Saturday, October 30, 2010

"The Force Be With You"


By Pastor Larry DeBruyn

“They have discovered a subatomic particle called a lepton. And the general consensus is that leptons do exist as individual subatomic particles. The only hitch is they’ve only been able to observe leptons in communities of two and three. And so they said, yes, we understand that this is a single lepton, the problem is we only find them existing in groups of two and three oneness. And so the Newtonian understanding of cause and effect has simply taken a beating with quantum physics; because you take a picture of an atom, you take a picture of the same atom a second layer; they don’t know what it’s going to do.

Well, the assumption was always there was an element of predictability at the very bedrock foundational part of the universe. But the problem is quantum physicists are just saying what when you get right down to the smallest thing, that makes a thing, that makes a thing, that makes a thing, essentially the universe at its core is unpredictable. The best we can come up with is that the universe at its core is some sort of relationship of energy.

"So you have brilliant, studied, respected research scientists saying all we can come up is the universe at its core is made up of some sort of relational energy that we simply can’t control, some of them are even starting to use words like personality. And that this energy that holds everything together, that brought everything into existence, and somehow sustains or holds everything in existence, gives life to everything, and simply has a mind of its own, we cannot conquer it or put it into a box. It is simply above and beyond what we can comprehend.

"High end particle quantum subatomic physicists are starting to sound a lot like ancient Near-Eastern Jewish poets.”
Rob Bell, “Everything is Spiritual #2"*

Dicey Design

As many know, Intelligent Design calls into question the Darwinian worldview and the academic establishment that espouses it. The anthropic principle, the idea that we live in a physical and biological universe so minutely calibrated as to enable human life to exist and survive, opposes the random philosophy of life implied by atheistic evolutionism.[55] After all, how can design exist without a Designer, the One the Bible introduces as God? (See Genesis 1:1.) Does our reality exist for reason of “chance,” or the Creator? Are we to think that an explosion (chaos) in a printing shop produced the Encyclopedia Britannica (a fractal)?

The new physics with its attendant aspects of chaos and fractal theory, views such a lucky transformation as possible. Inherent within chaos is design. The planetary junkyard we live in may morph into a new car, provided the “green movement” can first prevent our earth from becoming a graveyard. The ecological crisis must be solved in order to buy the time necessary for the environment to evolve into a higher fractal form.

When the shift between Newtonian and quantum physics took place in the last century, Albert Einstein (1879-1955), believing in the old theory but fascinated by the possibilities of the new, protested stating, “God does not play dice with the universe.”[56] Fractal-ism seems to be an attempt to account for the design in the universe absent a Designer . . . design by chance. Quantum-ism assumes that a self-originated, self-existent, and self-contained system, or universe, is also a self-creating, self-transforming, and self-evolving complexity continuously organizing from chaos into fractals. Reality is a continuum of disorder to order, order to disorder, disorder to order, and so on and so on, from infinity to infinity. The system, it is believed, possesses an inherent ability to transform itself. Order can emerge out of disorder, fractals out of chaos.

Dynamic Monism
So if hope exists, it resides in the ability of the system, in which human beings are the conscious part, to self-transform. Because of the way the universe works independent of the transcendent God, the worldview might be called, “dynamic monism.” Though God remains materialized and energized in the cosmic processes—a sort of divinity does remain in, around, and through all things—He is depersonalized. No longer considered holy, God comes to be known by dynamic monists as “the Force,” or the “It” of everything. This panentheistic and/or pantheistic view of life deny the sovereignty and providence of the Creator.

We can note the similarity of “dynamic-monism” to an ancient philosophy propounded by Anaximander (c. 610 BC–c. 546 BC). In his City of God, Augustine (354-430) noted the philosopher believed:

each thing springs from its own proper principle. These principles of things he [Anaximander] believed to be infinite in number, and . . . that [the principles] generated innumerable worlds . . . He thought . . . these worlds are subject to a perpetual process of alternate dissolution [chaos?] and regeneration [fractals?], each one continuing for a longer or shorter period of time, according to the nature of the case . . .[57]

In difference to intelligent design, Augustine noted that Anaximander did not “attribute anything to a divine mind in the production of all this activity of things.”
In the quantum view of reality, design just seems to happen, but some hypothesize that via human consciousness (presumed to be the cosmos’ intelligent-control mechanism), humans can cause it to happen.[58]

