SHOULD YOU LOOK TO THE STARS?
Millions rely on horoscopes - but what does God say about this
by Clayton D. Steep (written 1986)
Are you "Capricorn" or Scorpio"? Should you avoid strangers
today? Should you contemplate marriage? Are you and your dog or
cat compatible? Is this a bad day to start a new job? Should you
postpone trying to overcome a bad habit? What do the stars and
Millions of people daily check their horoscopes to find out.
Contracts are signed, employees hired, business ventures started,
life-styles changed, occupations chosen, friendships altered,
diets formulated, bets made, trips planned, babies named - yes,
sometimes, even government policies and political decisions
arrived at - all based on various astrological readings.
Even if you yourself do not believe in astrology, you may
still be directly or indirectly affected because of the decisions
others in all walks of life make under the influence of zodiac
What Is astrology?
Briefly put, adherents claim astrology is a method of
anticipating or foretelling events by calculating the effect the
sun, moon, stars and planets have on human activities.
Supposedly, the relative positions of the heavenly bodies at
the moment of a child's birth influence the child's character and
personality. Plotting the movements of those heavenly bodies, it
is thought, reveals an individual's destiny.
As to whether astrology really works, the debate has been
intense. A few years ago 186 eminent scientists, among them 18
Nobel prize winners, signed a declaration that scientific
evidence to support astrologers does not exist.
Armed with this and similar statements made by other
scientists and astronomers, many have sought to debunk astrology.
On the other hand, devotees and practitioners respond, "Don't
knock it if you haven't tried it!" They insist the principles
work regardless of certain charlatans and fakes who have given
the study of astrology a bad name.
And so the arguing goes on and on, some claiming there is
nothing to astrology, others insisting there is. Numerous books
and papers have been written giving both sides of the story.
There is no need to go into all the arguments here because
they are voluminous and, for the most part, inconclusive.
God intended that the heavenly bodies be used by man to
measure time and seasons (Genesis 1:16). Nowhere does the Bible
indicate He intended that they be looked to for guidance in
making decisions and evaluations in our personal lives. We have
God's written laws for that.
"Your word [not the sun, moon, planets, stars or horoscopes, palm
readers, crystal-ball gazers, diviners, mediums or
fortunetellers!) is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path"
Of course it is evident that the sun and moon wield
considerable physical influence upon the planet earth, both for
good and, potentially, for harm. But Psalm 121:6 promises the
righteous, "The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by
night." However, no Scripture speaks of the remote influence of
distant stars and planets.
And certainly no Scripture tells us to look to the heavenly
bodies for personal direction!
The heavens declare God's glory (Psalm 19:1-6). But wisdom,
guidance, understanding and the forming of an individual's
character come from the laws and statutes of God, not from signs
in the skies (verses 7-11).
We are to judge others "by their fruits" (Matthew 7:20), not
by their horoscopes. "Do not judge according to appearance,"
Jesus declared, "but judge with righteous [according to God's
laws] judgment" (John 7:24).
We are not forced to suffer, throughout life, from certain
character weaknesses merely because we were born when the planets
and stars were in a particular configuration. Through effort,
with the power of God's Spirit, personality traits can be
changed or overcome. "The Spirit of the Lord will come upon
you, and you will ... be turned into another man," Samuel
prophesied to Saul (I Samuel 10:6).
When God's Spirit works with a person, he takes on a whole
new nature (2 Peter 1:4). Regardless of his horoscope!
Our minds were given to us so we can weigh facts and come to
our own conclusions. When it gets right down to it, many of
those who consult their horoscopes daily are really trying to
avoid the responsibility of decision making. They want to be
told what to do. They feel more secure that way.
The American Society of Psychological and Social Studies
made this point: "Faith in astrology is harmful, for it
encourages an unhealthy evasion of the permanent problems of real
life.... The astrologers, who offer the public a horoscope, which
takes the place of conclusions drawn from serious reflection, are
guilty of encouraging the human tendency of choosing facility
rather than the difficult way."
Why do millions eagerly refer to their horoscopes every day?
Because they feel a need for something to guide them through the
complexities of life - something they can look to for direction
Those who look to God, however, have a different guide, one
that never fails. Jesus promised that "the Spirit of truth ...
will guide you into all truth" (John 16:13).
Don't let the stars get in your eyes
Psychology Today (February, 1976) focused on the crux of the
matter when it referred to the conclusions of science writer
"Arguments against the irrationality of astrology's claims miss
the point, he says, because astrology isn't based on science or
logic. It is a system of magic.... Astrologers since Greek times
have tied their art to whatever scientific facts came to hand,
Jerome said, 'more and more ascribing astrology to physical
influences and obscuring the MAGICAL principles upon which it was
based. BUT THE BASIS IS STILL MAGIC'" (emphasis ours).
The Bible concurs. It groups astrologers along with
magicians and soothsayers (Daniel 1:20; 2:2,10,27; 4:7).
The Bible nowhere says magic does not sometimes work. It
worked, remember, for the sorcerers in Egypt (Exodus 7-8). We
should not assume that soothsaying and astrology do not also work
- sometimes. The same holds true for ESP experiments, hypnotism,
water witching and other unexplained phenomena.
But just because they may at times work does not mean God's
people ought to become involved with them. The source of these
powers is definitely not God.
The Bible is clear as to how Christians should view
astrology. Just the knowledge that the practice of astrology
began among the ancient pagans, particularly in Babylon, and that
it pays special attention to a person's birthday ought to make
any true Christian suspicious.
Originated in paganism
The heathen were the first ones to look at the heavens and
to react to portents they thought they saw there. However, God
commanded His people: "Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of
the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the
heathen are dismayed at them" (Jeremiah 10:2, Authorized
Isaiah prophesied that even though astrologers originated in
Babylon, they would be unable to help Babylon in its ultimate
time of trouble:
"It was your own magic craft and cunning that misled you ...
Therefore shall evil assail you ... Go on with your spells!
Practise all your magic arts [notice once again the connection
with magic]! ... You have worn yourself out with them all; let
the astrologers come forward now, let the stargazers save you
now, who calculate the future, month by month! They fare no
better than the straw burned by a fire; they cannot save their
own lives ... and there is none to save you" (Isaiah 47:10-15,
There are numerous Biblical condemnations of those who
"observe times," as an astrologer must do (Deuteronomy 19:9-14,
AV), those who worship "the sun, the moon, and the stars"
(Deuteronomy 4:19, 2 Kings 23:5) and those who serve the "host of
heaven" (2 Kings 17:16, 21:3).
Of course, many adherents of astrology protest that they are
not worshipping and serving the heavenly bodies. Maybe not
according to their definition of "worship and serve." But people
do obey their horoscopes, and the Bible warns, "To whom you
present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's' slaves
whom you obey" (Romans 1 6:16).
For many, astrology is indeed a "religion." "We are modern
priests," one practitioner declared, "clearing up people's
doubts about the way their lives are going."
Our true guide
Before making a decision, a Christian does not have to be
concerned about whether the planets are in a favorable position.
He needs only to be concerned about what God's law says. Then he
can make the decision with confidence.
"Receive I pray thee, the law from His mouth, and lay up His
words in thine heart.... Thou shalt make thy prayer unto Him, and
He shall hear thee ... Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it
shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon
thy ways" (Job 22:22,27-28, AV).
No need to consult horoscopes, zodiac charts or astrological
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own
understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him [not a
horoscope!], and He (not an astrologer's predictions!) shall
direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Entered on this Website November 2007