One of them3

The following New Age "criteria" separate the New Agers from the broad spectrum of evangelical Christianity.

1. Monism, pantheism: God is an impersonal un-

oneness, not separate from creation.

2. Divinization'. Humanity, like all creation, is an extension of this divine oneness and shares its essential being. Thus, humanity is divine.

3. Higher consciousness'. Transformation of humanity is brought about through techniques that can be applied to mind, body, and spirit.

4. Reincarnation, karmax Salvation is a multi-lifetime process of progression or digression.

Anyone who holds all four of these doctrines has adopted the New Age religion. You cannot believe these four doctrines and remain an evangelical Christian. On the other hand, if you do not believe in any of these doctrines, you cannot possibly be a NewAger. We hope to force the debate beyond the rhetoric of New Age humanism and get down to biblical specifics. The debate is being obscured by the constant reference to New Age seduction.

1. Monism, pantheism: God is an impersonal undifFerentiated oneness, not separate from the creation.

This one identifying mark sets off the orthodox Christian from the "orthodox" New Ager. The Christian believes in a personal God who is separate from His creation. This is called the Creator-creature distinction. In contrast to many Eastern religions, which teach that God is part of the creation, Christianity teaches that God did not create the world out of Himself, using the "stuff" of His own being to bring the universe and man into existence.* "By

3. Gary North, Is the World Running Down? Crisis in the Christian Worldview (Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1988).

4. Pagan creation myths abound with this notion. According to one Babylonian account, Marduk, the great stone god, "killed the dragon Tiamat and split her body in half. The upper half was made into the sky, and the lower half the earth." John J. Davis, Paradise to Prison: Studies in Genesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1975), p. 69.

faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of the things which are visible (Heb. 11:3; cf. Gen. 1:1, 2).

The Creator-Creature Distinction

One of the distinguishing marks of Christian reconstruction is the Creator-creature distinctions Cornelius Van Til, whose apologetic methodology is the foundation for much of Christian reconstruction's thinking, makes this concept abundantly clear in his introductory work on apologetics, The Defense of the Faith:

So I point out that the Bible does contain a theory of Reality. And this theory of Reality is that of two levels of being, first, of God as infinite, eternal, and unchangeable and, second, of the universe as derivative, finite, temporal, and changeable. A position is best known by its most basic differentiation. The meanings of all words in the Christian theory of being depend upon the differentiation between the self-contained God and the created universe.

The history of non-Christian philosophy shows that it is built upon a monistic6 assumption. It has no place in its thought for the basic differentiation that is fundamental to a true Christian metaphysics. Greek philosophers, together with all men, were descendants of Adarn. . . .As sinners they were as anxious to suppress the Creature-creature distinction as are all other sinners. They simply assumed that all Reality is at bottom one, that is, they assumed that God does not have incommunicable attributes. When Thales said that Aiiis Water, he gave evidence of this monistic assumption.7

The Creator-creature distinction is a theological pillar in the

5. For a popular study of this concept see Richard L. Pratt, Jr., Every Thought Captive: AStvdy Manual for the Defense otthe Faith (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1979), pp. 10 18.

6. Monism, the idea that "all is one," is essential to New Age thinking. See Groothuis,i/wnasfo'n£ the New Age, pp. 18-20; and Arthur F. Holmes, Contours of a World View (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1983), pp. 8-10.

7. Cornelius Van Til, The Defense of the Faith (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1955), pp. 235-36.

writings of Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen,8 Rev. Ray Suttonjg David Chilton,10 R. J. Rushdoony,u and Dr. Gary North,12 all of whom hold to an optimistic eschatological position called "postmillen-nialism," and all of whom could be identi6ed as "recon struct ion-There is nothing in any of their writings that would suggest that man ascends the great "chain of being" and becomes one with God or that the creation in some way is a part of God. Gary North writes about the Creator-creature distinction in these terms:

There is a basic difference between God and the universe, between God and man. Man is a created being. No man stands alone. No man stands independent of God. No-man merges into God, either. God tells us very specifically that "my thoughts are

8. 'The Reformation of Christian Apologetics," The Foundations of Christian Scholarship: Essays in the Van Til Perspective, ed., Gary North (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1976), p. 210.

