In our own time, the antithesis of the Revealed Word remains substantially unchanged from what it was in Paul's time:
"Paul was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present. And also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him. Some were saying, "What would this idle babbler wish to say?" Others, "He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,"-- because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, "May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming?… "(Acts 17:18-19)
The Stoics and Epicureans were the two most prominent schools of nature philosophy/nature science/nature religion of that time. Theirs was an atheistic scientific worldview predicated upon a one-dimensional universe of animated (evolving) physical matter or psychic energy (spiritualized matter). They were the physicists of their age.
Whether matter and energy are held to be eternally existing or spontaneously generated (Cosmic Egg/Big Bang) matters not since the common point of departure for all worldviews grounded in matter and energy is metaphysical nihilism,
"... This position has been held by philosophers such as Parmenides, Buddha, Advaita Vedantins, and perhaps Kant (according to some interpretations of his transcendental idealism). Blob theory can also be considered very closely aligned with mereological nihilism (there are no parts and wholes). Obviously if metaphysical nihilism is correct, empirical reality is an illusion." (What is Metaphysical Nihilism? OpenTopia.com)
Atomism: Ancient and Modern
"An age of science is necessarily an age of materialism," declared Hugh Elliot early last century, "Ours is a scientific age, and it may be said with truth that we are all materialists now." (Darwin Day in America, John G. West, xiv)
The principle tenet of the Epicureans held that the world was not made by any deity, or with any design, but came into its being and form, through a fortuitous concourse of physical atoms of various sizes and magnitude that cemented together and so formed the world.
The world and everything in it--life, being, mind--were not created by the Lord but rather the accidental emergent products of a great cosmic event (Cosmic Egg/Big Bang) that spontaneously generated animated physical matter from nothing. This way of thinking excludes everything unseen, such as the human soul and mind, and holds that humans are aggregates of physical matter in motion in a human form and the human mind an active principle of grey matter.
This way of thinking forms the basis of the materialist psychology of Sigmund Freud, Darwin's evolutionary conception, modern evolutionary biology, secular humanism, secular trans-humanism and dialectical materialism.
Modern materialism originated in the metaphysics of the ancient Ionians and Stoics during the sixth century BC. However, it was the Atomists (Leucippus/Democritus, 460-357 BC; Epicurus, 342-270 BC; and Lucretius, 96-55 BC) who methodically developed materialism.
Modern materialists such as Julien de la Mettrie (1709-51), Paul Henri Thiery, and Baron D'Holbach (1723-89) all agreed that the mind is the property of physical matter and man nothing but a bio-machine. La Mettrie speculated that machine-mans rational life is entirely determined by physical causes that run the gamut from raw meat, to climate, blood circulation, and gender. Genetic inheritance, said la Mettrie, causes machine-man to commit crime. This view casts parents into the role of "first cause" and would later manifest itself in the belief that State ‘experts,' or Hillary's "village" experts should have control of children. (Darwin Day in America, John G. West pp. 16-18)
Pierre Simon Laplace (1749-1827) viewed scientific materialism as not only the pursuit of God-like omniscience but of the Holy Grail itself---power to create a New Man. If an intelligence could grasp "at a given instant...all the forces by which nature is animated" proclaimed Laplace, it could devise a mathematical formula that would predict everything that would ever happen, and "nothing would be uncertain, and the future, like the past, would be open to its eyes." Scientists should reduce everything in the universe to mechanical laws that could be expressed in terms of mathematics, advised Laplace, for the promise of such knowledge was incredible power...even over life and mind itself. (ibid, p. 20)
Herbert Spencer, Fechner, Lotze, Wundt, and pantheist Ernst Haeckel, inventor of the fraudulent scientism dictum---ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny---all agreed that life and mind are properties of physical matter. Haeckel moreover imagined ether to be the primitive life-making substance which, as was the case with the primitive fire of the Stoics, changed one part of itself into inert mass while the other part became the active principle, spirit. Today, many scientists routinely resort to Haeckel's postulate without ever inquiring into its pantheist implications.
Haeckel would later write, "Pantheism teaches that God and the world are one...pantheism is...an advanced conception of nature (and) a polite form of atheism." The truth of pantheism, confessed Haeckel, "lies in its destruction of the dualist antithesis of God..." The godless world system being constructed, said Haeckel, "substantially agrees with the monism or pantheism of the modern scientist." (Monism, Ernst Haeckel, www.pantheist.net/)
During the century to follow, Charles Darwin (1809-82) helped spread materialism to the masses. As Stephen Jay Gould argues, "Darwin applied a consistent philosophy of materialism to his interpretation of nature, "and "the ground of all existence; mind, spirit, and God (are reduced to) neural complexity." (Darwin Day in America, p. 41)
According to Darwin, deified natural selection and the laws of heredity acting on matter produced mind, morality, and civilization. By describing how deified natural mechanisms caused the complexity of life to emerge from deified matter, Darwin helped transform materialism from a fantastically bizarre tale told by power-mad Prometheans on the fringe of society to a hallowed scientism principle enshrined and worshipped by modern scientism and ‘enlightened' Westerners.
