Modern day witchcraft is a carry over from ancient pagan religion. There are many pagan religions from which various forms of witchcraft derive elements. The ancient fertility religions of Egypt, Canaan, and other nations involved sexual activity as part of their rites. The theology behind these rites was that the goddess and god would be encouraged to mate through the sexual activity of their worshipers. The supposed result would be fertile crops, flocks, and herds. The religion was supposedly all about the cycle of life. Mother goddesses like Diana of the Ephesians, the Egyptian Isis, or Aphrodite in Greek and Roman cities were symbols of fertility and life. By means of certain rites or rituals, devotees could supposedly manipulate the powers of these supernatural spiritual beings for their benefit.
Arising from these pagan religions were other practices often associated with witchcraft. These include necromancy, the conjuring up of the souls of the dead. They also include various forms of divination, or trying to foretell the future. Divination involved everything from the reading of spots on the internal organs of animals to the reading of tea leaves or the dregs in the bottom of a cup of wine, to the reading of the stars. The law of God in the Old Testament soundly condemned these pagan practices (Leviticus 19:26,31; Deuteronomy 18:9-12). They were condemned because they involved people turning to other powers besides God and trying to put their trust in those powers. The Bible teaches that there are many supernatural beings, demons and angels, all of which are superior in power to man but all of which are creatures of God. God alone is Creator and worthy of worship.
Throughout the centuries, paganism and forms of witchcraft that are derived from it have been focused on man finding gratification through the manipulation of these powers. This usually involves certain rites, incantations, or spells that are designed to cause the person’s desired results through manipulation of the higher powers. Man can be in charge by pulling the correct supernatural strings. The religion of the Bible, in contrast, has always been about man submitting in obedience to God. In biblical religion it is not man’s agenda, but God’s agenda which must be accomplished. Man is not manipulating God but submitting to God in obedience.
According to the Bible, witchcraft in all forms is a matter of grave concern to God. God does not tolerate it. It is listed among the works of the flesh practiced by those who shall not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21). It is also mentioned among the practices that will land one in the lake of eternal fire (Revelation 21:8). All who serve the God of the Bible should beware of getting involved with Tarot readings, crystal balls, séances, astrology, and any form of witchcraft. Whether it is called Wicca or Satanism or white magic or some other term, we should flee from it. We are to worship only God, our Creator, and give our trust and allegiance to no other powers.
Dan R. Owen