Panentheism and the Trinity

Panentheism is an English word derived from Greek roots: pan = “all”, en = “in”, the, from theos = “God”.  This is in distinction from pantheism, meaning “all God”, or “all is God”.  Before more fully defining panentheism, we’ll briefly review the Christian Trinity in order to compare and contrast.

The Trinity from an Historically Orthodox Christian Perspective

The Christian God, known as the Trinity, is a tri-unity consisting of God the Father, God the Son (Christ, the Word), and God the Holy Spirit. Each Member of the Trinity is co-essential (united in essence/being) and co-equal with the others.  God is spirit, i.e., incorporeal, having no physical body.  There are a number of divine attributes associated with the Godhead, including omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence.  Christian philosopher Thomas V. Morris explains the interrelationship between these three attributes with respect to His creation:

Perhaps the best understanding of the attribute of omnipresence is that of its being the property of being present everywhere in virtue of knowledge of [omniscience] and power over [omnipotence] any and every spatially located object [creation].1

God is immanent, i.e., present in/among His creation (as opposed to within, immersed inside its substance, though indwelling true Christians, of course), by virtue of His omnipresence.  He is infinitely aware of even the tiniest details concerning the universe – which the Godhead created out of nothing (ex nihilo) – and, due to the Word’s continuous sustaining activity holding it together (Col 1:17; Heb 1:3), “He keeps the cosmos from becoming a chaos,”2 to borrow H.C.G. Moule’s memorable phrase.

The ultimate display of God’s immanence is when the Son humbled Himself by taking on human form in the Person of Jesus Christ (Immanuel – God with us), retaining full divinity in becoming fully human, and then dying in our place, in His plan of redemption.  What a God we serve!

Yet, God is also transcendent, wholly outside His creation, as the Trinity is not affected in any way by the cosmos (creation).  In no way does it act upon Him.  God is self-existent, self-sufficient, immutable (unchanging), and eternal, existing outside time, yet acting within it (immanence).  An inherent aspect of creation, time is His own construct.  As such, the Godhead Lord’s over it, thereby fulfilling time, according to His purposes.  God has been present and active throughout the entire history of humanity, is currently active in human affairs, and will continue to be actively governing humanity, though allowing free will.

While imprisoned by the Nazis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer proposed a different understanding of transcendence. He contended that Jesus’ “being for others” is the true meaning of transcendence, suggesting that we not think of immanence and transcendence as opposites.3  Thus, in Jesus’ dying on the Cross for the sins of mankind – because God “so loved the world”, thereby providing eternal life for those who believe in Him – the ultimate display of God’s immanence climaxes in the supreme act of ‘transcendence’.

Recognizing the beautiful, poetic force of Bonhoeffer’s words, yet still we understand that God truly is transcendent – so wholly other than His creation – yet God is also immanent, fully active in/among His creation. He is the Potter; we are the clay.

The Christian Trinity is a divine mystery.  Attempts to fully explain the mystery of God’s three-in-one-ness can lead to heretical conclusions such as tritheism (three Gods), modalism (one God in three different modes, one at a time), or other distortions.4

Panentheism Defined in ‘Christian Esotericism’

While there are a number of different views of panentheism in the various and varying religious systems in the world, there are some consistencies in the doctrine with respect to how it relates to the Christian Trinity and Jesus Christ in esoteric literature.  In Richard Smoley’s book Inner Christianity: A Guide to the Esoteric Tradition is a general view of the doctrine of panentheism as it pertains to ‘Christian esotericism’:

…The Father is the ineffable, transcendent aspect of God; the Son is God’s immanent aspect. This divine spark or Logos is the first sounding-forth of existence from the depths of infinity: “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:3-4). [Jesus] Christ is the embodiment of this immanent aspect of God.

So are we. “Without him was not any thing made that was made.” Nothing comes into existence unless this divine spark of consciousness, no matter how faint or dim, lies at its center. This was true of Jesus, it is true of me, and it is true of you…We may not be as exalted as Christ…But at the core we are the same.5

This is obviously a purposeful distortion of the true Christian Trinity, with its use of similar terminology.  Note the two separate aspects of ‘God’: the transcendent, which is the ineffable (inexpressible) “Father”, and the immanent (within all creation) aspect, which is the “Son”.  While the way in which this immanence is described is not at all congruent with the Christian Trinity, importantly, transcendence is described in such a manner that it more closely approximates the true Trinity (though see below), marking this as one of the keys in making the doctrine appear ‘Christian’.  This “immanence” is alternatively called divine seed, divine spark, divine (spark of) light, logos, or Christ.  So, the Son/Christ is a divine entity, and this divine entity is diffused throughout creation as a seed / spark / light.

This view of panentheism is such that all is in God (the transcendent Father is wholly outside, enveloping all of creation), and God is in all (the Son/Christ is immersed within all of creation), yet God is not present among creation.6 

In the quote above, observe that, by implication, the two separate aspects are indeed separate.  The Father is not immanent, and the Son is not transcendent.  This indicates that the Father is not omnipresent, as he is not present at all in creation.  On the other hand, the Son is divided up within creation, with each spark, seed, etc. separated from all other sparks or seeds by its outer matter (body, sheath), making omnipresence a bit murky at best, as the seeds / sparks seem individually disunified, though all parts of a whole; however, without an explicit claim of the Son being also among creation, omnipresence is implicitly denied.

It appears as if the Father has absolutely no access to and no power over creation, while the Son is confined within creation, with neither Father nor Son seemingly possessing the ability to interact with the other.  But not to worry, the “Holy Spirit”, a “divine principle”, acts as an intermediary between the two:

How do these two, the Father and the Son, interact with each other?  What enables them to have any connection at all, while still in some way remaining distinct?  There is…a principle that makes this interaction possible.  It is called the Comforter, or the Holy Spirit.

Here, in essence, is the Christian Trinity…Between them [Father and Son] is the Holy Spirit, the divine principle of relatedness, which accomplishes perhaps the most astonishing of all miracles: uniting two separate entities while still allowing them to be separate.7

This implies that the “Holy Spirit” is omnipresent.  However, besides the problems with this doctrine already noted above, from an historically orthodox Christian perspective, this devolves into tritheism (three gods) as opposed to a Trinity, despite its claim of Trinitarianism – that is, assuming that one can even term a “divine principle” a god. 

In addition, notice in the first Smoley quote above that Jesus Himself is called Christ (“Christ is the embodiment of this immanent aspect of God”), rather than merely, for example, Jesus of Nazareth, as some cults claim.  Smoley quotes from A Course in Miracles to describe Him:

The name of Jesus is the name of the one who was a man but saw the face of Christ in all his brothers and remembered God.  So he became identified with Christ, a man no longer, but at one with God.8

This statement identifies this doctrine as explicitly antichrist per the Apostle John’s words in his first epistle (1 John 2:22, 4:1-3), as it separates Christ from Jesus.  Smoley  then goes on to quote the “Jesus” of the Course as saying all can do what He did, describing Him as an exemplar, making the impossible (the distance is too great between us and the Father) into possibility.9  By this he means that the man Jesus became “at one” with God, thereby bridging the gap and becoming an example for others, claiming that all are Christs, at least potentially.10

Of course, according to Christian orthodoxy, Jesus Christ, as the God-man (fully God and fully man), is the intermediary between mankind and God through His redemptive work on the Cross.  One’s acceptance of Jesus Christ as our sin substitute, thereby reconciling the individual back to God through His remission of our sins, is the only way to salvation.  However, Smoley depicts Jesus as merely a man who subsequently attained divine status, becoming a model for others to follow to actualize their own ‘latent divinity’, becoming gods.

Far too many (laypersons and theologians alike) make statements to the effect that Jesus was reliant upon God during His earthly ministry, stressing His humanity at the expense of His Deity.  We must always recognize that Jesus Christ was/is God Himself, the second ‘Person’ of the Trinity, as God in the flesh.  Of course, there are times in Scripture in which Jesus’ humanity is emphasized (growing tired, hungry, etc.), perhaps the most striking example of which is when He is on the Cross crying out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”  Yet these must be balanced out by those occasions Jesus declares His own Deity (“I am” – John 8:58; “I and the Father are one” – John 10:30, John 14:9, etc.). To be clear, as the Incarnate God-man, Immanuel (God with us), Jesus Christ submitted, in obedience, to the Father; however, as the second Member of the Trinity, Jesus Christ was/is co-equal with the Father (and the Holy Spirit), and in no way subordinate.  Such is the mystery of the Incarnation!

Now that we have a general view of panentheism in ‘Christian esotericism’ (though also looking at one particular part of A Course in Miracles in the process), we’ll take a look at one specific view.  The false trinity in Theosophy will be discussed – the school of esotericism founded by Madame Blavatsky in 1875 and perhaps better known as associated with Alice A. Bailey in the twentieth century, forming the basis of much of the New Age / New Spirituality of today.

The Panentheistic Trinity in Theosophy

Before proceeding, the goal of this section is not to educate the reader on a specific occult teaching as an end in itself.  The intent is to make the reader aware of how the Christian Trinity is perverted such that a Christian could be fooled into thinking another individual is a true Christian when similar terminology and concepts are used, or worse, the Christian could be duped into following this dangerous doctrine.

Without getting bogged down into too much detail regarding the rather complicated Theosophical schema, illustrated graphically in one of Bailey’s books,11 an attempt at explaining and simplifying it will be made, though the following may not be absolutely accurate due to the convoluted nature of it.

There are two separate “trinities”: the “Solar Logos” (The Solar Trinity or Logoi [plural of Logos]) and “Sanat Kumara”.  The Solar Logos is made up of “the Father”, “the Son”, and “the Holy Spirit”.  The Father constitutes the transcendent aspect, the “Absolute Reality”, also referred to as the ONE ABOUT WHOM NAUGHT MAY BE SAID – the all is in ‘God’ aspect.12  The Son is “Life, the Spirit of the Universe”, constituting the immanent aspect, the ‘god’ immersed within creation – the ‘God’ is in all aspect.  The Holy Spirit is “Cosmic Ideation, the Universal World-Soul”,13 and “Creative Wisdom”,14 which makes the Holy Spirit the communicator, the one bringing revelation, and, in effect, seemingly omnipresent, though this is not explicit.

The “Planetary Hierarchy” is headed by Sanat Kumara, the Lord of the World, aka Ancient of Days, the One Initiator,15 the Hierophant16 – clearly all names for Satan (taking into account their respective contexts in Theosophic literature), though some were reappropriated from Scripture.  Sanat Kumara (the name is taken from ancient Hindu philosophy) fashions himself as a trinity, with three separate “Kumaras” emanating from him (the “Buddhas of Activity”), one of which is the Bodhisattva, aka the Christ (not Jesus), the World Teacher.17  But, there are also lesser ‘deities’ in the Planetary Hierarchy, many of whom were, according to this doctrine, former humans who evolved into godhood (“Ascended Masters”), which thereby reduces Theosophy to polytheism (many gods).

