ASTROLOGY AND THE BIBLE by Prof. W.H. Chaney 1874
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It is claimed that our Bible is the oldest of all books, and although I grant it for the purpose of a consideration of this subject, still I hold myself in readiness to maintain against all comers that our Bible is chiefly a compilation from more ancient writings, wherein were veiled in riddles and allegories the mysteries of science, more especially that of Astronomy. But Astrology was thoroughly known and practiced thousands of years before the Bible was written. That both Astronomy and Astrology are older than the Bible, appears from the Bible itself. Take, for instance, the Book of Job, one of the oldest in the Bible, being from a Chaldean M.S., wherein the constellation Scorpio is personified and represented as a man. This must have been written about the time that Scorpio was projected from the summer to the winter regions, called also "the war in heaven," when the old serpent was cast out; and by calculating the precession we fix the time at least six thousand years ago.
It may be objected that a written language was unknown at so early a date. I reply that in a very interesting work published in London in 1868, by J. P. Lesley, an American, on the origin of man, Mr. Lesley proves conclusively that the Egyptians had a written language seven thousand years ago. Then why not a written language at Babylon, "the glory of the Chaldean empire," six thousand years ago? Because the Israelitish barbarians were unlettered at that date, is no evidence that their neighbors had not already achieved many of the triumphs of civilization. According to their own showing, the Israelites led nomadic lives, tending their flocks by day and pitching their tents at night, like the Modoc, always watching for a chance to steal or murder, at a time when the Babylonians and Egyptians were rearing those immense superstructures whose awful ruins still whisper of the glory of the illustrious past. No tongue can so speak as do the desert sands, sighing through the lone colonades that once guarded the Helliopolis of Egypt. The Israelites the authors of the oldest book! As well say that the Digger Indians were the authors of the Declaration of Independence! And who knows but this may not actually be the case, a thousand years hence, should some descendant of the Diggers then write a book? But to return from this digression. In the allegorical dialogue between God and Job, the former says:
"Can'st thou bind the sweet influence of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Can'st thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or can'st thou guide Arcturus with his sons?"—Job xxxviii: 31, 32.
The constellations here named, Pleiades and Orion, have been known in Astronomy by the same names for thousands of years, and are so known to the present day. The same may be said of Arcturus, the brightest star in the constellation Bootes, also called Adham, Adima, Adam; the common name is "the Celestial Herdsman," being personified in Genesis as the "first man," because in picturing the hieroglyphical character which we see at present on all celestial globes, this was the first man, as Virgo, (which comes to the meridian just before Bootes, and therefore leads him to his "fall," that is, to go down the western slope of the sky,) was the "first woman," baring the rib story.
"Can'st thou bind the sweet influence of Pleiades?" The ancient Astrologers taught that all the fixed stars falling within the zodiac exerted an influence in Nativities, notwithstanding the science deals almost exclusively with the signs of the zodiac, planets and luminaries. The influence of these stars was various, according as they were aspected by good or evil planets. Thus, if the Pleiades were aspected by Mars, storms, shipwrecks, etc., resulted; but when aspected by Jupiter or Venus, then the "influence" was harmonious. It was evidently in this light that the question was asked which is quoted at the beginning of this paragraph. Furthermore, this question establishes beyond controversy the fact that whoever wrote it held to the doctrine of "planetary influences," which is only another term for Astrology. If the Pleiades had no "influence," then the author stands convicted of blasphemy for having put an absurdity into the mouth of God himself.
In Greek and Roman Mythologies, which I rank the same as our Bible, Atlas had twelve daughters, seven of whom constituted the Pleiades, a constellation in the neck of Taurus, commonly called "the seven stars," or "seven sisters." Only six of these being visible to the naked eye, the other was said to have been lost; hence the poetic and allegorical lament for "The Lost Pleiad." The remaining five daughters of Atlas constitute the Hyades, a constellation in the face of Taurus in the shape of the letter V. Atlas himself was assigned to the position of holding up the heavens, lest they might fall, when "every one could catch larks." His name has been perpetuated by tradition by being applied to a representation of all the constellations, as an "atlas of the heavens." So, too, in Geography we apply his name to the maps.
Hence we discover in the Bible not only the same ideas advanced in the pagan Mythologies, but even the same names are preserved. To account for this coincidence we must accept of one of the following conclusions: First, Mythology was copied from the Bible. Second, The Bible was copied from Mythology. Third, both the Bible and Mythology were derived from the same source, and therefore the coincidence is not surprising. The first of these conclusions cannot possibly be true, for the Greek and Roman Mythologies are derived from the Persian Chaldean, Egyptian and East Indian Mythologies, where they had an existence in legend, in hieroglyphics, engraved upon monuments and written in the Sanskrit language for thousands of years before the Hebrew language was spoken; and of course the Bible worshipers dare not claim an antiquity for it greater than the language in which they claim that God gave its inspired truths to man. From these considerations it is evident that both the second and third conclusions may be true. That the third is true I have not a doubt.
The verses quoted from Job are sufficient to establish the fact that both Astronomy and Astrology were known before the Bible was written. But aside from this proof there are hundreds of passages confirming my statement—passages wherein the words Astrology, Astrologers, etc., occur. The "wise men" of the New Testament were Astrologers, and the term should have been translated magii instead of "wise men." The ancient magii were the scholars and philosophers of the past, the term including Astrology just as much as the word "Science" now includes mathematics.
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