hurts us and it hurts him.
There are plenty of verses that you can read that make this very clear. Isaiah 47:10-15 is a good place to start. God points out the uselessness of astrology—that it cannot provide either direction or a glimpse of the future. Instead, God refers to it as Israel’s “wickedness.”
Many of the pro-astrology sites refer to Genesis 1:14 as proof that God created the stars to act as signs: “And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.’” It’s obvious that the stars were created to define the calendar, not to tell us whether or not we should take a job, or go out this weekend.
Another popular reference is to the star of Bethlehem that attracted the attention of the magi. In those days, there was no clear distinction between the practice of astrology and the science of astronomy. God clearly used an astronomical event to draw worshipers to His Son. But that is not at all the same thing as consulting the heavens for personal advice.
The Bible mentions stars and constellations fairly frequently. If we remember that artificial light had yet to be invented—that the Biblical peoples didn’t have to deal with light pollution—this should come as no surprise. Cloud cover would have been minimal in the desert. The Milky Way would have been clearly visible almost every night. Of course they noticed the heavens. References to constellations doesn’t imply that astrology was involved.
Another Biblical concept usurped by astrologers is that of “ages.” In astrology, an age lasts 2,160 years. Each age is supposedly governed by a sign of the zodiac. The Bible also has a concept of ages. Jesus talks about the “end of the age” as the time when He will return. But just because the same word is used doesn’t mean it has the same definition. Biblical ages are defined by acts of God, not the relative positions of stars and planets.
Just because something is mentioned in the Bible doesn’t mean that God approves of it. There’s plenty of sin described in God’s word, from murder to adultery, lying, and stealing. One of the sins that was practiced by the other nations living in the area was the practice of divination. Here’s God’s opinion about that, in Deuteronomy 18:9-14:
When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 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. You must be blameless before the Lord your God. The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do so [italics mine].
Also consider verse 20: “But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death.” It seems that those who cast horoscopes are trespassing in dangerous territory.
Psalm 19 tell us that God created the heavens to reveal His glory. Let us look at the stars as the Creator’s fingerprints, and ask God to fill us “with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Colossians 1:9).