Sometimes when you look at your life or the world around you, you may want to search to try and find more than just what you can see, more than just this world and this life, a search for more meaning. This can be called a search for the metaphysical, which means something beyond the physical, a search for the spiritual. This in essence is a spiritual search. Often in this search for a spirituality when you look around all you can find to learn about, all the information you can find to read, from people who claim to know about more than just this world are from what we know today is called the New Age Movement.
Often you can find the latest books from the popular new age teachers of today being promoted wherever you go and you can find anything and everything to do with the New Age on the internet wherever you search. It might seem like common culture where you live, yoga, astrology, tarot cards, psychic readings are things you can run into on a daily basis. You might become interested in watching, reading and learning more from the new age teachers and explore all those beliefs coming from this spirituality to try and find more meaning to life. You could easily be taken in spending your search for a true meaning of life in the new age movement and it becoming your spiritual journey, especially when it seems to be the most prevalent form of spirituality you can find around you, these beliefs seem common in everyday life.
What is the New Age Movement?
This New Age Movement also called New Spirituality comes from a set of beliefs and practices which really started to form a movement only a couple of hundred years ago. It gets its name from the belief that we are entering or have already entered a new age, the Age of Aquarius from the Age of Pisces, and this age will bring about a spiritual evolution in mankind. This type of spirituality gets its beliefs, traditions and practices from all kinds of places (it pulls from everywhere) and from all different world religions and spiritual beliefs but especially from Hinduism, Buddhism, many eastern beliefs as well as what we would call occult beliefs from the west. Occult being the spiritual or supernatural powers and activities, such as those of witchcraft and paganism from usually older western religions of many gods or spirit entities. These are beliefs which have been synthesized and brought into the western world from these New Age founders, given with the founders own interpretations.
Who are some of the founders?
Some believe you can go as far back as Franz Mesmer (1734-1815) to find the roots of the modern New Age Movement. Franz Mesmer a German doctor with an interest in astronomy and where we get the word Mesmerism from which today is translated as hypnosis, had the early stages of one of the fundamental beliefs which would permeate through New Age ideology. He would inspire the foundational new age teachers with his work as a healer and with his idea that everything including all life as well as all that was not living had a natural energy and he also believed that this energy could be transferred. He called it animal magnetism.
Franz Mesmers work with hypnotism and healings gain a lot of followers. Teachers of his work would travel to the United States and when there, a man named Phineas Quimby (1802-1866) would study and learn these practices and beliefs and begin his own career as a hypnotist and later incorporating his own beliefs from experiments with mesmerism into work as a healer and teacher of these new practices which were started by Mesmer. From this man Phineas Quimby and his practice, and from practicing occultists would come some of the foundational teachers and writers of the New Age Movement.
What are some of the core beliefs of the New Age Movement?
1. God is in us, God is everything, the whole universe and everything in it is God.
God or the many different names the new age use for God is actually in everything, every single thing, and therefore in us as well. God is the substance of the Universe, the creation, and nature. God indwells it all, and everything is divine. This means that everything is one and we are all a part of God. This belief is called pantheism which comes from two Greek words pan meaning all and theos meaning God. Everything is God. With the universe being God the new age followers may pray to or believe that the universe can bless them with favors or gifts.
2. There is a God or Christ Consciousness inside all of us which is our true self which we have to reach.
This God nature or divinity inside of us they call many things but most commonly God or Christ Consciousness and it is our true self. We are of the same essence of God but our purpose is to reach this consciousness where we find God and realize that we are one with everything. All life on earth and everything in the universe is inseparable from this consciousness found in us as well. This ultimate consciousness for mankind is accessible now to us as our deepest, truest nature and when we reach this level then you will become aware and perceive that there is only one spirit and the whole universe is a manifestation of that one spirit and we will be truly awakened and enlightened. So understanding God is understanding ourselves. Man is divine by nature, man is God by nature. Christ consciousness is an inward state of consciousness your God-essence or self. This state has to be ‘realized’ it is not a belief.
All the teachers from the founders of the new age to the modern popular teachers have given a lot of similar and also some different accounts of how to achieve this God consciousness inside of us. Some have said it can be reached through meditation and tapping into our mind and finding a state of ‘stillness’, through to forgiveness and letting go of our fears, negativity and oppositional energy which is a part of the ‘ego’. If you can leave your ego and forsake that then you can go towards your God within.
3. Jesus is just a teacher who ascended to God or Christ consciousness like many other teachers.
To the new age movement Jesus of the bible is written about and taught as being just a man and a teacher, similar to those called gurus or mystics in the eastern religions, and he is also sometimes described as a prophet. He was just like any other teacher, like many others who were ‘self-realized’ such as Buddha, Krishna, Confucius, Gandhi and many more and maybe seen only slightly above their level. What Jesus did as all these other teachers did is become Christ. Christ is the state of reaching this divine consciousness or extremely enlightened understanding that you are unified with the universe and realize that all is God and God is in all and therefore I am God. This is the Christ consciousness which Jesus reached. He was just a human but realized he was God, that’s why he could say he was the son of God, a son of God like all of us but he attained the state we all have to realize. This Jesus therefore could fit into the new age movements central and core idea that God is in all things as opposed to the Christian idea of Jesus where he is the actual and only divine son of the one true God.
He like all these other teachers expressed the same Christ consciousness. So the true identity of Jesus in the new age and what he is most often referred to as are many others who have done something similar is that Jesus is an ascended master. Jesus ascended to his inner true God nature the God or Christ Consciousness.
In the new age Jesus’ central message and what he was trying to do and teach us with all his wisdom sayings like the other ascended masters is how we can find and access this Christ consciousness that is in each of us. He came to awaken us to our own self divinity. Jesus didn’t come here to teach us about his divinity but about ours, our true nature. Some new age followers believe these teachers who walked on earth are now in heaven or another realm and are teaching us and helping us from there.
4. Truth can be found in everything and from everywhere and many paths lead to God.
In the new age movement there is an openness to believing that there are many sources of truth across all the many different religions and traditions of the world and that the founders and teachers of the different world religions are in essence teaching the same things and so all paths and teachings are leading us to God. To the new age all truth is Gods truth and therefore it is the same God with many different names. It’s the same thing and same God in Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Indigenous religions of the world, as well as people who might just say they are spiritual. Everything these people have, all these paths are to the same God just in different forms and with different names and there is really only one spiritual teaching they are all teaching the same thing that God is in us and in all.
This is how they can incorporate and take from so many different religions and beliefs and put them together. They take pieces from all religions which they feel can relate to their core ideologies which have been explained in the first three points. Someone in the new age might say they are willing to hear truth today wherever it comes from. The new age movement disagrees that there could be only one single way to God and they believe that all religions believe in the same God they just worship him, (or worship it, as it is not like a person but like a thing to them, like a force of energy), they just worship it in different ways.
