Saturday, April 2, 2011
Do the Stars Influence Your Life?
Do the Stars Influence Your Life?
Should the Zodiac Influence Your Life?
Can You Control Your Future?
ON A clear night and observed far away from the lights of any human presence, the heavens look like black velvet with thousands of tiny diamonds sparkling across the expanse. Only in the last three and a half centuries has man started to grasp the enormity of the size of the stars and their distance from us. We are just beginning to understand the colossal forces that operate throughout the awesome place that is our universe.
From earliest times, humans have observed the precise movements of the heavenly bodies across the night sky and the seasonal changes of their locations in the firmament. (Genesis 1:14) Many have expressed sentiments like those of King David of Israel, who some 3,000 years ago wrote: “When I see your heavens, the works of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have prepared, what is mortal man that you keep him in mind?”—Psalm 8:3, 4.
Yet, whether we realize it or not, the celestial bodies and their movements influence our life in far more tangible ways. The sun, our home star around which the earth orbits, establishes the most basic units of human timekeeping—the lengths of our day and year. The moon is “for appointed times,” or “to tell us the seasons.” (Psalm 104:19; Contemporary English Version) And the stars are reliable guides in navigation, even for astronauts to orient their spacecraft. Because of this, some wonder if the stars can actually do more for us than tell times and seasons and enhance our appreciation for God’s creative work. Can they also predict our future or warn us about calamities?
The Origin and Purpose of Astrology
The practice of looking to the heavens for omens to direct the course of life on earth had its origins in ancient Mesopotamia, dating back perhaps to the third millennium B.C.E. The early astrologers were careful observers of the heavens. From their efforts to map movements of heavenly bodies, catalog star positions, develop calendars, and predict eclipses, the science of astronomy was born. But astrology goes beyond observing the natural influence of the sun and moon on our environment. It asserts that the location and alignment of the sun, moon, planets, stars, and constellations not only influence major events on earth but also control individual lives. In what ways?
The Maya made extensive use of astrological observations
Some practitioners use astrology as a means to look to the celestial bodies for indications or warnings about the future, which the knowledgeable can make use of and benefit from in various ways. Others feel that astrology actually shows what we are predestined to do or that it can help us to determine the auspicious time to engage in certain activities or to embark on particular endeavors. Such information is said to be obtained by observing the alignment of key heavenly bodies and “calculating” their interaction with one another and with the earth. Their influence over a particular individual is said to depend upon the alignment of the heavenly bodies at the time of his birth.
The earliest astrologers imagined that the earth was the center of the universe and that the planets and stars were locked in a series of progressively larger celestial spheres that rotated around the earth. They also thought that the sun traveled through the sky among the stars and constellations along a specific path in a yearly journey. They called the apparent path of the sun the ecliptic and divided it into 12 zones, or segments. Each segment was named after the constellation in it through which the sun passed. Thus came into being the 12 signs of the zodiac. These zones, or “houses of heaven,” were considered to be the abodes of specific deities. Of course, in time, scientists learned that the sun does not travel around the earth but the earth travels around the sun. That discovery dealt astrology its deathblow as a science.
From its origin in Mesopotamia, the practice of astrology spread to nearly all parts of the world and became embedded in various forms in practically all major civilizations of mankind. Following the Persian conquest of Babylon, astrology spread to Egypt, Greece, and India. From India, Buddhist missionaries carried it into Central Asia, China, Tibet, Japan, and Southeast Asia. While the actual route of transmission to the Maya is not known, that civilization made extensive use of astrological observations in a way similar to that of the Babylonians. The “modern” form of astrology apparently developed in Hellenized Egypt and has had a significant impact on the thinking of elements of Judaism, Islam, and Christendom.
Even before their exile to Babylon in the seventh century B.C.E., the nation of Israel was not immune to the influence of astrology. The Bible tells us about the efforts of faithful King Josiah to remove from among the people the practice of offering sacrifices “to the sun and to the moon and to the constellations of the zodiac and to all the army of the heavens.”—2 Kings 23:5.
