Christianity-New Age dialogue #2

On Sept 24, 2009, Josh wrote:

Scott,

Sure you can use this dialogue in your blog, you don’t have to make me anonymous if you don’t want to. I believe that God is literally everything that exists and the nothingness, God is the only thing that exists and there is nothing else. God created us in his own image, making us creators with body, mind, and spirit. The mind being a microcosm of the father, the soul being the microcosm of the holy ghost, and the body being a microcosm of the body of god (or the son). I think that God created everything through a process of evolution. I also believe in reincarnation. I’m not really familiar with what the new age ‘doctrine’ is if there even is a doctrine. I’m just an honest seeker of God.

I believe that Christ was/is divine, and that he died and rose again. I do not believe that he had to in order to redeem mankind. In other words I do not think that God created imperfect beings, demanded of them to be perfect or face damnation then sent his son to die just to cover up the created imperfection. That to me is like saying God made a mistake; to me that is a mockery of God. I don’t think that God would just sit around while his will is not being carried out, whatever he says is. I also refer to god as a she sometimes.

I think I was wrong about the thousands of people ‘converting’ or being attracted to Christianity if Christians were to shift their awareness simply because many who have a shifted awareness do it very much alone. The reason I said Christians would experience the return of Christ is because they would not experience Christ as being gone, but rather here, now, through the unity of the body. However I think the body is much bigger than just Christians, bigger than people even; I think the body is everything in existence. From that perspective, one might treat mother earth differently knowing that ultimately it is themselves that they are treating well or badly. One would treat other people differently if they knew that all are ultimately one being.

Christ said that we are his brothers and sisters, so as you do unto the least of me you have done unto me, and scripture says that we are his body. If scriptures say over and over again that you are divine, then why are we still denying it? You are a single wave or drop of the ocean, not the whole thing, but still the ocean none the less. Many say that we are evil from birth while also saying that a child is a miracle from God. Which is it? A blessing or a curse? I think we are pure gods and goddesses from birth.

I do agree that when someone abuses us, we should not sit by and let it happen over and over again. It should be confronted. However, I have seen the spirit of God in a mormon, and we both left praying that nothing would keep each other from God. I have seen it in a seventh day Adventist, some Jehovah’s witnesses, a Rastafari, a Jew, Christians, agnostic, a muslim and several others from different creeds. There can be a unity without conformity, we can bless each other on the various paths we take and still keep our own values. Blessing and loving another unconditionally (without ANY condition) does not invalidate my values or my views. Indeed god is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. From god I came and to god I will return.

Peace

Josh

On Oct 13, 2009 Scott responded:

Josh,

I am taking time to respond to your email today. On a side note, my speed at responding is about 1 good response every 2-4 weeks. If I am going to take your statements seriously and reflect on them, I want to give them time to sit in my life and percolate around. So, as we continue our dialogue, I just want you to be aware of the speed at which I am able to engage. I love the fact that you and I are still able to engage the great questions of faith after some 5+ years and I look forward to this round of discussion as I always have. Your email covers alot of ground, so I am struggle to know where to begin. So I will begin with your initial statement that “God is literally everything that exists and the nothingness, God is the only thing that exists and there is nothing else.”

This statement is distillation of both Hindu and Buddhist thought. The Hindu portion being “God is everything…” and the Buddhist “God is…the nothingness.” However, this doesn’t align with what the Scriptures teach. In Genesis 1:1ff the Word of God says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Based on your statement and this statement, either one is true and the other is false, or vice versa. Both cannot be true. There is a logical inconsistency. Either God is everything and no creation occurred for all the creation has always existed, or God is wholly distinct from creation and the created world is the result of an action God took. The Bible, which I believe to be the Word of God, would opt for the latter – God is wholly distinct and other than his creation. Therefore there are two types of existence- that of the Creator and that of the creature. The Bible goes on to discuss this distinction by saying that God created everything in the universe – light and darkness, water and land, vegetation and animal, bird, reptile and fish, sun and moon and stars, and even humanity in the form of male and female. Does the Bible give us the scientific manner in which this occurred. No, other than telling us it was via God’s command, his words effected the creative act. So is evolution a possibility, sure, but so are a variety of other manners including intelligent design, direct, literal 7-day creation, etc. I don’t think the manner is as important as the thesis that God wanted to communicate – He alone is the Creator, there is no other, and everything else is a creature and result of his creation. In fact the very word used for “created” is only ever assigned to God as the one who created (Isa 40:28), is creating (Isa 48:6-7), and will create (Isa 65:17). [These references are for example, and are not exhaustive. Search for yourself and you will see. The Hebrew word is bara’.] This is a significant statement about the difference between the creature and the Creator.

As I understand the Bible, this difference is fundamental. Humans do not bring forth life, we bring forth violence and death when functioning on our own. This would rightly bring a monstrous gap between the Creator God and the created humanity. In fact it is the story of the Fall in Genesis 3, of the violence Cain perpetrates against Abel, of the enslavement one part of humanity (the Egyptians) inflicts upon another part (the Jews). And the story continues today, a cursory look at the news reveals starvation, greed, war, prostitution, slavery, drug dependence… Thus God Almighty must redeem his creatures, if any hope of a better life is to exist. Hence Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came in the flesh to restore man and God.

Furthermore, you comment briefly on the passage from Gen 1:27 and ascribe being created in the image of God as having a body, mind and spirit. You go on to state that the mind = father god, spirit = holy ghost, and body = son god. However, the passage immediately before has God saying, “Let us make man in our own image, on our likeness, and let them rule over the fish…birds…livestock…and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” It goes on to say this image is so passed on that God creates “male and female.” From strict context, the image of God has to do with ruling, not with body/mind/spirit. But what does ruling mean? Unfortunately, this commission has been used to lord over people, to be authoritarian, to destroy the created world and countless other aberrations of the truth of humanity’s call. Scripture is full of the truth that ruling has to do with serving. In fact, Christ is the prime illustration of this in Phil 2:1-12 where he sets aside his authority and becomes a servant. We are called to be servants of God and one another, to steward his creation and care for it in order to bring him glory. I love the Westminster confession. The first question asks, “What is man’s primary purpose?” The answer, “To glorify God and enjoy him forever.” This is what ruling and being created has to do with. This is the world that Rumi’s poem Universe is talking about, redemption, servanthood, God’s love for broken humanity. This is the amazing truth awaiting us embryos trapped in our black holes.

Finally, your second paragraph about not believing Christ had to die and rise in order to redeem humanity is understandable given your current beliefs. I would like to ask a few questions. If he didn’t have to do it, and it accomplished nothing, then why did he die and rise? What purpose did it serve?

I hope this helps to continue our discussion and I pray that God will make things clear in your mind.

Scott

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About Scott Roberts

pastor of Hope in Christ Church, Bellingham, WA
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