5. The new age teachers are giving us a new and deeper meaning of what the bible really means especially concerning Jesus.
The real meaning of the bible and the real meaning about Jesus and the things Jesus said and did have been completely lost through erroneous misinterpretations, misunderstandings and distortions from as far back as to the writers of the bible through until today and it is the new age founders as well as the modern new age teachers who are giving us the real meaning of the bible and of Jesus. They claim to be giving us a ‘new revelation’ often given to them by the ascended masters and even by Jesus himself, channeling through these people giving them this seemingly hidden knowledge which is then written down and these new previously lost or misunderstood teachings have made up the set of beliefs and instructions in the new age movement today. New age followers believe that Christians and the churches are asleep to the truth and that they need the help of these new age teachings to really understand God and Jesus. They are revealing the truth to the rest of mankind.
6. New age movement followers are an enlighten few who possess a hidden knowledge and a new age will come about when enough people become aware of this knowledge.
New age followers believe they know or have realized a real secret nobody else knows. They believe they have attained a greater understanding of the world, of themselves and of all mankind. They believe they’ve received an almost ‘hidden knowledge’. This belief can be reinforced by participating in new age practices where they believe they have seen spiritual things or gone into a spiritual reality or consciousness and by tapping into this spiritual world, it is proof they know more than the rest.
In the past this hidden knowledge was possessed by Jesus, Buddha, Krishna and the other ascended masters but the world wasn’t ready in their time for a ‘great flowering’ and it could only reach a small minority. The teachers of the new age tell us that with these new revelations coming to them in our time, that now is the right time for a new age and a new world and when this knowledge gets out to enough people the world will begin a transformation.
There will be a shift in the consciousness of the world and it will transform human behavior and will create a different world. This world will be a world of peace, enlightenment and world unity. The new age followers believe that the world is ready now for this change and they will be the catalyst for it, they are going to change the world.
Who are these foundational teachers?
Helena Blavaksky (1831-1891)
Called the Godmother of the New Age Movement, Helena Blavatsky, a Russian born in 1831 has been credited as the single most important influence bringing together the concepts and practices which have become the basis for the New Age Movement today. Her far reaching impact began when she arrived in New York in 1873. During this time a spiritualist craze was sweeping over the United States and most of the western world. This is where people would go and see a spiritist or a medium as we know them who would claim to be able to communicate with the dead spirits in a séance type state channeling loved ones and others who have passed away.
Some prominent members of this spiritualist movement in New York were taken with Helena Blavatsky as she was an intriguing foreigner who had many extravagant stories and claimed to have gone on great worldly travels and adventures in search of great spiritual wisdom. This wisdom she claimed to have learned is usually called occultism. The word occult originally meant hidden or secret. Someone called an occultist is usually a person on the search for hidden spiritual knowledge that exists beyond the physical world but the sources usually come from paganism or religions with many gods and their practices where they may believe in things like magic, mysticism, astrology, divination, and alchemy. The idea of occultism was a western concept originating in Europe.
What made her unique was that she was the first person to really blend this occultism with Eastern beliefs and religions and she brought these ideas into the US and therefore the western world at the right time when the west seemed to be searching for more of the spiritual. This spiritual search was caused by the breakthroughs at the time in science and from theories of evolution which had seemingly contradicted people’s belief in God and the spiritual which they had previously held.
Blavatsky claimed in her great stories of her travels and adventures before arriving in New York City that she had travelled to Greece, Germany, France, England, Egypt, Turkey, India, Tibet, Canada, Mexico, South America and many more. As the stories go as told by her during her travels she says she studied voodoo in New Orleans, found a lost Incan treasure in South America, performed as a concert pianist in London, pursued and learnt from native American shamans in Canada, visited Mormons in Utah, survived two ship disasters at sea, worked as a circus performer, disguised as a man and fought under one of the most famous Generals of her time and was wounded and left for dead in a battle in Italy.
While walking alone in London one day she claimed she met an ascended master who looked like a Hindu Indian and was named El Morya. This master she said she had had visions of in her past and therefore knew who the man was. Apparently this master had become aware of her and felt she was the right person and had chosen her for a special mission. These ascended masters she said were spiritual leaders and teachers who had mastered their powers and they were all over the globe but were a secret brotherhood that had their headquarters in Tibet.
Her great mission was to reveal the hidden teachings of these ascended masters to the world. This El Morya told her that she had to make her way to Tibet where was located their secret monastery where she would receive private training from himself and another master named Koot Hoomi. She claimed to have spent over seven years at this secret Tibetan monastery over her travels at different times. She claimed while in France on another great adventure to have been contacted by El Morya telepathically who instructed her to travel to the United States and this is where she first appeared and her whereabouts could actually be corroborated and confirmed in the public sphere starting in New York in 1873.
It was in New York with her great stories and claims of having learnt so much great spiritual knowledge and wisdom from these different people and places and now being trained by these ascended masters where she attracted a man named Henry Olcott who was a spiritualist and medium then reporting on the spiritualist movement for different papers and magazines and together they tried for some time to start their own movement by creating a society. First they called themselves The Brotherhood of Luxor, then they became the Miracle Club, and finally they stuck with the Theosophical Society. Theosophical coming from the two words ‘theos’ meaning God and ‘sophia’ meaning wisdom, God wisdom.
They would create a newsletter writing about their beliefs as well as hosting people at their apartment to perform miraculous medium like events, except instead of contacting the dead the guest would ask questions into a cabinet and eventually letters would miraculously appear in the cabinet or fall from the ceiling and appear out of nowhere in different places, these letters containing responses and messages to the guests claiming to be from the ascended masters.
Around this time they believed that British India would be ripe and responsive to the Theosophical Society and their message, so together they travelled and set up the headquarters in India. While in India Blavatsky from her purported displays of psychic healing, mediumistic workshops and other miraculous phenomena she would put on, would become the subject of a fraud investigation. The Society for Psychic Research would investigate Blavatsky’s claims of psychic and miraculous powers and some of her assistants would confess that they assisted her in stuffing letters through a hole in the wall and through cracks in the ceilings using springs, letters that were written by Blakatsky in a disguised handwriting. They also exposed that they would use a dummy head of an ascended master to fly past windows and they passed on letters to the investigators they had received from Blavatsky telling them how to fabricate miracles. The society investigating Blavatsky issued a report which concluded there was no secret brotherhood of masters and all correspondence from the masters was a fraud.
Blavatsky was asked to leave India by her own society she had co-founded after the report but this didn’t stop Blavatsky from continuing to be popular and she arrived in England and published her last and most famous book The Secret Doctrine before passing away shortly after. The Secret Doctrine as with her previous books she claimed was channeled to her, mostly by El Morya and Koot Hoomi and contains most of the modern beliefs you will find in the New Age Movement today.
Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910)
Mary Baker Eddy is most famously known as the creator of a new religion over a hundred years ago called Christian Science, though this so-called religion and her ideas came from neither Christianity or science. She was a patient of Phineas Quimby’s mental healing practice and then became one of his students.
Phineas Quimby as originally a hypnotist was familiar with the power of suggestion which was used on patients when they were put into a hypnotic sleep. He was very ill from what the doctors diagnosed as tuberculosis and he believed it would before long take his life. After learning hypnosis he would put on shows putting people under hypnosis which was a new and entertaining experience at the time. At one time a boy he had put under hypnosis diagnosed his illness and then suggested a bizarre cure by putting his hands on the area of his affected kidneys and told him he would be well in a couple of days. As the boy had said, after two days the pain went away and Quimby believed he was cured. He did not believe the boy cured him with his strange cure using his hands but he believed that the doctors had put the false belief of the disease into his mind and out of these suggestions from the doctors his mind had physically created the disease.
He believed that his healing came from fully believing the boy that he would be healed, after he was astonished by the boy’s accurate diagnosis which was the same as what the doctors had said. It was in the mind that the disease was created and this belief was removed by not believing in it. So the cure was a strong belief that the disease did not really exist. The key was the disbelief of the disease as these were just beliefs and not real, these beliefs were ‘errors’ as he called them. Eliminating these errors or beliefs and replacing them with the ‘Truth’ which was a whole concept developed into the idea that the whole material world did not really exist but was just an illusion and this is what Mary Baker Eddy used to start her so-called religion Christian Science, which was based on healing in this way and which in many instances seemed to work for the patients. The cure was to tell the patients that the material world was an illusion of sorts and that we are all really spirit from a great spirit underpinning the whole universe, this was in essence like God.
The foundation of a whole new movement which came from Quimby called the New Thought Movement started from his beliefs and was the main movement which came from Quimby, only Eddy thought she could start what she would make appear to be a religion out of it.
In Quimby’s ‘Truth’ which he said eliminates error, turned into the idea that we are all really spirit by nature, us and everything and all matter is really just an illusion. This was the concept he chose to put into the minds of his patients to create a cure for his patients and strangely enough it appeared to work and cured many people.
This concept is similar to new age beliefs today including we are all one spirit and the belief in laws of attraction. Out of this New Thought movement have come a lot of new age teachers and practitioners who have grown up in New Thought or studied it and teach the ideas today.
From new thought came many groups some of which include Divine Science, Religious Science, Unity, and the one with the largest influence was Christian Science. Nearly all of these movements came from the teachings of Phineas Quimby and some of these groups actually came from Christian Science members disillusioned with Mary Baker Eddy.
Eddy after believing she was healed by Quimby’s mental science felt she had found something which she could use for her own benefit. She would go on to use it to create a religion and compare herself to the figure of Jesus. She wrote a book setting out all her beliefs called Science and Health. She used bible wording and references when describing Quimby’s truth and ideas and the method of mind healing which would make it seem like a religious movement, a Christian movement, when really it was Quimby’s so called mind science. The cosmetics of religion were used to cover this mind science by Eddy, it appears to create for herself a religion for self-aggrandizing and for the power and riches she would receive as the head of this new religion.
She would work on her book for many years after Quimbys death staying with many people over this time who would take her in until her abrasive personality would get her kicked out before long and then be left searching for another person to take her in. After her book was written she would edit and change the story of how she ‘discovered’ Christian Science many times.
At first she was telling ‘Quimbys method’ to anyone who would listen, then she would put ads into spiritualist newspapers or magazines offering to teach them this healing method so the students could go off and start their own business’ as healers of the Quimby method. She would use the copies of Quimbys own writings to teach her students. She would charge $300 for a three week course which was a lot of money back then, nearly a third of the yearly wage of your average factory worker.
These students were mostly spiritualists who responded to the ads or were sometimes boarding at the same lodgings as her, and they were the first members of Christian Science before there was Christian Science. At the time she would credit Quimby as her beloved teacher. This was until she had finished her book Science and Health which did not mention Quimby once but proclaimed herself as having been divinely inspired from God to write this book which was needed to understand the real meaning of the bible as its name was later updated to Science and Health with a Key to the Scriptures. She proclaimed her book was the key to understanding the bible even though large sections have been shown to be copied from the writings of Quimby and others sometimes word for word.
In the early editions of her book she claimed she discovered Christian Science when curing herself of indigestion but the story which comes to the forefront in later editions is a story about her falling on an icy sidewalk. This was around the time she started her church and another student of Quimbys moved to Boston where she had her church and found she had started this so called religion and he put a notice in the paper exposing her as just someone who had stolen the ideas of Phineas Quimby to create this religion. This is when she felt she really had to separate herself from Quimby.
She started proclaiming the story of her discovery of Christian Science happened conveniently one month after Quimbys death in 1866 when she had this dreadful fall according to her account on a slippery sidewalk, she was severely injured, pronounced incurable and given three days to live by the attending doctor and on the third day allegedly her last day on earth she asked for a bible turned to a passage on one of Jesus’ healings and everything made sense to her and she rose completely healed. This is how she says she discovered Christian Science.
Later this doctor who checked on her after her fall said in an affidavit that: ‘I did not at any time declare, or believe, that there was no hope of Mrs Patterson’s [later remarried to Mary Baker Eddy] recovery, or that she was in a critical condition, and did not at any time say, or believe that she had but three or any other limited days to live; and Mrs. Patterson did not suggest, or say, or pretend, or in any way whatever intimate that on the third day or any other day, of her said illness, she had miraculously recovered or been healed, or that discovering or perceiving the truth or the power employed by Christ to heal the sick, she had, by it been restored to health.’
She first wrote this story down seventeen years after she said it happened as the way she discovered Christian Science. By this time she had completely distanced herself from Quimby telling people she had been his teacher and he had needed her help for curing difficult cases and also that she had thought up these ideas twenty years before meeting Quimby even though she wrote early on that before her first visit to Quimby in 1862, ‘I knew nothing of the science of mind-healing. Mind Science was unknown to me.’
A letter was provided by Quimbys student which Eddy had written asking him for his help using Quimbys healing method after Quimby had died and he also provided newspaper articles from when Quimby was alive showing Eddy had written in to the newspaper claiming Quimby had cured a back problem she had and praised Quimby and expounded his greatness. When all this came to light she blamed the newpaper articles on her being under a hypnotic spell cast on her by Quimby.
She would go on to become the richest woman in America and when she died her estate was valued at approximately $3 million dollars which in today’s money would be $73 million dollars. At the time medicine was in its infancy and people would go to many different sources and people to look for a healing and this new practice from these students who would set up a business and call themselves doctors wouldn’t seem that farfetched to anyone else or any other method you could use. A lot of medicines prescribed at that time were actually harmful even deadly so going to see a mental healer wouldn’t seem so bad atleast they felt they wouldn’t get any worse.
