Genesis 1:27-28: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created He them. And God blessed them, and God said to them. be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth. and subdue it: and have dominion Over the fish of the sea. and Over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth."
Isaiah 5:8-9: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For Os the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
I Tim. 6:15-16: "[Christ] is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only has immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man has seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen."
A. What is the New Age Movement?
Today's so-called New Age movement is by no means "new," On the contrary, it is the culmination of ancient pagan pantheist mysticism which has surfaced periodically since hoary antiquity. Because it has incorporated pantheist-mystic, occult. and also evolutionist thought from all historical periods, it is thoroughly anti-Christian though ii may sometimes employ Christian terminology. It is a very subtle and treacherous enemy of the biblical Christian faith "once delivered to the saints" (Jude 3.4). ModernIst liberal, Bible-denying pseudo-Christianity is wide open to New Ageism. and New Ageism to it.
The New Age movement developed in the late 1970s and the 1980s. New Agers are not attracted by rationalist-materialist philosophies tending toward atheism. but rather by "irrationalist-idealist" philosophies tending toward pantheism (see lesson 2). However. New Age thought denies the existence of the God-Creator of the Bible. because He is personal (actually, three Persons in One Godhead), and transcendent (apart from and above the world). Not for New Agers the God of Scripture Who says of Himself, "My thoughts are not your thoughts. neither are your ways my ways ... "Or as the heavens are higher than the earth. so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8-9). Not for New Agers the majestic Lord "the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy," Who dwells "in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble heart. to revive the spirit of the humble. and to revive the heart of the contrite ones" (Isaiah 57:i5). Not for them the God who is "the blessed and only Potentate. the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only has immortality. dwelling in the light which no man Can approach unto; whom no man has seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen." (I Timothy 6:15-16). For New Agers think of themselves as divine, as parts of God. Their ways are God's ways, and their thoughts God's thoughts by definition. They know nothing of humility or contrition. Their divinely is impersonal and not "King of kings, Lord of lords" but simply their own innermost center or "Higher Self." They can approach their divinity, and see it in the mirror.
New Ageism denies God as the absolutely sovereign and independent Creator. It denies the Creator-creature distinction thai God needs nothing and no one, while all other beings, His creatures out of nothing by His Word, totally depend upon Him (Acts 17:24-25; Romans 11:36; Col. 1:15-17, etc.; see Lesson 1). Instead, New Ageism sees the world Os one with "god." Its world view is monisttc (nothing exists outside this world). It is pantheistic all is god's. It is evolutionistic, believing that the present world evolved over eons at time under the guidance of cosmic spirit or spirits, a force Of forces [see Lesson 3).
(`) New Age rs have lately sought to hide their religious facade in the West. Nancy Pearcey points out that they
have put on new secular garb. Instead of telling you that you must realize you are God. many New Agers today speak of the need for "transtormation"- a safely secular term that refers to the Eastern religious concept of enlightenment (the experience through which you achieve God-consciousness). New Agers often do not speak of "God", but of the Cosmic Consciousness, or the Higher Self ... They will urge you to contact your higher Self to tap into its unlimited wisdom, creativity, and power... In bygone days. meditation was a matter of `.. withdrawal from the world. But now the mystic vision is being urged upon us as a ... tool for success and efficiency. Thousands ot New Age seminar and workshop leaders travel across the country promising businessmen and bureaucrats that if they get in touch with their Higher Self they will be more effective, more productive, more competitive. (Bible-Science Newsletter, May 1988)(')
B. The Outworking of New Ageism
New Ageism's evolutionism is not Darwinian but "holistic" or "cosmic." Its "patron saint" is the apostate French Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955). He taught that God emerges from matter. According to him, this evolution of God from the world will culminate in the transformation of all matter into God or "pure 5pirit" He also called this final stage the "Omega Point" or "the cosmic Christ" Ot course this "cosmic Christ' is entirely different from the Christ ot the Bible, the Christ Who is man's Savior from sin. The Catholic Church forbade the circulation ot Teilhard's writings among Catholics during his lifetime. However, they circulate widely today among Catholics and others
New Ageisrn with its pantheist view puts no difference between man and other creatures. The uniqueness of man and his stewardship/dominion over the rest of creation given him by God of creation are denied. New Agers often push belief in the reincarnation of man as another man or as an animal. However, New Agers in the West are always blithely optimistic about men's and especially their own post and future lives. In the East the poor people are burdened and gloomy about this prospect of expiating their Karma through reincarnations over eons ot time, with only extinction (absorption in Nothingness ("Nirvana") as the ultimate end. reincarnation is not only false Hebrews 9:27) but a teaching of ultimate meaninglessness and despair. Christians look toward to eternal life in Christ Who expiated their sins and will come again to bring them to glory (Hebrews 9:28, John i4:2-3. etc. etc.)