Yet in analyzing this schema it becomes obvious that Satan is cleverly presenting himself as both Sanat Kumara and the Solar Logos, with the Solar Trinity/Logos merely a ruse in order to purposely approximate, yet distort the Christian Trinity.18  Evidence of this is found in that the “Lord of the World” is also called, “the God in whom we live and move and have our being.”19  Further support of this collapsing of the two trinities into one is found in a work by H. P. Blavatsky in which the “Serpent” in the Garden of Eden is equated to the “Lord God”,20 and later in this same book, Logos is termed “WISDOM”, which is then equated to both Satan and Lucifer.21

By their functions in portions of the texts, both the transcendent and immanent aspects overlap somewhat, such that when taken together these resemble the Christian Trinity in certain ways, though clearly the graphic indicates something entirely different.  In other words, though the illustration pictures a totally different ‘god’ (or ‘gods’), when described elsewhere in sections of the texts apart from the graphic, one could understand it as not inconsistent with the Christian Trinity with the overlapping functions and the similar terminology.  Though no Christian would likely be fooled into thinking any of the Theosophic texts were remotely Christian when read in complete context (if one doesn’t get lost in the confusing nature of it), the stated goal is to subvert Christianity from the inside by readapting this material into Christian contexts,22 as Bailey remarked in another work, “Christianity will not be superseded.  It will be transcended, its work of preparation being triumphantly accomplished….”23  This demonic threat should not be taken lightly.

Like second century Gnosticism, there is a Dualism, a dichotomy between spirit and matter (creation).  Matter is the “not-self”, as opposed to the soul/spirit, which is the “self”.  However, this does not mean that matter has no function.  It’s not quite the ‘evil’ of second century Gnosticism, for “matter, being inspired by spirit, conforms”,24 providing the means (the vehicle) by which spirit can evolve:

…The development of spirit can be only expressed as yet in terms of the evolution of matter, and only through the adequacy of the vehicle, and through the suitability of the sheath, the body or form, can the point of spiritual development reached in any way be appraised…25

In other words, the outer body will improve concurrent with spiritual progression, or so it’s claimed.  The human is made up of soul/spirit, mind and body.  However, once “perfected consciousness”26 is attained, the body is destroyed, annihilated27 marking the “escape of Spirit, plus mind, to its cosmic centre”28 – the cosmic center being the transcendent aspect of this version of panentheism.  So the formerly ‘trapped’ (inside the “not self”) essence of the particular individual (the “self”), as part of the immanent aspect, is now united to the ONE ABOUT WHOM NAUGHT MAY BE SAID, the transcendent aspect.29

Spiritual progression is  accomplished through meditation,30 in other words, contemplative or centering prayer.31  The method is described as emptying one’s mind, yet controlling thought, requiring full concentration:

The true meditation is something that requires the most intense application of the mind, the utmost control of thought, and an attitude which is neither negative nor positive, but an equal balance between the two.  In the Eastern Scriptures the man who is attempting meditation and achieving results, is described as follows… ‘The Maha Yogi, the great ascetic, in whom is centred the highest perfection of austere penance and abstract meditation, by which the most unlimited powers are attained, marvels and miracles are worked, the highest spiritual knowledge is acquired, and union with the great Spirit of the universe is eventually attained.32

When one reaches “perfected consciousness” through meditation, one has achieved “union with the great Spirit of the universe”.  Along the way, as one ‘grows spiritually’, one will receive supernatural powers to include the ability to work miracles, or so goes the claim.  The exact method of approach to meditation is left to the individual:

True meditation (of which the preliminary stages are concentration upon and application to any particular line of thought) will differ for different people and different types.  The religious man, the mystic, will centre his attention upon the life within the form, upon God, upon Christ, or upon that which embodies for him the idealWe need to find our own method of approach to that which lies within, and to study for ourselves this question of meditation.33

Ultimately, the panentheistic god (Satan) of Theosophy is dependent upon mankind, for “humanity itself is the key to all evolutionary processes and to all understanding of the divine Plan, expressing in time and space the divine Purpose.”34  This “divine Plan”, aka “divine Purpose” is anything but divine!  “The Plan” includes receiving extra-biblical revelation from “Masters”, former humans (or so it’s claimed) who have attained godhood.  And this extra-biblical revelation resulting from meditation (centering prayer, contemplative prayer, “soaking”), in turn, brings one into union with the divine, meaning the attainment of self-divinity.  In reality, this leads to bondage or outright possession.35

And last, but certainly not least, as earlier hinted, Jesus is depicted as merely a man, though a very good man.  Because Jesus was deemed worthy, He had the Christ spirit (part of the “trinity” of Sanat Kumara) descend upon Him, thereby manifesting the Theosophical Christ, eventually attaining His own divinity (becoming “Master Jesus”), and providing a model for the rest of humanity to follow.  Of course, as noted earlier, this is antichrist doctrine.

Is Your Teacher or Church Promoting Panentheism?

Armed with the above information, we can determine if our favorite teachers, including those at the church we attend, are promoting panentheism, rather than a Christian orthodox understanding of the Trinity.  Answering any of the following questions (not an exhaustive list) in the affirmative is not absolute proof the doctrine is being taught, but at the least should provide food for thought, and, hopefully, a desire to seek more information:

1)      Is there an emphasis on “going inside yourself”, centering prayer (aka contemplative prayer), “soaking”, seeking the “manifest presence of God”, etc.?

2)      Is Jesus Christ diminished in some way, i.e., is Jesus described as being somehow less than fully God.  Is he humanized at the expense of His Deity?  Is it claimed that He was totally reliant upon the Spirit (or God) for all supernatural workings?

3)      Is Jesus described in an overly personal manner, such that He’s discussed as one would a family  member rather than One Who is so far above us, worthy of our worship, our Savior and Lord?

4)      Is there a focus on receiving extra-biblical revelation for human direction?  Is this revelation superior to Scripture?  Is this revelation integral to ‘spiritual growth’?

5)      Is God presented as One who is dependent upon humanity, as practically helpless in creation without our assistance?  Is mankind depicted as integral to God’s plans, such that our importance is overemphasized?  Is humanity spoken of in equivalent, or near-equivalent terms as the Godhead?

The panentheistic trinity in ‘Christian esotericism’ is certainly quite different from the Christian Trinity; however, there are enough similarities that the unsuspecting seeker or Christian may not notice a difference at first, or even at all.  This potential is especially possible with the increasing Biblical illiteracy rampant in, and quite frankly, promoted by some churches.  Without at least somewhat of an understanding of the Christian Trinity, the possibility of individuals falling for a false view of the Trinity – and potentially led astray – is a real threat indeed.

 

1 Thomas V. Morris The Logic of God Incarnate, 1986, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY & London, UK, p 91.  Bracketed comments added.
2 H.C.G. Moule Colossians Studies, 1898, Doran, London, p 78, as cited in David E. Garland (Terry Muck, Gen. Ed.) Colossians and Philemon: The NIV Application Commentary, 1998, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, p 89.
3 Bonhoeffer quote and ideology from Widerstand und Ergebung: Briefe und Aufzeichnungen aus der Haft, new ed., Ed. Eberhard Bethge, 1977, Chr. Kaiser, Munich, translated by John F. Hoffmeyer “Christology and Diakonia” in Andreas Schuele and Gunter Thomas, Eds., Who is Jesus Christ for us Today?, 2009, Westminster John Knox, Louisville, KY, p 161
4 See Alister McGrath Heresy: A History of Defending the Truth. © 2009, HarperOne, HarperCollins Publishers, New York, NY, pp 30-31.
5 Richard Smoley Inner Christianity: A Guide to the Esoteric Tradition, 2002, Shambhala, Boston, MA, pp 134-135; all emphasis added.   Cf. p 103: “…the immanent aspect of God [is] the part of the divine nature that is active and present in the world…But there is something beyond the Word.  It is the silent vastness out of which everything, even the Word arises.  It neither exists nor does not exist…It is the transcendent aspect of God.  Meister Eckhart spoke of it as the ‘Godhead’; the Kabbalists call it the Ain Sof (which is Hebrew for the ‘infinite’) or the ‘Ancient of Days.’  In esoteric Christianity it is the Father.”  This seems to imply that “the Father” is superior to all else (see note 25 below).
6 Some panentheistic systems seem to imply that the immanent aspect and the matter surrounding it (body, shell) are ontologically equivalent (or almost equivalent), which would amount to pantheism (all is god); however, this immanent aspect is also usually viewed as inferior to the transcendent (see note 5 above), resulting in the conclusion that the immanent ‘god’ has lower status than the transcendent ‘god’, thus devolving into ditheism (two gods), or even polytheism (many gods), depending on the specifics.
7 Smoley Inner Christianity, pp 103-104; emphasis added.
8 Quoted in Smoley Inner Christianity, p 135; from  Helen Schucman A Course in Miracles: Combined Volume, 1992 (2nd ed), Foundation for Inner Peace, Glen Ellen, CA, Teachers Manual, p 87; italics in original, other emphasis added.
9 Smoley Inner Christianity, p 135
10 Smoley Inner Christianity, pp 135-136
11 Alice A. Bailey Initiation, Human and Solar, © 1951 Lucis, NY, (4th paperback ed, 1980), Fort Orange Press, Albany, NY, pp 48-49
12There is one Boundless Immutable Principle; one Absolute Reality which antecedes all manifested conditioned Being.  It is beyond the range and reach of any human thought or expression. The manifested Universe is contained within this Absolute Reality and is a conditioned symbol of it” [Alice A. Bailey A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, © 1951 Lucis Trust (1925, 4th ed 1951), Lucis Publishing Company, George S. Ferguson, Philadelphia, PA, p 3; italics in original, other emphasis added].  The Son and Holy Spirit also appear to be a part of the “Absolute Reality”, thus overlapping roles, as described below.  Cf. Bailey Initiation, pp 19, 150, 162; Bailey Cosmic Fire, pp  148-149, 292, 511, 1161, 1230, 1242.
13 Bailey Cosmic Fire, p 3
14 Bailey Cosmic Fire, p 94
15 Bailey Initiation, pp 28-29, 48-49
16 Bailey Initiation, p 161.  Here “the Hierophant” is equated with “the Lord of the World”.
17 Bailey Initiation, pp 48-49.  In ancient Hindu philosophy, in the Chandogya Upanishad, is one “Sanatkumara”. Much of Theosophy is appropriated from Hinduism.
18 The way in which the graph depicts “Sanat Kumara”, it is clear that these “Three Kumaras” correspond to the same identical three separate “Aspects” of each member of the “Solar Trinity”, thus amounting to the two “trinities” collapsing into one, though the intent is seemingly to make it appear as though one is subordinate to the other.  We must not be unaware of Satan’s schemes.
19 Alice A. Bailey The Externalisation of the Hierarchy, © 1957 Lucis, NY, 6th printing 1981, Fort Orange Press, Albany, NY, p 551
20 Helena P. Blavatsky The Secret Doctrine, Vol II: Anthropogenesis, 1888 (1977 Facsimile edition), Theosophical Publishing/University Press, Pasadena, CA, p 215
21 Blavatsky Secret Doctrine II, p 230; cf. pp 231, 233-237
22 “ …[T]he church movement, like all else, is but a temporary expedient and serves but as a transient resting place for the evolving lifeEventually, there will appear the Church Universal, and its definite outlines will appear towards the close of this [20th] century…This Church will be nurtured into activity by the Christ [ED: the false Christ] and His disciples when the outpouring of the Christ principle [ED: in a “mass incarnation”], the true second Coming, has been accomplished…
“The Christian church in its many branches can serve as a St. John the Baptist, as a voice crying in the wilderness, and as a nucleus through which world illumination may be accomplishedThe church must show a wide tolerance…The church as a teaching factor should take the great basic doctrines and (shattering the old forms in which they are expressed and held) show their true and inner spiritual significance [ED: occult/esoteric meaning]The prime work of the church is to teach, and teach ceaselessly, preserving the outer appearance in order to reach the many who are accustomed to church usages.  Teachers must be trained; Bible knowledge must be spread; the sacraments must be mystically interpreted, and the power of the church to heal must be demonstrated [Bailey Externalisation, pp 510-511; emphasis added].
23 Alice A. Bailey From Bethlehem to Calvary: The Initiations of Jesus, © 1937 by Alice A. Bailey, renewed 1957 by Foster Bailey; Lucis Trust, 4th paperback ed., 1989; Fort Orange Press, Albany, NY, p 20.  Emphasis added.
24 Bailey Cosmic Fire, p 148
25 Bailey Cosmic Fire, pp 49-50.  Here is where one can construe a quasi-pantheistic element in the “immanent” aspect; though, as noted below (note 27), matter is eventually destroyed.  Moreover, as noted earlier, it’s also implied that “the Father” is superior to “the Son”, thus reducing the immanent aspect to inferior in status as compared to the transcendent.
26 Bailey Cosmic Fire, p 51
27 Bailey Cosmic Fire, pp 51-52.  “…[T]he first Logos [ED: “the Father”] is called Destroyer, because He is abstraction, if viewed from below upwards [ED: from the point of view of creation / the immanent aspect].  His work is the synthesis of Spirit with Spirit, their eventual abstraction from matter, and their unification with their cosmic source.  Hence also He is the one who brings about pralaya [ED: death; cf. p 128] or the disintegration of form, – the form from which the Spirit has been abstracted” [Cosmic Fire, pp 148-149].
28 Bailey Cosmic Fire, p 52.  UK spelling, e.g., “centre” rather than center, is used throughout the Bailey material.
29 Bailey Cosmic Fire, p 148; Bailey Initiation, p 19, 150, 162
30 Bailey Initiation, pp 150-162
31 Alice A. Bailey The Consciousness of the Atom, © 1961 Lucis Trust (1st prtng 1922, this issue 9th prtng 1974 {2nd paperback ed.}), Fort Orange Press, Albany, NY, pp 110-116
32 Bailey Atom, pp 110-111; italics in original, other emphasis added.
33 Bailey Atom, pp 111-112; emphasis added.
34 Alice A. Bailey Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle, © 1950 Lucis, NY, (2nd printing, 1957), George S. Ferguson, Philadelphia, PA, p 126
35 Actual possession is the stated goal: “Emphasis should be laid on the evolution of humanity with peculiar attention to its goal, perfection…man in incarnation, by the indwelling and over-shadowing soul…The relation of the individual soul to all souls should be taught, and with it the long-awaited kingdom of God is simply the appearance of soul-controlled men on earth in everyday life and at all stages of that control…” [Bailey Externalisation, p 588; emphasis added].