So with her students at this phase before the church was started, she would have an agreement with a student who would set up a mental healing business, she would receive a certain percentages of everything they made along with the large fees she would create for the training and eventually have each student purchase her book when she had finished it. She created a business model which was successful for her and it would get even better when she created her religion where each follower would have to purchase every product she created and she insisted they buy with the written threat of being kicked out of the religion if they did not.
In the beginning she advertised her book as she says, ‘presenting opportunity to acquire a profession by which you can acquire a fortune.’ One of her first students signed a contract to pay her $1000 for training and instruction, and then he would pay 50% of all the revenue from his healing practice. His practice was successful and Eddy had accumulated about $6000 from him before they had a falling out and parted ways.
Later after the Christian Science church had been established she wrote ‘…Science and Health and my other published works are the only proper instructions for this hour. It shall be the duty of all Christian Scientists to circulate and to sell as many of these books as they can.’ ‘If a member of the First Church of Christ, Scientist [which was the name of the Christian Science church] shall fail to obey…it will render him liable to lose his membership in this church.’ This was the same with all of the other products she would sell including Christian Science merchandise like collectors spoons etc. She never healed anyone herself but would only teach the way of mental healing, this way protecting herself from ever being seen as a fraud or as someone who was not all powerful as her status grew.
On her journey after meeting Quimby, after his death for the ten or so years she was writing her book and beginning to teach she would live with mostly spiritualist where she would join in séances acting as a medium and clairvoyant and claim to only be able to channel Moses, Jesus and the apostles because of her holy nature. But after being kicked out of the house of a spiritualist for basically freeloading she tried to burn their house down setting a fire in a cupboard with coals on the day she was told to leave. Later in life she was accused of trying to murder one of her early students who she believed had turned against her but was able to avoid this prosecution due to the lack of evidence, even though an elaborate plot had been uncovered with her husband and other Christian Science accomplices, hiring a hitman that confessed to the plot.
Today her ‘religion’ still exists but her legacy as the popularizer of the ideas of Phineas Quimby are what have most influenced the New Age Movement. Some of these beliefs include that God is a concept and not a being. To see God as a person she said impedes spiritual progress and truth. God is more like a divine mind which is in all things, God is everything, everything is spirit, everything is god, we are God, and she speaks several different times about our God being. We can become one with this divine mind essentially because that is what we are. We are to reach a consciousness of realizing our true nature. The ideas espouse that the mind is capable of creating any phenomenon. They believe that Jesus was a man who discovered this Christ. This Christ is a separate entity to Jesus. The Christ is the name for that state of consciousness, which is the goal to reach, and Eddy believes she has shown mankind how to reach this state of consciousness the first since Jesus when people weren’t ready for it.
Helen Schucman (1909 – 1981)
Another popular book of the new age movement is A Course in Miracles. It was written by a psychologist from New York named Helen Schucman in 1976 and is so popular in the new age it is called the new age bible and is quoted throughout the books of many new age teachers today. As its title suggests it is set out as a course with three books containing almost 2000 pages and almost 500,000 words set out in three sections with the books being the text, a student workbook and a teachers manual. There are four people who are prominent in the books creation, Helen, her psychology professor boss at the University where she worked William (or Bill) Thetford, Kenneth Wapnick who she met after writing the book and who was also a psychologist, and a woman named Judith Skutch.
Bill Thetford her boss was 15 years younger than Helen who was fifty six at the time she first started writing the book which took her seven years to complete between 1965 to 1972. He would type up the notes that Helen had written down at the end of each day with Helen reading them aloud. Kenneth Wapnick appeared to be in a kind of mid-life crisis at the time of meeting Helen after the breakdown of his marriage. Himself a Jew and being raised in the Judaism religion was trying at the time to become a catholic monk, as he said he wanted to spend all his time with God despite admittedly not having any real understanding of Christianity and having only started to read the New Testament after he made this decision. He met Helen through a Catholic priest he was training with at the time. He would read what Helen had written and suggested to her and Bill what needed to be done to her writings for it to be published. Then there was Judith Skutch who while the other three were academics in the world of academia, she was entrenched in the world of the new age movement of the 1970s and was key to the promoting and publishing of the book.
Schucman claimed it was Jesus Christ himself who was telling her what to write down and she was just a channel scribing his words. Jesus needed her to do this she says because Jesus’ message had got distorted and misunderstood the first time around and now it was filled with errors and needed to be corrected and so the truth of what he really meant in the bible was heard. Apparently it was needed at the time of her writing because the world was in trouble and was worsening to an alarming degree. As she says in her own words, ‘Because of the acute emergency, however, the usual slow evolutionary process was being by-passed in what might be described as a ‘celestial speed-up’…’The feeling was conveyed to me that the time was running out.’
The book uses a lot of traditional Christian language, terminology and imagery to convey its messages but these Christian words and ideas have their meanings drastically changed and given very different meanings in the book and often mean the exact opposite to what they do in the bible and they have been made to fit a new age worldview closer to Buddhist and Hindu beliefs than Christianity.
A Course in Miracles can be seen as a modern Christian Science book with the westernized ancient Hindu teachings seen throughout new age thought. The same Hindu teachings that say that through understanding yourself or through self-inquiry that you’re true self can be realized. That searching inside of yourself to understand what am I, and then finding the ‘I am’ or God consciousness to unlock the mysteries of existence and then come into peace, freedom, joy and a pure state of oneness with God. Hinduism maintains the world is ultimately a dream or illusion and that all men and women are divine manifestations of God and it does not consider the world as separate from God and only God really exists and due to ignorance we perceive the world as real. The ignorance is an illusion and once we realize God, we see all is God and the universe and the world and yourself are all God. One difference between A Course in Miracles and this Hindu teaching is that the book says it was the ego that created the illusion of the world similar to Christian Science but in Hinduism it was God who created it.
So in the book God did not create the world, the world is an illusion created by the ego, all reality is an illusion, as it says in the book, ‘The world you see is an illusion of a world. God did not create it, for what He creates must be eternal as Himself,’ (Manual pg 85). According to the book the physical world is an illusion projected by the ego created by us to escape the judgment that the ego believed God was about to bring against it. So the material world is an illusion caused by a misunderstanding from the ego and this caused our separation from God and the real miracle in A Course in Miracles is understanding this to realize we are not separated from God, but we are God, all is God in the same essence. ‘The recognition of God is the recognition of yourself. There is no separation of God and his creation,’ (Text pg147).