Because New Ageism, in common with Eastern pantheist mysticism, has no special place for man in creation, man's life and health are neglected. In India. with its gurus and mysticism dear to New Age rs. people are left to starve and die untended in the streets while cows and rats are pampered. The work of Mother Theresa with the dying of Calcutta was inspired by the example of Christ and unprecedented. Help to the poor, medical research and treatment, and the improvement of living conditions were and are absent outside the influence of Christianity. Hospitals and poor relief were Christian inventions. it is interesting to see New Agers despise Western medicine and promote "holistic" healing and outright occult healing instead. While Western medicine has its problems. it did increase man's lifespan, reduced infant mortality, and eradicated scourges like smallpox, polio, tuberculosis etc. Eastern/New Age pantheist mysticism, of course, considers the bacilli and viruses causing such diseases as just as "divine" as people, As part at its cosmic evolutionism and reincarnation New Ageism also believes in an "oscillating universe," cyclical history (see Lesson 3]. and also guidance by "spirit guides" or "forces."
New Age thought idolizes the self, because the self is particularly the seat of its pantheist divinity. This identification of "god" and the self is the substance of, for instance, the concept of "confluent education" introduced several years ago in the public schools and now rapidly spreading. The main technique used in "confluent education" is called "centering" or "focusing." It is now also practiced in colleges, business courses for employees, government seminars, and churches. Al best "centering" is sheer fantasy giving only temporary relief from one's problems and anxieties. At worst. it may open up man's mind to what New Age instructors call "spirit guides" but which the Bible calls demons. (`) "Centering" is of course religious, actually occult, and should have no place in our public schools if Christianity has no place there. New Ageism has cleverly circumvented the judicial separation between church and state by its non-religious terminology.(')
The New Age false gospel idolizing man's self is now also flooding Western society. It speaks of building up one's "self-image," of self-esteem, self-actualization, self-love. self-fulfillment, and so on. This teaching abounds in schools, colleges, business and government personnel training. psychological counseling (see Lesson 5), and even in churches, which should know better. For to be a Christian means precisely the conversion from self to Christ as Savior and Lord (Rom. 6: 11; Gal. 2:20'. I Pet. 4.2, etc. etc.). Man's fall and sin means precisely to set one's self up as one's master and independent of God (see [Lesson 1). (*) lt is therefore deeply alarming that this selfish "gospel" of the New Age movement has made considerable inroads Into the churches (including Bible-believing Christian churches). Feminism. in its emphasis upon women's self-fulfillment and especially in its religious aspects (witchcraft and "Goddess" consciousness) is an important branch at the New Age movement.(*)
The Bible warns us in Col. 2:20-23 against man-made rules and regulations supposedly aiding religious worship and restraining physical appetites. This Scripture passage was originally directed against this same idea of becoming "godlike" by asceticism and false humility which New Ageism and Eastern mystic cults still exhibit today. New Age methods or techniques to "get in tune with the divine withIn you" include physical exercises. special diets (especially vegetarianism - Col.2: 16; I Timothy 4:1-5), the use of incantations such as "mantras." asceticism, ritual cleansing of the body, and more. These methods or techniques are designed to bring about a change in normal consciousness or attune their devotee to the spiritual. The Christian should remember that no one can be made perfect by "works of the flesh" (GaI. 3:3) especially when these works are done according to rules and regulations of men (I Tim .4;8).
(*)A very complete list of such bodily, fleshly techniques is given by New Age pioneer and leader Marilyn Ferguson. Her list includes biofeedback, chanting, Psychodrama; "consciousness-raising strategies" of various social movements: hypnosis and self-hypnosis; various occult techniques; Zen, Tibetan Buddhist and Transcendental Meditation; body disciplines and therapies such as hatha yoga, aikido, karate, running, dance; sensitivity groups and encounter groups (The Aquarian Conspiracy [J. P. Tarcher Inc., Los Angeles, CA 1980], pp.86-87). Such consciousness-altering techniques are to prepare us for our next great evolutionary leap towards one united, divinized mankind. Many of these techniques and behaviors are closely tied to modern psychology (see Lesson 5) and the occult.(*)
New Age devotees are very optimistic about the future of mankind in one united world. They believe that all religions are merely different pathways to recognize the divinity within us. Christ was only another "enlightened" guide or "avatar" in the manner of Hindu or Buddhist holy men, Any concept of sin in the biblical sense - man's rebellion against our Holy, Perfect and Righteous Creator, Lord and Sustainer to Whom we owe our very lives, upon Whom we totality depend, and to Whom each of us is accountable is absent from New Age thought. Since New Ageism considers all things one and divine. its notions of good and evil are not absolute but relative and shifting. They are merely the light and dark side of "the Force," the "Higher Self," the divine world "Center" or what have you. (*) To get the feel of it all, watch New Age-inspired movies like ET, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, The Dark Crystal, and the television series Twilight Zone.(")
C. World-Wide Network and Goals
(*)There is now a multitude of New Age books. publications. and groups loosely allied in a world-wide "network." They may be recognized by their use of the same concepts or "buzz-words." Examples of such concepts or words are "holistic. ""new consciousness. "centering" or "focusing." "self-actualization," "belonging to the whole," "the human potential movement,... transpersonal," "the new spirituality," and "cosmic." "planetary," or "global consciousness."(*)
New Ageism is strongly entrenched in the United Nations Organization. This is only to be expected in a movement dedicated to bringing about a one-world government for a new coalesced mankind (*) Dave Hunt, one of the best informed students of New Ageism, writes:
"Network" is a New Age code word that refers ... to the thousands of groups around the world that are all working toward the realization ot this "interconnectedness" of all life through the establishment of a world government. Many of these networks expect the United Nations one day to function as the "central nervous system" in the new world order. This new planetary consciousness is shared by many leaders [such as] Robert Muller, Secretary of the U.N. Economic and Social Council [UNESCOI ... (Peace, Prosperity and the Coming Holocaust (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1983], pp. 62-63)(')
In its goal to bring about world government New Ageism is in practical agreement and cooperation with world-wide Communism. It is also in agreement with Communism and secular humanism in its efforts to eradicate the God of the Bible from the minds of everyone, especially children. This is why New Ageism has targeted the public schools for heavy infiltration successfully. There is also much New Ageism now in children's books.