The Consciousness Connexion
According to the old physics, humans were observers of the universe. According to the new way of understanding the universe, humans are participants. The New Spirituality hypothesizes that consciousness and cosmos are connected within a holistic universe, that spirituality and science, metaphysics and physics are interdependent aspects of the monistic and dynamic One. Not only can humans watch the universe operate, they also possess the ability to affect the happening of it. The German physicist Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976) for example, was one of the first advocates of the uncertainty principle. He is quoted to have said:

The great scientific contribution in theoretical physics that has come from Japan since the last war may be an indication of a certain relationship between philosophical ideas in the tradition of the Far East and the philosophical substance of quantum theory.[59]

After all, if perchance God be removed from the system, what, or who, is left? Only the System is left, and the New Spirituality therefore calls upon humans, as the conscious parts of the System, to exercise their consciousness and play God.


To the new spiritualists, the universe is just “there.” Within a universe seen as self-contained and self-creating, it becomes “natural” for an environmentally conscious New Age/Aquarian spirituality to combine philosophy with physics, to link the cosmos with human consciousness, to take the “quantum leap” from the physical to the metaphysical, and to combine science with spirituality.[50] Some even label the connection between consciousness and cosmos, Quantum Spirituality.[61] In his book Soul Tsunami, Leonard Sweet states:

One of the greatest changes in perspective is the postmodern redefinition of size at both the gargantuan and the miniscule levels. Physics is increasingly becoming the study of matter so small (is it a wave? is it a particle?) as to become the study of consciousness. In other words, physics is becoming metaphysics.[62]

Generally, the existential leap involves three phases.[63]

First, any God—who is before, separate from, and therefore above the universe—is denied. Referring to the Jewish Shema which says, “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!” (Deuteronomy 6:4), a Rabbi explains:

My genuine experience of life is that there is nothing ‘out there.’ This is all there is. And when you see the seamlessness of it all (monism?), that’s what I mean by ‘God.’ . . . If you ask me what 9/11 really did, it made me understand the truth that, ‘Everything is one.’ Not that there’s some guy hanging out there who has it all together, who we call ‘One,’ but that it is all one.[64]

In contrast, the Bible pictures reality as dualistic. God existed before and separate from the universe which He created out of nothing (creatio ex nihilo). Therefore, “below and above” is not a “seamless whole.” The God in heaven above is separate from earth below. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Jesus told those authorities who were His antagonists, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world” (John 8:23). To believe it to be otherwise, that “Everything is the One,” is pantheism; and pantheism is atheism.

God “In” Process
Panentheism (i.e., nature houses the divine Soul) is basic to The Shack’s view of God’s being. For reality to be a “mess-below-but-fractal-above,” demands belief that a divine Soul infuses the material universe; that the Soul is not only “around” everything, but is also “through” and “in” everything.[65] Thus, Jesus explains to Mack about “Papa-Elousia” in The Shack:

Being always transcends appearance—that which only seems to be. . . . That is why Elousia is such a wonderful name. God who is the ground of all being, dwells in, around, and through all things—ultimately emerging as the real—and any appearances that mask that reality will fall away (The Shack, 112).

So “the ground of all being” who is a Papa goddess, “dwells in, around, and through all things.” Though it disavows that nature is God (i.e., pantheism), panentheism believes that nature is permeated with a divine Soul. For example, if someone hugs a tree, they are not physically hugging God per se, but they are putting their arms around an object that, along with the rest of nature, houses the divine Soul. Thus, everything and everyone is endowed with an aura of sacredness. Such a worldview, so the thinking goes, will provide humanity with the spiritual basis and incentive to love one another, the creation, and thereby solve the ecological crisis.

Second, because they view reality as a monistic-seamless whole independent of “some-One-out-there,” the New Spirituality deduces the universe to be a self-originated, self-contained, self-perpetuating, self-creating and self-evolving system “which is just there.”

