If the magi were astrologers, is astrology wrong?


#1

This question came up. The magi are sometimes translated as astrologers, but they were also righteous men. What do I answer my New-Age friends?


#2

[quote="DaisymaeD, post:1, topic:349576"]
This question came up. The magi are sometimes translated as astrologers, but they were also righteous men. What do I answer my New-Age friends?

[/quote]

In the antiquity "Astrology" was related to the "Study of the Stars" yes there were ideas that the stars influenced the lives of the mortals here on earth and you see this in most pagan religions. Most notably the formations or relative positions of the stars in the firmament was associated with gods etc.

But there were also learned people who were interested in the movement of the stars and kept track of them, they were sought after by the influential people of every age to help them read the firmament for signs.
It is only after the Church was founded by Jesus that the old knowledge of "astrology" gets separated and "Astronomy" is born.

Look at who the early "Astronomers" were: The majority were priests or religious persons.

Let's see now days how we stand.
Astrology purported to read the effect of the stars and planets on human affairs by charlatans, psychics etc. often offered with card readings and occult practices.

Astronomy a science that studies the motions of the stars, planets, galaxies and the universe. Wholly embraced by reputable secular scientists as well as continued interest by the Church.

So "Astrology" as intended today IS totally wrong and it's practices are forbidden by God in the Bible and hence also by the Church.

--


#3

[quote="JerryZ, post:2, topic:349576"]
In the antiquity "Astrology" was related to the "Study of the Stars" yes there were ideas that the stars influenced the lives of the mortals here on earth and you see this in most pagan religions. Most notably the formations or relative positions of the stars in the firmament was associated with gods etc.

But there were also learned people who were interested in the movement of the stars and kept track of them, they were sought after by the influential people of every age to help them read the firmament for signs.
It is only after the Church was founded by Jesus that the old knowledge of "astrology" gets separated and "Astronomy" is born.

Look at who the early "Astronomers" were: The majority were priests or religious persons.

Let's see now days how we stand.
Astrology purported to read the effect of the stars and planets on human affairs by charlatans, psychics etc. often offered with card readings and occult practices.

Astronomy a science that studies the motions of the stars, planets, galaxies and the universe. Wholly embraced by reputable secular scientists as well as continued interest by the Church.

So "Astrology" as intended today IS totally wrong and it's practices are forbidden by God in the Bible and hence also by the Church.

--

[/quote]

Good reply. I do think people get confused about the two.


#4

You answer to your friends should be to read the statements in the Bible. They followed what was obviously not a normal star but one that moved and then stopped at a certain place.

Astrology is definitely wrong. And it is ineffectual as well. I had an acquaintance who owned astrology books I did not know existed. The one I borrowed from him was very elaborate but also quite vague. After reviewing all the required calculations, I was left with no answers, just the feeling that a person who did not know better might believe something specific would happen, and if something even close did happen, they would attribute it to a book of nonsense.

Hope this helps,
Ed


#5

The second Temple priests were excellent astrologers, as were those Jewish priests in Babylon.

Not much is known about their "science" and all of the second temple ritual was pretty much outlawed by the Romans on A.D. 70, along with the High Priesthood itself. Most books were destroyed, except those saved by Josephus.

The Essenes place great faith in the movement of the stars, as the stars were thought to be windows into heaven.

The night sky was especially brilliant back then, and observing the stars easy.

The Romans outlawed Astrology by Tiberius' time,, mainly because it was used by charlatans to fleece the common people.

But Tiberius was no mean astrologer himself, and the upper crust of Rome dabbled in it, largely in secret.


#6

[quote="DaisymaeD, post:1, topic:349576"]
This question came up. The magi are sometimes translated as astrologers, but they were also righteous men. What do I answer my New-Age friends?

[/quote]

Not exactly an answer. Back in the old days, there wasn't really a neat line between 'science' and 'superstition' - so basically, ancient doctors could prescribe magical formulas and weird voodoo stuff alongside medicines and surgeries. It was only in the 18th century that one was separated from the other. Ancient astronomy and astrology wasn't really different back then: people studied the sky for mystical and religious reasons, because they thought that whatever happened up there reflects what happens on earth down below.

I think really the ultimate point is that God can use whatever means necessary to convey His will - even if it is astrology. That doesn't mean that astrology in itself is permissible, but well, God can do whatever He wants.


#7

Thanks, all. I thought it was something like that!


#8

When God created the stars he said they where for sign and seasons. So, studying the stars is a Godly form as long say you keep it for reasons of God. Question I would have, is it God’s will that we go outside of the firmament? He crushed the tower of babble for that reason. I know man wasn’t ready and definitely doing it to try to reach heaven. If we study the heavens and cheat the apocalypse, what reason was it written unless God will find you no matter where you hide. Idk this thread made me think lol


#9

Flavius Josephus: A DESCRIPTION OF THE TEMPLE

signs, representing living creatures. When any persons entered into the temple …Babylonian curtain

The second Temple priests = Babylon the Great

The new Covenant priests = The Bride


#10

well, Just my opinion but even if they were astrologers, they most likely would not be Jew, so maybe in their religions it was ok so they were not really guilty to do so, maybe they were astronomers, but just named like that.


#11

Astrology always involves the relative positions of the planets among the stars. Astrology is wrong for Christianity, but it is unlikely the Magi were astrologers. It is much more likely that they were star-gazers, that is, they gazed at the stars for dreams and visions from their gods, since stars and gods (or angels, as in the Bible, Rev. 1:20) were associated together in ancient times. The “star of Bethlehem” had nothing to do with astronomy - it was seen by the magi in a dream or vision, and no one else is recorded as ever seeing it, such as Chinese or Greek observers. The vision also informed them about the Messiah. The fact that more than one Magi had the same vision was enough to send them on their long journey to Jerusalem. The corresponding event for the Jewish religion was the shepherds seeing and hearing the angels singing in heaven. No one else is recorded as seeing what the shepherds saw, so it was most likely a miraculous vision intended only for them.


#12

Scott Hahn, in one of his Advent talks, says the magi were unbelievers who came and laid down their tools of magic and divination at Jesus’ feet.

I’ve studied Judaism for years. A rabbi and scholar I knew, who was all about Christian history and was often asked to speak it on, found research to support that the magi were Zoroastrian priests. They actually died to themselves, as Scott Hahn said, by turning over the tools of their livelihood in order to follow Christ. It would be like a palm reader turning over her Tarot cards or a drug dealer turning over his goods.

Just some thoughts I’ve picked up over the years. Dr. Hahn being a proponent of this gives it a solid, Catholic basis.


#13

Yes they were astrologers. There are a lot of misconceptions about it. The “7 spirits before the throne” That’s the seven planets before the throne. He has “12 faces and 4 beards”. Four elements and 12 houses. In my father’s house there are many mansions. Mansions or houses. One science is the effect of the ministers on us. Astronomy is a “physical” modern science that is superb to the dumb ancients :rolleyes:


#14

#15

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.