It was during this time that Social Darwinism, Progressivism, Socialism, Communism, Nazism, and Secular Humanism were developed out of metaphysical materialism. Classical Liberalism on the other hand, was subverted and corrupted by the materialist faith into what is now known as modern Liberalism. Of these, Communism (Marx and Engel's dialectical materialism), is considered to be the most highly developed philosophy of materialism. It rests on three fundamental metaphysical presuppositions:
1. Deified Matter: The Ultimate Substance which, though non-living, non-intelligent, and non-conscious, nevertheless somehow possesses the emergent properties of life, mind, consciousness, and soul.
2. Evolution: Since Marxist dialectic requires a theory with clashes (thesis and antithesis) and leaps (synthesis), Marxists have all but abandoned Darwinism and instead have embraced punctuated equilibrium. "Many people confound dialectic with the theory of evolution," noted G. Plekhanov. "Dialectic is, in fact, a theory of evolution. But it differs profoundly from the vulgar (Darwinian) theory of evolution." (Fundamental Problems of Marxism, 1929, p. 145)
3. Spontaneous Generation: An offshoot of specifically Darwinian thought accepted unreservedly by Marxists as their dialectic requires a strictly materialist explanation for the origin of life from dead matter. In the words of M.A. Leonov: "Marxist philosophical materialism remains beyond all doubt that at some time or other in the remote past, life must have arisen from non-living matter." (Outline of Dialectical Materialism, 1948, p. 494)
In a modified version of the Stoic conception of the earth as a living organism possessed of its own soul, quasi-pantheist dialectical materialism declares that earth is "one entire organism...its organs the various races and nations of men." Not only is the earth alive and evolving upward on evolution's magical escalator, but so too are history and society, for they also are living entities in a continuous state of motion. And man? In a modified conception of Atomism's dehumanizing view of man, dialectical materialism states that man is nothing but "a colonial aggregation of cells," and to "consider him an individual would be an error." Man---the aggregate of cells--- is nothing but an extension of society, history, and earth. (Russian Textbook on Psychopolitics, Chapter II: The Constitution of Man as a Political Organism)
Stoic Pantheism: Ancient and Modern
The Stoics were a celebrated school of severe and lofty pantheists. Their main principle was that the universe of divine psychic energy was under the law of an iron necessity (determinism in Darwinian creeds and karma in Eastern creeds), the spirit of which was what they called the Deity or World Soul. In this view, which has much in common with Eastern mystical pantheism, reality is not the physical world but rather the spiritual, or World Soul, while the human self is deity in the same way that "All is truly Brahman" (swamij.com) and ayam atma brahman, "The Self is Brahman" (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.4.5)
Stoic and Epicurean sages received their ideas from ancient Chaldeans, Egyptians and Hindus, whose one-dimensional, evolutionary nature systems extended back centuries before Greek and Roman civilization. For example, one Hindu belief was that Brahman (the Void, World Soul, Abyss, Nu) spontaneously generated itself as something like a seed or singularity about 4.3 billion years ago and then evolved under its' own power by which it expanded and formed all that exists:
"These Hindus believed in an eternal Universe that had cycles of rebirth, destruction and dormancy, known as 'kalpas,' rather like oscillating big bang theories. We also read in the Hindu Bhagavad Gita that the god Krishna says, 'I am the source from which all creatures evolve." (Evolution: An Ancient Pagan Idea, Paul James Griffith, creation.com)
Modernized Stoic pantheism and its Eastern occult counterpart forms the basis of Carl Jung's psychology, Wicca, occult New Age spirituality, Luciferian Theosophy, spiritual trans-humanism, Teilhard's Omega, Leonard Sweet's Quantum Spirituality, and modern quantum physics to name but a few permutations.
