Douglas Groothuis

Defending Christian Faith, November 9, 2004






part 2



III.       Basic Pantheistic Monism (Nondualism).  James Sire, The Universe Next Door, chapter 7; see also C.S. Lewis, “Christianity and Religion” in Miracles


A.        Not all “eastern thought” is pantheistic monism; some are monotheistic, polytheistic, atheistic, or agnostic


B.         Pantheistic monism (nondualism) as a worldview


1.         Atman is Brahman; that is, the soul of reach human being is the Soul of the universal Soul [Sire says “cosmos” instead of “universal Soul’]


2.         Biblical response:  Creator/creation distinction (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1; Romans 1:18ff.)


3.         Some things are more one than others; hierarchy of appearances


Biblical response:  hierarchy of God, humans, animals (Genesis 1-2; 1 Corinthians 15)


4.         Many (if not all) roads lead to the One


Biblical response:  one way (John 14:1 – 6; Acts 4:12)


5.         To realize one’s oneness with the universal Soul is to pass beyond personality


Biblical response:  salvation is not beyond personality, but the forgiveness, flourishing, and perfection of the human personality through God’s grace


6.         To realize one’s oneness with the universal Soul is to pass beyond knowledge. Principle of noncontradiction does not apply.  (Eastern thinkers vary on this point.)


Biblical response:


a.         We can have knowledge of God and grow in that knowledge (John 1:18; Colossians 2:1 – 3)


b.         God cannot lie or deny himself (Hebrews 6:18)


7.         To realize one’s oneness with the universal soul is to pass beyond good and evil; the universal self is perfect at every moment


No one can pass beyond good and evil. God is good and “the source, standard and stipulator” (Carl Henry) of all that is good.


8.         Death is the end of the individual, personal existence, but it changes nothing essential in an individual’s nature


Biblical response:  after death comes judgment (Hebrew 9:27)


9.         To realize one’s oneness with the One is to pass beyond time. Linear time is unreal.  History is cyclical


Linear time is real; it is the unfolding of God’s providence (Galatians 4:4)


IV.       The New Age Movement (Groothuis, Confronting the New Age, chapter 1)


A.        What kind of a “movement”?  Not a conspiracy


B.         Scope of influence is great


C.        Relationship to other worldviews:  naturalism, animism, theism


D.        The New Age Worldview (D. Groothuis, Confronting, chapter 1)


1.         Premodern, modern, and postmodern elements


2.         Evolutionary optimism: a counterfeit kingdom


3.         Monism:  a counterfeit cosmos


4.         Pantheism: a counterfeit God and Humanity (polytheistic elements as well)


5.         Transformation of consciousness: counterfeit conversion


6.         Create your own reality:  counterfeit morality


7.         Unlimited potential:  counterfeit miracles


8.         Spirit contact:  counterfeit revelations


9.         Masters from above (alien contact):  counterfeit angels


10.       Religious/spiritual syncretism and pluralism:  counterfeit religion


·        Jesus as one of many spiritual masters, gurus, swamis, yogis, avatars See Douglas Groothuis, Jesus in An Age of Controversy (Wipf and Stock reprint, 2002)



·        Books on the New Age


1.                  Douglas Groothuis, Unmasking the New Age (IVP, 1986)

2.                  Douglas Groothuis, Confronting the New Age (IVP, 1988)

3.                  Douglas Groothuis, Deceived by the Light (Wipf and Stock reprint, 2002). Focuses on near-death experiences and their New Age connections

4.                  Douglas Groothuis, The Soul in Cyberspace (Wipf and Stock reprint). One chapter looks at technoshamanism, which is related to New Age theology