by Ray Yungen
After 25 years of research, I fully understand why so many people have embraced metaphysics (mysticism) and why they seek transformation for humanity as a whole. By and large, they have rejected orthodox (old paradigm) Christianity as being unacceptable, but still want to retain spiritual meaning and a utopian vision in their lives. In addition, they see metaphysics as helpful towards improving the quality of their daily lives, whether it be better health, more loving relationships, inner peace, or guidance for success and prosperity. They would think it the height of ignorance and folly to condemn such seemingly wonderful ways to better the human condition.
Many would reject a challenge of New Age consciousness from a Christian viewpoint as being the result of misinformation. It is widely believed in New Age circles that Jesus Christ was Himself a metaphysician of great stature. They quote verses where Jesus proclaims: “The kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21)–meaning a reference to the higher self, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)–a reference, they say, to meditation, and “Greater works than these shall he do” (John 14:12)–meaning New Agers can have His powers. As far out as this may sound to many Christian readers, New Age adherents are quite sincere in this belief. They firmly argue that reincarnation was originally in the Bible but was taken out at the Council of Nicea so that church and state could better control the common people by fear. Although there are still plenty of skeptics and critics, these beliefs are becoming less offensive and more acceptable all the time.
One of the most common New Age attitudes is that there are many paths to God and that it is wrong to judge or condemn another person’s path because not all people are suited for the same one. New Agers teach that each person should find the path best suited for himself.
There are two questions to be answered here: Is it right to judge? And do all paths lead to God? Jesus Christ foretold in Matthew 7:22-23:
Many will say to me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” And then will I profess unto them, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
I find it most interesting that people who were doing “many wonderful works” or miraculous works in His name were, in reality, working “iniquity” or evil. This leads me to believe that a great deception is occurring.
These verses also tell me that all paths do not lead to God and, because they do not, one had better judge which path is correct. Many people, of course, counter with, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” However, taken in context, this verse (Matthew 7:1), is talking about hypocrisy in human behavior and not about withholding critical examination of spiritual teachings. Galatians 1:8 bears out the necessity to evaluate spiritual teaching with proper discernment. Paul warns:
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
And II John 1:9-11 says:
Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
And again in Ephesians 5:11, “…have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”
How may we reprove something if we don’t determine whether or not it fits the bill of “unfruitful works?” In II Timothy 3:16-17, we read:
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect [complete], thoroughly furnished [fully equipped] unto all good works.
Noticing the New Age propensity for also quoting Bible verses to support the claims of metaphysics, I have focused on the obvious conflict between the Ancient Wisdom and the God of the Bible that runs from Genesis through Revelation. The continuity of this apparent contrast is undeniable to the point that any New Ager would have to acknowledge that it exists. This contrast and objection is the foundation for any logical Christian opposition to metaphysics. Notice the list of metaphysical arts in Deuteronomy 18:9-12:
When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination [a psychic, or an observer of times, meaning festivals connected to nature worship], or an enchanter [one who manipulates people by occult power], or a witch [one who uses occult power]. Or a charmer [hypnotist], or a consulter with familiar spirits [one who receives advice or knowledge from a spirit], or a wizard [one who uses a spirit to do his will], or a necromancer [one who believes he is contacting the dead]. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee.