68 Responses to Panentheism and the Trinity

  1. Michelle says:

    Thank you for your discussion distinguishing immanence and panentheism. It is a difficult distinction for most of us. Tozer tried to explain immanence by suggesting a bucket full of water that is also fully in water, i.e., God in us and we in God. However, this does not provide a distinction between believers in whom the Holy Spirit dwells, and non-believers [perhaps a water-logged wooden bucket for believers and a plastic bucket for non-believers :) ]

    It is very definitely a concept similar to the Trinity in difficulty. It seems near impossible to describe without moving toward one heresy or another. We are left with “It is like this, but not.” Your checklist is very helpful, addressing a wide range of current heretical movements.

    Regarding your reference to Jesus’ quotation on the cross of the beginning of Psalm 22 (from Matt 27:46 or Mark 15:34), I invite you to read my rather simplistic post at

    http://christpoint.org/blog/father_forsake_son?category=22

    and to research this topic more fully. I have read and heard interpretations that shred the oneness of God, suggesting that since Jesus Christ took on the sins of us all, God (just the Father or did it include Jesus’ divine nature? and what about the Holy Spirit?) could not look at Him and had to turn from Him because “God cannot look on sin.” They then reference Habakkuk 1:13 which says “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong.”

    But if God “cannot look on evil,” how does one handle all the times that God does see the evil of the world? He saw evil waiting for Cain, the evil of the world at the time of Noah, all the way to our time when He sees the evil in our world today. How did God the Son bear our sin if He cannot even look on it?

    Habakkuk had called to God to punish the sins of his nation but was aghast when the Lord told him that He would accomplish this through the Babylonians! Habakkuk repeated what was apparently a common saying (that God is too pure to even look at evil) that was more hyperbole than doctrine, to express his dismay that God would punish His own people through a people so much worse! But notice that Habakkuk had already assumed, earlier in his initial prayer, that God had seen the sins of His people!

    Again, please look into this more fully. I am aware that many famous and well-respected men have taught that the Father turned His face from the Son. There may be something I am missing here, but an interpretation that suggests that God can turn from God,or that the wholly divine nature of Jesus somehow separated from the wholly human nature of Jesus to accomplish this “turning away” does not make sense to me. Our Triune God is One God and Jesus’ natures cannot be separated.

  2. Craig says:

    Michelle,

    Thanks for your comment. I’ll have to view your post a bit later when I have some time.

  3. Craig says:

    Michelle,

    First let me say that God most certainly can be in the presence of sin as Job 1 indicates, with Satan himself standing before the Throne of God and having a conversion with God. Moreover, the Holy Spirit indwells true believers, who are, of course, not sinless. Therefore, it does not follow that the Father turned His back on His Son on the Cross because Christ took on the sins of the world. In addition, to understand that the Father turned His back on the Son for this reason requires reading into the context (eisegesis).

    So, what do the words, “…why have you forsaken Me” refer to? Off the top of my head, I’d say Jesus, speaking out of His humanity, was feeling the absolutely horrendous pain of dying on the Cross, feeling a separation from God the Father. This does not have to indicate that Jesus was less than God, or saw Himself as less than God. We have to keep in mind that Jesus Christ, though fully God, having the divine nature He had from ‘eternity past’, was also fully human. For example, when Scripture records Jesus as sleeping and eating, these are things that God just does not do, as the Godhead has no need of physical sustenance and “never sleeps nor slumbers”.

    In addition, we have the example of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane stating to the Father, “not My will, but Yours be done”. The sixth ecumenical council (Constantinople III) affirms that Jesus had two wills – one divine and one human. The divine will was/is always in concert with the Father (and the Holy Spirit), while the human will followed the divine because of the hypostatic union. Otherwise, without the hypostatic union, Jesus could be internally conflicted, which would be akin to two separate beings in one, which would be the heresy of Nestorianism. Therefore, when Jesus was fearful of His coming assignment on the Cross (as a human), He knew He would be obedient to the awful death which awaited Him. Yet, He, in His humanity, nonetheless felt the full human effects of this coming horrible death.

    Therefore, I see both the incident in the Garden of Gethsemane and His cry on the Cross as emanating strictly from His humanity – just like growing hungry and tired are functions of His human-ness. So, to conclude, my opinion is that Jesus Christ’s feeling of being forsaken are from human emotions and not an actual loss of communion with the Father – or with His own intrinsic divinity – yet he feels this way. Having said the foregoing, after consulting about 8 different commentaries, none affirm my view that the loss of communion was not actual.

    Most of these commentaries explicitly speak of an actual loss of communion with the Father (God) BECAUSE of His bearing the sins of the world. Others concede that it’s difficult to know exactly what the meaning is here. However, many of them point out that Psalm 22 begins on a very desperate note, yet it ends in triumph. Some commentaries stress one (most the former), while others stress the latter. The Beale/Carson Commentary of the New Testament Use of the Old Testament asks why both the former AND the latter cannot be in view. This makes sense to me, i.e., the “forsaking”, which is the death on the Cross, parallels the beginning of Psalm 22, while the Resurrection is the “victory” portion of the Psalm, in which David’s cry is heard and heeded.

  4. Terri Mulberry says:

    Here is another thought regarding Jesus’ cry on the cross of being forsaken. He had to fulfill the requirement of the Law to atone for sin as the perfect sinless substitute. As correctly stated only God could do that, therefore the divinity of His nature. But He also had to do it as a human. Isaiah 59:2 says that our sins separate us from God so that He turns His face from us. Also Colossians 1:21 says that we are enemies and alienated by God by our wicked works. I would say that in order for Christ to fully bear the effect of our humanity, it was required that for one moment in time, He had to feel this separation from the Father. I’m not such a deep thinker to work out the intricacies of whether or not they were truly separated for that instant…would Jesus say something that was not true? (It is posed as a question, not a statement, “Why have you…”) But in my mind this explanation works for me.

  5. Terri Mulberry says:

    I should also say that I affirm your point regarding God not beholding sin. He most certainly does see and know all our sins. I believe that “look upon” is in a relational sense. He cannot have relationship with us, acknowledge us, affirm us, “justify” us without blood to atone. This understanding is what I have in mind for Isaiah 59 as well. He turns His face from us in relationship. Certainly He sees us.

  6. Craig says:

    Terri,

    If we are to posit that God the Father actually turned His back on God the Son (they were truly separated, i.e. Jesus was literally forsaken), then we have the 1st Member of the Trinity turning His back on the 2nd Member, hence amounting to God turning His back on God. This reduces to tritheism – three Gods, rather than a Trinity – for there cannot be that much of a separation between one Member and another. At least that’s how I see it.

    As to making Atonement, my position is that proper Atonement could only be made by a perfect man. Of course, there has never been any perfect man. Yet Jesus was perfect man because His human nature/body was hypostatically united to the fully divine 2nd Member of the Trinity. Therefore, though He was “tempted in all ways” (and God cannot be tempted), He did not sin, and in fact could not, because of the hypostatic union. Thus, He remained perfect.

    So, as a “perfect man” Jesus Christ became our sin substitute, making proper Atonement. Yet God does not die, as God is incorporeal (having no body); therefore, it was the human nature/body of Jesus Christ that died on the Cross.

    The following is a bit deep; but, I’ll dispense with the technical terms. When the Word became flesh, the human nature/body was not preexisting; the human portion of Jesus was formed at the moment of the virginal conception. To believe otherwise is to fall into adoptionism or possession, that is, the Word possessed/adopted an existing human nature/body. Jesus’ human nature/body, though, was identical to the human nature/body common to all humanity. The only difference is that Jesus’ body did not inherit original sin from Adam. However, this did not mean that theoretically Jesus could not have sinned – had the nature/body known as Jesus not been hypostatically united to the Word. Most scholars believe that Jesus human-ness was the same as Adam’s, that is, neither had inherited original sin. Yet, of course, Adam DID sin, while Jesus did not.