So according to Helen Schucman Jesus has come through her to save us from this illusion, this illusion of the world and all material things, which is like a smokescreen we hide in, which was created by the ‘ego’, which has kept us separate from God, God being a non-physical and non-personal spirit force, a oneness throughout everything, and everything having its essence from Gods being. Jesus was the first to realize this and the miracle was performed with him. As Kenneth Wapnick who was one of the original four and who became the prominent teacher of the book says, ‘The only difference between ourselves and Jesus is that he was the first one to get through because he got smarter, faster than anybody else. So then he becomes like an older brother who reaches back [through the channeling] to do what he did.’
The Christian term salvation or to be saved, from the bible therefore is used in the book with a new meaning which is the accepting of your true identity as one essence with God and therefore we do not need anything from God because our true nature is God. So this salvation of realizing our true nature is also our finding of heaven as it says, ’Heaven is not a place nor a condition. It is merely the awareness of perfect oneness, and the knowledge that there is nothing else, nothing outside this oneness and nothing else within,’ (Text pg 380). Also the second coming is described in the book as the end of the ego’s rule. ‘The second coming is the awareness of reality, not its return,’ (Text pg 170).
So where did the content from the book come from, was it really Jesus coming back through Helen Schucman to cleanse the world of the errors of Christianity and attempt to set the record straight? Helen a professional psychologist claims that she had no beliefs like what’s written in the book at all and says, ‘Where did the writing come from? Certainly the subject matter itself was the last thing I would have expected to write about, since I knew nothing about the subject.’
Reading her autobiography though one can find her saying when she was younger she believed that, ‘I had no doubt that someday I would be a great writer, probably internationally famous.’ She had the ambition to write something one day that would make her famous and always dreamed of being a ‘great writer’ and said about the book later after it was published that, ‘I actually came to refer to it as my life’s work.’ She was a teaching professor of psychology along with a practicing one at the University of Colombia in New York and coincidently her ‘life’s work’, the book that made her famous was set out as a teacher would write, as a course with a text, a student workbook, and a teachers manual.
When the words of Jesus were being channeled she explains that she was not in some sort of trance and writing what came through her but she could turn it on and off conveniently when she had some spare time and she would go back and start writing the course again where she left off and Jesus would start speaking to her again. About the author being Jesus she says, ’At several points in the writing the voice itself speaks in no uncertain terms about the author as Christ, which literally stunned me at the time.’
In the year 2000 an earlier version of the book called the Urtext which means original text became available on the internet. It was found because it had been copywritten and therefore was held in the National Library of Congress but became accessible to the public because Kenneth Wapnick who outlived Helen and Bill held the copywrite but lost it in a lawsuit where the book then became open to the public domain and ended up on the internet. The original version was never meant to be released to the public. It showed that Helen, Bill and especially Kenneth Wapnick who became the editor of the book for Helen and who claimed he mostly only formed the chapters, headings etc. that they had extensively edited, change and removed large sections of the book that Jesus supposedly channeled. The first five chapters especially had been almost completely changed with most of it removed and a section near the end of the text moved into this gap to replace it.
In the published version there were about 50,000 words missing compared to the original text. In the first four chapters, about 30,000 words have been deleted, the equivalent of 75 pages with the amount of deleted material decreasing until in chapter 9 there are around 200 words removed. Over 6000 words have been moved to replace the missing words. All this editing had been done whilst the original four had claimed that the book contained all of what Jesus had said and only minor changes had been made to create the books format for publishing and in an early documentary on A Course in Miracles created by the books founders they say not one word had been changed though they would have known different.
How do they explain this extensive editing of Jesus’ words? Kenneth Wapnick who was alive at the time of this original text surfacing blamed the ego, Helens ego, and Jesus had told Helen and Bill who were both deceased at the time of the original text surfacing to take those parts out, because Jesus had never meant for those parts to be published. Wapnick also says that he could feel Jesus presence guiding him when he was editing the book and he claims that, ’Alot of what she heard at the beginning was just wrong and she ofcourse knew that.’ So what was in this missing text which had to be removed?
At the start of her writing in the original text it speaks extensively about Helen and Bills personal and professional lives. These parts have all been removed or if any remains they have been changed having the names of Helen and Bill taken out and then having these parts instead addressed to the reader. One example of this is where ‘Jesus’ is giving some help to Bill with a psychology class he is teaching on abnormal psychology, it is changed in the published version to the section called ‘Right Teaching and Right Learning’ with all the references to Bill being removed.
Funnily enough the removed material contains a large amount of content on psychology. This was fortunate as Helen and Bill were both psychologists. There are references to various psychologists and psychological issues and subjects such as Sigmund Freud, Otto Rank, neo-Freudians, therapy, behaviorism, fixation, something called the Oedipus complex which is a term used by Sigmund Freud in his theory of psychosexual stages of development, mental retardation which was a major area Schucman specialized in, the evaluating of the educability of severely mentally retarded children. Jesus finds it particularly necessary to discredit the psychologist Carl Jung in the original text apparently a part of Jesus’ purpose for his new special revelation. Carl Jung was someone who followers of Freud generally disagreed with.
Other topics included in the removed text include large discussions on sex, along with angels, fallen angels, Lucifer, reincarnation, karma, spirit possession, speaking in tongues, witchcraft, auras, Christian Science, meditation, prayer, the real meaning of Don Quixote a novel written in the 1600s, Rene Descartes a French philosopher, Jean Dixon an astronomer, the Holocaust, daylight savings, the CIA, sex crimes, kleptomania, bankruptcy, gambling, ESP, the psychological significance of names, and there are a number of pages of commentary on the teachings of Edgar Cayce an American clairvoyant who Helen and Bill, especially Bill had taken an interest in at the time. All this was removed from the final publication even though it has in the original text in the sex section Jesus emphasizing that, ‘I want to finish the instructions about sex, because this is an area the miracle worker must understand,’ apparently Kenneth Wapnick thought not so much.
The part in the original text which has been found to be the most controversial is Jesus’ address to Bill on his sexuality. Bill was gay but was closeted except to those close to him as he felt in the time in which he lived that being openly gay might affect his professional standing, or he was just uncomfortable with being completely open with it. In the original text Jesus says to Bill, ‘Now tell him that homo sex is sinful only to the extent it is based on the principle of exclusion. Everybody should love everybody. It is wrong to deny the beauty of some souls because of body-structures of which you are afraid. This is essentially an unhealthy attempt to limit fear but fear cannot be limited just as love cannot have limits.’ It also later says, ‘As we said before, homosexuality is inherently more risky (or error prone) than heterosexuality, but both can be undertaken on equally false basis. The falseness of the basis is clear in the accompanying fantasies. Homosexuality always involves misperception of the self or the partner and generally both.’
