It is the case today that increasing numbers of modern Westerners, Americans and ‘Christian’ clergy are following the way blazed by Deists and other “Enlightenment” thinkers such as Thomas Paine who saw Science as a pathway to a new spirituality, one that would replace the outdated and unscientific Revealed Word perspective.
In keeping with the enlightened scientific view, Paine believed that a free and just government could not exist simultaneously with Christianity. For Paine, the Deists veneration of Science and man’s Omniscient Reason was the only true religion. Paine provided Americans in the 1790s with what Deists of the 1730s provided England: a reason for rejecting the Revealed Word in favor of Science and Reason (the mind of man).
Undermining the Revealed Word through corrosive criticism together with ruthless ridicule, scoffing and mocking was the first goal of Deists. The second was to advance an alternative religion based on Science, one that prefigured and paved the way for the occult New Age scientific pantheism overtaking America today and advocated by evolutionary Christians such as Teilhard de Chardin, Michael Dowd, and John Polkinghorne with his sophisticated two-aspect monism conception.
“All the corruptions that have taken place in theology and in religion,” said Paine, “have been produced by admitting what man calls revealed religion.” Rational religion, on the other hand, derives from an examination of nature, especially the careful study of celestial bodies. (The Making of the New Spirituality, James A. Herrick, p 101)
In a section of “The Age of Reason” entitled “Comparing Christianism with Pantheism,” Paine recommends a scientific alternative to Christianity. Though he labels this new scientific faith Deism, it is a brand of pantheism that locates the Divine Substance of God within nature.
Paine compared Science as the study of the “structure of the heavens” with various non-Christian “systems of religion.” In this light, Science is “the progression of knowledge” and the one true source of natural religion.
In another section entitled “Advantages of Life in a Plurality of Worlds,” Paine explains that the pantheist conception of an infinite space filled with divine life led him, as it had Giordano Bruno, to speculate that other intelligent species exist in the cosmos, which through contemplation, can provide a sense of wonder lending itself to worship. (ibid)
For Paine and other Deists, Science was the basis for a new spirituality: pantheism.
Pantheism first appeared in the pre-flood world when antediluvians believed Lucifer’s lie that the personal, transcendent God had emptied Himself into creation and no longer existed except as an impersonal creative force within nature that allowed them to evolve into gods after their death.
This notion appears throughout history in a variety of guises originating in the post-flood world in the age-old technology of alchemy and its magical meaning: the ancient Egyptian Hermetic principle of the macrocosm’s correlation with the microcosm, “As above, so below” symbolized by the Ouroboros – the Great Chain of Being.
From the Renaissance to our own time, scientific pantheism packaged as biological and spiritual theories of evolutionary emergence or change, pre-existing or spontaneously generated matter theories, multiverse conceptions (i.e., Paine’s infinite space filled with divine life), Teilhard’s Omega Point, Michael Dowd’s pantheist New Theism and Polkinghorne’s two aspect monism, has swept the post-Christian West and America, even boldly entering into the whole body of the Church.
The Return of Pantheism
In “God and the Knowledge of Reality,” the eminent Catholic scholar and historian, Thomas Molnar (1921-2010), reveals that pantheism was revived during the Renaissance by Christian mystics and scholars who had discovered Hermetic magic and mystical Jewish Cabala with its Sephiroth (Great Chain of Being) and like Pico della Mirandola argued that pantheist hermetic magic---the divine science or Magic Way of reaching divine status and psychic powers is the best proof of the divinity of Christ:
“…by the time of the Renaissance the esoteric texts of the first centuries A.D. had acquired in scholarly and humanist circles an unparalleled prestige, confronting as equals the texts held sacred by the church. In Pico’s estimation….there is no science that would prove for us Christ’s divinity better than magic and the Cabala.” (pp. 78-79)
From the Renaissance to the so-called Age of Reason on through to our own, scientific pantheists have been steadily working toward the goal of overhauling the Revealed Word, beginning with the book of Genesis, the book of beginnings divinely revealed to Moses for our edification and eternal salvation, in order to harmonize it with scientific pantheism and evolution.
American anthropologist, educator, philosopher, and natural science writer Loren Eisely (1907-1977) explains that the ancient taproot of modern evolution and its’ constant companion emergence or continuous change, is the mystical pantheist doctrine known as the Great Chain of Being:
“All that the Great Chain of Being actually needed to become a full-fledged evolutionary theory was the introduction into it of the conception of time in vast quantities....It demanded, in other words, a universe not made but being made continuously…. As we look back upon the long reign of the Scale of Being, whose effects...persisted well into the nineteenth century, we may observe that the seed of evolution lay buried in the traditional metaphysic which indeed prepared the Western mind for its acceptance.” (Darwin’s Century, Eisley, pp. 9-10)
In its’ original post-flood conception the Great Chain of Being was a static system representing the mind of the Eternal Absolute (creative force), or Void with Buddhist and some Hindu systems. According to this ancient occult metaphysic, the entire universe, all life, and even all of the gods and human beings and everything else came about by a process of emanation from the Eternal Absolute.
The 'New' and 'Scientific' Great Chain of Being
Underlying the modern scientific notion that life was brought here by way of asteroids or Space Brothers is the multiverse hypothesis, a theory proposed by David Deutsch in his book, “The Fabric of Reality.”
