© Ankerberg Theological Research Institute Page 1 A Contrast Between Biblical Christianity and New Age/ Spiritistic Theology and Philosophy BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY NEW AGE THEOLOGY & PHILOSOPHY GOD An infinite-personal Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19; Rom. 15:2; 2 Cor.
13:14).· Only one true God exists (Jn. 17:3). God is Creator (Gen.
1:1). Religious dualism (God as creator of the universe, material and spiritual) (Gen. 1:1; Jn.
1:3; Col. 1:16-17). God is holy and righteous (Ps.
11:3; 145:17) God is transcendent over creation and immanent within creation by his omni- presence An infinite-impersonal force. God may be considered a universal law, an imper- sonal principle, universal consciousness, or energy, etc. Many gods exist.
God is the creation. Monism/pantheism (God as the essence and/or emanator of all existence). God is amoral and/or evil in his ultimate nature.
God is immanent, not transcendent. MAN Man was created in God 9s image (Gen. 1:27), and as such is a finite creation who will never become God.
(Isa. 43:10; Ezek. 28:1-2, 9) Man is composed of spirit, mind and body (1 Thess.
5:23). Man was created innocent but is now morally fallen and evil in his true nature (Gen. 1:26-31; Rom.
3:23; 5:10-12). Man in his true nature is fully one es- sence ... more. less.
with God. Inwardly in his true nature man is divine spirit only.<br><br> Man is morally innocent or perfect and divine in his true nature. © Ankerberg Theological Research Institute Page 2 MAN (con 9t) Man was created innocent but is now morally fallen and evil in his true nature (Gen. 1:26-31; Rom.<br><br> 3:23; 5:10-12) All men experience thousands to trillions of reincarnations of the soul into new bodies; some hold this begins with the initial process of organic evolution and extends into higher spiritual levels of being; heaven and hell are spiritually good or evil states of consciousness. SIN A willful violation of God 9s moral law and character (1 Jn. 5:17).<br><br> The basic problem of mankind origi- nates in his alienation from God pro- duced through his morally fallen nature and rebellion against God (Isa. 59:2). The major problem of mankind originates from his ignorance of his divinity and corresponding lack of use of his divine potential.<br><br> Ignorance of one 9s personal divinity and the consequences flowing from this. JESUS CHRIST The only incarnation of God, (Jn. 3:16, 18) undiminished deity and full humanity in one person, the unique God-man (cf., Col.<br><br> 2:9; Phil 2:5-9). Jesus was born the Christ (Lk. 2:11) and to deny that Jesus was born the Christ is to be canti-christ d (1 Jn.<br><br> 4:2-3). Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, conquering death itself (1 Cor. 15:3-7) and is Lord of all and Savior of all who are His children.<br><br> Jesus alone is the way to God (Jn. 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Tim. 2:5-6).<br><br> Jesus is often seen as one of many avatars or cyclical manifestations of the impersonal God or the gods, (just as in Hinduism Krishna incarnates Vishnu). The New Age also offers an endless number of gurus, enlightened masters, spirit guides, etc., all of whom claim to impart enlightenment but whose teach- ings, in the end, are contradictory and destructive to human welfare. Most New Age teachings and channeled revelations view all people as the literal sons of God.<br><br> Thus, Jesus is only an example of a man who realized his divine nature and be- came enlightened; therefore through proper use of knowledge ( gnosis ) the man Jesus became the Christ (i.e, enlightened). Jesus did not resurrect from the dead but reincarnated as a higher spiritual entity and therefore did not conquer death, since in his new manifestation he would logically die again. (Some hold he has now finished reincarnating and has merged into the impersonal Godhead; therefore the person of Jesus Christ is now obliterated.) © Ankerberg Theological Research Institute Page 3 SALVATION Men are saved from their sins only by personal faith or trust in Jesus Christ.<br><br> Christ 9s death on the cross was a propitiatory atonement, i.e., it satisfied God 9s wrath against sin so that God could freely forgive those who trust His son (1 Jn. 2:2; Jn. 3:16).<br><br> In other words, salvation is from moral guilt by grace through faith leading to victory over sin and death (Ephesians 2:8-9). Salvation involves enlightenment, i.e., release from one 9s ignorance in thinking one is a limited creature and/or individual personality rather than one in nature with the impersonal God. Enlightenment occurs through occult practice and human works such as yoga, meditation, altered states of consciousness, etc.<br><br> The stress is upon a change of consciousness, not faith and in obedience to Christ. Transformation and enlightenment are produced by a large number of techniques that can be applied to either mind-body and/or spirit 4 visual- ization, hypnosis, channeling, etc. No forgiveness from God is needed because sin is only ignorance, not a moral violation of God 9s law.<br><br> Salvation is earned, not a free gift. Man will finally perfect himself; the atoning death and resurrection of Christ are irrelevant and unnecessary because no sin ever existed to be forgiven. DEATH There is only one life prior to divine judgment (Heb.