    The scholarly/philosophical thought is that Jesus’ human nature/body was personalized by the Word. Similarly, my human nature/body is personalized by my mind/soul. Theoretically, Had the human nature/body known as Jesus been personalized by a human mind/soul like anyone else, the resulting human nature/body would have been born in original sin, or, if this occurred pre-Fall, then it would not have been born with original sin, yet would have had the possibility (probability) of sinning.

    My point in all this is that it’s precisely because the Word, the 2nd Member of the Trinity was united to the nature/body which became Jesus Christ, thus ‘personalizing’ it, that made the Person of Jesus Christ sinless. Jesus Christ could not have sinned, as God cannot sin. Therefore, it was the divine nature hypostatically united to the human nature in the Person of Jesus Christ that made Him sinless and, hence, the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Yet God the 2nd Member of the Trinity did not die. On the other hand, paradoxically, God the Son DID die as per the communication of attributes which means that the actions of either nature are predicated upon the entire Person of Jesus Christ.

    Such is the mystery of the Incarnation!

    I’ve written this comment in somewhat of a hurry as I ready myself for work, so I reserve the right to edit if I’ve made any errors along the way, lest someone brand me a heretic!!

  7. Arwen4CJ says:

    I think you’ve done a great job with this article, Craig. You’ve made it applicable for hyper-charismatics, for those in mainline churches, for those in Progressive Christianity friendly churches, and for people in any church. :)

    Christians can read through this article, read through the checklist, and ask these questions of their specific church, regardless of bent. They should be able to see the heresy coming from either end (hyper-charismatic or theologically liberal/Progressive Christianity).

  8. Craig says:

    Thanks Arwen4CJ. One of my main intents was to call attention to both aspects of panentheism. Many focus on only the ‘immanent’ aspect – the ‘God’ in all. However, just as important, if not more so in my opinion, is the transcendent aspect – the all in ‘God’ aspect – for it’s the transcendence which comports quite well with Christianity (though not without it’s problems, as noted). If one sees the transcendent aspect first, THEN is presented with an obscure-sounding “immanence”, one could just shrug it off as if the speaker/writer misspoke, or what-have-you.

  9. Terri Mulberry says:

    Hi, again, Craig!

    Sometimes these things become a bit too overwhelming for me to completely fathom. But I do see the point that you are making. I put my comment in the same box as your conclusion….

    Yet God the 2nd Member of the Trinity did not die. On the other hand, paradoxically, God the Son DID die as per the communication of attributes which means that the actions of either nature are predicated upon the entire Person of Jesus Christ….Such is the mystery of the Incarnation!

    For my too small comprehension, could we not also say, “God the 1st Member of the Trinity did not separate Himself from God the 2nd Member of the Trinity. On the other hand, paradoxically, God the Son DID ask, ‘Why have you forsaken me?’…Such is the mystery of the Incarnation!” ?

    I’m sure that doesn’t pass muster, either. Anyway, I’m glad that I don’t have to “get it” ultimately in this life. I know that there is no Salvation outside of God the Son atoning for my sin, on that I do rely.

    I do appreciate your excellent explanation of the concept regarding whether or not Jesus could have sinned. I have had some discussions about this in the past.

    Here is another question related to that for which I would like your comments. I have heard it said in a variety of settings that the sin nature is passed through the father, not the mother. That is why Jesus had to be born of a virgin. I’m a bit perplexed by that statement. It seems to me that both Adam and Eve sinned in the garden. As in Adam ALL DIE, women included because they inherit Adam (and Eve’s) sinful nature. This statement seems to indicate that Eve did not have a sinful nature and therefore her original X chromosome is uncorrupted. Does this mean that all women have no sinful nature? These are obviously rhetorical questions. I think that this argument is silly. But again, maybe I don’t have the ability to think deeply enough about this.

  10. Craig says:

    Terri,

    You wrote:

    For my too small comprehension, could we not also say, “God the 1st Member of the Trinity did not separate Himself from God the 2nd Member of the Trinity. On the other hand, paradoxically, God the Son DID ask, ‘Why have you forsaken me?’…Such is the mystery of the Incarnation!” ?

    Yes! Jesus Christ = God the Son = the 2nd Member of the Trinity. When the Word took on flesh and became Jesus Christ, the Word (2nd Member of the Trinity) began a new mode of existence. Yet, of course, He remained the Word, God the Son, God the 2nd Member of the Trinity. However, from that point forward the Word was in hypostatic union with the human nature/body He acquired at the virginal conception. This hypostatic union remains, as Jesus Christ is at the Father’s right hand, with a glorified human body.

    So, because of the communication of attributes, when Jesus said, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me!” He was speaking as the Person of Jesus Christ = God the Son = the 2nd Member of the Trinity. Yet, IMO, He spoke this from His human nature – keeping in mind Jesus is one Person, the divine/human God-man. Similarly, when Jesus slept, He slept only in His humanity – as God never sleeps nor slumbers – yet it was the Person of Christ who slept, which means God the Son / 2nd Member of the Trinity slept. A paradox. Once again, that divine mystery!

    For another view of this: From our temporal perspective, we say that the Word began a new mode of existence as Jesus Christ at the virginal conception; however, from an eternal perspective the 2nd Member of the Trinity has always been Jesus Christ – a divine/human in hypostatic union.

    I’ve also heard that the father is the one who passes on the sin nature. This plainly is not so. Even the RCC manufactures their doctrine of “immaculate conception”, meaning that Mary was purportedly born sinless, in order to bring forth the Sinless Savior. Not true either (it’s an argument from silence and eisegesis).

    According to Oliver Crisp, in his book God Incarnate, it was not even necessary that Jesus be born of a virgin. I admit that at first I was taken aback by his stance; but, upon reflection, I agree. Yet, of course, Scripture is clear that Mary was indeed a virgin. The important thing to realize is that it was the conception that was virginal in regards to Jesus Christ.

    God made Adam from the dust of the earth. What’s to say God didn’t make the human nature/body which became personalized by the Word, thus becoming the Person of Jesus Christ, from the dust of the earth? There are those who hypothesize about the metaphysics of the virginal conception (God took the ovum from Mary, etc.), but, as I see it, we don’t have any Scriptural basis to come to any firm conclusions. So, if Jesus’ human nature/body were formed from the dust of the earth (a la Adam), and at the same time of this forming was joined to the Word (by the Holy Spirit), then there would be no original sin, thus overcoming a potential difficulty of any portion of Mary’s body having come into play in regards to conception.

    The only remaining question is how the Person of Jesus Christ was ‘protected’ from the sin nature of Mary while in her womb. But, I see this as no difficulty, given that Mary was, in effect, a sort of surrogate mother. As an analogy, it’s not as though the Holy Spirit is ‘contaminated’ by the sin nature of the Christian He indwells. Now, I understand that this is not a perfect comparison, as Mary was providing human sustenance to the human nature/body of Jesus Christ (and hence God the 2nd Member of the Trinity!). But, I don’t see how the sustenance provided by Mary would somehow ‘communicate’ her sin nature to Jesus.

  11. Craig says:

    In the following, from Bailey’s Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle, is a stressing of listening to “impressions”. Before quoting, I’ll supply a glossary:

    impression = ‘words’, thoughts from the Hierarchy
    Hierarchy = aka Planetary or Spiritual Hierarchy (see article)
    three subhuman kingdoms in nature = the three “kingdoms” below the human “kingdom” (the fourth): in order, mineral, plant, and animal. The fifth kingdom will be the “Kingdom of God”, a ‘spiritual kingdom’.
    initiation = “…an expansion of consciousness – a means of opening the mind and heart to a recognition of what already exists in reality.” Also known as overshadowing. With each successive overshadowing the initiate is brought to increasing levels of soul-control, or, in other words, demonic possession. While there are five initiations in total for the human, each overshadowing does not necessarily equate to one of these five ‘milestones’ of initiations.
    Shamballa = the place where the Hierarchy dwells.

    Now read carefully the following, taking special notice of how important “impressions” are, keeping in mind the hyper-charismatic notion of and stress on “words of knowledge”.

    The outstanding characteristic of humanity is intelligent sensitivity to impression. Ponder on this definite and emphatic statement. The work of science is, after all, simply form; this knowledge will make it possible for humanity eventually to act as the major impressing agent in relation to the three subhuman kingdoms in nature; that is humanity’s primary responsibility. This work of relationship is practically the work of developing or the mode of unfoldment of human sensitivity. I refer here to sensitivity to impression from or by the Hierarchy.

    The work done through the process of initiation is intended to fit disciples and initiates to receive impression from Shamballa; the initiate is essentially a blend of scientific and religious training; he has been re-oriented to certain phases of divine existence which are not yet recognized by the average human being. I am endeavoring to make clear to you the basic synthesis underlying all manifested life upon our planet, and also the close interplay or relationship which forever exists and expresses itself through the supreme science of contact or impression. [p 128]

    What Bailey (actually “Master D.K.”) is trying to convey is that humans hold the key to ‘evolution’. Humanity is responsible for releasing the divine within the three “subhuman kingdoms”, i.e., the idea is taken from Romans 8:20-21, by distorting this passage:

    20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

    You see, the “manifestation of the sons of God” will enable these MSoG’s to liberate the rest of creation, according to Theosophy. Scripturally, all this is actually stating is that once Christ returns and Christians receive their glorified bodies, creation will also return to its pre-Fall state, not stained by sin. But, do you see how Latter Rain, hyper-charismatic MSoG teachings are dangerously close to this? While I’ve only rarely heard hyper-charismatics stress how creation is “groaning” for the manifestation of the sons of God (I HAVE heard Kris Vallotton state this), one can see this as a possible conclusion to MSoG. Rest assured, this will be stressed in the not too distant future.

  12. Arwen4CJ says:

    Is the word Shamballa related to the word Shambhala? The words are close, but they have a few different letters. I’m wondering because Shambhala Publications publishes the books of Ken Wilber. I had to read a book by him in my integrating spirituality and counseling class, and the book was very New Age. The person who normally teaches the class only has his students read books by that author. The professor that I had had us read a Christian book, too.

    But anyway…..I was wondering if there was a connection between the words, as I’m sure that the word “Shambhala” also means something to those in the occult and New Age.

  13. Craig says:

    Yes! The work of Cynthia Bourgeault (Wilber is mentioned favorably by her) is on this same imprint; and, here’s part of the footnote reference in the “Learning Etymology with Bill Johnson” article:

    …Shambhala” is a New Age term from the Buddhist tradition. It is also spelled “Shamballa”and is known in Theosophy/New Age as the dwelling place of the governing deity of earth, Sanat Kumara, and his ‘Spiritual Hierarchy’ and other associates.

  14. Craig says:

    Note also that Smoley’s work is on this same imprint. That’s why it’s always important to pay special attention to the footnotes!

  15. Arwen4CJ says:

    Oh….it’s the same thing, different spellings. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shambhala

    “In Tibetan Buddhist and Indian Hindu/Buddhist traditions, Shambhala (also spelled Shambala or Shamballa; Tibetan: བདེ་འབྱུང་; Wylie: bde ‘byung, pron. de-jung; Chinese: 香巴拉; pinyin: xiāngbālā) is a mythical kingdom hidden somewhere in Inner Asia.”