Third, how then, according to this systemic view of everything, are we to understand spirituality? Spirituality comes to be defined as an experience of feeling connected to and aligned with the Universe (i.e., the System, Nature, or Creation), the Source of everything that just is—as above, so below, as without, so within. One Aquarian spiritualist explains:

Knowing that there’s this interconnectedness of the universe that we are all interconnected and we are connected to the universe at its fundamental level . . . I think is as good a definition of spirituality as there is.[56]

To cultivate the consciousness of becoming and being one with the One, to feel connected to and aligned with the seamless whole of Nature, mystical experiences are necessary. Such spiritual encounters become means to that end. Something must happen to shift a person’s inner consciousness to that of feeling connected to Creation, to awaken the dormant divinity that assumedly lies within every person. Mystical experience must transform sub-consciousness (below) into consciousness (above). So as one professor of religion explains, “Mysticism constitutes a core tradition within all the world’s religions and is, above all, a positive and awesome experience of the mystery and miracle of being rather than hypothesis, inference, or mere belief about it.”[67] Another states:

In certain forms of mysticism, there is an experience of identification with every life form . . . Within the deep ecological movement, poetical and philosophical expressions of such experiences are not uncommon.[68]

Thus, we observe that the New Spirituality includes pursuit of mystical experiences through which contemplators—via techniques including meditation, chanting, drumming, and taking drugs—will supposedly develop a consciousness of feeling “at-one-ment” with “the One” which is Nature, which is whatever is “there.”

Likewise, while denigrating a biblical worldview as one of unnecessary institutions, arbitrary authority, and inhibiting rules, The Shack is big on experiencing “Creation” with a capital “C”—strolling in the garden, hiking in the forests, lying on a dock and looking up at the stars in the night skies, exploring caves, walking on water, and so on.[69] Thus a reader of The Shack is introduced to the role played by consciousness in the worldview of the New Spirituality.

To be continued. . . .

55. See William A. Dembski, Intelligent Design, The Bridge Between Science & Theology (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1999). In this book’s “Foreword,” Michael J. Behe summarizes that physically, “the universe is fine-tuned for life, ranging from the strength of the gravitational constant to the values of the resonance levels of carbon nuclei to the frequency of supernovae.” He also points out that biologically, design lies at “the cellular basis of life, where molecular machines of stunning complexity carry out life’s most basic tasks.” (p. 11).
56. Thomas Torrance, “Reflections: Einstein and God,” Center of Theological Inquiry (,+%22dice%22&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=3&gl=us).
57. Augustine, “City of God,” Great Books of the Western World, Volume 18, Robert Maynard Hutchins, Editor in Chief (Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc,) Book VIII, Chapter 2, page 265.
58. Ibid.
59. Emphasis Mine, Werner Heisenberg quoted by Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics, 18. Capra also quotes Quantum physicists Julius Robert Oppenheimer and Niels Bohr with the supposition that quantum mechanics and quantum mysticism compliment one another. In other words, there is a quantum link between science and spirituality!
Philosopher Ken Wilbur on the other hand, thinks that merging particle physics to mystical spirituality is in error. Though many quantum physicists were mystics, they were not so for reason of science. Wilbur rejects the “physics-supports-mysticism” idea because of the “uncertainty” that quantum theory is science’s final view of reality. Like quantum theory has done to the old Newtonian worldview, one day it too will probably be superseded by some new theory of reality, and if this should happen, then Wilbur knows that any spirituality connected to the quantum worldview would be trumped and rendered obsolete. See Ken Wilbur, Editor, Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists (Boston: Shambhala, 1985) ix.
60. J.C. Polkinghorne notes that, “Two books which survey modern physics and seek to assimilate it to Eastern thought are Fritjof Capra: The Tao of Physics (Fontana, 1976), Gary Zukav: The Dancing Wu Li Masters (Fontana, 1980).” Polkinghorne then gives his estimation of the attempt. He writes: “Personally I feel that the attempt depends too greatly on purely verbal parallels to be convincing.” The Quantum World (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1984) 97.
61. Leonard I. Sweet, Quantum Spirituality, A Post Modern Apologetic (Dayton, Ohio: Whaleprints, 1991).
62. Emphasis Mine, Sweet, SoulTsunami, 109.
63. Blackburn states notes that, “Existentialist writing . . . reacts against the view that the universe is a closed, coherent, intelligible system [i.e., that of the old Newtonian physics] . . . In the face of an indifferent universe we are thrown back upon our own freedom. Acting authentically becomes acting in the light of the open space of possibilities that the world allows.” See Simon Blackburn, “existentialism, “Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005) 125.
64. Rabbi Irwin Kula quoted by William J. Jackson, Heaven’s Fractal Net, Retrieving Lost Visions in the Humanities (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana Press, 2004) 239-240.
65. On this point Rick Warren quotes the New Century Version’s theologically errant rendition of Ephesians 4:6b, that God “rules everything and is everywhere and is in everything” (Italics Mine). See The Purpose Driven Life (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002) 88.
66. Stuart Hameroff, M.D., What the Bleep do we know!? DVD (Beverly Hills, California: © 20th Century Fox, 2004).
67. Paul Brockelman, Cosmology and Creation, The Spiritual Significance of Contemporary Cosmology (New York; Oxford University Press, 1999) 74.
68. Ibid. 153. Quoting Arne Naess, “Identification as a Source of Deep Ecological Attitudes,” in Deep Ecology, Michael Tobias, Editor (San Diego: Avant Books, 1985) 153.
69. It can be counted that the word “creation” occurs approximately twenty times in The Shack, and is always spelled with a capital “C.” By his use of the upper case spelling contra Romans 1:25, is the author assigning divinity to nature? In the first occurrence of the word “nature,” it too is spelled with a capital “N.” (The Shack, 15) On the preceding page, Young also wrote of “the god of winter.” (The Shack, 14)

