Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

   by Jeannette Haley

   Imagination is a powerful thing. It is a God-given characteristic that can be used for either good or evil, depending upon a person’s moral character, intention or persuasion. On the up side, imagination goes hand in hand with artistic creativity, helpful inventions and achievements. On the down side, it can become our worst enemy if we allow our fallen human nature full rein to run with it.

   Having said all that, have you ever tried—I mean, really tried—to imagine what it was like in the Garden of Eden before the fall? No stretch of the imagination can come close to comprehending the incredible paradise that God had prepared for man. The word “paradise” in the Greek is paradeisos, which means a park, i.e., an Eden. Instead of a high rise apartment complex in the midst of a concrete jungle, God placed Adam and Eve in a natural environment, full of life, from the grass and moss under their feet to the gigantic trees overhead. Everything in their environment, the air, the water, and the earth was teeming with beautiful and amazing life forms to discover and enjoy. Each discovery was designed to result in awe and worship to God for His supreme intelligence, wisdom and power.

   Even though God had given Adam the responsibility of keeping (or protecting) the Garden from intrusion, celestial evil entered unhindered. This being appeared to be beautiful and wise. With half-truths and lies, craftily concealed in subtle, yet powerful, seduction, he cast doubt on God’s character, undermining Eve’s confidence in God. Genesis 3:6 tells us: “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”

   Eve was tempted in these three ways: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” 1 John 2:1, and she transgressed (or broke the law) through temptation. As for Adam, his deliberate choice of disobedience began when he transgressed in his heart. Job 31:33 reveals this about Adam: “If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom…” Hosea 6:7 tells us: “But they like men [margin: or like Adam] have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me.” Eve confessed that she was seduced (Genesis 3:13) and God gave her the first promise of a Redeemer in Genesis 3:15. On the other hand, Adam justified his rebellion by blaming both God and Eve for his actions in Genesis 3:12. Adam knew exactly what he was doing, and his goal was to be his own god; that is, be independent of God’s authority over his life. Thus, through Adam, death entered into the world. In Romans 5:12 we read: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”

  Knowledge of the Genesis account of the

creation, the fall of man, the nature of sin and

its consequences is essential to a spiritually solid foundation.   

   It is important to understand what took place in the Garden of Eden, and the subsequent consequences as recorded in the first twelve chapters of Genesis, because it lays the foundation of understanding who God is, who man is, why we are here, where we are going, God’s chosen people (Israel) and His plan for our salvation. To pervert the plain meaning and message of the Genesis account will bring one into the dangerous world of the occult, which will serve as a spiritual counterfeit (with a false light) in a person’s life.

   Spiritual darkness entered into the world when the angel of light entered in, and succeeded, in tempting our first parents with the lie that they would “be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Every human being born into the world since the fall has been tempted to be god (call the shots) of his or her own life. Since we have been given free will to choose, independence from God is what fallen humanity chooses, either in conscious rebellion, or subconsciously. Because of our fallen disposition, being independent of God, or being god of our life, comes naturally. We want to be in control, because control means power. Unfortunately, it is easy, in our rebellion and search for control and power, to cross over the line into the acceptance and practice of occultism.

   Control can mean different things to different people. For example, for some, it means being in control of their environment, while for others, it means being in control of people or situations. We would all like to be in control of our destiny, but the truth is, we can’t control anything because, whether we want to admit it or not, we are not gods—we are very human, and therefore subject to the laws of the Universe, which includes physical death at some point in our lives. However, the essence of control is witchcraft.

   In spite of false teachings that are embraced by the apostate church from the mind-science cults propagating the same old lie that Satan used to seduce Eve in the Garden of Eden that we are “little gods” or that through “positive thinking” or “visualization techniques” we can control our world, or others, we are still human beings by nature, and not gods. Jesus said in Matthew 6:27, “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?” The Holy Spirit, writing through the prophet Jeremiah, warns all who would portend to be God: “But the Lord is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation. Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens. He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion” Jeremiah 10:10-12. To those who claim to be a “little god,” I say, If you are a god, then create just one blade of grass out of nothing.

   Adam could have partaken of the tree of life instead of the tree of knowledge and lived forever. His choice to ignore the life so freely offered in preference to knowledge speaks volumes about the tendency of human nature. We value what we believe will feed our intellect (to make us wise), and to suit our purpose as well as exalt our pride in this life. Choosing, instead, the life offered in Christ is not highly esteemed by the natural man because it is not expedient, it goes against the grain of our independent spirit, and it costs something. It means we must humble ourselves before God. Sacrificing the right to be god of our own life allows for character development, which is formed as we deny self, pick up our cross and follow Jesus on a daily basis. Of course, this means Jesus is Lord, period. In other words, we must give up the right to be in control. As Jesus stated, we cannot serve two masters.

 An insatiable lust for control and power is

demonically inspired by appealing to our pride,

and falls under the category of occultism.