    So it sounds like it started off in Eastern religions, and then was incorporated into New Age thinking, maybe…or maybe demons revealed the same thing to people in Eastern religions and those following New Age.

    Also from that wikipedia article:
    “During the late-19th century, Theosophical Society co-founder HP Blavatsky alluded to the Shambhala myth, giving it currency for Western occult enthusiasts. Madame Blavatsky, who claimed to be in contact with a Great White Lodge of Himalayan Adepts, mentions Shambhala in several places, but without giving it especially great emphasis. (The Mahatmas, we are told, are also active around Shigatse and Luxor.)

    Later esoteric writers further emphasized and elaborated on the concept of a hidden land inhabited by a hidden mystic brotherhood whose members labor for the good of humanity. Alice A. Bailey claims Shamballa (her spelling) is an extra-dimensional or spiritual reality on the etheric plane, a spiritual centre where the governing deity of Earth, Sanat Kumara, dwells as the highest Avatar of the Planetary Logos of Earth, and is said to be an expression of the Will of God.[12] Nicholas and Helena Roerich led a 1924-1928 expedition aimed at Shambhala.[13]

    Inspired by Theosophical lore and several visiting Mongol lamas, Gleb Bokii, the chief Bolshevik cryptographer and one of the bosses of the Soviet secret police, along with his writer friend Alexander Barchenko, embarked on a quest for Shambhala, in an attempt to merge Kalachakra-tantra and ideas of Communism in the 1920s. They contemplated a special expedition to Inner Asia to retrieve the wisdom of Shambhala – the project fell through as a result of intrigues within the Soviet intelligence service, as well as rival efforts of the Soviet Foreign Commissariat that sent its own expedition to Tibet in 1924.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shambhala_Publications

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Wilber

    Yes, I do see how the hyper-charismatic teachings are dangerously close to what these occultists teach.

  16. Craig says:

    Also, see this from the “Misplaced Trust, part II” article:

    In 1973, the band Three Dog Night had a hit tune written by Daniel Moore titled “Shambala” (lyrics here). Apparently, this song title is an alternate spelling for the mythical kingdom of the same name of Tibetan Buddhism and Theosophy as spoken of by “The Tibetan” spelled either Shamballa[54] or Shambhala.[55] Interestingly, I recall seeing band vocalist Chuck Negron on Trinity Broadcasting Network a few years ago.

  17. Craig says:

    I just posted a book review of Mikeal C. Parsons book Body and Character in Luke and Acts, which is on the subject of physiognomy – the practice of assessing moral character by outward physical appearances. I found the following quote by Pseudo-Aristotle (see below) of interest given Bailey’s assertion that “matter, being inspired by spirit, conforms”, and, “…The development of spirit can be only expressed as yet in terms of the evolution of matter, and only through the adequacy of the vehicle, and through the suitability of the sheath, the body or form, can the point of spiritual development reached in any way be appraised…” Compare this to the following in Parsons’ book:

    “soul and body react on each other; when the character of the soul changes, it changes also the form of the body, and conversely, when the form of the body changes, it changes the character of the soul” [p 22].

    This writer self-identified as “Aristotle”, and, given that the true Aristotle predates this work by about 6 centuries, “Pseudo-Aristotle” was the name given to the writer. This practice of writing under a pseudonym, though choosing a well-known name as the pseudonym, was fairly common in that era.

  18. Hi Craig, thanks for this excellent article. It adds further depth and breadth to the whole unfolding issue. I have two links for you. A bit mind-blowing but directly relevant. I don’t know if you want them here or just in an email, or at all! One is a link to some 1908 Rudolph Steiner lectures on the theosophical/anthrosophical interpretation of the ‘Apocalypse of St John’. It is extraordinary. And rather heinous blasphemy. But very relevant to all of your previous articles, and critical to understand given the massive influence of Steiner/theosophy in global education, both overtly and covertly. The other link is to a Theosophy site that has a most extraordinary connection to Pentecostalism. Rather shocking. But didn’t want to load you up with links if you don’t have time. If you want them here for the crew, I can post them. Just let me know.

  19. Craig says:

    Sure, you can post them here.

  20. Okay, thanks. Firstly, as you know I am posting these links only as research to illustrate the beliefs and teachings of theosophy, not to promote them. In fact, they come with a warning…danger!!

    The first articles I came across when researching this earlier today was the following series of lectures from Rudolph Steiner on the Book of Revelation:

    http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA104/English/APC1958/ApoJon_index.html

    It is an extraordinary laying out of the new age prophetic beliefs/revelations overlaid onto the Scriptures, and referring to the end times. It would appear this ‘insight’ was given to Steiner by his spirit guide? Anyway, it seemed relevant to this and when I finish reading them I may be able to be more specific in my thoughts. However, initially it struck me with a sense of horror that those believing such interpretations of end times signs and events will be deceived to the very end, as they will have a framework to explain what they are seeing/experiencing. Only it will all be a lie. Obviously, we have discussed this before in the context of ‘planetary pentecost’ etc, but this a most heinous example of Scripture twisting.

    The next link was to a current theosophy site. If you have time, please read the whole page on this link and tell me if you can find the link (sadly,. not that surprising to me, but I think it would give many charistmatics a shock):

    http://www.theosophiaistheway.com/Being_IAM/ISIS/Sponsored_org.html

    Then here is there ‘About Page’ from which you will find an extraordinary amount of teaching that is exactly what BJ, Joel Osteen and many others teach in one form or another:

    http://www.theosophiaistheway.com/ABOUT/About.html

    http://www.theosophiaistheway.com/index.html

    No longer is this evil hiding in the shadows, or disguised as merely an ‘eastern religion’, but rather it is hiding in plain sight. Thanks for all of the work you are doing in summarizing the key teachings of these doctrines of demons, and clearly showing the pervasive and relentless corruption of visible Christianity that is occurring.

    I am hoping to come back to you with some cohesive thoughts on this and how it links in to what you have already written in this and other articles. Also, I feel puzzled as to how best to use this information going forward. Initially it seems to be critical in understanding what is truly happening in the visible church, and also seems to indicate the nature of the ‘great delusion’ and ‘falling away’ that will eventually unite all false religions (as clearly seems to be happening). I appreciate you exposing these false teachings without resorting to end time predictions and fanciful theories! Still, it would seem that there is much here to prepare us for what is coming.

  21. If you have Facebook, check this out:

    https://www.facebook.com/yeshua.follower.7

    (If not, let me know and I will paste some content.) It seems to be a Hebrew Roots/Jewish offshoot of all of this same sutff. To be honest, it is eerie to see essentially the same teachings dressed up in so many different ways. Particularly there is lots of references to the ‘new divine logos’ being the only way to peace and joy, and it promotes prayer and fasting. Sound familiar?

    Strangely, it was just posted on the alumni page of the mission school I went to in the Philippines for high school.

    These are related links to two other very disturbing pages:

    http://elyonyeshuakosmos.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/yahweh-elyon-yeshua.html

    Notice the references to the ‘new divine logos’ and the ‘cleansing of our universal community’ on the second link, as well as the references to God not caring what religion you are in.

    The other one I will post separately.

  22. From the Facebook open group’ Children of the View, this is their ‘About’ description:

    The description written below of “Children of the View” is a divinely received message from the Creator (Most High God) whom has trusted and given His Truth and Wisdom to His loyal Seer.

    THE INVITATION TO TRUE DELIVERANCE

    This is an invitation to our spiritual brothers and sisters globally, and to our Universal Children of the View and Divine Cause.

    What Is Children Of The View?

    Children of the View is a divinely guided movement which foundations revolve around The Creator’s views of His World, in contrast to man’s religious/ scientific views of the creation.
    RECONCILIATION

    We are appealing to you in the many numerous denominations from which you may belong, pertaining to the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. This is the era when Michael, who is the Lion of the Kosmos, must rise with and in his people to reconcile/redeem all things back to The Eternal Father, who is the Supreme KING, from the enemy (Villain God Satan).

    PURPOSE

    The GOAL is that The Eternal Father wants us to be Role Models for CHRIST, to join the fight and do that which is right, so that we can flourish in his Glorious Light. When this is done, Christ becomes the Great Supreme King of the Kosmos and we, his community, Reigns with HIM.

    WHAT IS OUR WORKS OR ACTVITIES?

    Our activities is to join with The Eternal Father and His Christ in reaping His harvest of the Elect and Righteous Ones, as well as the cleaning up of the earth’s evils. Taking them by the roots, which further exceeds to it’s branches, and watching the Fallen ones being destroy by Holy Fire From the Most High. We also support Michael the Great One, to prepare the Earth for the coming of the Kingdom of God whom dwells in His Divine Realm. However will eventually, when the conditions are met, reside on Earth. This is a Call to join the circle of prayer which is headed by Michael the Great ONE, whose Army is Divine, invincible and invisible to the five natural senses humanity possess. He will put an end to Satan’s reign with the unity of The MOST HIGH Community. By being united, we will conquer Him and his warrior Angels. However, we have much work to do. Michael and his Divine Heavenly Army, seeks our support and we the Children of his Divine Cause, do need your help, cooperation and participation.

    All we must do is to join as one body speaking to Our Eternal Father through His Only Begotten Son, Jesus of Nazareth. In addition, we must follow His Divine Laws and/or the Divine Will of the Eternal Father/Son and They will be pleased.

    This may be done any place within the confines of your own space in spirit and in perfect truth from your hearts. This act of devotion to The Creator is significant, for unless the whole community of the Most High unite and make their will His Will, evil cannot be vanquished from our world.

    HOW CAN WE KNOW?

    How can we know what His Will is? We must call upon Our Eternal Father in the Name of His Only Begotten Son, the Divine Logos (WORD), and ask him to reveal Himself and His secret Knowledge to you as he did to His Holy Seers. Whom were Jesus of Nazareth, His Holy Apostles, the Disciples and Followers of the early Church (early meaning the first 40 years). Then you can know Him and His Divine Knowledge for yourselves, because you do not need any written documents or religiously ordained individuals to reveal and teach you. It’s the true Resurrected Spirit of Christ who now has been chosen and given the authority to write His Knowledge and new Laws in our spirits (Hearts) and Minds. Not like the old order of things where the Laws and instructions given by the Hebrew God were written on things externally on tablets of stones, scrolls or Holy books. For example, the Resurrected LORD appeared to Saul, who became Paul the Apostle of CHRIST, and others after he was raised from the dead. This is common record in the Jesus and Christian history.

    When this happens, then the Holy Seer Jeremiah predictions in Chapter 31 will be realized in a massive state of consciousness. Which says, the knowledge of the Lord will spread over the earth as water cover the sea and everyone will know Him from the least to the greatest. Imagine everyone of His, The MOST HIGH Children, knowing Him for themselves and having His Knowledge and Laws written in them. What a day of enlightening that will be when our spirit and minds will be open and we receive the eye single to see great and marvelous things which was hidden from the wise of Ancient times, but is now revealed to you. The Most High’s Christ shall make this happen.

    WHEN SHALL THESE THINGS OCCUR?

