The Problem With Jeffrey Long’s NDE Derived Theology

In a nutshell the problem is oneism or pantheistic monism. Dr. Jeffery Long promotes the NDE popular theology derived from a Colombian woman named Hafur as wisdom that “sums up the message of NDEs worldwide.” For example, Hafur concludes,

“I was everything and everything was me, without essential differences other than in earthly appearances,” and “That ‘I’ includes ‘we.’”[i]

Long approvingly cites Hafur’s wisdom:

“We live in a ‘plural unity’ or ‘oneness,’” and “Our reality is unity in plurality and plurality in unity.” She also states that “everything is God.”[ii]

As you can see, the theological expression found in  Dr. Jeffrey Long’s Evidence of the Afterlife (2011), is the Omega Point worldview: the idea that “all is becoming one”—oneism—or monistic pantheism. The defining issue is the creature/creator distinction derived from exegesis of: “who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen” (Romans 1:25, NKJV, underline added). From Paul’s apposition in Romans 1:25, Peter Jones observed that there are really only two religious perspectives, “oneism” (worship of creation) and “twoism” (worship of the creator). Jones explains:

One-ism believes that “all is one” and shares the same essential nature. Theologians use the term “consubstantiality.” As you probably know, “con” means “with” in Latin, and you know what “substantial” means — “substance” or “essence.” In One-ism, everything shares the same essence. In a word, everything is a piece of the divine. [iii]

Its exactly like Buddhism, Hinduism or the New Age. I have invested a great deal of time and energy addressing monsim because it is such a huge error and the prevailing “spirituality” of our day. However, it is 180 degrees in opposition to the message of Jesus who taught a creator/creation distinction as well as narrow road to heaven (Matthew 7:13). Jesus’ theology contrasts oneism by making the creature/creator distinction through “worship and service of the Creator” (e.g. Romans 1:25).  Jones explains,

“Two-ism believes that while all of creation shares a certain essence (everything apart from God is created), the Creator of nature, namely God, is a completely different being, whose will determines the nature and function of all created things.”[iv]

In regard to the NDE theology promoted in recent books like like Dr. Jeffery Long’s Evidence of the Afterlife (2011), Dr. Pim Von Lommel’s  Consciousness Beyond Life: : the Science of the Near-Death Experience (2007) and  Dr. Eben Alexander’s Proof of Heaven (2012) I address the prevailing Oneism in detail in The Supernatural Worldview. A brief excerpt follows:

Evaluation:

In addressing the subjective heavenly experience of NDErs, there is an appropriate biblical analogy found in apocalyptic literature. Christians widely agree that the visions of Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel and John have a real basis in an otherworldly reality. Even so, there are different interpretations of these visions amongst sincere believers. That is not to say that some interpretations are not better than others, but it does reveal that there is an agreed element of subjectivity in interpreting apocalyptic and visionary scripture. While there is usually a consensus view on the meaning of these visions, it is not always written in stone, and prophecy often has a way of surprising us. It seems fair to argue that what people describe of heaven in an NDE falls into this same general type of experience; and non-Christian presuppositions held by the majority of people, such as pluralism and universalism, will find mystical confirmation.

The central metaphysical premise of pantheism, that all is one, is an unproven and counter intuitive assumption. In surveying eastern thought, pantheistic philosophers simply assume that “being” (meaning existing) is univocal and then offer arguments for monism. If “being” is defined in such a way that it always means exactly the same thing, then anything that “is” is necessarily the same thing. In other words, they claim that everything exists in the same way so it shares the same essence. Eastern philosophers equivocate on the verb “to be”—circular reasoning of the worst kind. However, if “being” is conceived as analogous and not necessarily the same kind of thing, then there can be more than one kind of “being” in the universe.  For example, we commonly hold to the distinction: material and immaterial. Thus, mind and body do not exist in the exact same way and mind lives on after the body dies. Monists simply assume their metaphysic but there are strong reasons to doubt it.

Of course, the biblical worldview makes a creator/creation distinction (Gen 1:1; John 1:1; Rom 1:18ff ) and the standard model of big bang cosmology indicates that creation was a supernatural event. For something to cause the universe it must be distinct from it. Thus, monism is false. The Bible teaches that all men are created in God’s image, but each has his own identity and moral responsibility.

The Supernatural Worldview pp. 171-172.