So why would Jesus feel the need to make a point to Bill that him keeping himself from the opposite sex was sinful and that he should not continue to withhold himself from women. The answer can be found in an interview with Bill after Helens death. Bill can be heard saying in the books documentary that, ‘I also played multiple roles for Helen. I was her boss, her fantasy love object, her savior in terms of this material, and I was expected to do everything that had to be done at all times.’ It has been spoken of by most of those who knew Helen and Bill that Helen was infatuated with Bill and desperately wanted a romantic relationship with him despite the fact that Bill was gay, which never happened. She has been described as having a ‘furious romantic rage and fantasy life in her mind with Bill.’ Bills quote of saying, ‘Helen felt a closer personal relationship with me than I felt I could reciprocate,’ was described as a massive understatement.
There are examples of when they were working together, another man who provided their research grants, after spending time with them a while commented that Helen had the ‘hots’ for Bill even though she knew he was gay and she was ‘mad as hell’ about his lack of co-operation in her romantic fantasies. It is described at the time that Helen wanted to possess Bill and did everything she could to be involved in and to control all areas of his life. When Bill would stay for dinner at a guests house after Helen had gone home she would call him up upset that he was still there and insist he leave. When Bill and a male partner owned a house together Helen actually paid for a room and bath to be added to his house for her. She insisted in being included in all aspects of his life, inside the university and out. She would call him up anytime of the day or night if he was away from her if she felt the need.
Bill had been born into a Christian Science family and was raised a Christian Scientist and was interested in mysticism and things like auras, paranormal healing, ESP, and read many books on these subjects and would visit the son of Edward Cayce the clairvoyant he had particularly been interested in reading about, he would also often visit psychics with of course Helen coming along.
Before she started writing the book she started to claim to Bill to be seeing visions and getting psychic messages and this had the desired affect of peaking Bills interest. In these visions she would described to him that she was a priestess in a temple where people would come for knowledge and healing from Helen, herself being the intermediary with God or the Gods and that Bill was her intermediary with the people who came to her temple, as she the priestess was not grounded enough to interact with people directly and this had to be done by Bill and these visions had been a part of their relationship in their past lives long ago maybe in Atlantis she says. She than began to tell him that she heard a voice saying she was a channel and not long after she began showing Bill her notes which he would type up for her. This created a new kind of bond between Helen and Bill, but unfortunately for Helen this bond didn’t end how she would have hoped.
After the book had been published and became relatively successful Bill and Judith Skutch had developed a close friendship and when Judith moved from New York to California with her husband, Bill thought he would join them, in part to get away from the possessiveness of Schucman and find his own freedom. This was in 1978 and Helen was so angry with Bill she jealousy exclaimed to Judith that, ‘I always knew you would take him away from me,’ and she was so angry she didn’t speak to him ever again, and this was the end of their relationship as far as Helen was concerned and she grew increasingly bitter. Ken Wapnick even says that at this time that Helen was furious with Bill for leaving. This was only a few years before Helen died and she had previously said to Judith, ‘You stupid, stupid child! Don’t you know that I would have followed him to the ends of the earth? I would have left everything, my work, my life, everything to be with him wherever he said, and he didn’t want me.’
On her death bed Helen who was dying of pancreatic cancer was often visit by a Catholic friar named Benedict Groeschel who had been a graduate student of psychology in the 60s at the Colombia University where he was taught by Schucman. Helen was nearly sixty and Groeschel was almost forty when they met but he had got to know her and they became friends. He described that on her death bed the last two years of her life that she had fallen into the ‘blackest hole of rage and depression,’ and he learned from her during that time that she was read the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy and Christian Science all during her childhood by her mother. Her mother had also been a self-confessed Theosophist (the movement foundered by Helena Blavatsky), and she was given Theosophy and Christian Science books to read by her mother and would have Christian Science practitioners visit with her at her home.
Today’s New Age Teachers
There are many popular new age teachers and writers today but the two most prominent and popular would be Deepak Chopra and Eckhart Tolle. According to his website Deepak Chopra has, “gained worldwide acclaim as a teacher and writer in fields as diverse as mind-body medicine, the nature of God, and the path to success. [He is] the author of more than sixty-four books translated into eighty-five languages, including nineteen New York bestsellers, and has sold more than twenty million copies of his books worldwide.’ According to Eckhart Tolle’s wikipedia he sold over eight million copies of his first two books by 2009.
Reading some of their books you will find that they like to use Jesus quotes to support their new age ideas. At times they will quote Jesus out of the bible to have him endorse their new age beliefs, pulling short quotes from Jesus out of their original context or out of a larger dialogue and give them meanings which fit a new age idea or belief which they have that largely relates to those core new age beliefs I have described earlier.
In an Eckhart Tolle teaching video he speaks on the way to end suffering by saying, ‘Even the central message of the teaching of Jesus is finding the pearl of great price, finding the kingdom of heaven that is within you, here and now, as Jesus says.’
Here Tolle is equating the kingdom of heaven which Jesus speaks of in the bible as being Gods spirit or the God consciousness that we have inside all of us waiting for us to realize it. He uses the pearl of great price which comes from a Jesus parable to also name it.
In Deepak Chopra’s book The Third Jesus he says, ‘There is just as much evidence in the gospels that reaching the kingdom of God means arriving at a higher level of consciousness.’ And later he says in the same book that, ‘Where traditional Christianity uses Christ as the means to reach Gods presence, the path to God-consciousness uses awareness. Specifically, we follow Jesus words, repeated often in the gospels, about the need to wake up and remain awake.’ He then pulls the following bible verse to show Jesus agreed with his point of view about keeping awake or being aware to find God-consciousness:
‘Therefore, keep awake for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn.’ (Mark 13:35)
Firstly I will explain what the Kingdom of Heaven which Jesus speaks of is. Tolle is correct on this point that the kingdom of heaven is the central message of Jesus. Throughout most of the Gospel of Matthew ‘Kingdom of heaven’ is used but the ‘Kingdom of God’ is used throughout the other three Gospels and the rest of the New Testament. (There are four gospels in the New Testament, the remaining books are letters from the apostles, the book of Acts which is a book about the actions of the apostles after Jesus’ crucifixion, and the book of revelation about the end times. Gospel means good news and the gospels are about the actions and teachings of Jesus.) What Jesus is referring to here is the same thing. Matthew uses Kingdom of Heaven because he was writing mainly to religious Jews who were sensitive to having God’s name being thrown around casually but it is still the same thing as Kingdom of God. (Footnote: Almost all of Matthew’s use of ‘God’ are a direct reference to God, and so are appropriate. ‘Kingdom of God’ is an indirect reference to God, and so is avoided. The five times he uses ‘Kingdom of God’ is in close proximity to a direct reference to God.)
The Kingdom of God is described in so many numerous different ways by Jesus to try and to get his audience to wrap their heads around the concept, and the numerous times he mentions it attests to its importance. It is the most important thing which Jesus speaks of, the most important message he wants to get across to those listening, so it is extremely important for us to understand.