    These things are beginning to happen right now. The Spirit of The Most High is pouring out His Divine Self in our times, but we must be cleansed, purified and united as one spiritual body to reach His Christ like standard of Holiness, in order for receiving this Divine Blessing. This out pouring is for the development of the spirit Man/Woman to be fully whole. However, all those who are recipients of these things, acquires them through the acts of Jesus, the Crucified and Risen Christ, who is the Glorified One.

    WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCE IN THE BEFORE AND AFTER STATE OF BEING?
    THE BEFORE

    What are the noticeable differences between before one receives the change of spirit, and after when one is transformed by the Spirit of The Most High into a recipient of His life?

    There are three distinct exhibits one may notice. First, before there is a lacking of spiritual direction like a person in a desert without water and don’t know where to find pure life. Yet, desperate to live because life is precious and beautiful. Secondly, a feeling of emptiness that drives one looking for something which we know not what. This feeling makes one very miserable, fearsome and insecure. Thirdly, there is a blindness that prevents us from knowing The Most High and His Only Begotten Son, as well as the Divine Knowledge. A state of mind, which blurs our consciousness and plunge us into a state of darkness and ignorance. Sometimes people turn to drugs, perverted sex and violence to have some kind of satisfaction, or like a sort of temporarily hallucination to stop their misery. Many people do have diverse experiences that intensify their pain and unhappiness.

    THE AFTER

    There are three things one must consider or must have to escape the harshness of the spiritual Desert. The first, is to have the Omnipotent One showing that which is necessary for you to know His Will so that one can have a clear view of what He is doing in His Kosmos, His Realms, and in our lives. Second, there will be a cleansing and purifying of the soul or spirits. This process enables one spiritual self and Mind to enter the Realm of Christ and his Father. Finally, receiving an abundance of the Agape Love among the community of Christ. This process brings a peace that is incomprehensible and unmatched in the material existence of living things; it gives the hope for change coupled with fullness of Grace and Truth.

    After these three things are realized and received, then the Eternal Father begins to empower us with His Divine powers (not supernatural powers). Also our understanding and worldview begins to change regarding the existence of The Most High and the Kosmos, including Man and other living intelligence. Because of the new lenses He puts in our spirit eyes, material mind eyes, and the clear view, along with the cleansing and purifying of our other senses, we will truly be able to understand Him and His plans for His people. The purifying of both the mind and material body is crucial due to the evil and shortcomings in the Spirit and Material Cosmic world.

    Therefore, that’s one of the reasons why Jesus of Nazareth had to die. To become what the Hellenistic Greeks called SOTERIA or HEALER (Saviour) of the Spiritually Sick World. Which is different from the debt (English Sin) that is said in the three Synoptic Gospels. That Jesus of Nazareth came to save his people, the Judean Hebrew Israelites from. The Judaism salvation was one of the other reasons why he came; they broke the Ten Laws given by the intermediary Ruling Angels. If one is broken, you brake them all. Therefore, sin was pronounced upon the whole nation.

    In conclusion, we welcome the whole of our present and future community with enthusiasm in knowing we share a likeness in recognizing the importance of knowing and serving The Creator.

    By: L. Cole

    Earth Assembly

    EARTH’S ASSEMBLY OF ELYON WILL RECEIVE POWER AND GLORY FROM THE HIGHEST

    Earth’s Assembly is made up of all those who are part of the Children of the View. Only those people and divine beings that believe and follow the Divine LOGOS, who is JESUS OF NAZARETH, can be apart of this Assembly.

    Michael, the Archangel’s chain, and the circle of Angels along with human people, who join in the Divine Cause in the universal prayer circle, are made up of the Elect Ones and the Righteous. We will be victorious because of our unity, participation, and our willingness to fight along with Michael the Lion.

    All who are participating, will get together every Friday at 7:pm for ten minutes to meditate and speak to Our Eternal Father about solving our KOSMIC ISSUES ON EARTH.

    MICHAEL THE LION AND HIS ARMY OF WARRIORS
    The new renaissance of hope is Divine Philosophy, or the pursuit and love of Divine knowledge. This is the EDUCATION that will give clear and truthful knowledge to all people who trust in the LOGOS and seek to do His Will. This full Truth is given in true revelations from the MOST HIGH and HIS ONLY Begotten SON.

    EARTH’S ASSEMBLY PHILOSOPHY IS A CLEAR VIEW
    HARDWORK AND FAIRNESS TO ALL PEOPLE

    This worldview comes by seeing through the lenses given by the Divine Supreme Ruling Forces of the Kosmos: (ELYON) and His Divine Family (the Elohim). In order, that human beings can begin to see the Kosmic natural things and knowledge (The Logos) from ELYON’S worldview, and not just through human philosophy or wisdom of this cosmic world that excludes The MOST HIGH out of their education.

    Those of you who are receiving dreams, vision and revelations from Jesus of Nazareth and his Eternal Father, ELYON, please respond to us. We want to hear from you because this is the promise of our Eternal Father through the Seer (JERIMIAH CHAP 31). We share in the same common experiences because we are drinking from the same DIVINE OASIS in this great desert of thirstiness, but soon we shall all drink from the River and Ocean of Divine Truth in abundance.

    We the Children of the View, join with MICHAEL, THE GREAT HIGHEST ONE, in his war against evil and wickedness of Satan and his angels.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/6498841515/

    _________________________________________________________

    Wow. It’s like Bill Johnson got together with a couple of emergent mystics and channeled Alice Bailey and her Ascended friends to write this. Looks like ‘god’ is talking to everyone but us, Craig. Why do I feel so relieved? Sorry if it’s too long a post.

  23. Craig says:

    Sherryn,

    No, I’m not on Facebook. Don’t think I ever will be. Some pages I can view in part; but, that’s about it.

    For now, I won’t have time to look at this stuff and comment. However, I will say that there is overlap amongst all the esoteric literature with respect to how Christianity is perverted.

  24. No worries, thanks anyway. I will read through it again and try and summarize my thoughts for you. Blessings to you Craig, and I hope all is well with you.

  25. Craig says:

    All is well here – just tired. And, it’s the end of the work day. One of these days I just might get the requisite amount of sleep….

  26. Sigh…you know you won’t….too much to do, too many people to warn. :-) I will pray for you today, dear brother…I hope you do have some refreshing sleep, and experience spiritual refreshment from the Lord. This can be very draining work, on top of life’s everyday responsibilities. Still, what you do is very valuable and a great service to the Body of Christ. I thank God for your love for Him and your faithfulness in his service. Blessings, Sherryn

  27. Sorry Craig, I forgot you don’t like lots of links. To save you time…the connection was that the Theosophy site listed Aimee Semple McPherson as one of their own. Hardly groundbreaking for you (or me, really), I would think. However, I was still startled to see her listed openly as one of their trail blazers, even though what I had read of her clearly showed she wasn’t a Christian. The other links merely demonstrated how in the weird fringes of new age groups, you read the very same language as BJ and his crowd use. Very damning evidence. And very sad to see so many perishing people.

    Then today, I saw Brian McLaren listed quite an openly (and clearly with his consent) on a new age/interspiritual website, Spirituality and Practice. The site recommends that you read Brian for:

    • Bold and masterful reframing of the Christian Way

    • Ambitious reimagining of Jesus of Nazareth

    • An ethical response to global crises

    • Ideas for reinvigorating community through spiritual practices

    Now again, no surprise there but the blatancy of the connections still were rather confronting when you look at the list of teachers it spans the full spectrum of false religion! Again, I know Christians who still haven’t worked out that Brian and his crowd aren’t. Up until recently, we had to make the links ourselves through articles such as yours. Now it is in plain view in a way never before seen. Combine that with seeing this rubbish pervade our school curriculum and I am feeling a bit weary. Still, better to know than not…thanks!!

  28. Craig says:

    Sherryn,

    It’s not that I don’t like a lot of links, I just don’t care for providing links without any sort of explanation for why they were posted. What you’ve posted is fine.

    Yes, I did find it interesting that a Theosophy site claims Semple McPherson as one of their own. I’ve not seen this sort of direct connection before.

  29. :-) Glad they were okay. I sometimes get lost in the enthusiasm of my research. I have a biography on Semple McPherson. It was reading about her and several other key Pentecostal figures that made me first realize that the whole denomination was severely compromised and had been from the beginning. But at that stage the ‘new age’ connection was not clear. Now it is. No wonder BJ is right at home with these doctrines, and so many in the movement can’t see it.

  30. I have about 5 or 6 books on the history of the pentecostal movement, in PDF form. I think it is probably time to read them as I will now no doubt be able to see the links clearly. Will let you know what I find…

  31. just1ofhis says:

    I had stumbled across this some time ago:

    http://www.vaughns-1-pagers.com/religion/angelus-temple.htm

    If you scroll down the page toward the bottom, you will find pictures and drawings of the Angelus Temple that Semple McPherson built which contain a large statue of herself over the front door.

    This speaks to something other than a humble and contrite heart, doesn’t it?

  32. Arwen4CJ says:

    The Narrowing Path,

    I think the research you are doing is very important. I don’t know much about McPherson or the church she started. And I did read the link you posted about her from the New Age website. I’d like to point out a couple things:

    1.) Yes, it is clear that the New Age claimed her as their own, and she probably started teaching their theology at her church. This is important to know.

    2.) The link you provided also implied that, although the church she started was started by her, it didn’t stay true to the path on which it began. It became associated with other charismatic and Pentecostal denominations, and it sounds like the New Agers don’t think that it now resembles McPherson’s original church (maybe because it took a turn towards a more Christian orthodoxy rather than continuing down the blatant New Age path?)

    This doesn’t mean that the church she started, or charismatic and Pentecostal churches themselves do not have New Age influences or whatever, but I do think it is important to point out that they do not think that the current denomination resembles what McPherson started or her ideas. This means that the denomination she started and the current New Age Movement have distanced themselves from each other.

    3.) Sometimes churches that started out as cults, theologically, can become orthodox or more orthodox than they were in the beginning. Some churches that started out orthodox can become cults, theologically. So, while it is important to point out the historic connections and things, we also have to acknowledge that churches/denominations can change to become either more orthodox or less orthodox, regardless of their founders.

    I’m not trying to defend the church she started — as I really don’t know much about it. I’m just pointing out an observation I made when reading the article.

    I’m very interested in the research you come up with, as I am sure that some of the connections (such as Word of Faith) have definite occult connections, and these have basically remained unchanged in many of these churches. Other things or connections may be there, but the churches have distanced themselves from them. So, I think it is important to be careful that we evaluate each thing separately, and that we don’t make sweeping statements about the entire charismatic/Pentecostal movement unless it does apply to the whole movement.

    I think that there are many flavors of charismatic/Pentecostal — and some are definitely more orthodox than others. Also, realize that not all charismatics/Pentecostals are in Pentecostal churches. There are some of these individuals in mainline denominations, too. Some individual mainline congregations tend to swing charismatic/Pentecostal in their thinking and practices, even though they are part of a traditional denomination.

    So, I think we need to keep all this in mind when we talk about the charismatic/Pentecostal movement.

  33. IWTT says:

    If I remember right it was also out of some pastors in Canada of the 4Square denomination, that started the MSoG Theology.