The word abomination in verse 12 means “abhorrent” or “disgusting.” Please note the reference to familiar spirits in the following verses from Leviticus. This term is found throughout the Old Testament and has a negative connotation:
And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people. (Leviticus 20:6)
An example of this is a book called Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain, which could be called one of the bibles of the New Age movement (over three million copies have been sold in the US and translated into 25 languages). Gawain explains the basic process of visualization. First comes “relaxing into a deep, quiet meditative state of mind,”1 which is to be done every morning and afternoon. This opens the “channel” for “higher wisdom and guidance to come to you.”2 Gawain then describes the nature of this guidance:
The inner guide is known by many different names, such as your counselor, spirit guide, imaginary friend, or master. It is a higher part of yourself, which can come to you in many different forms, but usually comes in the form of a person or being whom you can talk to and relate to as a wise and loving friend.3
Your guide is there for you to call on anytime you need or want extra guidance, wisdom, knowledge, support, creative inspiration, love or companionship. Many people who have established a relationship with their guide meet them every day in their meditation.4
What Shakti Gawain is talking about is the same thing spoken of in Deuteronomy 18–familiar spirits. The so-called higher self is nothing more than a familiar spirit out to manipulate those people who open themselves to it. It has been common in Christian circles to speak of them as demons. The word demon comes from the Greek term deamonion, which literally means spirit guide. Familiar spirits make contact while the person’s mind is in neutral and try to establish a strong connection; the result is control of the person by the spirit. The core of New Age spirituality is that the higher self (i.e., familiar spirit) is supposed to be the guiding principle in every area of one’s life – period! That is why in Ephesians 6:12, the apostle Paul warns us:
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
He is saying that there are non-human powers (forces) that are in opposition to God. The nature of this is apparent to anyone who takes a close look at metaphysics with this verse in mind. After a certain point, influence and guidance from the familiar spirit progresses to outright possession. This, I believe, is the kundalini effect. One New Age proponent explains it the following way:
Before, kundalini had seemed like a fable to me, fascinating and appealing, but as improbable in its way as God talking to Moses through a burning bush or Jesus raising the dead. But now I was sometimes aware, toward the end of the third stage of Dynamic Meditation, of something moving as elusively as neon up my spine, flashing like lightning in my limbs…. When, in the fifth and final stage, I danced, I now sensed myself moved by a force more powerful, more inventive, than any I could consciously summon.5
I believe that Raphael and Alice Bailey’s “Tibetan” are familiar spirits. I also believe they are revealing their plan of operation in their writings. The intent of these beings can be seen by what the following metaphysical practitioners convey:
It is all there – just look for it. Seek the immortal, eternal Spirit that dwells within youâ€”the “I am presence,” containing all that was, is, or ever shall be….6
The whole of life will become more meaningful as you live from the center within. Remember that you are Gods in the Making.7
It is not necessary to “have faith” in any power outside of yourself.
Who do you think would want you to believe something like that? Who would want you to believe that God does not exist outside of yourself – that you don’t need to have faith in anything external. New Age writer/philosopher David Spangler reveals who in his book Reflections on the Christ when he writes:
Some being has to take these energies into his consciousness and substance and channel them as it were to those other beings who must receive them, in this case humanity. The being who chose to embody these energies and to be in essence the angel of man’s inner evolution is the being we know as Lucifer.8
He lays out the entire program behind the New Age movement in the following explanation:
He [Lucifer] comes to make us aware of our power within, to draw to ourselves experience. He comes to make us aware of the power of creative manifestation which we wield.
When you are working with the laws of manifestation you are in essence manifesting a Luciferic principle.9
Even if Spangler had not written these words, the link between Lucifer and the New Age movement would still be evident to Christians from reading II Corinthians 11:13-15:
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
For this deception to be effective, he would have to come as an “angel of light.” To judge a belief system as being satanic, one should compare how close it comes to Satan’s own statements about himself. God is asking him, “How art thou fallen from heaven, 0 Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” (Isaiah. 14:12). Then He reminds Satan of his own words when he challenged God:
For thou [Satan] hast said in thine heart, “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” (Isaiah 14:13-14)
Then later, when Satan deceived Eve in the Garden, he said:
For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. (Genesis 3:5)
The metaphysical explosion that our society is currently immersed in is a continuation of what Leviticus 19:31 warned against:
Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards [metaphysicians], to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God. (emphasis mine)
On this basis alone, Christians have a duty to challenge the validity of the New Age metaphysical message.
(Ray Yungen is the author of For Many Shall Come in My Name.)
1. Shakti Gawain, Creative Visualization (San Rafael, CA: Whatever Publishing, 1978), p. 14.
2. Ibid., p. 56.
3. Ibid., p. 91.
4. Ibid., p. 93.
5. James S. Gordon, The Golden Guru (Lexington, MN: The Stephen Greene Press, 1988), p. 8.
6. Donald Yott, Man and Metaphysics (New York, NY: Sam Weiser, Inc., 1980), p. 103.
7. Shakti Gawain, Creative Visualization, op. cit., p. 15.
8. David Spangler, Reflections on the Christ (Findhorn Foundation, second edition, 1978), p. 36.
9. Ibid., p. 41.