In “The Making of the New Spirituality: the Eclipse of the Western Religious Tradition,” James Herrick writes that modern physicists claim to have irrefutable scientific proof for the foundational premises of pantheist spirituality. (p. 169)
For example, in the “Quantum Society,” physics writers Danah Zohar and Ian Marshall advocate a new esoteric science of pantheism, psychology and sociology grounded in a breathtaking range of practical implications in the fundamental physics,
“… that underlies all else that is in the universe” lending itself to a holistic understanding that “the nature of the mind, the nature of society, and the nature of nature are all one and the same thing…linked by a common physics.” (ibid, p. 170-171)
According to Zohar and Marshall, the fundamental physics (animated matter and psychic energy) underlying all else in the universe consist of two sorts of particles, bosons and fermions. Fermions are physical matter and bosons are spiritualized matter---the fundamental spiritual/mental forces that not only bind the universe together but are implicated in the evolutionary origins of the human soul and the emergence of both biological life on earth and of the universe itself.
The two men also find that when physicists probe the deep recesses of the universe they are confronted by a void, an indefinite and seemingly infinite field of energy that they call the ‘quantum vacuum,” a background without features that seems empty yet is where all physical objects originate:
“All the waves and particles that we can see and measure, literally, as in the Greek, ex-ist or ‘stand out from’ an underlying sea of potential that physicists have named the vacuum….just as waves undulate on the sea.” This ‘sea’ of proto-physicality is an “all pervasive, underlying field of potential…the vacuum.” (ibid, p. 172)
The ultimate discovery of quantum physics is trumpeted as scientific proof of the basic correctness of pantheist theology---matter, collectively speaking, is the divine one substance (i.e., World Soul, Brahman, Omega).
The men call their divine one substance the quantum vacuum. Their quantum vacuum is strikingly similar to some Hindu and Buddhist accounts of the origins of everything that exists as emanations from the One Substance and/or the Void. Nor do Zohar and Marshall deny the similarity:
“The vacuum spoken of by quantum physicists, like the Buddhist concept of Sunyata, or the Void, to which it is so similar, is replete with potentiality.” (ibid)
From Babylon to our own age, the Void has been viewed as the ultimate ground of being and true mystical religious experience. As the beginning and ending of all reality, the Void or vacuum is “the vast sea of all else that is.” Moreover, humans are excited aspects or modes of the Void:
“…the vacuum has the same physical structure as human consciousness.” As this is the case, then the soul of the Void and soul of the human are one and the same substance.
This means that 'god' is within the human mind. Reality is therefore within human consciousness because man is an aspect of the divine substance:
“There is…quite possibly a common physics linking human consciousness to the ground state of ‘everything that ever existed or can exist’ in the universe (and we) are part of it. Each one of us as an individual is an excitation of the vacuum, an individual being on the sea of Being” and this is a straightforward conclusion of “orthodox physics. It is…proven.” (pp. 172-173)
Because the divine substance is within human consciousness then we can plug into it, said Emergent Church leader Rob Bell. According to Bell, the animated divine substance is,
"…. a spark, an electricity that everything is plugged into. The Greeks called it zoe, the mystics call it 'Spirit,' and Obi-Wan called it 'the Force'.....This energy, spark, and electricity that pulses through all of creation sustains it, fuels it, and keeps it growing. Growing, evolving, reproducing..." (Love Wins, pp. 144-145)
Two Dimensions versus One Dimension
Ancient and modern naturalism (paganism/pantheism) is in every way the antithesis of God's Revelation and Christianity, the spiritual and moral foundation of Western civilization. For fifteen hundred years, Christendom and then later Protestant America had affirmed the biblical view of total reality. In this historically unique view total reality consists of two interfacing, interactive halves: the seen (natural) and the unseen (supernatural).
In opposition to the one-dimensional view of reality posited by the principle enemies of the Revealed Word, Paul teaches a two-dimensional view. According to this view, man faces both unseen and seen dimensions and interprets truth against these two interfacing halves of reality. Thus Paul declares that as men live out their lives they are spectacles, "unto the world, and to angels and men." (1 Cor. 4:9)
Thus the earth (the seen) is really a theater and men are actors on its stage observed not only by other men (the seen) but by the Spirit of God and angels (the unseen).
Though men cannot see the Spirit of God and very rarely see angels they can see, hear and interact with men. The Spirit of God opens our eyes to understanding (Ps. 118: 34, 125, 144), tests our hearts, knows out secrets, motives, and thoughts (Psa. 17:3; 44:21; 139:1-4).
