In this transition to the new year 2022, many will seek guidance from the Chinese Zodiac that identifies this year as the Year of the Tiger. To be exact, the Yang-Water Tiger, which begins on February 1. This is avidly followed by those who practice Feng Shui. For them, it is the art that enables them to tap good energy to ensure the good life for the year.
One such Feng Shui expert advices:
Tiger mainly contains Yang-Wood, which is a tall tree. It also contains Yang-Fire and Yang-Earth. Yang-Fire is related to the sun and Yin-Earth is related to the mountain. Tiger is a tall tree on the mountain under the sun. Tiger is a symbol of power, prestigiousness, and loneliness. Tiger cannot get along with many animals. The Water of 2022 helps the tree of the Tiger grow taller and stronger. That means 2022 brings strong Wood energy to people. You will have good fortune if the Wood is your Lucky Element.1
The reality is that the mystery of Feng Shui is of the essence of its practice. It keeps its advocates continue to be bound by a supersitition that they cannot understand. The Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics explains:
Chinese dictionaries give no definition of what is to be understood by Feng-Shui. No native treatises expound it upon scientific lines. Feng is ‘wind,’ shui is ‘water.’ Wind is what cannot be seen, and water what cannot be grasped. ‘Wind and water’ is the term, therefore, for the occult powers which are always bearing down upon human life. Professors of Feng-Shui prefer that it should remain a mystery, and those who pay them for their services accept the position, declaring that it is not to be expected that common people should understand the unfathomable.2
Many self-proclaimed experts are paid handsome amounts to give their advice: how to design the house; arrangement of furniture; coloring of walls; etc. This is all rooted in the futile belief that one could manipulate the unseen forces and influences of life.
How different is the Christian concept of the providence of God. By providence, we point to the wise God as in control of events directing them to the fulfillment of His plan for humanity, especially for His people. Christian theology sees the works of God in three major categories of Creation, Providence, and Redemption. What we see of human and natural existence is the product of God’s purposeful fiat. But He did not leave it to function like clock-work by itself. He Himself is intimately involved in both natural events and human history – preserving and governing for His ends. But because humanity is fallen in sin, God has set in motion His grace to redeem sinners. This is the basic explanation of the ‘forces and influences’ of life. Providence is rightly placed in the middle of God’s creative design and His redemptive purpose.
The Heidelberg Catechism of 1563 gives the classic summary of the biblical teaching of divine providence:
Q. 27. What dost thou mean by the providence of God?
A. The almighty and everywhere present power of God; whereby, as it were by his hand, he upholds and governs heaven, earth, and all creatures; so that herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, meat and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, yea, and all things come, not by chance, but by his fatherly hand.
Q. 28. What advantage is it to us to know that God has created, and by his providence does still uphold all things?
A. That we may be patient in adversity; thankful in prosperity; and that in all things, which may hereafter befall us, we place our firm trust in our faithful God and Father, that nothing shall separate us from his love; since all creatures are so in his hand, that without his will they cannot so much as move.
Nothing is too small for the providential involvement of God. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father” (Matthew 10:29).
The ‘forces and influences’ of life have malevolent forces of demonic powers behind them. It is beyond foolish to imagine that any human can manipulate them by putting the door and the stairs on the right place! Or make wood the lucky element! No, we have a much-better and more assuring confidence than that. It is to know that in this year 2022, the God on the throne who is the Sovereign now rules His people through the kingly reign of Jesus Christ.
With that confidence, it is not Christian to wish “Good luck!” But I wish all, “A God-centered, and Christ-ruled New Year 2022.”
2 Dukes, E. J. (1908–1926). FENG-SHUI. In J. Hastings, J. A. Selbie, & L. H. Gray (Eds.), Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics (Vol. 5, p. 833). T. & T. Clark; Charles Scribner’s Sons.