  34. Arwen4CJ says:

    Oh…that would be very interesting if that is the case. If the whole MSoG teaching can be traced back to some pastors of the Four Square denomination, then they have successfully spread it into much of today’s hyper-charismaticism.

    I don’t know what their doctrine is like now — orthodox or not, but it seems that New Agers today think it is “too Christian” for them to claim a current link….but I would imagine that there are still some heretical/occult practices and theology within it that were not gotten rid of, even if some of the practices were.

    I don’t think I would be comfortable joining a Four Square church, given their history, even if they are orthodox now.

  35. Craig says:

    Only going by memory here: George Warnock, author of Feast of Tabernacles, came from Canada, as part of the Sharon Brethren. IIRC, William Branham was held in high esteem there. Warnock is the ‘father’ of the modern “Latter Rain”, aka New Order of the Latter Rain. I don’t know how or if this is directly related to Four Square, but Warnock’s teachings were definitely MSoG.

    Warnock’s book came out circa ’48 to ’50 or so, as I recall.

  36. K. Mapson says:

    No answer for Pandeism, I see. Naturally.

  37. Craig says:

    Given that the subject of this post is how the Christian Trinity compares to the panentheistic belief systems in so-called ‘esoteric Christianity’, there is no need for discussing pandeism. By its definition, pandeism does not at all comport with a transcendent being.

  38. Craig says:

    For the those who have or had any doubts about the “Occupy” movement as being New Age aka New Spirituality, I submit the following. The site identified as http://www.occupytheearth.net is now rerouted to http://reclaimtheearth.net, which is very obviously New Age. Check out the video “It All Goes Together”, narrated by Alan Watts. Here are some excerpts:

    1:38-45: …in any lump of rock floating around in space there is implicit human intelligence…

    3:07-13: …it becomes absolutely obvious to you that you are continuous with the universe…

    3:41-48: …Well, in a few years it will be a matter of common sense to very many people that we are one with the universe…

    Note that Watts is describing the ‘immanent’ aspect of panentheism and not pantheism, as some may think. This is consistent with Alice Bailey (sourcing this from HP Blavatsky) for just as the body of the human is the “not-self”, as opposed to the soul/spirit, which is the “self”, the same applies to all matter. However, this does not mean that matter has no function, for “matter, being inspired by spirit, conforms”, [A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, p 148], providing the means (the vehicle) by which spirit can evolve:

    …The development of spirit can be only expressed as yet in terms of the evolution of matter, and only through the adequacy of the vehicle, and through the suitability of the sheath, the body or form, can the point of spiritual development reached in any way be appraised… [Cosmic Fire, pp 49-50]

    Yet, it’s the ‘transcendent’ aspect of the Theosophical schema of panentheism that ultimately destroys all matter:

    “…[T]he first Logos [ED: “the Father”] is called Destroyer, because He is abstraction, if viewed from below upwards [ED: from the point of view of creation / the ‘immanent’ aspect]. His work is the synthesis of Spirit with Spirit, their eventual abstraction from matter, and their unification with their cosmic source [the ‘transcendent’ aspect]. Hence also He is the one who brings about pralaya [ED: death; cf. p 128] or the disintegration of form, – the form from which the Spirit has been abstracted” [Cosmic Fire, pp 148-149].

  39. just1ofhis says:

    It’s interesting that you bring up the Occupy movement. I was checking out our local middle school curriculum (Common Core, of course). Among the approximately 12 recommended graphic novels was “V for Vendetta”.

    The list also included a book about children who discover that their parents are secret super villains, a book about children discovering that they were super heroes, and a book about the Mayor of New York being a secret super hero…and so on….

    No indoctrination there, huh?

    MSoG just fits so nicely into all of it, doesn’t it?

  40. Craig says:

    MSoG just fits so nicely into all of it, doesn’t it?

    Yes, it does.

  41. jeffrey says:

    Is it really any wonder that a generation raised on Pokemon, Harry Potter, and Twilight would be embracing this stuff-the new spirituality?

    People have argued that the Lord of the Rings is fantasy, what’s the difference. Well, for starters the central theme of it is denial and death of the lust for power, self sacrifice for others, and so on. Harry Potter is all about gaining power and using it for your definition of “good” and people who don’t want to have anything to do with sorcery are “muggles”-mostly loathsome, detestable, stupid creatures.

    And of course a powerless church who had forgotten how to pray (and was watching and reading the same movies and books) was mostly defenseless to fight this transformation. And so, here we are.

  42. Craig says:

    The Bailey books and other esoteric literature posit a ‘white magic’ vs. a ‘black magic’. So, according to this idea, one can be inherently good and use the so-called ‘white magic’ to benevolent ends, while those with an evil bent can use ‘black magic’ to malevolent ends. In reality, of course, this is far from the Truth. No one can of their own will wield an extraneous power without it being witchcraft. Christians are to submit to God and HE will do our bidding for us.

  43. jeffrey says:

    “He will do our bidding?” Not sure you meant that, Craig. :)

    Anyways, yes, we cannot wield power for our own ends. There is often a fine line here when it comes to praying for needs, but every prayer should have “Nevertheless, your will not mine” as it’s guiding principle. This lust, or focus on power is at the heart of the new spirituality (which is really just the old re-packaged). And it is what concerns me most about the current trend in Charismatic Christianity-the focus on power. And it is so subtle at times. It is hard to correct people caught up in this because they have been so indoctrinated with teaching where scriptures are so misused.

    And, as Jesus warned there would be a confusing mixture. Wheat and Tares, etc. True Biblical discernment empowered by the Holy Spirit is the great need of this hour. Have you ever heard of the book ” Strange Fire” by Travers and Jewel van der Merwe? I just stumbled across it via a link from Jacob Prasch’s website, and it seems quite good so far. Only on CHapter 2, but it seems to be nailing the new gnosticism in the church. Here’s a link if you’re interested.

    http://users.stargate.net/~ejt/strange.htm

  44. Craig says:

    Yeah, bad choice of words on my part!

  45. Craig says:

    Yes, I’m familiar with “Strange Fire”.

  46. jeffrey says:

    it was funny, that’s for sure! Be careful, someone could quote you on that and call you a heretic espousing witchcraft. LOL.

    what do you make of the book? have you read it?

  47. jeffrey says:

    there are quite a few books by this name, wanting to make sure we are talking about the same one…

  48. Craig says:

    Jeffrey,

    Yes, I’m referring to the same book, the one by Travers and Jewel van der Merwe (now Jewel Grewe, her first husband, Travers, is deceased). It’s been quite a while since I’ve read it; so, I can’t comment specifically. I may well have referenced the book in one of the articles here; I have referenced other works by them, or Jewel Grewe.

  49. Craig says:

    In the following video, the band Heart (Ann Wilson on vocals, and sister Nancy on guitar) do a rendition of Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven, complete with orchestral and choral arrangement, performed at the Kennedy Center on Dec 2, 2012. It was apparently a pretty big deal, presumably in homage to the band. Barack and Michelle Obama were in the audience (at 3:40 in clip). I’m sure some here are aware of some of the particulars; so, I’ll be brief.

    Zep guitarist Jimmy Page bought Boleskin House, the estate of Aleister Crowley (owning it from 1970 – 1991). Primary lyricist and vocalist Robert Plant stated that the lyrics to the song came to him as automatic writing. In the lyrics are many different occult themes (spiritual alchemy, Pan {Pied Piper}, May Queen, etc.).

    The original album from which the tune is taken contained four different symbols, three of which are stylized triple sixes. The album wasn’t formally named; however, on the label itself are these four icons (at least on the US release, which I used to have). Most refer to this 1971 album release as either Led Zeppelin IV or “Zoso” – one of the stylized 666s.

    The surviving members of Led Zep are in the audience (shown right at the beginning and throughout, from l to r: John Paul Jones {bass, keyboards}, Plant, Page), with deceased drummer John Bonham’s son Jason behind the drum kit on stage. Again, it was apparently a big deal.

    at :25 is the Zoso icon

    at :29 is the first ‘trinity’ 666, somewhat similar to the one on the cover of Marilyn Ferguson’s “Aquarian Conspiracy”.

    at :31 is the second ‘trinity’ 666. Note the skull made up of the top ring as head, with the intersection of the two lower rings forming eye sockets and mouth. Nancy Wilson has a similarly designed skull (just the skull and not the triple Os) on a ring worn on her right hand index finger (not visible in this clip, but in others on YouTube, I’ve found). It’s also on the head/front of the bass/kick drum.

    at :35 is the last of the four images (not sure what this indicates).

    As a former avid record collector (all sorts of music), I had the entire Led Zep catalog. Information such as catalog numbers, etc. are in what’s called the lead-out grooves (some call it the ‘dead wax’), the space between the end of the recorded music and the outer perimeter of the record label. Sometimes there are clever sayings, as well. I recall on Led Zep III, the words “so mote be it”, which is sort of a parallel to “amen”, said at the end of an incantation/spell.

    The lyrics end with:

    And if you listen very hard
    The tune will come to you at last.
    When all are one and one is all
    To be a rock and not to roll.

    That’s the end-goal of the doctrine of panentheism. This is known as monism – all is one – but with the understanding that it’s only the ‘inner self’ (of all things) that is “one”, or will eventually become “one” once again.

  50. @ Arwen4CJ – Hi :-) and thanks for the feedback. It was well articulated and definitely warranted. Particularly in light of the recent ‘Strange Fire’ conference I want to be very clear that I have no interest in attacking all Pentecostalism. I will try to be more careful…sometimes I read way too much and it helps to have feedback. There are very dangerous things afoot in the church, and it is only addressing those things that are false that I am interested in. Checking facts is always a good thing to do – thanks for the correction.

    I am so glad to have Pentecostal (or charismatic, not sure of the truly correct term) brethren with whom to ‘wrestle’ with these issues. It may be that in the end we discover that the whole ‘visible church’ is crumbling on foundations built on sand, but that will never negate the fact that there are many saints within each denomination…and now more than ever we need to surpport and encourage each other, with the help of the Holy Spirit. Which is why I thank God for the people here, including you, Craig and the rest of the ‘crew’. Blessings to you all, in Christ’s love, Sherryn

  51. MaryM says:

    Regarding the symbols above – each band member picked their own symbol for the album cover and here is a link about what they think the symbols mean – http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1955/what-do-the-four-symbols-on-led-zeppelins-4th-album-mean
    I have read somewhere that Zoso is the name of the demon on the ouija board…also, it comes really close to Bill Johnson’s ‘Sozo’ prayer….

  52. Craig says:

    MaryM,

    Stephen Davis did a bio of the band titled Hammer of the Gods, and this site provides some quotes. Davis states outright that the Zoso was a stylized 666:

    http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Evils%20in%20America/Rock-n-Roll/led_zeppelin.htm

    I’m not sure I agree with all the blog author’s conclusions, however.

    “Sozo” is a real Greek word meaning to save, rescue.

