Why Is Christianity Opposed To Astrology?
“Astrology is the work of the devil” is the rallying cry for many Christians that denounce all things metaphysical, however this is often a testament of ignorance of the history of astrology and the Church. Not only did astrology have an illustrious career in the high court of the Vatican, but many prominent Christian theologians saw the important relationship between astrological influence and human affairs. Dante and Thomas Aquinas were prominent theologians that believed that astrology made a direct impact on one’s life but did not dictate or control one’s fate or response to it.
Still, Christianity, for the majority of its history, has denounced astrology due to contrasting philosophical outlooks. This derision received its greatest articulation through St. Augustine, who not only refuted astrology but claimed that its practitioners were condemned to eternal damnation. The great argument against astrology for Augustine and others was that if the stars did determine one’s fate, then one could exercise no free will toward accepting the doctrine of the Church and accepting Jesus Christ as the savior of mankind.
A more important, yet less explicit argument presented by the Church involved the redundancy of studying, manipulating, and otherwise tampering with, God’s creation. It was God’s intention, it was assumed, to create a divine plan that could never be fully understood in terms of reason and understanding. As God’s providence was unfathomably larger, greater, and more mysterious than the human mind, studying and manipulating creation was simply a diversion and a distraction from the greater and ultimately necessary work of salvation and redemption which could only be accomplished by faith and good works. Thus, the hierarchical relationship between God as omnipotent creator and man was eternally set in place. Critical thinking, reasoning, and tinkering with this creation is a temptation in the way a child is tempted to disobey the rules and regulations of its parental environment.
Astrology’s practice was inherently antithetical to this viewpoint. The drive to know, to divine, to illuminate “occult forces” was ultimately driven by the unconscious desire and deep-seated belief that human beings are unfinished projects and that the distance between humankind and the birthright of its divinity was a creative act of will. Hence, the way to God in astrology and Christianity are diametrically opposed; astrology’s promethean quest toward self-perfecting, searching, and experimentalism clashed harshly with the faith-based, submission, and relinquishment of Christianity.
Less obvious but equal in terms of Christianity’s renouncement of astrology is the discipline’s pagan insinuation and polytheistic tinge. Astrology has always been an art that has been highly reliant and exalting of a diversity of images, iconography, and symbols, and therefore exalts the immanence of divine within nature-in the broadest sense-in all of its manifestations. By implication, astrology doesn’t invest complete faith or subservience in the monotheistic conception of the God of Christianity, but sees Christianity’s conception of God as a powerful manifestation, or symbol, of one element of that which is spiritual in nature.