Imagination Becomes You

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, December 7, 2016 0 comments

by David Odegard

Undeniably, humans are spiritual beings. We have a body, we have a soul (mind, will, emotions), and we have a spirit. These three parts are interwoven in a way we still do not understand. Psychology is the study of the “psuche” or soul; it is the study of our minds, our wills, and our emotions. Medical doctors study the body, and the Bible teaches us about the spirit. Most of the people on this planet realize that there is a spiritual dimension to reality. The question of how the spirit, mind, and body all work together will be a topic we explore in the future.

If you read the writings of eastern philosophy, you will find that Eastern mysticism seeks to explore the spiritual plane of existence. They acknowledge that we are spiritual beings and try to follow their great teachers (Buddha and Confucius) to understanding how it all works. Certain Buddhist traditions believe in the spirit of a person is not truly individual, but rather it is part of the Everything (or the Nothing, in some cases). The spirit of the person is compared to a drop of water that loses all of its identity when it drops into the bucket of water. It becomes the water filling the bucket, and it is a drop no more.

Think of the Force from Star Wars. This impersonal force is the Brahman, the Everything/Nothing. It is unfeeling. It is cold spirituality as cosmic energy with no compassion, warmth, or love. This is a separate universe, one that the spiritual explorer seeks to map. We Christians, however, believe that God is personal, not like the faceless Force. Rather, He is a loving and good being.

Furthermore, we believe that he did not leave us on our own to discern the spiritual world through inferences drawn only from Creation itself. We believe that He also reached out to us. This outreach is compiled in the Bible. It is a record of how God Himself has spoken to humanity to guide it to Himself. He breaks into our universe originally through prophets and then through His Son, who in turn sent the Holy Spirit to be a constant voice to anyone with “ears to hear.” “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe” (Hebrews 1:1-2).

The transition from Eastern mysticism to Western rationalism is too jarring to make Buddhism all that popular in our hemisphere. Also, people in the West despise the idea that our spirit loses all its own individual identity as a “drop in the bucket.” The New Age movement was the West’s idea of spirituality unguided by the Bible. It takes most of the themes found in Buddhism but rebrands them with Western individuality.

Instead of thinking of themselves as a drop lost in the bucket, they think of themselves as the entire bucket in droplet form. Obviously, the entire bucket of water cannot exist in the droplet so there must be another dimension where it all works itself out somehow, if only it could be discovered. And then, eureka, LSD and several other very potent hallucinogens became popular to assist with different ways of perceiving the universe. We can all see how deeply this has influenced modern America. Drugs are often viewed as an expansion of perception rather than a hindrance to real life.

The self is the kingpin of reality. Postmodern, huh? The New Agers are a very diverse group, but one thing they almost all agree on is that the Self is the center of the universe. Shirley MacLaine discusses the idea that perhaps she is the creator of everything. She writes in Its All in the Playing, “If I created my own reality… I created everything I saw, heard, touched, smelled, tasted… I created everything I knew.” She goes on to speculate that if she created everything she perceives, is it for the chance to get to know herself better since she herself is God? Then she goes as far to ask if her self-revelation was what was behind the phrase, “I AM that I AM.” For further information, please read James Sire’s book The Universe Next Door also Douglas Groothius’s Confronting the New Age.

New Age spirituality is also becoming more and more imbedded in Christian churches in America, but that is to discuss another time.

The New Age is an incarnation of the oldest lie of all time: “You yourselves shall be as gods.” Mankind wants to escape the despair of atheism because we all still have an indomitable spirit which cries out, “I shall live and not die.” But if we are left only to our own imaginations, we can easily be side-swept into spiritual bondage rather than the joy and peace and light that Jesus brings into our lives through the Holy Spirit.

Friend, do not wander the astral plains seeking guidance from strange beings you may meet along the way. As the Bible says, “Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:16-17). Also, “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11-13).

Jesus Christ is the only way to God all other routes lead to darkness and death. I invite your questions and comments.

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