by Fr. Alexander Shargunov –
Astrology was a symbol of all man’s delusions, and that is why the Lord had to reveal a real Star.
Who were the Magi who journeyed from the East? We can’t say with full confidence from what country they arrived to Jerusalem—maybe from Persia, as the service books have stated or, like several holy fathers have suggested, Egypt, Babylon or even far-away India.
One church tradition insists they arrived from different Oriental countries, and once they met one another, continued on their way to Bethlehem. However, in the end, their country of origin isn’t the essence of the matter. What matters most is that they traveled on behalf of those “who worshipped the stars” to adore Him, “the Sun of Righteousness” Who shone to the history of humanity “the Orient from on High.”
What is the origin of astrology? By losing the faith in one living and all-mighty God the Creator, men fell captive to the forces of evil and God-given nature. As the Apostle Paul says in his Epistle to the Romans, they worshipped the creature rather than the Creator. They changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. They viewed the celestial body as the crown of creation.
Over time, the “science of the stars”—astrology—moved away from primitive idolatry, gaining internal consistency and coherence. Astrologers maintain that, contrary to faith in God, they possess purely “scientific knowledge” of hidden laws of creation. Such stipulation can’t but strike an impression on the modern rationalist psyche.
We are told that throughout the ages the most prominent people were never dismissive of this ultimate wisdom—beginning from Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great to Boris Godunov and Adolf Hitler who never undertook anything without first “consulting with the stars”. At one time, our local press occasionally mentioned the “astrology service” of one General Rogozin who served under Yeltsin. As in ancient times, the majority of people are made to accept that the stars determine the outcome of their lives. The newspapers print horoscopes like weather forecasts. Businessmen pay hefty sums of money to calculate the most profitable day for business affairs, or to satisfy their lust, visit a casino, or relieve themselves in some other way.
People have been indoctrinated to believe that astrology is a purely scientific matter. The stars aren’t gods like people of old believed, but their influence is so strong and mathematically so accurate that no living creature can ever, even for a fleeting moment, free themselves from their power. As Blessed Augustine stated, “It’s as if the stars weren’t created to serve man but men were created to serve the stars.” He fought a battle against astrology, which was in high demand at his time in all of its aspects. He used to call it a murderous epidemic and a devastating plague, because it denied man’s freedom and annihilated moral responsibility.
The stars, according to astrologers, rule men’s life, including their moment of birth and life’s events, human character, personal growth and even death. If someone is born under a “lucky star,” everything will be all right. If not—then he can’t even hope to find happiness. Man is a completely clueless slave of the stars. There is only one possibility of avoiding trouble in life—to study and diligently perform everything the stars are telling you. To read horoscopes and avoid the “unfavorable days.” Whereas, for Christians, it is—behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).
Many false teachers have offered to unite astrology and Christianity. They used to say: “We aren’t against Christ. He helps men. But only we hold key to the innermost knowledge of making it better.” They offered to add some kind of “extra wisdom” to the Church. However, the Church knows Christ as the conqueror of all worldly powers. Men can’t believe simultaneously in the power of Christ and the authority of the stars.
Reliance on astrology is the scourge of human society. Merciless predetermination kills any hope for the future and the willpower to go on with life. The more men get involved in the search for freedom away from God, the more they fall prey to a blind tyranny of the forces of nature. Belief in astrology eliminates faith in God’s Providence. Men fall prey to the power of demons; that’s why astrological predictions, when God allows it to happen, increasingly become fulfilled in their life. Demons lead men as if blindfolded to the edge of the precipice—eternal death. Just as it happened, for example, with the Nazis.
It is no coincidence that astrology has grown so popular in our days, since evil and deception have increased manifold. From the outset of astrology, that powerhouse of pseudo-science, it produces and cultivates all kinds of sorcery and occultism, witchcraft, fortune-telling, and all those things that Christianity calls superstition. Antichrist, whose coming, according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, will produce an extraordinary astrological phenomenon to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
Astrology was a symbol of all man’s delusions, and that is why the Lord had to reveal a real Star. The Holy Fathers say that the star that led the Magi wasn’t actually a star, as we know it, but a special spiritual power that took the form of a star. If the Lord could appear to Moses in the shape of a burning bush, to Abraham in a form of three strangers, to Prophet Elias as a breath of gentle wind, why couldn’t the Lord or His Angel appear to the Magi in a form of a star? Through His ineffable mercy, God comes down to men. He appeared before the astrologers who were searching for Him among the stars as the Star. He appeared before Paul in the power of His Resurrection when he persecuted the Church of God. Our Lord is so merciful and all-powerful that He can turn evil into goodness. What then, shall we sin? asks Apostle Paul. Certainly not!
Let there be no such delusion among us as it, like a poisonous, choking cloud, spreads over the earth from east to west and strangles the human race with its deadly weight. The wisdom of the Magi lies in the rejection of false wisdom and their veneration of Truth—Christ Who delivered us from every kind of slavery. Once they saw Christ, they never went back to their former delusions. Our future is in the embrace of God’s love that respects the God-given freedom of men till the very end. God never hides anything from us in His creation, but only when we live in faith and truth, and true wisdom, both divine and human, He will reveal all His mysteries and give everything to us, including Himself.
HT: Orthodox Christianity. (Minor organizational edits and bolding of key phrases done by blog editors done to enhance readability.)