The Source of Astrology
Astrology is based on gross errors regarding the structure and the operation of the universe. Thus, it obviously cannot be from God. Because its basic premises are founded on untruths, astrology cannot be an accurate source of information regarding the future. Its failure is well-illustrated by two intriguing historical events.
The precise astrological calculations of the Maya did not save their civilization from collapse
During the reign of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, the priests and astrologers were unable to interpret for the king a dream that he had. Daniel, a prophet of the true God, Jehovah, pointed out the reason for the problem: “The secret that the king himself is asking, the wise men, the conjurers, the magic–practicing priests and the astrologers themselves are unable to show to the king. However, there exists a God in the heavens who is a Revealer of secrets, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what is to occur in the final part of the days.” (Daniel 2:27, 28) Yes, Daniel looked to Jehovah God, the “Revealer of secrets”—not to the sun, moon, or stars—and he provided the king with the correct interpretation.—Daniel 2:36-45.
The extremely precise astrological calculations of the Maya did not save their civilization from collapse in the ninth century C.E. These failures not only show that astrology is a fraud, incapable of accurately predicting anything, but they also unmask its real purpose: to keep people from looking to God for accurate information regarding the future.
The fact that astrology is based on untruths also helps us to identify its author. Jesus said of the Devil: “He did not stand fast in the truth, because truth is not in him. When he speaks the lie, he speaks according to his own disposition, because he is a liar and the father of the lie.” (John 8:44) Satan pretends to be “an angel of light,” and the demons masquerade as “ministers of righteousness.” In reality, they are deceivers intent on trapping people in a web of deceit. (2 Corinthians 11:14, 15) God’s Word exposes the “powerful work and lying signs and portents” as “the operation of Satan.”—2 Thessalonians 2:9.
Why You Should Avoid It
Astrology is based on falsehoods and is therefore detestable to the God of truth, Jehovah. (Psalm 31:5) For that reason, the Bible clearly condemns it and urges people to have nothing to do with it. At Deuteronomy 18:10-12, God clearly states: “There should not be found in you . . . anyone who looks for omens or a sorcerer, . . . anyone who consults a spirit medium or a professional foreteller of events or anyone who inquires of the dead. For everybody doing these things is something detestable to Jehovah.”
Since Satan and the demons are the power behind astrology, dabbling in it leaves a person open to their influence. Just as experimenting with drugs can put someone under the control of drug traffickers, experimenting with astrology can put someone under the control of the master deceiver, Satan. Consequently, those who love God and truth must totally reject astrology and instead heed the Bible’s counsel: “Hate what is bad, and love what is good.”—Amos 5:15.
Astrology thrives on people’s desire to know the future. Is it possible to know the future? And if so, how? The Bible tells us that we cannot know what will happen to us personally tomorrow, next month, or next year. (James 4:14) Even so, the Bible does reveal to us the general picture of what will happen to humankind in the near future. It lets us know that soon the Kingdom for which we pray in the Lord’s Prayer will come. (Daniel 2:44; Matthew 6:9, 10) It also tells us that human suffering is soon to end and will never trouble us again. (Isaiah 65:17; Revelation 21:4) Rather than predestinating human life, God is inviting people everywhere to learn about him and what he will do for their benefit. How do we know? The Bible makes it clear that God’s will is that “all sorts of men should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth.”—1 Timothy 2:4.
“There exists a God in the heavens who is a Revealer of secrets, and he has made known . . . what is to occur in the final part of the days”
The magnificent heavens and everything in them are not put there to control our life. Rather, they point to Jehovah’s power and Godship. (Romans 1:20) They can move us to reject falsehoods and look to God and his Word, the Bible, for reliable guidance and direction for a successful life. “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding. In all your ways take notice of him, and he himself will make your paths straight.”—Proverbs 3:5, 6.