Both holy and unholy angels are all around us, watching, listening, helping and protecting if holy, if unholy then binding the disobedient to their power. Just as the Lord of Hosts gives His Holy Spirit to those who love and obey Him, He can send evil spirits upon those who are rebellious, live in persistent sin, practice occult arts or men who in their pride, covetousness and envy reject and hate Him as was the case with Karl Marx and Nietzsche, the apostate Christian philosopher who proclaimed the death of God. Unto these men the Lord of Hosts sent evil spirits just as He sent one to King Saul (1 Sam. 16:14). The evil spirit influenced and disordered Saul's thinking, afflicted him with obsessions, compulsions to murder David, fits of rage, delusions and paranoia. They befouled his conscience, and inflated his disordered passions thereby, "filling him with unrest, anger, fear and murderous intent." (Occult Bondage and Deliverance, Kurt E. Koch, p. 137)
"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ." Colossian 2:8-9
The Apostle Paul warned against being taken captive by "elemental spirits" that are “not after Christ." By perpetrating deceptions through the elements and powers of the cosmos, Satan lures people away from the Lord Jesus Christ and toward other beings that inhabit the universe, whether real or imagined. What this means is that the impersonal, mystical evolutionary 'powers' ascribed by evolutionary theologians and their pagan counterparts to the Void, World Soul, Divine One Substance, Teilhard's Omega, Christ consciousness, the Force, evolution, chance, zoe, prakriti matter and so forth are the powers of elemental spirits applied to the inventions of deluded, superstitious men.
Over the past three hundred years the two-dimensional Western Christian tradition grounded in the Revelation of God has been incrementally eclipsed by one-dimensional pagan and mystical pantheist ways of thinking that have been artfully revamped and revised for modern Western consumption. In “The Making of the New Spirituality,” James Herrick masterfully demonstrates how each major tenet of the Revealed Word has been radically reinvented and is being disseminated by certain scientists, occult New Age gurus, evolutionary theologians, and new religious cults as well as through books, speeches, magazines, popular TV programs, plays, radio interviews, music, and websites.
With regard to the Revealed Word, Herrick lists seven major tenets:
1. The supernatural authority of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures: Beginning with the Genesis account of creation ex nihilo, the Bible is taken to be divinely delivered, thus uniquely authoritative as a source of ultimate truth.
2. A personal, creating and wholly other God: The Triune God is all-knowing, all-powerful, present everywhere and possesses traits of a personality—thoughts, motives, and the capacity to form relationships. He spoke the physical and spiritual worlds into existence ex nihilo, or out of nothing. Moreover He is neither contained in nature in any way nor equivalent with the created order, meaning that man does not have a share of God’s substance as pagan thinking maintains and evolutionary theism implies.
3. God’s creation of the human race: The Revealed Word teaches that the human race is a special creation of God, the only part of the creation to bear His spiritual image (mind/spirit). Man then is not a product of strictly natural processes.
4. An intervening God: The Revealed Word affirms that God’s activity includes involvement in the lives of individual human beings. On occasion God’s personal involvement is in the form of communication and at other times He miraculously alters the ordinary course of cause and effect. Though He invites address and petition through prayer He is not at the command of human beings.
5. Humankind’s Fall: The human race fell into sin at the beginning of its existence as a consequence of their refusal to accept divinely mandated limitations on their activities. The Fall carried with it various catastrophic consequences including spiritual confusion, a state of spiritual separation from God and the inevitability of death.
6. Jesus Christ is God Incarnate: Jesus Christ uniquely manifested God in human form. Jesus is a revelation of God’s nature in person and the only human being to ever fully express the divine nature. His death and resurrection are uniquely redemptive of fallen humanity. These events are the sole provision by the living God for the salvation of the human race. There is no other way but His offer of salvation.
7. Human destiny and divine judgment: The Revealed Word insists that the eternal destiny of the human race is to be determined only by God. Neither the present earth nor the human race exists indefinitely. Human beings live but one life. They do not spiritually evolve or reincarnate. A final judgment of the human race will occur, and each individual human being will be held accountable for the life lived.
Herrick calls the new pagan spirituality “the New Religious Synthesis” and lists seven of its major components:
1. History is not important: As evolution is a primary doctrine of the new spirituality, and it implies continuous change or transformation, then history as a record of events in space and time is as useless and absurd as are Special Creation, unchanging higher truths, moral absolutes and the two created sexes.
