Thursday, December 03, 2020

Why was it all right for the Magi to follow the stars when the Bible condemns astrology (Matt. 2:2)?

 

In their helpful book Bringing Your Faith to Work, Randy Douglass and the late Norman L. Geisler, address the above question:

"The Bible condemns astrology (Lev. 19:26; Deut. 18:10; Isa. 8:19), yet God blessed the wise men (Magi) and seemed to even guide them with the stars to show the birthplace of Christ.

First, astrology is a belief that the study of the arrangement and movement of the stars can foretell events whether they be good or bad.  Second, the star (singular) in the biblical story was to announce the birth of Christ, not to foretell it.  God gave the star to the Magi to let them know that the Christ child had already been born (Matt. 2:16).  Third, there are other instances in the Bible in which the stars and planets are used by God to reveal his desires.  The stars declare God's glory (Ps. 19:1-6); creation reveals his existence (Rom. 1:18-20) and will be affected at the return of Christ (Matt. 24:29-30).  So the star guiding the Magi was not used to predict, but to proclaim the birth of Christ."1

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:
1. Norman L. Geisler and Randy Douglass, Bringing Your Faith to Work, p. 169.

Related Posts

Five Reasons You Can Trust the Story of Christmas is True by J. Warner Wallace

Christmas- Pagan or Not?

Theologian R.C. Sproul on Christmas

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I new astrology was bad but not why. New Perspective

Blogger Dude said...

Chad,

There are two major interpretations about who are the MAGI (magoi, masculine plural of magos) in Matthew 2:

(1) the same word is applied to Daniel and his friends in the LXX.

The magi are the faithful Jews, still outside of Israel, who were counselors or statesmen or administrations. They saw a very unusual star that led them to Jesus.

So a summary might read something like: "Faithful administrators, whose families etc. remained outside of Israel were led back to True Israel, namely Jesus, through a special star."

(2) more usually the case, magos refers to "sorcerer, wizard, astrologer, practitioner of the magic arts."

This is also in line with the gifts (gold, myrrh, frankincense) as those were used in magic spells.

"From the east" also indicates they could be Neo-Babylonian or Persian wizards/astrologers/sorcerors.

In this interpretation, they are attempting to divine the future and God gets a hold of their attention with a special star which leads them to Jesus, and they lay down their "weapons of destruction" (the materials for magic) in surrender to the Lord of Lords.

I rather like this second interpretation, and it coule be summarized as:
"God caught the attention of pagan wizards and astrologers with the very thing that would get their attention, a special star -- guiding them to himself where they persevered and were a better example of faith than scribes/Pharisees/Herod -- and upon reaching the Lord of Lords, surrendered their weapons against God in worship of Him."

Chad said...

Thanks for sharing Blogger Dude!

Godspeed