Question: Is astrology biblical? I know that there are several things God intended for good that men have taken and perverted. Is astrology one of those things? Can we actually use the stars, sun, moon, constellations, etc., for “signs” as God states at the very beginning of time?
Answer: Well, astrology is biblical in this sense – the prophet addressing Babylon:
“Keep up your spells and your many sorceries, with which you toiled from your youth; perhaps you can make them avail. . . let the astrologers stand forth to save you, the stargazers who forecast at each new moon what will happen to you.” (Isaiah 47:12-13)
Or, to very loosely paraphrase the prophet, “Yo, Babylon, good luck to you w/ your astrology, chumps!”
We remember our (Israel’s) great Sage Maimonides, writing roughly about the time of Norman Conquest (c 1100 C.E.), commenting: “Astrology is a disease, not a science. All sorts of superstitions thrive under its shadow. Only fools and charlatans lend value to it.”
But then, you know, I dip into my own book, Rainbow Covenant: Torah and the Seven Universal Laws, about the universal moral laws that apply to every human being, and read, in the chapter discussing prohibited idolatry:
“Whatever denies the absolutely fundamental Torah principles of God’s Unity, God’s Providence, and human free will also denies God. To the extent that fortune-telling, astrology, etc., denies these truths – RECOGNIZING THAT SOME ASTROLOGICAL AND OTHER ACTS OF PORTENT-WATCHING MAY NOT [emphasis added for this Ask the Rabbi answer] – the practitioner is subject, in the Hebrew [Torah] Code [Torah Law], to corporal punishment.
“No one can know the future. Any teaching that man is a slave to the stars, or to other forces or objects apart from Providence, is blameworthy. It constitutes the teaching of idolatry. BUT MERE DESCRIPTIVE ASTROLOGY, FOR INSTANCE, WHICH DOESN’T NECESSARILY ATTEMPT TO FORETELL THE FUTURE (AS BY DECREEING SUPPOSEDLY AUSPICIOUS OR INAUSPICIOUS TIMES) BUT ONLY DELVES INTO INDIVIDUAL CHARACTER (AS BY TRYING TO DESCRIBE THE PERSONALITIES OF PEOPLE BORN AT DIFFERENT TIMES), ISN’T NECESSARILY IDOLATROUS, NOR BLAMEWORTHY [emphasis added, as above]
“Also, naturally, whatever is recommended by reason is [always] permitted. Faith in reason flows from Sinai. Science, or empirically connecting different phenomena and events with other phenomena and events, to predict a future event, represents the rational, truth-seeking best in man. Hunting up omens, or making predictive connections nonempirically, based only on occult teachings or mystic and unscientific lore, isn’t science. Representing the primitive and irrational worst in man, it is a perversion of human curiosity.” (Dallen, Rainbow Covenant, p 282. Click here to get the book, including various source citations to this very subject)
I hope this helps answer your question.
All the Best,