 

[i] Jeffrey Long and Paul Perry, Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences, (New York: HarperOne, 2011), 158

[ii] Ibid, 158

[iii] Peter Jones, One or Two: Seeing a World of Difference, Kindle edition (Escondido, CA: Main Entry, 2010),  Kindle Locations 151-157.

[iv] Ibid.

Why Preterism Seems Absurd

Preterism NotWhy Preterism Seems Absurd

A Third Gender? A Natural Extension of Oneism

Third Gender
In The Supernatural Worldview, I explained the burgeoning monistic spirituality or oneism — all is one — as the religious paradigm of our age. One page 393, I explained:

The defining issue is the creature/creator distinction. From exegesis of: “who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen” (Romans 1:25, NKJV, underline added). Although many use the indefinite article “a,” it is argued by many competent scholars that the definite article “the” is the best translation so that the text juxtaposes “the lie” to “the Creator.”[i] The lie is pantheistic monism or “all is one” which entails the universe evolved.  Remarkably, pagan or paganus comes from the Latin word meaning “of the earth” and originally denoted rural folk.[ii] From Paul’s apposition in Romans 1:25, Peter Jones observed that there are really only two religious perspectives, “oneism” (worship of creation) and “twoism” (worship of the creator). Jones explains:

One-ism believes that “all is one” and shares the same essential nature. Theologians use the term “consubstantiality.” As you probably know, “con” means “with” in Latin, and you know what “substantial” means — “substance” or “essence.” In One-ism, everything shares the same essence. In a word, everything is a piece of the divine. [iii]

Oneism extends into sexuality as androgyny and homo / bi-sexuality.  After all, if all is one, then there are no distinctions between male and female. However a supernatural worldview makes these distinctions based on a creature / creator separation. Jesus said, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female,”(Mt 19:4) Now Thailand is writing a third gender into its constitution. President Obama would seemingly concur. I wonder how long before America follows suit?

Thailand to have ‘third gender’ in new constitution

Thailand is poised to recognise a third gender in its new constitution, with the constitutional drafting panel saying on Thursday that “Thai society has advanced”.

The panel, composed of members handpicked by the ruling junta, said that “there are not only men and women”, and that there is a need to recognize all genders.

“We need to protect all sexes – we consider all genders to be equal”, panel spokesman Kamnoon Sittisamarn told journalists.

The panel will send details of the measure to the National Reform Council by April. It will need to be formally approved by the ruling junta, also known as the National Council for Peace and Order.

Thailand has a significant LGBT community, with homosexual, transgender and transsexual people playing a prominent role in the country’s entertainment industry.

In 2012, a group of lawmakers and LGBT activists formed a committee to draft legislation recognizing same-sex couples that would, among other things, enable them to marry.

But discussion of the draft law was put on ice while Thailand struggled with political protests in 2013 and 2014.

BioEdge

 

[i] Peter Jones, One or Two: Seeing a World of Difference, Kindle edition (Escondido, CA: Main Entry, 2010) Kindle Locations 1307-1308.

[ii] Paganus” in An Elementary Latin Dictionary ed. Charlton T. Lewis (Medford, MA: American Book Company, 1890).

[iii] Jones, One or Two, Kindle Locations 151-157.

Podcasts Debunking the “Christmas is Pagan” Canard

I was recently on The 4th Watch Radio Show with Justen Faull discussing Christmas:

Christmas Closure: An Alternative View with special guest Cris D. Putnam

In this episode Justen and Cris compare popular pagan claims about Christmas, with corresponding contradictions in historical documentation. The adventure includes controversial alternative views, as well as answers the question “Should Christians divide over Christmas?”. Join us tonight for these and much more! This is one broadcast you won’t want to miss!

http://4thwatchradio.blogspot.com/2014/12/the-4th-watch-radio-show-with-justen_18.html

My friend Cliff Garner (PhD candidate in history) was on Beyond Extraordinary:

Beyond Extraordinary Ep. 32: Debunking the “Pagan Christmas” Myth with Cliff Garner

Is it wrong for a Christian to celebrate Christmas?  Are our Christmas traditions mired in pagan symbolism?  Is Christmas a day that once belonged to an assortment of sun gods?  Can a Christian celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25th in spirit and truth?  Should we?  Where did these “Pagan Christmas” ideas come from?

