WORLDVIEWS

PANTHEISM: SEEKING A ‘GOD’ WITHIN - 1

In the assumed absence of ‘god’ resulting from secular humanism humans still experience an inner spiritual hunger. Rather than acknowledging the God who alone is God, many embrace an alternative that ties in more easily with the secular humanist worldview.

Pantheism (all is god) and monism (all is one), having their modern source in eastern mysticism, have been impacting western worldviews for half a century since their introduction via the guru and the “New Age”. It is essential that we as followers of Jesus Christ know how to recognise and deal with these ideas when we meet them.

Basic concepts of pantheism
We see many expressions of the New Age: dozens of methods of finding out what tomorrow may bring, or the meaning of one’s dreams, or whatever; New Age book shops selling crystals, incense and other paraphernalia; media reference to both past lives and reincarnation; alternative practitioners promising us both physical and spiritual healing; eastern exercise techniques introducing us unwittingly to the meditation of eastern religions.

But these and similar practices are just the surface expression of a dangerous and blasphemous underlying ideology. The basic concepts of westernized pantheism are:

All is one,

All is god,

Therefore, I am god.

Everything is god and god is everything (pantheism = pan all + theos god).

Salvation is when I discover that I am god – when I find the god within me, become united to that god and in doing so become one with the universe.

Jesus Christ is a human being who made ultimate contact with the god within.

Conflict with Biblical truth

In contradiction to this contemporary pantheism the Bible teaches:

[1] God is eternal – existing before all things and separate from all things. God alone is God. [Genesis 21:33; Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalm 86:8-10; Isaiah 26:4; 43:10; 45:5-6,18,22; 46:9; Jeremiah 10:10; Daniel 4:34; 6:26,27; Romans 1:20; 1Timothy 1:17.]

[2] God is the creator of all things. All things come from him and are dependent on him. [Job 38 to 41; Psalm 8:1-9; 24:1,2; 104:1-35; Isaiah 40:12-31; John 1:1-4; 1Corinthians 8:6].

[3] God’s nature and attributes are displayed in and affirmed by created things, but created things are not God. [Romans 1:18-31].

[4] Human beings are not God. They are answerable to God; they find their ultimate fulfilment in knowing him and reflecting his glory. [Genesis 1:27; Isaiah 43:7; John 17:4; 1Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 2:10a].

[5] Salvation is in knowing God and in knowing his Son, Jesus Christ, whom God sent. [Matthew 11:27-30; John 3:16-21,36; 14:6-9;17:3; 1John 5:11- 13,20.]

[6] Jesus Christ did not ‘find the god within’. He is God. [Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 1:23; John 1:1-4; 5:18; 10:30; 14:9; 20:28].

Next week we will look at how pantheistic ideas are impacting both the church corporately and the individual Christian.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2012