The New Age Movement

While the Bible and history teach us the unchangeableness of God and His truth (Mal. 3:6), history overwhelmingly manifests that mankind is a changeable and changing creature. This relativity is especially evident when one studies what mankind collectively perceives as truth. What the ancient Babylonians taught was altogether different from Greek beliefs. What the medieval monks endorsed, though influenced by Christianity, was at variance with the doctrines of the Reformation. And the Reformation’s fundamentals are now looked down upon by the modernists of the New Age Movement. This movement appears to be the culmination of the devil’s efforts to thoroughly reject God’s unchanging truth and to supplant it with the lie of Paradise: "Ye shall be as gods." The purpose of this article is to trace the roots of those beliefs and then look at this doctrine.

Philosophical Roots

Before the Renaissance, mankind needed God and religion to explain certain incomprehensible in his world. For example, man could not rationally find an alternative to explain his own existence, creation, scientific phenomena, good and evil, and death. Thus, the church played an important role in the world view of the feudal days. But as the Renaissance opened new dimensions in learning, man began to think that there could be a rational explanation for things he did not understand. As this new era of Rationalism progressed, the idea that man could find out all truth by exercising his mind ushered in the great discoveries of natural law. Isaac Newton saw God as a Creator who ordained the universe to run on natural laws. While some laws controlled planetary motion, others determined gravitational pull and other scientific realities. Later, others saw universal law applying to society and human behavior. Thus, John Locke developed theories on government and why humans do good and bad deeds (behavior is learned). With these discoveries, man thought he could explain science and the existence of good and evil. These beliefs led to the religion of Deism, the belief that God created the cosmos and left it to fend for itself by applying universal laws to it.

However, man had no explanation for his own existence. A reactionary movement then came into being: the Romantic. This philosophy assumed that since all nature is the product of a good God, and since man was a part of nature, he too, must be fundamentally good. Evil was the result of bad examples. This transitional philosophy had as its religion Unitarianism which denied the Trinity but not God. Since man, according to the Romantics, was not inherently evil, he had no need of a divine Savior.

Even during the Age of Romanticism, a new philosophy was emerging which did not need God at all. Everything could be explained through the environment. Introduced by Charles Darwin, among others, the Materialists saw matter as eternal, and thus was the creator of the universe and the shaper of human character and beliefs. Karl Marx took this theory and applied it to politics and the economy while Herbert Spencer applied evolution to society. Thus creation, science, human behavior, etc. could all be explained through evolution. Understandably, the religion of this philosophy is basically atheism.

The impact of this blasphemous philosophy, and its utter foolishness as it was lived out can he seen in the tremendous destruction of two world wars - which were a direct result of these beliefs. Adolph Hitler based the extermination of the Jews and the domination of the Aryan race upon the survival-of-the-fittest doctrine of the materialists. Hence. the evolutionary ideas of the nineteenth century as lived out in the twentieth proved to be both devastating and false.

But instead of returning to God and the truth, man turned away, refusing to confess his errors. The result was that in the twentieth century, many adopted a relativistic belief that life has no meaning and is purposeless. Much of this new trend was acted out in the counter Culture of the ’60’s and ’70’s when all authority and societal mores were rejected for a hedonistic lifestyle. However, the emptiness of this philosophy was soon apparent, and therefore a new doctrine was found - based on the evolutionary ideas of the past. According to Revelations, instead of heeding the judgments of the Lord, man would turn further from Him, blaspheming and sinning even more. As can be seen in this new belief, the old world order based upon the doctrines of the Christian era will give way to a new ideology which builds upon the disproved evolutionary concepts of the past and accepts something of the major religions of today. This is the New Age Doctrine.

According to the New Age adherents, everything composed of matter - rocks, trees, stars, grass, people - is part of a universal whole. The belief in Monism (all is one) can he traced to the evolutionary concept of the big bang, the initial mass of matter from which a11 elements in the universe are derived. However, Monism is contrary to the dualistic emphasis in the Bible where Paul writes, "There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body" (I Cor. 15:44b; see also Eccl. 12:7). Of all New Age doctrines, Monism is the most fundamental; from this belief, New Agers derive many of their other tenets. And what is very disconcerting is the fact that most colleges and universities teach monism.

Logically following the primary tenet of Monism is the belief in Pantheism. If all is one, than all must have something of divinity in it. That which gives life and being to man and objects is termed the Life force; it permeates all, and therefore a human and an apple, or a rock and a tree all have divine worth and ought to be held as sacred. Since "all is divine,’ we may not view humanity as being any more special than animals or trees. "Mother Earth" is the source of life; and groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Green Peace and other environmentalists who often base their endeavors on the New Age philosophy, are motivated by their pantheistic reverence for every living thing (often at the expense of humanity). Again, the Bible teaches differently. Man, the crown piece of God’s Creation, must have dominion over the creatures of the earth (Gen. 1:28) - not worship them. Further, "I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me" (Is. 45:Sa) emphatically denies divinity within creation. It is the Lord who upholds "all things by the word of His power" (Heb. 1:3) and not an impersonal "life force." The ancient belief of Pantheism is utterly rejected by God’s Word.

Because all is divine according to the New Age adherents, then humanity is divine as well. "Ye shall be as gods" was spoken to Eve in the Garden of Eden; today that same lie is told to us from the same source. Why do not all believe it? Only because these people are not conscious of their divinity, reply the New Agers. Thus, only through Gnosis, a change of consciousness, can a person self-actualize - or realize his divinity. How is this accomplished’? A variety of methods will suffice. Some use transcendental meditation (most cities have their TM centers); others engage in Yoga, Hypnosis or drugs. Each of these has the ability to empty the mind of traditional beliefs so that it can be filled with the New Age theories. We do not need these. and it is incumbent upon us to warn our students against them; instead we have the infallible scripture given by divine inspiration which is "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (II Tim. 3:16). The only change we need, and a necessary change it is, is a true change, a divine change of consciousness whereby we may see what we are in Adam and what we need by grace revealed in us by the power of God unto salvation.

The last doctrine of the New Age is Syncretism, the belief that all religions are really a part of a whole world philosophy. To them, all founders of world religions are equally to be revered and their doctrines embraced since each of these prophets in his own way was trying to teach a part of the New Age religion. These teachers, the Great White Brotherhood, which includes Bhudda, Ramtha and Christ, have achieved perfect gnosis and have escaped the cycle of life. In addition, because all these great religious teachers all taught the truth of the New Age, those who embrace this doctrine believe nothing is considered evil or wrong. Truth is relative and ever changing. Thus, what is wrong in one society may be good or right in another. The eastern belief in Yin and Yang encompasses this belief. As a result, in a recent discussion some college students could not bring themselves to condemn Hitler’s actions against the Jews as wrong since in his regime it could have been right. Thus evil is called good, and the truth is supplanted by what is convenient at a particular occasion.

If we reject the established truths of the Bible, the doctrines of the New Age become appealing and frighteningly logical. It points to the ultimately final days wherein man will live out the lie of Satan. Can we stop it’? No - if this is how the Lord has determined mankind will finally bring the day of wrath upon himself. Yet it is our calling to emphasize the unchanging absolutes of God’s Word. Do we as teachers, parents, school board members, consistory members allow ourselves to be influenced by the relativism of the day’! If we do not remain a separate people from the world but allow its fashions, pastimes and literature into our circles, we can not help but be influenced and ultimately destroyed by its philosophy.