The Bible’s Viewpoint
Is Astrology the Key to Your Future?
HOW can you improve your life and find success in the pursuit of love and money? Many people look to astrology for the answer. Every day millions consult newspaper horoscopes in the hope of improving their prospects. Even world leaders have been known to guide their decisions by the stars.
Is astrology trustworthy? How do astrologers make their predictions? Should Christians allow celestial bodies to determine how they live?
What Is Astrology?
According to The World Book Encyclopedia, astrology “is based on the belief that the heavenly bodies form patterns that can reveal a person’s character or future.” Astrologers claim that the precise positions of the planets and the signs of the zodiac at the time of a person’s birth can influence his life course.a The position of these heavenly bodies at any given moment is called a horoscope.
Belief in astrology is ancient. Some four thousand years ago, the Babylonians began to predict the future according to the positions of the sun, the moon, and the five most visible planets. They claimed that these heavenly bodies exerted certain forces that affected human behavior. Later they incorporated the signs of the zodiac into their predictions.
A Long History of Failure
The Bible highlights the connection between Babylon and astrology, and several times it makes reference to Babylonian astrologers. (Daniel 4:7; 5:7, 11) In the days of the prophet Daniel, astrology was so widespread in Chaldea (Babylonia) that using the term “Chaldeans” was practically the same as referring to astrologers.
Daniel witnessed not only the influence of astrology on Babylon but also the failure of its astrologers to predict the fall of the city. (Daniel 2:27) Note what the prophet Isaiah had accurately foretold two centuries earlier. “Let your astrologers come forward and save you—those people who study the stars, who map out the zones of the heavens and tell you from month to month what is going to happen to you,” Isaiah wrote scornfully. “They will not even be able to save themselves.”—Isaiah 47:13, 14, Today’s English Version.
Apparently, the Babylonian astrologers could not foretell their city’s downfall even a few hours in advance. And when God’s own adverse judgment appeared on the wall of King Belshazzar’s palace, the astrologers proved incapable of interpreting the cryptic writing.—Daniel 5:7, 8.
Today astrologers have not proved any more effective in predicting significant events. After examining more than 3,000 specific astrological predictions, scientific investigators R. Culver and Philip Ianna came to the conclusion that only 10 percent were accurate. Any well-informed analyst could do better than that.
In Conflict With Bible Teachings
The Hebrew prophets, however, did not reject astrology merely because of its manifest failure to predict the future accurately. The Law that God gave to Moses specifically warned the Israelites against looking for omens. “There should not be found in you . . . anyone who employs divination . . . or anyone who looks for omens,” the Law stated. “Everybody doing these things is something detestable to Jehovah.”—Deuteronomy 18:10, 12.
Although astrology is not mentioned by name in that scripture, the prohibition evidently included the practice. The Encyclopædia Britannica notes that astrology is a “type of divination that consists in forecasting earthly and human events by means of observing and interpreting the fixed stars, the Sun, the Moon, and the planets.” All forms of divination—whether based on the stars or other objects—violate God’s guidelines. Why? There is good reason.
Rather than attribute our successes or failures to the stars, the Bible clearly states that “whatever a man is sowing, this he will also reap.” (Galatians 6:7) God holds each of us responsible for our actions, since we are free moral agents. (Deuteronomy 30:19, 20; Romans 14:12) True, we may suffer an accident or an illness because of events beyond our control. But such calamities, the Scriptures explain, are due to “time and unforeseen occurrence,” not our horoscope.—Ecclesiastes 9:11.
With regard to human relationships, the Bible urges us to clothe ourselves with such qualities as compassion, kindness, lowliness of mind, mildness, long-suffering, and love. (Colossians 3:12-14) These qualities are the key to forging lasting friendships and strengthening marriages. “Astrological affinity” is not a reliable guide for choosing a marriage mate. Psychologist Bernard Silverman analyzed the birth horoscopes of some 3,500 couples, 17 percent of whom had subsequently become divorced. He did not find a lower divorce rate among those who had married a partner who was ‘astrologically compatible.’
Clearly, astrology is both unreliable and misleading. It could cause us to blame the stars rather than ourselves when we make mistakes. Above all, it is clearly condemned in God’s Word.
a The signs of the zodiac are the 12 different heavenly constellations used by astrology.