In episode 226 astrologer Nate Craddock joins the show to discuss the early history of Christianity and its relationship with astrology.
Specifically, we focus on the question of whether astrology is somehow inherently antithetical to Christianity, especially in terms of the origins of the religion during the time of the Roman Empire.
Nate is a practicing astrologer, as well as an ordained Christian priest with a degree in divinity. You can find out more information about his work on his website:
The jumping off point for our discussion was the work of a scholar named Nicola Denzey Lewis, and her 2013 book Cosmology and Fate in Gnosticism and Graeco-Roman Antiquity. Part of the purpose of the book is demonstrating how a number of influential early Christian texts framed the religion as a way to liberate yourself from astrology and fate.
Astrology in the 1st century CE tended to be more deterministic and influenced by Stoic conceptualizations of fate, and to some extent Christianity may represent one of many religious or philosophical groups in the ancient world that offered an alternative, which may then explain part of its initial appeal to everyday individuals in the Roman Empire.
This then set up a sort of oppositional relationship between astrology and mainstream Christianity for a number of centuries, although it raises the question for us today of whether the two are inherently incompatible, or if there are ways that they can be reconciled?
Nate’s answer to this question is emphatically “yes, they can be reconciled”, and during the course of the discussion we ended up covering a lot of ground, and exploring a number of different historical and theological areas.
This episode represents an important followup to earlier episodes of the podcast discussing responses to religious criticisms of astrology, the role of astrology in the story of the Star of Bethlehem, as well as a brief digression about the purpose of finding the guardian spirit about 2 hours into the episode on finding the overall ruler of the birth chart.
For those who enjoy this discussion, you would also like Nate’s podcast Jailbreak the Sacred.
This episode is available in both audio and video versions below.
Here are some timestamps for topics covered at different points in the episode:
00:01:10 Nate’s background
00:03:15 Chris’ background
00:04:50 Astrology and fate
00:06:40 Protestant Reformation
00:10:40 Chart is like sheet music
00:12:00 Christianity and free will
00:15:15 Early Christianity
00:17:30 Christian issue with fate
00:18:56 The Bible’s contrasting views
00:22:30 History of the Hebrew people
00:25:30 Phases of history of astrology
00:31:00 Divination and Christianity
00:35:50 Bible passages against planetary gods
00:40:35 Hellenistic astrology
00:42:26 New Testament era critiques
00:45:55 Providence and fate
00:51:17 Being a Christian frees you from fate
00:57:08 33 CE and thema mundi
00:58:00 St. Paul
01:02:14 Astrology in book of Romans
01:04:00 Christian sects
01:05:25 Biblical Greek
01:07:50 Aversion to embodiment
01:18:50 Escape from astrological determinism
01:21:00 Appeal of early Christianity
01:24:45 Jesus cancelled death
01:27:35 Daimons and guardian angels
01:31:55 Nativity story is pro-astrology
01:42:50 Criticism of Paul’s cosmology
01:43:22 Oscar Romero chart
01:45:02 Bringing healing to the whole world
01:46:10 Christianity and astrology serve each other
01:51:45 Created world is good
01:53:14 Integral worldview
01:55:27 Emergence theology
02:00:22 Is astrology antithetical to Christianity?
02:03:44 Closing remarks
Watch the Video Version of This Episode
Here is the video version of my discussion with Nate Craddock:
A full transcript of this episode is available: Episode 226 transcript
Listen to the Audio Version of This Episode
You can either play this episode of the podcast directly from the website or download it as an MP3 to your computer by using the buttons below: