The Bible and Astrology

The Bible and Astrology

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

The Hebrew and Christian Bibles are a complex set of documents. To advocates of astrology, it is not difficult to find passages presenting the science of the stars in a positive light. If, on the other hand, one wishes to attack astrology, it is also possible to find passages condemning stargazing. Certain Scriptures appear—at least in the King James Version (KJV)—to condemn astrologers as those who keep, watch, or observe the times; e.g., “Ye shall not eat anything with the blood, neither shall ye use enchantment, nor observe times” (Lev. 19:26). This allusion to astrology, however, was an interpolation by KJV translators. In modern translations, it is clear that the original biblical condemnation was against divination in general, rather than astrology in particular: “You shall not eat meat with the blood in it. You shall not practise divination or soothsaying” (New English Bible); and “You shall not eat any flesh with the blood in it. You shall not practice augury or witchcraft” (Revised Standard Version).

Advocates of astrology, however, can point to such passages as “God created lights in the heavens, and He made them for signs and for seasons” (Gen. 1:14), which is capable of being interpreted as a reference to astrology. More generally, because the God of Western religions is a sky-god, many different scriptural passages portray God as utilizing heavenly signs to instruct the faithful. These signs are often ambiguous enough to be given an astrological interpretation. With a little reworking, it is not difficult to read many otherwise innocent passages in an astrological manner, for example, the Lord’s Prayer, as noted in Don Jacobs’s Astrology’s Pew in the Church):

Our Father who lives in the heavens,

Let your name be honored,

Let your Kingdom come,

Let your will be done down here on the earth,

As perfectly as it is in the sky.

From these examples, it is not difficult to see that both supporters and detractors must “massage” various biblical passages to get an unambiguous message on the status of astrology. One of the few biblical accounts in which we can clearly perceive the practice of astrology is the story of The Three Wise Men. The Magi were clearly astrologers, and the Star of Bethlehem, as scholars have long pointed out, was actually a major planetary conjunction. The Magi believed, as do many of our contemporaries, that our planet was on the verge of entering a “new age,” and this particular conjunction was taken to indicate the birth of a new world teacher.

Sources:

Jacobs, Don. Astrology’s Pew in the Church. San Francisco: The Joshua Foundation, 1979.
Simms, Maria Kay. Twelve Wings of the Eagle: Evolution Through the Ages of the Zodiac. San Diego: 1988.
References in periodicals archive ?
With entries on alchemy and Allah, the Bible and astrology, as well as the origins of Black Death, the book touches on medical issues as well as historical and political background, cultural attitudes, society's reactions, and religion's role.