2. The dominance of reason: Reason—also mind, Christ-consciousness, intellect, awareness, divine spark, pattern, mind-stream or imagination—is the divine essence in humans. It is virtually unlimited in its potential development through scientific study, evolution, and mystical experiences. The divine essence is the gateway to human apprehension of spiritual insights such as ‘oneness’ and ‘interconnectedness’ coming to those with the most highly evolved consciousness:
“Perhaps the most vital function of psychedelic drugs and plants is their ability to reliably produce spiritual or mystical experiences. These transpersonal experiences of “oneness,” or inseparability, often result in an increased sense of ecological awareness, a greater sense of interconnection, a transcendence of the fear of death, a sense of the sacred or divine, a desire to help humanity, and an identification with something much larger than one’s body or personal life.” (Psychedelic Drug Research Heralds the Future Science of Divinity, David Jay Brown, Santa Cruz Patch, June 2012)
3. The spiritualization of science: The tool employed by divine reason to acquire new spiritual truths
4. The animation of nature: Nature (matter) is infused with and animated by divine spirit, the Force, Zoe, consciousness, serpent power or life force
5. Hidden knowledge (gnosis) and spiritual progress: Gnosis is the key to spiritual insight and human progress and is the preserve of some scientists, mediums and a new class of Western shamans. Such knowledge comes by means of science and spiritual technologies that lead to direct communication with the Ultimate Source ( also monistic One Substance, Chaos, Divine Abyss, Primordial Matter, Void, Omega, Quantum Void).
Emptying the mind and disconnecting from reality are the goals of psycho-spiritual technologies:
“…..spiritual power and a vibrant connection with the universe (is attained by) emptying the mind, leaving reality and getting “high” within. Meditation (sometimes facilitated by, in a Woodstock way, listening to rock music, experimenting with sex, and smoking pot or popping hallucinatory drugs—you know, a little help from “my friends”) often induced what can be called “altered state[s] of consciousness….” “Ecstasy can be deliberately induced using religious or creative activities, meditation, music, dancing, breathing exercises, physical exercise, sex or consumption of psychotropic drugs.” (Altered States: A Different Gate, Sarah Leslie and Pastor Larry DeBruyn, Herescope, April 2011)
In "The Aquarian Conspiracy," a book that has been called the New Age Bible, Marilyn Ferguson (1938-2008) reports that many psycho-spiritual technologies employed today for purposes of expanding and transforming personal consciousness were once the secret of an ancient elite going back to Babylon and even Atlantis, according to some New Age historians. (America: The Sorcerer's New Apprentice, Hunt & McMahon, p. 34)
Ferguson lists a number of these consciousness altering techniques:
"...Meditation, Self-Hypnosis, Centering, Guided Imagery, Visualization, Transcendental Meditation, Yoga, Biofeedback, Dianetics, Silva Mind Control...." (ibid, p. 43)
6. Spiritual evolution: Spiritual evolution is not simply change but advancement that occurs incrementally over time as the initiate achieves greater and greater interconnectedness with the Ultimate Source. The eventual result of this process will supposedly be human divinity but in reality ends in insanity and/or possession.
7. Religious pluralism as rooted in mystical experiences of the Ultimate Source: Mystical experiences of interconnectedness or oneness provide a basis for religious pluralism:
“Bishop William Swing, of the Episcopal Church’s Diocese of California, thinks he is building a religious bridge to the new millennium, and he wants everybody on Earth to cross it with him. His United Religions Initiative (URI) is trying to create a United Religions, a world parliament of religions, “a permanent assembly, with the stature and visibility of the United Nations, where the world’s religions and spiritual communities will gather on a daily basis, in prayerful dialogue and cooperative action, to make peace among religions and to be a force for peace among nations, to address urgent human need and to heal the earth.” (The United Religions Initiative—Foundation for a World Religion, Lee Penn)
According to Swing’s experience of oneness:
“Religion is concerned with the relationship of human beings with their spiritual Origin. We believe in the universality and eternity of the Spirit. We believe that all religions derive their wisdom from that ultimate Source. Therefore, the world’s faith traditions share in common wisdom, which can be obscured by differences in religious concepts and practices. … The United Religions promotes dialogue. A theology of acceptance will help the world’s people explore common ground. Our awareness of unity within religious diversity promotes ever-increasing kinship.” (ibid)
So stunning has been the transformation of Western consciousness under the shaping influence of science, evolution and the New Religious Synthesis that it has now supplanted the Revealed Word as the religious foundation of a large and growing number of Westerners and Americans....including large numbers of uninformed Christians. James Herrick comments:
“For many Westerners, the long-prophesied new spiritual age certainly has arrived. The Revealed Word and its busy, personal God have faded into our collective spiritual memory, and bright new spiritual commitments encourage fresh religious thought.” (Herrick, p. 16)
As Herrick demonstrates, the pagan way of thinking represented by occult Eastern pantheist creeds, the Stoics and Epicureans are the principle enemies of the Revealed Word and by extension, of salvation unto life eternal. Thus in obedience to our Lord, and as an act of agape love for the faithful and all who are open to truth, we are to actively contend against these infernal pagan teachings even though our paganized culture and increasingly paganized church not only ridicule, scoff, scorn and reject us but accuse us of insanity, intolerance, idiocy, divisiveness, and hate.