Firstly Jesus says:
‘My kingdom is not of this world.’ (John 18:36)NIV
Meaning it is not like all of the kingdoms we have seen in this world on the earth. Where a king and kingdom is set up and a man or woman rules over a group of people in their kingdom, or of any form of reign we see in the different forms of leadership or government the world has, whether democracy, dictatorship, monarchy, oligarchy, kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers, whoever is in power of a country, or whatever the form of the reign is over a nation, state, empire etc., Jesus’ kingdom and reign will not be like the kingdoms we’ve seen here on earth. The kingdom of God will be very different. But for a kingdom there needs to be a king and Jesus will be the King in the Kingdom of God.
When is this kingdom of God supposed to come?
Time and time again throughout the New Testament it tells us that Jesus was saying;
‘Repent for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’ (Matthew 4:17)NIV
‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ (Matthew 4:17)RSV, ESV, KJB
‘Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near. (or has come, or is coming soon)’ (Matthew 4:17)NLT
Here we have the same verse with slightly different translations. In the Greek there is not always an exact translation to English but sometimes it depends on the context as the meaning of some Greek words could change slightly in a different context. Here in Matthew 4:17 the translations described the kingdom as, ‘come near,’ ‘at hand’ ‘coming soon’ or ‘has come.’ (Footnote: The New Testament was written in the Greek of that time as that region and many others had been conquered by the Macedonian Greeks sometime earlier and even though the conquered areas often had their local languages the Greek was spoken as the wider prevailing culture of that region of the world.) The Greek word here is engiken, it is the same word used to describe when Judas was bringing the Jewish leaders to arrest Jesus and Jesus is telling his disciples the time has come (engiken) for my betrayer to arrive. So it was imminent and happening at that moment. It would be perfectly fine to simply be translated as the kingdom of God has come. Jesus is the king so the kingdom has come with him.
Then what is the Kingdom of God?
Jesus uses many parables for us to try and understand what the Kingdom of God is. Parable means side by side, so he is comparing something else that we can picture to the Kingdom so we can get an understanding of what it is. He uses something we can understand to get a grasp of something which may be harder to understand.
Jesus told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat [the actual word here for weeds is tares. A tare is plant which looks very similar to wheat but is a weed], and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. ‘The owner’s servant came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. ‘The servants asked him do you want us to go and pull them up?’ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling up the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let them both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ (Matthew 13:24-30)NIV
This parable describes the kingdom of God but what does it mean? Jesus tells us what it means just a bit further on in Matthew chapter 13:
His disciples came to him and said, ‘Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.’ He answered, ‘The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man [this is the title Jesus refers to himself as throughout the New Testament]. The field is the world, and the seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. ‘As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. (Matthew 13:36)NIV
Here Jesus tells us that He plants the kingdom. The kingdom of God is full of the believers and followers of God’s word. The kingdom is the believers and followers of their king Jesus. The believers are in God’s kingdom which was started by the ‘man who sowed the seeds’ or Jesus, he sowed them out of the people of the world or ‘the field’. But even in the kingdom there are some of the believers and followers of Jesus who are wicked and do evil. But they must continue in the kingdom until the end of the age at the resurrection when Jesus returns and then be removed from the kingdom.
He told them still another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds (or about 27 kilograms) of flour until it worked all through the dough.’ (Matthew 13:33)NIV
The yeast that is spread through the whole of the dough is like the kingdom of God in this age (before the next age when Jesus returns) which is spread through the whole world. It is spread through and mixed in with every type of peoples on the earth. By the time Jesus returns there will be believers amongst every nationality or ethnicity. It has spread out since the time Jesus arrived on earth until it is all mixed in when he returns.
‘And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.’ (Matthew 24:14)NIV
‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.’ (Matthew 13:44)NIV
Here Jesus explains the great value of being in the kingdom of heaven. You would give up anything in this world to have it. It is worth more than anything we could imagine, any valuables, all our possessions, all our money, this man would sell anything to have it, to own it. Nothing can compare to the value of being in the kingdom of heaven.
‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.’ (Matthew 13:45)NIV
Here is the parable Eckhart Tolle used to describe finding our god-consciousness, or a realization of us as gods, part of this idea in a universal spirit in all things. But this parable is similar to the previous one and has the same point that to be in the kingdom of heaven, the promise of eternal life and the rewards are worth giving up every worldly thing we think has value to be a part of the kingdom. Jesus is comparing a great pearl of immense value which the buyer gave up everything to purchase to the kingdom of heaven, not to a god or spirit/consciousness of god inside of ourselves as Tolle suggests.
‘Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace…” (Matthew 13:47)NIV
Here Jesus is still trying to get us to see what the kingdom of heaven will be like. This is a great example which reaffirms the previous parables. Jesus has cast the net (the kingdom), spread the word of God, created believers and all the believers are the fish in the net and contains ‘all kinds of fish’ or believers from every different type of nationality or ethnicity from every tribe, he has created the kingdom for when he comes back and at the resurrection the evil and wicked believers who have also being caught up in the net will be removed.
Once, on being asked by the Pharisees [who were the Jewish religious leaders] when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, ‘The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst (or within you).’ (Luke 17:20)NIV
Here in this passage with Jesus speaking of the kingdom all the time and that the kingdom has come the religious Jewish leaders did not see any great kingdom forming as they would have imagined a great earthly kingdom with a king and army setting up to rule. They didn’t see a kingdom from the Jewish people with a Jewish leader who would rule the world as they believed was prophesied in their bible. A kingdom had been prophesized in the old testament and they expected a kingdom like the most powerful empire of their time the Roman empire which ruled over them but they expected a Jewish Messiah (translated in the greek as Christ) which means ‘anointed one’ so which really means a king as the kings were anointed, but Jesus the messiah was different to what they expected, he was much more than the narrow view they had of the prophesized Messiah. His kingdom wasn’t from this earth, his was the Kingdom of God.
Here you can see it has the second verse which Eckhart Tolle quoted. ‘The kingdom of God is in your midst (or within you)’ (Luke 17:21) Here in different translations it will often have Jesus saying here the kingdom is ‘in your midst’ with an asterix saying ‘within you’ because they are not one hundred percent sure which it should be but they favour ‘in your midst’. The original Greek word here is entos. The only other use of entos in the New Testament is to describe the inside of a cup, so the meaning there is on the inside or within. There are other words which could have been used and are used in the bible to describe ‘in your midst.’ For Jesus to say ‘The Kingdom of God is within you’, this would be the only time Jesus explains the kingdom in this way and I believe this is the main problem for the translators. The modern Christian translators don’t like this idea of Jesus saying this and how can the Kingdom of God be within you, this sounds like some kind of new age teaching and is therefore snatched up by the new age teachers like Eckhart Tolle as proof Jesus was some new age type guru supporting their ideas that to find god we have to find another level of consciousness because God is inside us all along.