Deutsch’s theory recasts the Great Chain of Being (Orobouros) into the idea of an infinite number of parallel universes in the vain hope that in at least one of them, conscious life and order arose by pure chance from the mixing together of non-life bearing chemicals, meaning that life created itself and then through evolutionary emergence (alchemical change) over vast ages, primitive life and then finally mankind finally appeared.
Multiverse speculations are grounded in a two-fold neo-pantheist vision. First, that living beings created themselves from pre-existing or spontaneously generated matter at the Big Bang, and second, the age-old technology of alchemy and its magical meaning: the ancient Egyptian Hermetic principle of the pantheist conception of the macrocosm’s correlation with the microcosm symbolized by the Ouroboros – the Great Chain of Being, cosmic tree of life or with Darwin the tree of life.
In modern thought, the Great Chain of Being or Ouroboros ‘above’ (Void, Brahman) corresponds to a number of different mystical planets (i.e., Kolob), worlds, dimensions or astral planes and sub-planes comprising the habitations,
“(of all) supernatural entities, the locale of gods and demons, the void where the thoughtforms dwell, the region inhabited by spirits of the air and other elements, and the various heavens and hells with their angelic and demonic hosts....With the help of ritual procedures, trained persons believe that they can ‘rise on the planes,’ and experience these regions in full awareness.” (”Beyond the Body: The Human Double and the Astral planes, Benjamin Walker, 1974, pp. 117-8)
The Ouroboros is well-known around the world in its’ many pantheist traditions:
“References to this reality are the Dreaming of the Australian Aborigines, the Spirit-world of Shamanism, the Duart of the ancient Egyptians, the Bardo (Intermediate State) of the Tibetans, the Imaginal world of Islamic Esotericism – e.g. the Barzakh (Interworld) or of Suhrawardi and the Mithal (Imaginal realm) of Ibn Arabi – the Universe of Asiyah of some Kabbalists, or of Yetzirah according to others. Other descriptions are the Nervo degree of the Physical State of Theon, the Astral or 2nd Prakritic plane (corresponding to the Linga Sharira or Subtle or Astral body) and the Kama (Desire-Plane) of Blavatsky, the Astral Plane of the Adyar school of Theosophy and of popular occultism, Rudolf Steiner’s “Soul World”; and the Vital and Subtle Physical described by Sri Aurobindo and Mirra. These are just a few of the innumerable descriptions of this plane of existence.” (The Astral Plane, kheper.net)
Recently, a zealous defender of natural science (pantheism) and evolution baldly confessed to me,
“…science is a potent weapon against Christianity. It is a tool which can be used by anybody — including Christians — who grab and employ it.”
Used in pursuit of what though?
Before answering that question it is vitally important that scientific pantheism be separated from the science made possible by the Biblical worldview positing a living, personal Holy God who, though maintaining all things here in the space-time dimension, does not dwell here but outside of the space-time dimension in the 3rd heaven. In other words, His substance does not comprise the space-time dimension as all pantheist systems hold, thus man has no share of His substance.
Only within ancient and modern pantheist systems (natural science) positing the distribution of the substance of God throughout the space-time dimension can it be held that life arose from spontaneously generated non-life bearing chemicals pregnant with the emergent possibility of life or arose somewhere else and was accidentally brought here by asteroids or on purpose by Space Brothers.
Now we arrive at the answer to “in pursuit of what?” which is really the source of the spiritual pathology underlying the return of modern Westerners, Americans and countless priests to scientific pantheism and its primary doctrine, evolutionary emergence:
Men no longer desire to be God’s spiritual image-bearers but rather liberated ‘free spirits’ boasting: I AM I; I came from Myself.
Liberation of ‘self’ begins with Darwinism because it removes God from biology. Darwinism is the magical key to liberation of ‘self’ from the personal, living God of Revelation:
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1:27
For fifteen hundred years, Christendom and then later Protestant America had followed St. Augustine (AD 354-430) in affirming that as all men are the spiritual image-bearers of the transcendent Triune God then it logically follows that each person is a trinity of being — of soul, spirit, and body:
“The essence of the human is not the body, but the soul. It is the soul alone that God made in his own image and the soul that he loves....For the sake of the soul...the Son of God came into the world....” (Incomplete Work on Matthew, Homily 25, Ancient Christian Devotional, Oden and Crosby, p. 153)
Man is God’s spiritual image-bearer, and said the brilliant French economist, statesman, and author Frederic Bastiat, this is the gift from God which includes the physical, intellectual and moral life:
“He has provided us with a collection of marvelous faculties. And He has put us in the midst of a variety of natural resources. By application of our faculties to these natural resources we convert them into products, and use them. Life, faculties, production — in other words, individuality, liberty, property — this is man (and) these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it. Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.” (How Evil Works, David Kupelian, p. 8)
Vishal Mangalwadi, India’s foremost Christian scholar observes that the unique concept of man as God’s spiritual image-bearer gave birth to the “belief in the unique dignity of human beings,” and this is,
“...the force that created Western civilization, where citizens do not exist for the state but the state exists for the individuals. Even kings, presidents, prime ministers, and army generals cannot be allowed to trample upon an individual and his or her rights.” (Truth and Transformation: A Manifesto for Ailing Nations, pp. 12-13)
But from the Renaissance to our own age, Americans and Westerners no longer desirous of being God’s spiritual image-bearers have been, as dogs returning to not just stale but ancient vomit, liberating ‘self’ from the living, Holy God by embracing ‘scientific’ pantheism and evolution. And this is the source of the spiritual cancer destroying our nation that politics absolutely cannot fix.