[Ed. Note: The title for posting this segment (Part 4) was derived from the text. Links were added to this text.]

*Rob Bell, “Everything is Spiritual #2," and This quote by Bell was added to the original text because it illustrates the points made here in Part 4. For additional interesting reading on Emergent/Emerging church leader Rob Bell's new physics, see the post at the Sola Sisters blog, October 27, 2010: "Quantum Science Proves 'Everything Is Spiritual?' Not So Fast, Says Quantum Physicist Dr. Frank Stootman," which reports that Rob Bell's science is questionable "according to Dr. Frank Stootman, a quantum physics professor in Australia who has written a paper scientifically refuting Rob Bell's attempt to make panentheism seem scientific. Dr. Stootman's paper states that Rob Bell's "science" is weak at best, and does not support his argument."

Reprinted with permission. This article series is from a chapter in Pastor Larry DeBruyn's book, UNSHACKLED: Breaking Away From Seductive Spirituality, which is available from Discernment Ministries for a gift of $10.00 plus $2.50 for shipping. Orders can be placed by phoning: 903-567-6423. Bulk discounts are available. Book sales directly benefit "Eastern European Ministries," a very special mission project that is close to Pastor DeBruyn's heart.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fractal Emergence


By Pastor Larry DeBruyn

Linear Versus Non-linear Time

Quantum theory also influences one’s view of time. Previously understood as linear by the old view, time is now viewed as nonlinear. As Emerging Church leader Leonard Sweet states: “We do not live in linear time and space, but in curved time and space and nonlinear iterative processes.”[34] Sweet then adds:

Rather than stasis and order, the dynamics of life-systems are non-linear, where the rules of the game keep changing because the game keeps changing. One plays on the run and while everything is moving.[35]

Such a view of time explains why in The Seeker, Will became a time traveler, journeyed back in history, and found the fractal-marked signs by which the universe could be rescued from the encroaching chaos of darkness. This view of time may explain how Mack could visit a garden, “A Long Time Ago . . . Far, Far Away.” (The Shack, Chapter 9, 128).

The Old Physics
The Newtonian worldview—that God the clockmaker made the universe to run like a clock—calculated time to be linear. One writer calls this view of time “straight arrow,” and explains:

Time marches in a straight line at a uniform pace from past to present to future, without variation. Time can only move in one direction—always forward, never backward, certainly not to the left or right, and never in circles.[36]

So tick tock . . . we’re on the clock! According to the Newtonian understanding, the reality of life is sequential, chronological, and temporal. We were born. We live. We will die. This understanding accords with the Bible. The Psalmist wrote: “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10, KJV). Jesus spoke of “this age [and] . . . the age to come” (Matthew 12:32). At the time of His ascension, the disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” to which He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power” (Acts 1:6-7). In light these biblical citations—more could be offered—it is concluded that the biblical “view of time may be called ‘linear’ . . . God’s purpose moves to a consummation; things do not just go on or return to the point whence they began.[37] Everything about life is sequential and therefore temporal. Time marches on . . . or, does it?

