Monday, July 09, 2007

As In Heaven, So On Earth

Part 1: The Doctrines of Dominionism

"I am writing to you to share what I believe is a "NOW" word for every believer individually, but also the Church worldwide. I believe we stand right now on the brink of the greatest Kingdom Era that the Church has ever seen. . . .

"Jesus came to the earth to re-establish the Kingdom of Heaven on the earth. Jesus came to re-connect earth with Heaven and establish a sustained presence and atmosphere of the government of Heaven on the earth. . . .

"The continuous, sustained expressed of the Kingdom of Heaven on the earth is the only thing that will truly establish and advance the government of God in our lives and regions. . . .

". . .the Church is going to realize that Heaven is not for when we die, but it's for this life, right now, on this earth. And not only will we realize this, but also that it's the responsibility of the Church to be the gateway where Heaven touches earth. We are to be the instruments that not only bring Heaven to earth but also establish and advance the Kingdom of Heaven on this earth.

"The spirit of the warrior is coming upon the Church. . . .

". . .one of the major focuses and strategies of God in this season is to establish strong apostolic regional bases in every region of the world."


One does not have to wade very far into the waters of Dominionism before encountering an old Hermetic heresy that heaven and earth can become united, as illustrated by the quotation above. This doctrine is now rampantly taught throughout the New Age Movement and the New Apostolic Reformation, as well as mission organizations and political left and right Dominionist movements.

This doctrine is key because it creates a point of synthesis and syncretism between many many religious groups, Christian and non-Christian. It is also easy to work with. By simply changing an emphasis in language, one can begin to alter the traditional doctrine to include a new theology. But the theology isn't new. It is old.

Warren Smith, author of Deceived On Purpose (Mountain Stream Press, 2004), explains how this teaching entered into Rick Warren's writings via a quote from Eugene Peterson's paraphrase of the Bible, The Message. Smith, who had come out of the New Age movement, recognized immediately that something was amiss in The Message's paraphrase of a key Bible verse chosen by Rick Warren. Pastor Warren has a notable proclivity to use whatever translations best suit the occasion. Smith noted these differences:

Colossians 1:16 from The Message, as quoted by Rick Warren:

"For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible.... everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him."

Colossians 1:16 in The King James Version:

"For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him."

And The Message version of the Lord's prayer contained the phrase "as above, so below," instead of "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven" (KJV). Smith was concerned because when he "was in the New Age, it was well understood that the words 'above and below' had metaphysical/New Age connotations and were routinely substituted for 'heaven and earth.'" He also noticed that The Message had altered The Lord's Prayer to "as above, so below." He discovered that the KJV "in earth, as it is in heaven" could easily be given an esoteric meaning. Smith detailed his steps to find out where this phrase had its roots:

Right about the time I was looking into Eugene Peterson's use of the term "as above, so below," I was at a book sale at our local library. Almost lost amongst some cookbooks and business manuals was a book written and published by the editors of the New Age Journal. It was entitled As Above, So Below. I picked it up and began reading. In the introduction, the chief editor of the book, Ronald S. Miller, had written:

Thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt, the great master alchemist Hermes Trismegistus, believed to be a contemporary of the Hebrew prophet Abraham, proclaimed this fundamental truth about the universe: "As above, so below; as below, so above." This maxim implies that the transcendent God beyond the physical universe and the immanent God within ourselves are one. Heaven and Earth, spirit and matter, the invisible and the visible worlds form a unity to which we are intimately linked.

He continued his explanation by quoting Sufi scholar Reshad Field.

"'As above, so below' means that the two worlds are instantaneously seen to be one when we realize our essential unity with God. . . . . The One and the many, time and eternity, are all One."

The New Age Journal editor went on to state that old forms of religion no longer serve people, and that the term "as above, so below" describes the "emerging spirituality" that is quickly moving onto the world's scene. He concluded his introduction to As Above, So Below by writing:

The breadth of this exploration suggests that we are living in an age of spiritual reinvention, a transitional age that leaves the safety and security of the known to seek out the new, the untested, the possible.

