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(VI.) HISTORY - The Coming of Christianity

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Author Topic: (VI.) HISTORY - The Coming of Christianity  (Read 302 times)
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« on: August 17, 2007, 06:43:27 pm »

Christian opposition to astrology from earliest times to our own has been founded in temperament rather than theology. No considerable Christian scholar or theologian has argued that astrology is unthinkable, except when or if it claims to predict the future, and therefore contests the doctrine of free will. Many of the earliest authorities have astrological allusions.

The Old Testament figure Enoch, for instance, claimed to be sixth in descent from Adam and Eve, has passages on the stars and herbs, gems and numbers, and claims that in the sixth heaven angels attend the phases of the Moon and the revolutions of stars and Sun, superintending the good or evil condition of the world.

Enoch's notions of angels are somewhat eccentric (some of them have 'privy members like those of horses'), but it seems that two hundred of them so fancied earthly women that they came to live on earth, and betrayed to man various secrets, including the science of astrology, magic, witchcraft and divination, and the art of writing with ink and paper.

Philo Judaeus, who lived in Alexandria soon after the death of Christ, hotly denied that the planets absolutely ruled men's lives, attacking astrologers who claimed that the whole of life was subject to the movements of the heavens. He did, however, believe the stars to be beautiful divine beings, intelligent animals who, unlike man, were incapable of evil. He believed also, indeed 'knew', that it was possible to predict 'disturbances and commotions of the earth from the revolutions of the heavenly bodies, and innumerable other events which have turned out most exactly true.'

A Syrian missionary called Bardesanes (154-222) has left in The Dialogue Concerning Fate a good account of what seems to be the most general early Christian attitude to astrology. It was evidently important to tackle the very strong public commitment to the subject, the result of centuries during which its truths had on the whole been accepted as self-evident.

Bardesanes takes the pragmatic view: that it is obvious that there is some force from the planets, but this was given them by God and is therefore subject to His will, limited by Him through subjection to free will on the one hand and other natural forces on the other.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2007, 07:56:40 pm by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.

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