If you’ve ever flipped to the horoscopes section of a newspaper out of curiosity, you’re acquainted with the modern version of astrology. What you see in the paper today is not a new ideology, but an ancient practice used by the Romans, Greeks and Babylonians. Astrology is almost as old as the world itself.
As Christians, we need to use discernment regarding cultural practices. Just because astrology seems harmless or fun doesn’t make it a God-honoring pursuit. According to Scripture, it is exactly the opposite.
Astrology is a form of idolatry.
Horoscopic astrology uses celestial longitude—the arrangement of the stars—to potentially determine the course of one’s life. Though there are many kinds of astrology, this particular practice developed in Egypt. Horoscopic astrology holds that your zodiac sign (Aries, Taurus, Gemini, etc.) reflects the arrangement of the planets at the moment you were born, and this in turn can give guidance for the course of your life.
The entire goal of astrology is to determine the future through the physical universe. Rather than seek God—the Creator of the universe—for guidance about the future, followers of astrology seek His creation instead. This is idolatry, and the Apostle Paul addressed it in Romans 1:25:
They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised.
God is offended by astrology. Attempts to determine the future apart from Him receive a harsh judgment in Isaiah 47:
Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you. Surely they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up. They cannot even save themselves from the power of the flame. (47:13-14)
God is not being unfair in this passage; He is being just. When humans attempt to undermine His loving direction and determine the future apart from the God who created them, they are walking in pride. Pride is the same sin that lost Satan his angelic status (Isaiah 14:12-15) and is the root of every sin since Adam and Eve.
Astrology has limits.
The Babylonians were renowned for their use of divination and astrology. It was a regular practice in their culture. When the Jews were exiled to Babylon (read Ezekiel, Daniel, Ezra and Nehemiah for the full story), they had the difficult task of representing God in a pagan culture. One man in particular made this his lifelong legacy. That man was Daniel.
In Daniel 2, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has a dream. He summons all of his staff astrologers to interpret it for him, which the astrologers confidently promise to do (2:4). But the king wants the astrologers to both remember the dream for him AND interpret it! The astrologers are beside themselves:
The astrologers answered the king, “There is no one on earth who can do what the king asks! No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or astrologer. What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among humans. (2:10-11)
But Daniel, in the power and Spirit of God, was able to recall the dream and interpret it for the king. Daniel knew that God alone was wise and sufficient for Nebuchadnezzar’s situation—not the stars, universe or any earthly attempt to tell the future.
Because astrology is based on a fallen, physical creation and not our divine Creator, it is powerless to determine the course of our lives. Even more concerning for Christians is the idea of pursuing a life course determined by anything but God! Seeking wisdom from the stars and secular ideologies is completely contrary to discipleship in Christ. When we accept the name of Christ, we’re saying we will follow Him. Not astrology. Not cultural ideas. We follow the Creator Himself.