These are the questions we’re taking on in this very important Christmas episode of Beyond Extraordinary.

http://extraordinaryintelligence.com/beyond-extraordinary-ep-32-debunking-the-pagan-christmas-myth-with-cliff-garner/

And a Messianic Rabbi takes a stand for Christmas on the Iron Show:

IRON SHOW LIVE 51 – DEFENDING CHRISTMAS WITH RABBI MIKE

Rabbi Mike – aka Michael Bugg Defends and explains Christmas. Rabbi Mike shows us how even the WORD itself uses pagan themes.
http://fringeradionetwork.com/iron-show-live-51-defending-christmas-with-rabbi-mike/

Christmas on December 25th is not from Paganism!

dec 25If you frequent social media, then you’ve probably been inundated with smarty pants pseudo scholars calling Christmas a “pagan holiday.” These under-informed accusers believe they have the goods with bold claims like Christmas trees are forbidden in Jeremiah 10 (a passage about the manufacture of Canaanite idols) and that the date of December 25th was adopted from the pagan holiday of Saturnalia (actually December 17th).

The best way to respond to these claims is to ask them what evidence they have (from source documents). Most of the time this question will cause them to change the subject or elicit the chirping of crickets.  The truth is most of the claims are dubious and have no actual evidence.  Even if there were other holidays on the same date, it does not mean that they were even aware of each other. Correlation does not necessarily imply causation. The leaps in logic are prohibitive and there is no source claiming the Christians appropriated pagan days until the 12th century!

In the real world. reputable ancient source documents lay waste to the popular pagan origins theory concerning December 25. Biblical Archaeology Review is a serious journal respected by real biblical scholars. The article How December 25 Became Christmas provides ample evidence debunking the pagan origins myth, showing how it actually began, and even demonstrating how 12-5 was decided to be the date of Jesus’s birth. This dates back to the second century ( I challenge pagan theorists to antedate it).

Around 200 C.E. Tertullian of Carthage reported the calculation that the 14th of Nisan (the day of the crucifixion according to the Gospel of John) in the year Jesus diedc was equivalent to March 25 in the Roman (solar) calendar. March 25 is, of course, nine months before December 25; it was later recognized as the Feast of the Annunciation—the commemoration of Jesus’ conception. Thus, Jesus was believed to have been conceived and crucified on the same day of the year. Exactly nine months later, Jesus was born, on December 25.[1]

Of course, I am a nerd with Logos Bible Software and a searchable database of ancient documents including Tertullian. I verified the claim from the original source documents, Tertullian wrote:

And the suffering of this “extermination” was perfected within the times of the lxx hebdomads, under Tiberius Cæsar, in the consulate of Rubellius Geminus and Fufius Geminus, in the month of March, at the times of the passover, on the eighth day before the calends of April (March 25)[2]

The belief was that he died on the same day he was conceived. They believed the conception was on March 25 which became the Feast of the Annunciation, commemorating the angel’s appearance to Mary:  “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth” (Luke 1:26) This idea appears in an anonymous Christian treatise titled On Solstices and Equinoxes from fourth-century North Africa:

“Therefore our Lord was conceived on the eighth of the kalends of April in the month of March [March 25], which is the day of the passion of the Lord and of his conception. For on that day he was conceived on the same he suffered.” [3]

The rationale was innocent enough, just add nine months to date of conception to determine when He was born and it lands on December 25th.  It’s that simple. Paganism had absolutely nothing to do with it.

 

Note:  Due to so may folks missing the point, I do not think Jesus was born on Dec 25th; the point of this post is that the early church did not chose the date based on a pagan holiday but rather when they assumed he was conceived (mistaken or not).

 

[1]Andrew McGowan, “How  December 25th Became Christmas ” Biblical Archeology Review, 08/12/2014  http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/how-december-25-became-christmas/#location1

[2] Tertullian, “An Answer to the Jews,” in Latin Christianity: Its Founder, Tertullian, ed. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, trans. S. Thelwall, vol. 3, The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1885), 160.

[3] De solstitia et aequinoctia conceptionis et nativitatis domini nostri iesu christi et iohannis baptista  as cited by Andrew McGowan, “How  December 25th Became Christmas ” Biblical Archeology Review, 08/12/2014  http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/how-december-25-became-christmas/#note11