<br><br> 9:27); physical death involves the separation of the spirit from the body; spiritual death involves the eternal separation of the spirit from God. Death is an abnormal and tempo- rary condition of existence and was conquered by Jesus Christ on the cross (1 Cor. 15:53-57).<br><br> Death is therefore no longer an enemy for the redeemed (1 Cor. 15:26). Death is an cillusion d and carries no final consequences.<br><br> Although individuals may be subject to karmic repercussions in the next life, inevitably, all men (even if they have regressed into the animal, insect or microbial stage) will eventually reincar- nate back into union with the impersonal, absolute God. Therefore, New Age philosophy teaches universalism, that all entities will finally be csaved. d FAITH Faith is personal trust in God 4in His mercy, wisdom, power and love; the goal of faith is to glorify God through one 9s trust in Him and is objectively realized in history (Heb. 11:3, passim).<br><br> Based on God 9s will and power, faith can lead to genuine supernatural miracles which are good by definition and glorify God (Heb. Ch. 11).<br><br> Faith is power or knowledge/trust in the divine potential of human consciousness; the goal is to see man glorified and deified but this perception is primarily experienced in the subjective realm. Faith is trust in what one 9s divine mind can produce in the world, e.g., in the sense of creating personal reality and ushering in the New Age millennium. Faith, i.e., mental affirmation, visualiza- tion, occult knowledge, etc., can produce cmiracles d (psychic powers) done at man 9s command through allegedly divine power but which are ultimately achieved through demonic power and associated with evil, glorifying the devil.<br><br> © Ankerberg Theological Research Institute Page 4 HISTORY Linear, providential, and real. Cyclical, e.g., in Hinduism periodic, eter- nally recurring manifestations of Brahman; a result of its maya/lila , arbitrary, and unreal, i.e., a dream or illusion of the Absolute. FINAL GOAL OF HISTORY AND CREATION The rule of Jesus Christ over the earth and in eternity; eternal heaven for the redeemed in Christ (personal immortal- ity) (Rev.<br><br> Chs. 21-22). Personal faith in Christ (involving regen- eration, 2 Cor.<br><br> 5:17-18) will result in some degree of transformation of society. However, a dramatically im- proved world will not arrive until Christ returns physically and rules during the millennium. A perfect universe will not exist until the eternal state arrives at the end of the millennium.<br><br> In the end, the problems of human suffering, pain and evil are permanently solved through Christ 9s redemption (Rev. Chs. 21-22).<br><br> The arrival of the New Age millennium, ultimate absorption into the impersonal Godhood (personal extinction). Based on a utopian view of the divine potential and powers of man, there will be a dramatic cleap in consciousness, d a fundamental spiritual evolution of man- kind. This will be identified by mass conversions to New Age thinking, growing personal enlightenment and a religious, social and political unity that will transcend the individual, personal and nation-state differences which have created our cur- rent problems.<br><br> Some hold this transforma- tion will be gradual although many believe it will constitute a sudden massive shift in consciousness that will occur in a rela- tively short period of time, e.g., a few decades. Because history is cyclical and continues forever, the problem of evil and suffering are never resolved. There is no final forgiveness of sin, only an eternal balanc- ing and re-manifestation of karma.<br><br> NATURE OF THE CREATION Real, fallen, to be eternally redeemed in a new heaven and earth (Rev. 21:1). Rational thought, doctrine, language, etc., are rooted in God and reality since they reflect the nature of God.<br><br> Jesus Himself is described as cthe Word made flesh d (Jn. 1:1-14, cf., Matt. 22:37; Rom.<br><br> 3:2; 12:2; 14:5; Acts 17:11; Titus 2:1). An illusion or dream of the Absolute (e.g., Brahman), periodically destroyed (reab- sorbed back into the Absolute) and subse- quently exuded from the Absolute as illusion ( maya ). Rational thought, lan- guage, doctrine, written revelation, etc., are inadequate and finally meaningless since they too are part of the illusion or maya .<br><br> In fact, they are a positive barrier to the experience of spiritual enlighten- ment which is why they must be ctran- scended d or eliminated. © Ankerberg Theological Research Institute Page 5 BASIS OF SPIRITUAL KNOWL- EDGE Divine revelation in the Bible (2 Tim. 3:16).<br><br> Solipsistic; internal, subjective, relative. ETHICS Absolute; based on God 9s nature and Word (1 Pet. 1:15-16).<br><br> Relative and amoral; based on human autonomy, situation ethics and occult revelations from the spirit world. VIEW OF RELIGION Only one religion is fully true 4biblical Christianity (This is a religious exclusivism, not religious bigotry or intolerance, since ideas are either true or false 4not broad or narrow 4Jn. 14:6, Acts 4:12).<br><br> The core teachings of all religions are the same and refer to the same God leading to the same end point (final absorption into the Absolute, Brahman, the One or the Void). (This is a religious eclecticism and syncretism that ends in pantheism.) 1NAStaff0105 Contrast Chart Biblical vs New Age