Astrology is the study of the alignment and activity of planets and stars, based upon the belief that these alignments have bearing on human lives and can be useful in predicting the future. The dictionary definition looks like this:
"The study of the positions and aspects of celestial bodies in the belief that they have an influence on the course of natural earthly occurrences and human affairs." (American Heritage Dictionary, 4th ed.)
Astrology.com offers a helpful summary of astrology's past:
"The earliest known astrological records date back to Babylon, 1645 BC, and the earliest horoscope to 410 BC. Astrology's origins can also be traced to several other locations and cultures, including Egypt, which developed sophisticated timekeeping and calendar science; Greece, where Ptolemy authored influential astrological and astronomical texts; and Rome, where many of the most learned men-including two emperors-were astrologers who wrote laws and counseled citizens based on the Stars." (astrology.com / Feb. 03)
Most regard astrology to be very ancient, some scholars even suggesting that the Tower of Babel (in Genesis 11) was built for astrological purposes. Yet this ancient practice has so permeated human thinking that even our daily newspapers print astrological predictions (horoscopes).
There are many scientific problems with astrology, however. One physicist and astronomer, Dr. Donald DeYoung, has noted three such issues in his book "Astrology and the Bible" (2000):
1. Astrology fails to succeed when tested against reality. For example, if the distribution of heavenly bodies at birth has any implication into the life-course of the child, then twins should be virtually identical in their future, interests, talents, and personalities. Of course, this is not the case.
2. Because of the precession of the earth's axis, star positions relative to our planet have changed since astrological calendars were invented centuries ago. Thus, the "signs" are no longer valid. The error grows greater every year.
3. The gravity of stars and planets is the only force that could effect earth, and for the vast majority of heavenly bodies, this effect is negligible.
Theological / Philosophical Problems
Aside from scientific objections, astrology is strongly condemned by the Bible as tantamount to witchcraft and occultism. If the underlying theory of astrology is true, that the position of the stars impacts, foretells, or in any way determines human activity, consider some of the implications:
1. Humans could not be held responsible for their actions, good or bad. There would be no basis upon which to judge an behavior "right" or "wrong" if the individual was compelled to behave that way due to some cosmic alignment.
2. Our choices would be rendered meaningless. If the future can be foretold by gaging the movements of planets and stars, proving that we are living with only an illusion of free will, then nothing we do or fail to do would matter in the least. We would be "trapped" by our starlit "destiny."
3. Life-change, one of the central concepts of the Bible, would be impossible, because our lives were set on a particular course at birth.
Does Astrology Work?
Some people, after getting their "reading" or studying their horoscope, report that the predictions were accurate, or that their personality is in line with the "expected" traits based on the month of their birth. There are three possible reasons why this occasionally takes place:
1. Most predictions of behavior and personality are so generalized that it would be hard for them not to be at least partially accurate.
2. The individual can "make" it come true, after they find out what is "supposed" to happen. In other words, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, not a legitimate foretelling of the future.
3. Demonic spiritual forces can manipulate the events of people's lives who have opened themselves up to occult influence, such as astrology and horoscopes. The Bible contains strict warnings related to this.
The stars do have a specific message for humanity, but that message isn't transmitted through astrology. To learn more, consider Psalm 19:1 in the Bible.