Moving from the library book sale to the Internet, I put "as above, so below" into the Google search engine to see what would come up. There were countless references. The very first reference listed by Google for "as above, so below" read:

This phrase comes from the beginning of The Emerald Tablet and embraces the entire system of traditional modern magic which was inscribed upon the tablet in cryptic wording by Hermes Trismegistus. The significance of this phrase is that it is believed to hold the key to all mysteries. All systems of magic are claimed to function by this formula. "'That which is above is the same as that which is below' . . . . The universe is the same as God, God is the same as man."

As I checked out the most popular websites for "as above, so below," each one described the term as having the same occultic, mystical, eastern, New Age, esoteric and magical sources.

This ancient phrase, "As above, so below" describes the Oneness of All That Is.

The phrase "AS ABOVE, SO BELOW" headlined a page from a Theosophical website containing "esoteric" teachings espoused by New Age matriarch Alice A. Bailey. A derivative form of the term--similar to Peterson's abbreviated use of "above and below" in Colossians 1:16--appeared on the website in a quote from Theosophy founder Helena Blavatsky's pioneering New Age work, The Secret Doctrine:

Above, the Son is the whole KOSMOS;
below, he is MANKIND.

[Excerpted with permission, pp 29-33, Chapter 3 "What Message?" Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church, 2nd ed., by Warren Smith (Mountain Stream Press, 2004)]

The Emerald Tablet and its lineage

How this heresy became mainstream evangelical doctrine is a story in itself. Glenn A. Magee, in his groundbreaking book Hegel and the Hermetic Tradition (Cornell University, 2001) elucidates a highly intellectual historical account of the influence of Hermetic writings upon Georg W. F. Hegel, whose writings, in turn, have influenced Christian theology for over two hundred years. Magee wrote:

"This principle is most clearly expressed in the so-called Emerald Tablet of Hermes Tismegistus, which begins with the famous lines 'As above, so below.' This maxim became the central tenet of Western occultism, for it laid the basis for the doctrine of the unity of the cosmos through the sympathies and correspondences between its various levels." (p. 13)

In an extensive analysis of Jakob Bohme, one of the Hermeticists who influenced Hegel, Magee notes:

"In words that call to mind the Emerald Tablet, Bohme writes at one point of the unity of all things: 'When I take up a stone or clod of earth and look upon it, I see that which is above and that which is below, indeed [I see] the whole visible world is a joyful spermatic [eitel spermatischen] active ground; each essence longs for the other, the above for the below and the below for the above, since they are separated from one another, and in such hunger they embrace one another in the desire.'" (p. 44)

Magee credits Bohme with being

"a turning point in the history of Hermetic philosophy. Hermeticism and Christianity had always been strange bedfellows, and as we have seen, much of Hermetic thought--such as its conception of the divine or semi-divine status of man--is heretical by Christian standards. . . . Bohme, in effect, acted to prevent the self-destruction of Hermetic philosophy in the face of its clear conflict with the dominant, orthodox faith. David Walsh write that 'For the new occult philosophy to work, the old Christian philosophy must be redirected. The individual with the theoretical genius to effect their reconciliation and, thereby, become the new symbolism to the modern world was Jacob Bohme.'" (pp. 37-38)

Walsh, writing in "A Mythology of Reason," cited by Magee, continued his point by describing how Bohme

"provided for him [Hegel, ed.] the most profound insight into the modification Christianity must undergo if it was to be reconciled with the spirit of the age. . . . [T]he earlier Christian definitions of man and God, creation and redemption, must be transformed to accommodate the new roles of the divine and human within history. . . . [T]hat enables man to become the co-creator in the divine work of creation and redemption. . . ."

In other words, Christian doctrine must be transformed along the lines of Hermetic theology which emphasized "as above, so below" as essential to the transformation of man into a divine co-creator and co-redeemer, thus uniting heaven with earth.

To be continued. . . .

The Truth:

"By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." (Hebrews 11:8-10)