   The very essence of pride is satanic. Pride is what caused Satan and the angels who followed him to be cast out of heaven, and it is always an open door to Satan. Pride blinds us to our true state, and pride causes God to resist us. The temptation for control and power comes through pride, and is, in essence, witchcraft.

   The essence of witchcraft (control and rebellion) is embraced, taught, practiced and promoted by multitudes of ignorant, professing Christians today. Dave Hunt, in his excellent book, The Cult Explosion, explains: “Occultism has always involved three techniques for changing and creating reality: thinking, speaking, and visualizing. The first one is the most familiar, having been promoted in the world and the church as ‘Positive Thinking’ by Norman Vincent Peale and as ‘Possibility Thinking’ by Robert Schuller. The second is mostly known among charismatics. It is the ‘Positive Confession’ (or Positive Speaking) of the Faith movement…

   “The third technique is the most powerful. It is the fastest way to enter the world of the occult and to pick up a spirit guide. Shamans have used it for thousands of years. It was taught to Carl Jung by spirit beings, and through him influenced humanistic and transpersonal psychology. It was taught to Napoleon Hill by the spirits that began to guide him. Agnes Sanford… was the first to bring it into the church. Norman Vincent Peale was not far behind her, and his influence was much greater. He wrote: ‘The concept is a form of mental activity called imaging. It consists of vividly picturing, in your conscious mind, a desired goal or objective, and holding that image until it sinks into your unconscious mind, where it releases great, untapped energies…’”

   Hunt goes on to say: “This occult technique has invaded the church. Certain leaders have been teaching visualization for years. In his booklet, The Power of the Inner Eye, Robert Schuller (like Yonggi Cho and others) perverts Scripture by claiming that it advocates the occult technique of visualization.” (Pgs. 180, 181)

   Powerhungry people, who substitute guided imagery, chanting, speaking “positive affirmations,” visualizing and other occult practices for Christ-centered prayer and meditation upon the Word of God, have bought the lie that they can be “as God” whether they are conscious of that fact or not.

 Psychology is another “branch” from the tree of

knowledge that appeals to man’s sense of godhood

while denying the one true God of the Bible.

   Psychology, along with evolution, are two of Satan’s most powerful weapons against the “faith which was once delivered unto the saints” Jude 3b. Dave Hunt accurately writes: “There is nothing Christian about psychology. Its use of terms like soul, spirit, and even God, deceive many Christians into believing that psychology is somehow compatible with Christianity. However, psychology’s meaning for such words comes from the occult, is contrary to the Bible, and is irretrievably anti-Christian.

   “Psychology is, in fact, a rival religion with its own anti-Christian gospel which offers an unbiblical diagnosis and godless cure for the human condition…Professor of psychiatry Thomas Szasz, a nonpracticing Jew declares, ‘One of Freud’s most powerful motives in life was…to inflict vengeance on Christianity…’ Szasz called psychotherapy ‘not merely a religion that pretends to be a science… [but] a fake religion that seeks to destroy true religion.’

   “But isn’t Christian psychology something else? No, it is not. Whether a psychiatrist or psychologist is a Christian or an atheist, he must have passed the same exams and met the same standards in order to be licensed by the state. (Ibid. pg. 457) Hunt goes on to explain, “Psychology comes out of the occult, is not scientific, and many of its leading professionals admit that it is destructive.”(Ibid. pg. 458)

   Psychology is the pied piper in the church that leads those who are weak in the faith, insecure in their relationship with God, and basically ignorant of the whole counsel of God into the host of humanistic “selfisms.” These “selfisms” feed the egos of those who, wittingly or unwittingly, seek to be god of their lives. True godly counsel will always lead a person back to Jesus Christ, not to self. As Dave Hunt wrote, “By turning the focus inward, the Freudian/Jungian obsession with the unconscious spawned a menagerie of selfisms that invaded not only the world but the church: self-love, self-acceptance, self-improvement, self-worth, self-confidence, self-esteem, self-ad nauseam. Selfism is at the heart of the occult. Self is the sanctuary of human potential. It is self and pride that seeks psychic power.” (Ibid. pg. 467)

   The search for godhood, to be more than mere human, takes many forms. But, the bottom line is, we are human and we always will be human. I know that it may come as a shock to some that we do not become angels when we die. Jesus said, “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven” Matthew 22:30. He didn’t say we would be angels, but as angels and then clarified in what way.

   There is only One who is both man and God. His name is Jesus, the “second Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45-47). In every point where the first Adam failed, Jesus succeeded. He is the great I AM (John 8:58; Revelation 1:18); His name is Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6b); He is one with the Father (John 10:30); He reveals the Father, (John 14:7); He is the Word from the beginning with God, (John 1:1,2); declared to be the Son of God with power (Romans 1:4); in Jesus dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, (Colossians 2:9); The Creator (John 1:3; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:15-19; Hebrews 1:1,2);  God in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:3; 2 John 7; Philippians 2:6-11); King of kings, and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16); and Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:8; 21:6; 22:13).

   The question is who is Lord of your life?