By Paul Smithson
Astrological and psychic predictions are occult practices, for occults are defined as, “various arts and practices pertaining to things beyond human understanding, mysterious, things not disclosed, secret.” Astrologers profess to foretell the future and interpret the influence of the heavenly bodies upon the destinies of men. Psychics are those who profess to be sensitive to that which lies outside the sphere of physical science or knowledge, predicting through visions or by the cards. Such occult practices are condemned throughout the Scriptures.
However, the fact that people in all walks of life are becoming more and more involved in such occult practices can be seen all around. Horoscopes are published in thousands of daily newspapers throughout our nation. Occult books (books that deal with astrology, psychics, mysticism, and witchcraft) are on the best sellers list. In newspapers and on television we see advertisements for psychic advice and fortune telling concerning such things as your job, romance, money, important decisions– anything about your life. Things that were laughed at several years ago are now being taken seriously by millions of people. Recently declassified documents reveal how millions of dollars have been spent by the government employing psychics in pursuit of the unknown. (CBS Interactive, Apr. 1, 2017).
Occult practices are idolatrous. When one goes to an astrologer or a psychic for guidance and insight they are looking in the wrong place. When one turns to men or the stars for the answers of life he is trusting in something other than God. Failing to acknowledge God as the ruling force in one’s life is to be guilty of sinful idolatry (cf. Col. 3:5)
Astrology and psychics attempt to foretell the future. Astrologers claim if you were born on a certain date, under a particular sign of the zodiac, certain events will happen. The term “horoscope” comes from two Greek words, hora– “hour” and skopos– “watcher.” The idea is that the stars and the planets are the watcher of time and the future, that which determines the fate of men’s lives. Some psychics claim that at the turn of the tarot cards one’s future is explained. They claim, for example, the star card means your life is going to begin to shine or that the card of the three cups means there will soon be rejoicing in your life. People are curious about the future, but neither the stars nor a deck of cards can tell you anything about it. God says, “You do not know what your life will be like tomorrow” (Jas. 4:14).
A danger of occult practices is they shun personal responsibility and place it upon the stars or the draw of the cards as that which determines one’s fate. The Scriptures teach, however, that men are personally responsible for their actions and will give an account for them (2Cor. 5:10; Gal. 6:7).
Such occult practices are not new. They were very common in ancient times but always condemned by God. “Divination,” the general term for occult practices in the Old Testament, included astrology and conjuring and was something God strictly prohibited His people from participating in (Deut. 18:9-14; 2Kgs. 23:5; Isa. 47:11-14; Jer. 10:1-2).
God did not want His people to have anything to do with occult practices in ancient times and He does not want His people to have anything to do with such things today (cf. Ac. 19:19). To seek after such things and the so-called knowledge that they provide is to be led away from God and what He has revealed. The stars of heaven declare the glory and power of God (Ps. 19:1-4), but they do not tell the future nor give spiritual guidance. The apostle declared, “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority” (Col. 2:8-10). Everything we need to know for this life and beyond is found in Christ and His word. It is sinful to look to or trust in anything else than Him “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge’ (Col. 2:3).