9. "Biblical transcendence means there is a fundamental distinction between the Creator's Being and the creature's being. . . . God's Being is uncreated, and man's is created. God is original, and man is derivative. . . . God is independent (aseity) and man is dependent. God is God, man is man, and the latter is never able to become God, although God did become man in Jesus Christ. Furthermore, God is 'near' by means of the covenant." Ray Sutton, That You May Prosper: Dominion By Covenant (Tyler, TX: Dominion Press, 1987), pp. 24-26.

10. "Ethical Theology teaches that my relationship with God is covenanted and legal; that my salvation has taken place objectively in Another, Jesus Christ. In salvation I am not metamorphosed into a higher level of reality; rather, God saves me from my sins and conforms me ethically to the image of Christ, so that I am restored to the purpose for which God originally created man: godly dominion over the earth. This means that the Christian life is primarily to be defined ill terms of personal communication with God and obedience to God's word. Rapturous experiences are not discounted, but they must be recognized as of secondary importance. More than this, those subjective experiences must be interpreted in the light of the objective word of God, the Bible. No experience makes me anything more than a finite creature. I will always be a finite creature, and nothing more. Salvation is not dedication David Chilton, "Between the Covers of Power for Living," in Biblical Economics Today, Vol. VII, No. 2 (Feb. /Mar., 1984), p. 4.

11. Rushdoony, By What Standard? An Analysis of the Philosophy of Cornelius Van

Til (Tyler, TX: Thoburn Press, [1958] 1983), pp. 122-26,130-31, 150-64; TheOnt and the Many: Studies inthe Philosophy ofOrder andUltimacy (Fairfax, VA: Thobum Press, [1971] 1978), pp. 58-60, 132-33, 168-70, 190-97, 259-60.

12. North, Unholy Spirits: Occultism and New Age Humanism (Ft. Worth, TX: Dominion Press, 1986), pp. 58-61.

not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways" (Isaiah 55:8). Why not? "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so arc my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:9).13

Having said all of this, we should not forget that God is also immanent. He is present with His creation. While God is not a part of creation as in pantheism, He has not removed Himself from the created order, as in deism. God came to meet with Moses on the mountain, to give him the commandments: "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob . . .'Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine'" (Ex. 19:3, 5). The Psalmist writes: 'Where can I go from Thy Spirit? Or where can I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend to heaven, Thou art there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, Thou art there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Thy hand will lead me, and Thy right hand will lay hold of me" (Psalm 139:7-10; cf. Jer. 23:23-24). God is specially present with His people: Tor what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the Lord our God whenever we call on Him?" (Deut. 4:7). Jesus took on human flesh and "dwelt among us" (John 1:14), promising that He would be with us "always, even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:20). Of course, the Holy Spirit "came from heaven" to be with us (Acts 2:2). In sum, God is with us- immanent - in the Person of the Holy Spirit. "Our physical bodies serve as the temple of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 6:19; II Cor. 6:16)."1+ God is so near that He can hear our words and judge our actions. Peter accused Ananias of lying to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3). He went on to say: "You have not lied to men, but to God" (V. 4).

The transcendence (God is distinct from us) and immanence

13. Gary North, Unconditional Surrender: God's Program forVictory (2nd ed.; Tyler TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1983), pp. 11-12.

14. Gary North, The Dominion Covenant: Ganesi's(Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1982), p. 433.

(God is near to us) of God are not contradictory concepts.15 Im-is consistent with God's transcendence, omnipresence, and omnipotence. John Frame writes:

These two attributes do not conflict with one another. God is close because he is Lord. He is Lord, and thus free to make his power felt everywhere we go. He is Lord, and thus able to reveal himself clearly to us, distinguishing himself from all mere creatures. He is Lord, and therefore the most central fact of our experience, the least avoidable, the most verifiable. 16

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