Here is another astrological Jesus image that I came across at pisces-sign.blogspot.com. It is a Byzantine image, apparently dated to 813-820 C.
It features Helios in the centre, identified as the Christ by the cross, twelve naked female figures represent the hours, twelve clothed apostles represent the twelve months, and surrounding that the twelve zodiac signs.
The thing I find interesting is the implication that many ancient Christians were obviously comfortable with astrological images, provided they were Christ-centred. This challenges both conventional counter-cult apologetics and contemporary astrology.
4 thoughts on “Astrological Jesus”
It certainly counters counter-cult propaganda.
But it will make no difference whatsoever to the art and discipline of astrology which was practiced long before the Christian era, and all over the world too.
Astrology was an integral part of the world-view of almost every culture. And still is too.
What relevance has that to Chinese or Indian (Hindu) astrology (for example)? None to be precise.
Well, in a sense I agree (grins). Jesus is the source of universal life and light whatever your cultural background – irrespective of whether you’re Chinese, Indian or European.
The question is, are you ready to walk the path of the magi, are you ready for the deeper mysteries of the stars?
It’s interesting that the magi may likely have used astrology (or to put it loosely, the stars) to locate the Messiah. So Christ-centred astrology? Hmmm. Maybe?
Interesting piece of art above, especially with the 12 naked female figures.
Well, I am not sure whether I would call this “Christ-centred astrology” so much as a “Christ-centred engagement with astrology”. I am not seeking to legitimize the trawling of tabloid horoscopes, let’s be clear on that. But I have to ask, how missional are standard debunking-based responses to astrology? What I am advocating here is a more nuanced engagement with astrology, a more missional-incarnational engagement than Christians and non-Christians are used to, and that requires a higher degree of ambivalence.
That means holding astrological lore in one hand and the Bible in the other, and that brings us to the next step. What does the Bible actually say about astrology? Well, I would start with Genesis 1:14, where God says, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years.” Here the wanderings stars are seen as a gift from God.
Elsewhere the Bible mentions constellations collectively (the “Mazzaroth” in Job 38:32) and individually (the bear, Orion and the Pleaides in Job 9:9) and links signs in the sky to events on earth (Luke 21:25 warns, “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea”). So it seems to me that what the Bible condemns is not the “observation” of the stars so much as the “worship” of sun, moon and stars. See Deuteronomy 4:19 for instance. The implication seems to be, stars do not determine our fate, at most they are just messengers for their maker.