New Age beliefs (Part 1)

Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry explains that the New Age movement has many subgroups, but it is generally a collection of Eastern beliefs like Hinduism and Buddhism. It’s a mix of “correct thinking”, “universal tolerance,” and hope. And the hope lies in evolution. In seeking the perfect society, Secular Humanists trust a world government while Marxists depend on economics. New Agers rely on a different source for the future, idyllic state—the next step in human evolution, realizing that we are divine. Starting at the end with the New Age worldview reveals a spiritual, rather than a physical, evolution to perfection. Dr. David Noebel writes, “Ultimately, every person will achieve godhood, and total unity will be restored. New Age theology, like fairy tales, guarantees happy endings.” According to New Agers (or Cosmic Humanists), human history is the story of evolution, an ascent from lower to higher forms of consciousness, from amoeba to man. The next rung on the evolutionary ladder is achieving unity of consciousness with God, since God is everything. And since all things are God, you are God. You just don’t realize it yet, according to New Age thought.

New Age teaching states that God does exist. However, God is not separate and transcendent from His creation, as Christians believe. For example, the Bible reveals that God is not part of the creation; He is the Creator who made all things. Genesis 1:1 states this clearly: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” In contrast, New Age theology states that God is everything. There is no distinction between Creator and creation.

In other words, New Age theology is pantheism—God is all things. The earth is God, along with all plants, animals, and people. To quote Marilyn Ferguson’s The Aquarian Conspiracy, “God is not the personage of our Sunday School mentality…God is the organizing matrix we can experience but not tell, that which enlivens matter” An example of what Ferguson called “that which enlivens matter” is “the Force” in Star Wars. According to the films, the Force is an energy field that is created by all living things and ties the galaxy together. In The Empire Strikes Back, Jedi Master Yoda tells his apprentice, Luke Skywalker, “For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life breeds it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you, here between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes, even between land and ship.” This example illustrates that we are exposed to this New Age worldview and its assumption of pantheism—but we often don’t recognize it.

Just as Luke Skywalker needed to grasp the reality of the Force, so people need to become aware of their divinity, since everything is God. Actress Shirley MacLaine displayed this clearly in the film Out on a Limb. In a scene where Shirley’s spiritual guru David is aiding her understanding of reality, he asks her to stand, face the ocean, and state, “I am God.” She refuses. He looks her in the eye and says, “See how little you think of yourself, if you can’t even say the words?” Convicted by that, she turns to the ocean, holds her arms out from her sides forming a “T” and proclaims, “I am God.” Blasphemy was never more clearly portrayed. But according to New Age philosophy, it’s not blasphemy; it’s the truth.

Shirley MacLaine is simply achieving what Jesus of Nazareth learned long ago. He wasn’t the Son of God, but achieved a divine state of awareness as we all can. John White states, “The significance of Jesus is not as a vehicle of salvation but as a model of perfection. This is why the proper attitude toward him is one of reverence, not worship. Jesus showed us the way to a higher state of being and called upon us to realize it, to make it real, actual.” What if we don’t grasp the reality that we are part of God? Then we can in the next life, after we are reincarnated in another body. Our life goes on and then the body dies, but the eternal soul continues its quest for godhood in another one. Thanks to reincarnation, eventually we will all understand. Robert Muller says, “Oh God, I know that I come from you, that I am part of you, that I will return to you, and that there will be no end to my rebirth in the eternal stream of your splendid creation.” In contrast, the Bible never speaks of reincarnation. Hebrews 9:27 simply says, “Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.”

Yet to the New Age, this next stage in evolution, a spiritual one to godhood, is inevitable. M. Scott Peck writes, “God wants us to become Himself (or Herself or Itself)…growing toward Godhood is the goal of evolution.” Summarizing the New Age worldview, Mark Albrecht says: “The purpose of life is to become experientially aware of our divine nature. Salvation thus becomes the attainment of this reality through union with the Divine Absolute.” If this is the case, Christ’s life, death, and resurrection for our sin are unnecessary and irrelevant.

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November 19, 2019

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