  53. Craig says:

    Here in this short video at the link is a humorous look at bad analogies used to describe the Trinity:

    http://designofprovidence.blogspot.com/2013/08/st-patricks-bad-analogies.html

  54. Oh my. This is soooo funny. I am going to be laughing about this for weeks. Thanks, I needed this Craig. :-)

  55. Wow, totally random. Hilarious. And true. Still listening and laughing.

  56. Craig, I stumbled upon this looking for something to post on a friends site (yes, I was planning to torture him with a Duran Duran song!!) and I thought you might be interested in its overt kundalini themes. If not don’t post it, as I wasn’t sure which thread to post it on:

    Duran Duran song lyrics: ‘The Union Of The Snake’

    Telegram force and ready
    I knew this was a big mistake
    There’s a fine line drawing
    My senses together
    And I think it’s about to break
    If I listen close I can hear them singers
    Voices in your body coming through on the radio
    The Union of the Snake is on the climb
    Moving up it’s gonna race it’s gonna break
    Through the borderline
    Nightshades on a warning
    Give me strength at least give me a light
    Give me anything even sympathy
    There’s a chance you could be right
    If I listen close I can hear them singers
    Voices in your body coming through on the radio
    The Union of the Snake is on the climb
    It’s gonna race it’s gonna break
    Gonna move up to the borderline

    Lyricist Simon Le Bon (notoriously reticent about explaining his oblique lyrics) hinted in the Duran Duran lyric book The Book of Words that the borderline might be one between the conscious and subconscious minds. In later interviews, he proclaimed that it was a reference to Tantric sex.

    Yikes, don’t think my mum would have let me listen to them if she had known. Of course it all went over my head at 14. Still, it is interesting to ponder just how many people in this world have received their ‘initiation’ and opened themselves up to deceiving spirits.

    Sorry for the random post. :-) Sherryn

  57. Craig says:

    I have to admit I’d never gave the lyrics a thought, in part because I absolutely despised the song. Yet, I’ll also have to admit that I actually liked Duran Duran’s first album (European version released in ’81). I still think it was a decent synth/pop/rock album. It was obvious the band had heard some of David Bowie’s recent work and reappropriated that. After their first record they became both formulaic and more overtly pop. Yuck. But, then again, I’m about 10 years older than you, it appears…

    Anyway, I’m sure if I were to go through some of my own collection (there’s stuff I haven’t listened to in YEARS) I’d be very surprised to find other overt occult references.

    The best place for a discussion on the occult in pop culture would be in the following since this is explicitly discussed in the article:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2010/12/13/misplaced-trust-part-ii/

  58. Feel free to cut and paste over there if you want to. I get lost as to where the relevant threads are…too much great stuff read and excellent conversations had here over the past few months!

  59. Craig says:

    Sherryn,

    On the right hand side of the blog are lists of categories, including “Pop Culture”. Clicking on that subject will yield two different posts, each containing references to music. Either of these would be appropriate. In fact, now that I consider it further, this more recent one would actually be better:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/hello-its-the-real-me/

  60. I am sorry Craig. I am a bit distracted this week. Is moving my comment something I can do from my page? I will make sure I check next time before commenting when I’m not sure. Thanks for reminding me.

  61. Craig says:

    No need for apologies :) I’d rather not move it, because once I do the comment looks as though it comes from me. My last post was merely an explanation. I’m sure there are others who are similarly wondering just where to post a particular comment.

    I don’t wish to appear as if I’m discouraging comments, if that’s the impression some may leave with.

  62. No, it didn’t seem like you were being discouraging Craig. You are always very respectful and quite encouraging, thanks! You are a true brother in Christ, and a blessing to me. :-)

  63. Reblogged this on Ezekiel Countdown and commented:
    A very worthy read.

  64. If you are interested in some new ideas on religious pluralism and the Trinity, please check out my website at http://www.religiouspluralism.ca. It previews my book, which has not been published yet and is still a “work-in-progress.” Your constructive criticism would be very much appreciated.

    My thesis is that an abstract version of the Trinity could be Christianity’s answer to the world need for a framework of pluralistic theology.

    In a constructive worldview: east, west, and far-east religions present a threefold understanding of One God manifest primarily in Muslim and Hebrew intuition of the Deity Absolute, Christian and Krishnan Hindu conception of the Universe Absolute Supreme Being; and Shaivite Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist apprehension of the Destroyer (meaning also Consummator), Unconditioned Absolute, or Spirit of All That Is and is not. Together with their variations and combinations in other major religions, these religious ideas reflect and express our collective understanding of God, in an expanded concept of the Holy Trinity.

    The Trinity Absolute is portrayed in the logic of world religions, as follows:

    1. Muslims and Jews may be said to worship only the first person of the Trinity, i.e. the existential Deity Absolute Creator, known as Allah or Yhwh, Abba or Father (as Jesus called him), Brahma, and other names; represented by Gabriel (Executive Archangel), Muhammad and Moses (mighty messenger prophets), and others.
    2. Christians and Krishnan Hindus may be said to worship the first person through a second person, i.e. the experiential Universe or “Universal” Absolute Supreme Being (Allsoul or Supersoul), called Son/Christ or Vishnu/Krishna; represented by Michael (Supreme Archangel), Jesus (teacher and savior of souls), and others. The Allsoul is that gestalt of personal human consciousness, which we expect will be the “body of Christ” (Mahdi, Messiah, Kalki or Maitreya) in the second coming – personified in history by Muhammad, Jesus Christ, Buddha (9th incarnation of Vishnu), and others.

    3. Shaivite Hindus, Buddhists, and Confucian-Taoists seem to venerate the synthesis of the first and second persons in a third person or appearance, ie. the Destiny Consummator of ultimate reality – unqualified Nirvana consciousness – associative Tao of All That Is – the absonite* Unconditioned Absolute Spirit “Synthesis of Source and Synthesis,”** who/which is logically expected to be Allah/Abba/Brahma glorified in and by union with the Supreme Being – represented in religions by Gabriel, Michael, and other Archangels, Mahadevas, Spiritpersons, etc., who may be included within the mysterious Holy Ghost.

    Other strains of religion seem to be psychological variations on the third person, or possibly combinations and permutations of the members of the Trinity – all just different personality perspectives on the Same God. Taken together, the world’s major religions give us at least two insights into the first person of this thrice-personal One God, two perceptions of the second person, and at least three glimpses of the third.

    • The ever-mysterious Holy Ghost or Unconditioned Spirit is neither absolutely infinite, nor absolutely finite, but absonite; meaning neither existential nor experiential, but their ultimate consummation; neither fully ideal nor totally real, but a middle path and grand synthesis of the superconscious and the conscious, in consciousness of the unconscious.

    ** This conception is so strong because somewhat as the Absonite Spirit is a synthesis of the spirit of the Absolute and the spirit of the Supreme, so it would seem that the evolving Supreme Being may himself also be a synthesis or “gestalt” of humanity with itself, in an Almighty Universe Allperson or Supersoul. Thus ultimately, the Absonite is their Unconditioned Absolute Coordinate Identity – the Spirit Synthesis of Source and Synthesis – the metaphysical Destiny Consummator of All That Is.

    After the Hindu and Buddhist conceptions, perhaps the most subtle expression and comprehensive symbol of the 3rd person of the Trinity is the Tao; involving the harmonization of “yin and yang” (great opposing ideas identified in positive and negative, or otherwise contrasting terms). In the Taoist icon of yin and yang, the s-shaped line separating the black and white spaces may be interpreted as the Unconditioned “Middle Path” between condition and conditioned opposites, while the circle that encompasses them both suggests their synthesis in the Spirit of the “Great Way” or Tao of All That Is.

    If the small black and white circles or “eyes” are taken to represent a nucleus of truth in both yin and yang, then the metaphysics of this symbolism fits nicely with the paradoxical mystery of the Christian Holy Ghost; who is neither the spirit of the one nor the spirit of the other, but the Glorified Spirit proceeding from both, taken altogether – as one entity – personally distinct from his co-equal, co-eternal and fully coordinate co-sponsors, who differentiate from him, as well as mingle and meld in him.

    For more details, please see: http://www.religiouspluralism.ca

    Samuel Stuart Maynes

  65. Craig says:

    Mr. Maynes (I wasn’t sure if you preferred Samuel or Samuel Stuart, hence, the more formal moniker),

    First, a question out of curiousity: Did you come by this site due to my recent comment on Cumbey’s blog?

    Now, to your specific posting. First of all, my perspective is strictly Christian, from an historically orthodox stance. Therefore, I’m not interested in religious pluralism per se. Moreover, your views do not constitute the true Christian Trinity (most particularly the Holy Spirit) – which is spelled out in this particular CrossWise post (and in my statement of faith). However, I could understand, perhaps, using how the Trinity is misunderstood, reshaped, distorted, etc. in order to use as an evangelistic tool a la the Apostle Paul on Mars Hill (Acts 17).

    You wrote: My thesis is that an abstract version of the Trinity could be Christianity’s answer to the world need for a framework of pluralistic theology.

    I do not see a “world need for a framework of pluralistic theology.” This lost world may perceive this as a need, but that is not the Truth. As a Christian, who believes that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and the Only Way to the Father, my absolute viewpoint is that the world needs Jesus Christ as Savior. The world, that is, each individual in the world, needs to comprehend the gravity of his/her sinful condition, and how sin results in eternal separation from God, and that the only Way to bridge that separation is through belief in Jesus Christ as He is disclosed in the Christian Bible – a belief that results in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the third ‘Member’ of the Trinity.

    There will never be true pluralism. Christianity, like most religions, is by its nature exclusivistic. The bottom line is how one views Jesus Christ. Christianity is the only religion that proclaims Him to be at once the one, unique Son of God who is ontologically equivalent to God the Father, and yet 100% man (human). Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. He is not a model to follow towards self-salvation; He is the Savior, the Lord whom we are to serve. No other world religion will claim the foregoing. To the other religions He is, at best, a Prophet (or prophet), a great teacher among other great teachers, our exemplar.

    No; He is King of kings and Lord of lords!

  66. Hi Craig!

    How are you? :-)

    If you don’t mind, I am reposting this article at TNP this week, and am starting to reread your other articles… time for a refresher! Your articles already posted at TNP have received steady viewing over the past year, and have been appreciated by many who have read them. Thankfully I don’t have the discussions at TNP that you do, as I woulnd’t be able to keep up! I do try to just send them your way for queries and conversation.

    Thank you so much for your continued hard work and for facilitating fascinating and edifying conversations. I have learned so much from this blog! I hope to soon be working my way through the comments again, as there are so many great links from you and the crew. In fact, I just took a peek and found three great links to other sites.

    I hope you are well, and you will be in my prayers this week.

    Blessings in Christ, Sherryn

  67. Craig says:

    Thanks Sherryn! I’m doing well, hope you are same.

    There’s actually not been very much discussion for the past few months, which is OK by me, as it can be time consuming to engage, especially with naysayers. There’ve been the odd comments here and there that I’ve deleted instead of posting since they really weren’t engaging the material so much as using ad hominem, even if somewhat subtle. No time for that.

    On panentheism specifically, I’m disappointed that many do not (a) either know this, or (b) just do not care to state, that the “all is in God” is just as important as the “God is in all” portion of the doctrine. The former is what helps make it seem more ‘Christian’, as it sounds much like the Christian doctrine of God’s transcendence.

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