(*) To sum up. the New Age movement is not "new," but the culmination of pantheist mysticism and cosmic evolutionism throughout history. It denies the biblical Christian faith and its sovereign, personal, transcendent God. Instead, it is monistic, seeing the world as all there is, and as equal to divinity ("God). It uses religious as well as non-religious language to "transform men's consciousness" and put them "in touch with their Higher Selves." It puts no difference between man and other creatures. It believes in the eternal existence of the world within a cyclical history, in reincarnation, and in guidance by "Spirits" or "forces." New Ageism promotes selfism because it considers man's self as the seat of the "Higher Self" or the divinity of the world. It uses various bodily techniques and behaviors to alter man's consciousness. It is supremely optimistic about man's next evolutionary leap towards one united, divinized mankind under a one-world government. New Ageism has no concept of sin in the biblical sense. It sees "good" and "evil" as relative or as the light and dark side of one and the same divinity/force/world. New Ageism agrees with Communism/atheism about bringing about a one-world government, and in its radical enmity against the God of the Bible and His people.(')
1. Is the New Age movement "new"? What principal ideas does it share with other. older beliefs?
2 Does New Ageism consider man as unique and with dominion over the rest of creation? Name some practical consequences at its view of man.
3 Name some consciousness-altering techniques used by New Ageism.
4 Why is selfism a false gospel?
5. What two major goals are shared by both New Ageism and Communism?
For Further Reading.
Joy F. Adorns, The BiblicaI View of Self-Esteem, Self-Love, Self image. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publications. 1986.
Dave Hunt, Peace, Prospenty ond the Coming Holocaust. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publications, 1983.
Dave Hunt and J. A. McMahon, The Seduction of Christianity. Eugene. OR: Harvest House Publications, 1985. By a New Age pioneer and leader: Marilyn Ferguson. The Aquarian Conspiracy. Los Angeles. CA:
J. P. Tarcher Inc.. 1980.
Lesson 4 - The New Age Movement
Key Scriptures: Genesis 1:27-2&' Isaiah 55:8-91 Tim. 6:15,16
1. not 'new' - culmination of ancient pagan pantheist mysticism -Jude 3.4
2. denies the God of the Bible and Creator-creature distinction -ls. 55:8-9:15, 57:15; I Tim.6:15-16: Acts 17:24-25; Rom.11:36; Col.1:15-17
3. is pantheistic ('all is god") and monistic (nothing is outside world)
4. uses secular language in workshops and seminars for business and government employees
1. Teilhard de Chardin and his "cosmic Christ" cosmic evolutionism
2. man no different from other creatures his dominion denied (Gen. 1:27-28)
3. reincarnation Heb. 9:27; Heb. 9:28; John 11:2-3, etc.
4. neglect of the poor, the sick and the dying in India, New Age "paradise"
5. man's self made an idol Os ii is the seat of pantheist divinity
6. "confluent education" in public schools "centering" and "focusing"
7. selfish teaching very widespread in West
a. schools. colleges, personnel training, counseling, churches
b. contrary to biblical Christianity Rom. 6:11; Gal. 2:20; I Peter 1:2.
8. bodily and behavior techniques to alter consciousness and put man "in tune with the divine within him" Col .2:20-23; Col. 3:3; I Tim. 4;8
9. No concept of sin; no absolute good and evil which are merely the light and dark sides of the "Force," the "Higher Self" etc.
1. multitude of groups and publications all over world
2. common concepts and "buzz-words" (like "holistic." "cosmic," etc.)
3. cooperation with Communists and secular humanists for:
a. one-world government
b. extinction of the biblical Christian faith