But this is not what Jesus meant. I do believe Jesus is saying here ‘the kingdom of God is within you,’ and the King James Bible got it right and it shouldn’t be changed to ‘in your midst’ or something similar. Because as I have said the Jewish religious leaders were asking when the kingdom would come, expecting to see it, almost mocking him because they didn’t believe that they would see it come with Jesus, they didn’t comprehend how he could set up a kingdom, but Jesus’ reply is clear, that you cannot see it. ‘The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.’
(Footnote: I believe it is just a general misunderstanding of the passage for the concerns of some modern Christian translators that how can Jesus be saying to the Jewish religious leaders that questioned him, who were largely his enemies and not believers of Jesus as the promised Messiah, that the kingdom of god is within them like they are a part of his kingdom. The ‘you’ is plural and used in the generic sense to reference ‘people’ not specifically used towards the Pharisees. ‘In your midst’, ‘in your presence’ or ‘amongst you,’ has just been preferred for theological reasons. To say ‘in your midst’ was Jesus meaning the kingdom is in your grasp if you repent, or in your presence in the form of Jesus makes a lot less sense as well in the context of the passage.)
The kingdom cannot be seen until Jesus’ return. The kingdom is in the world today with every believer, everyone who obeys the king is clearly a part of the kingdom but it cannot be observed like the earthly kingdoms we have, it has no outward appearance of a typical kingdom. Like the nations, states, countries, we might see ourselves a part of, we are a part of a new nation, a new state, a new country, a new kingdom, the kingdom of God with Jesus as our king.
Jesus tells us about when he will return that the time is assigned by God and we must be ready. Ready in the sense that we must not think he has been so long he’ll never return since his first coming and we can do what we want and continue doing evil things, but we must always try to be righteous as he could arrive anytime when we don’t expect him as he says in the following passage the same one Deepak Chopra believes quotes about being aware of our true god-conscious nature.
But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home he puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake-for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning – lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. (Mark 13:32)ESV
What do we gain from being in the Kingdom of God?
We gain everything from being in the Kingdom of God, we gain life. Eternal life. Death will no longer have a hold over us, what greater reward could there be. What greater blessing could we be given, for God to bring us into his kingdom with him, to be with us and us with him, for death to be extinguished and us to live forever, in peace and harmony and love.
Peter answered him, ‘We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.’ (Matthew 19:27)NIV
In this passage Jesus tells us we will also reign with him when he rules over the world ‘at the renewal of all things’ which means when the new age begins on Jesus’ return. The people we will be in charge of will be people of a similar background and identity to ourselves, as Jesus says to Peter that the disciples will rule over the twelve tribes of Israel.
Jesus speaks more of these rewards for those in the kingdom on his return here in the following parable which I have shortened to get the point across and contains the same parable from both Matthew and Luke.
‘Again, it will be like a man on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them…each according to his ability…After a long time the master of those servants returned…’Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ (Matthew 25:14)NIV
‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a small matter take charge of ten cities.’ (Luke 19:17)NIV
The setting up of the kingdom began with Jesus’ first coming and will be fulfilled on Jesus’ second coming. When the kingdom of God is fulfilled it will be set up and will reign forever.
The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah and he will reign forever and ever! (Revelation 11:15)NIV
Everything will be new on Jesus’ return, a new earth and a new heaven it tells us in the bible, where heaven and earth will come together, with heaven as God’s place of being or God’s space now being one with us, with or our new earth. God will be with us and we will be with God.
Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ (Revelation 21:1)NIV
God is not the Universe
The universe is not God. The universe is not eternal it had a point where it began. The universe had a beginning and was created by God. God is not the universe, God created the universe and everything in it.
What is the universe? Wikipedia define the universe as; ‘all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxies, and all other forms of matter and energy.’ The universe is estimated to be around 13.7 billion years old and contains over 200 billion galaxies of which our galaxy has approximately 200 billion stars. The universe is unimaginably massive.
The universe has not existed forever, it is not eternal. Infinity is just an idea which exists in our mind and not something that exists in reality. An actual infinite number of things cannot exist. If you minus infinity by infinity you get self-contradictory answers which shows it does not work in reality.
In 1915 Albert Einstein came up with the gravitational theory, the theory of general relativity and this allowed us to try and to meaningfully understand the history of the universe. The theory told us that time and space are co-relative which means these two things came into existence together at the same time. Because space/time is the area in which all matter and energy exist, the beginning of space/time is also the beginning of all matter and energy, it is the beginning of the universe.
Using Einstein’s theory of general relativity it was predicted that the universe was expanding and in 1929 astronomer Edwin Hubble through observations discovered from the light of galaxies that all galaxies are moving away from one another. It was not the actual galaxies which were moving but space itself is expanding making the galaxies move farther away from each other and Hubble discovered the expansion, predicted on the basis of Einstein’s theory that the universe is not static but is expanding.
This expansion of the universe then means that as you trace the expansion back in time the universe gets denser and denser and time and space shrinks down until the distance between any two points becomes zero to a boundary in the past and it finally collapses down to a point where the universe did not exist and that initial event has come to be known as the big bang. The big bang represents the origin of the universe from literally nothing as all matter and energy even physical space and time came into being at the moment of the big bang.
Everything which begins to exist must have a cause and since the universe can’t cause itself its cause must be beyond the space/time universe. You can’t get something springing into existence from nothing without something causing it. Since the universe or natural world began to exist, then something supernatural completely outside of the universe or natural world and who transcends time and space had to cause it to come into existence. So there was a supernatural cause for the universe to exist.
God existed before the universe therefore God is not equal to or a part of the universe. Our true nature is not God, God created us just as God created the universe, God is not creation, God is outside of creation.
The New Age Movement in Our World Today
Today the New Age movement comes in many forms and practices some of these you might see in today’s culture include astrology, psychic readings, tarot cards, angel cards, yoga, meditation or transcendental meditation, fortune telling, mediums who speak to the dead, numerology, chakras, ouiji boards, séances, crystal healings, palm readings, aura photography, mantras, reiki, spirit writing, astral projection, out of body experiences, reading people’s minds, horoscopes, ESP, belief in karma, reincarnation, past lives, the third eye and a six sense, visualization boards, channeling, telepathy, telekinesis, psychic powers, pyramidology and clairvoyance.
When reading the bible it might seem strange that they mention these practices. Without understanding the origins or purpose of the new age you might see them as harmless really, but once you begin to understand more and more about the nature of these practices and ideas and the negative sources and the deception from where they come from you will begin to understand why the bible spoke out against them. The new age movement and its practices and beliefs are a deception. It doesn’t lead to any truth but instead tries to lead us away from our God and creator and this is its purpose.
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19)NIV
Then there is this Old Testament quote which comes from a much different time but still has the same meaning.
Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD. (Deuteronomy 18:10)NIV