The Time Changers

Quantum physics introduces an alternative, though ancient, way of looking at time; that time is non-linear. This cyclic understanding of time opposes the biblical and Newtonian conceptualization of time.

Einstein’s theory of relativity—that energy equals matter (E = m)—not only changed the understanding of the universe’s material dimension, but also its temporal dimension. The quantum physical worldview theorizes that time is non-linear, or cyclic. Theologian Lucas explains:

According to the theory of relativity time can no longer be regarded as an independent entity separate from the three spatial dimensions of length, depth, and height. Instead we have to think in terms of a unified, four-dimensional space time.[38]

Because outer space is measured by the distance that light travels in a solar year (i.e., light years), and because light may in fact be particles, quantum theory integrates light with space (because light is matter, and matter occupies space). Thus, a New Age spiritualist opines:

According to relativity theory, space is not three-dimensional and time is not a separate entity. Both are intimately connected and form a four-dimensional continuum, ‘space-time’.[39]

By combining time and space, and the energy-matter which occupies space, some scientists project there to have been no temporal “beginning” of the universe. There is no ex nihilo (out of nothing) origin of the universe. Everything just “Is.” There is no God who, “In the beginning [time] . . . created the heavens [space] and the earth [matter]” (Genesis 1:1). The universe is just a gargantuan holistic and monistic “Oneness”—as above, so below. Stephen Hawking states:

One could say: “The boundary condition of the universe is that it has no boundary.” The universe would be completely self-contained and not affected by anything outside itself. It would neither be created nor destroyed. It would just BE.[40]

In this view of reality, time becomes cyclical and repeatable. This ancient religious and philosophical worldview, common to eastern religions, believes in an

endless return of golden ages alternating with dark ages. All that had happened yesterday and yesterday and yesterday would happen tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.[41]

Rewinding their reality to the past (as in The Seeker and The Shack), or fast forwarding it to the future, become real possibilities for the human experience. Backward or forward, we can become conscious time travelers. We can control our reality providing we develop via prescribed mystical-meditative techniques, a new consciousness through which we can manipulate our reality from chaos to order (i.e., fractal). The science of the Mind can triumph over matter. As the cyclical complements the spiritual and the mystical, physics becomes the handmaid of metaphysics. Having looked at chaos theory, we turn now to the transformational aspect of chaotic mechanics—fractals.

Polkinghorne notes that, “chaos theory is an odd mixture of order and disorder, of randomness contained within a patterned structure.”[42] With his mathematically generated computer patterns, Benoît Mandelbrot (1924- ) discovered what has become the other side of chaos theory.[43] The self-similar images reflect, it is believed, the self-forming capability inherent to the universe. These cloned, repetitive, and patterned images are called “fractals,” the original Mandelbrot set being the most famous.[44] They are described as, “unique patterns left behind by the unpredictable movement—the chaos—of the world at work.”[45] Though appearing chaotic (a mess), the system, from the minutest to the grandest levels, exhibits design (fractal-ness) everywhere—in cells, arteries-veins, nerves, body organs, snowflakes, mountain ranges, shorelines, ferns, roses, fruits, broccoli, leaves, and so on. Fractals allow the observer to sense the process of nature’s self-organizing character and inherent infinity. Controlled by the numbers set into the equation, computer generated images can be observed replicating themselves ad infinitum.[46] The clones mimic infinity.[47] So it is theorized, from the chaos of the “Big Bang” [As terrorists know, explosions cause chaos], fractal emergence suggests that design, however random, can happen. The universe appears to possess an awesome power to replicate itself. Life is not doomed to end in chaos. There’s hope! Out of the chaos (confusion), design (transformation) may haphazardly emerge. A source describes:

Scientists have discovered that systems in transitional states between order and chaos possess certain patterns with unique, predictable qualities. These patterns are called “fractals.” In essence, they are visual images or pictures of chaos at work.[48]

In their relationship to the whole, both chaos and fractals seem partnered in the cosmic process. As Sweet states:

[We] live in a world that is ill-defined, out of control, and in constant flow and flux. We live in a world that is more weird than we ever imagined—a world that is fractal, self-replicating, inflationary, unpredictable, and filled with strange attractors.[49]

According to Jean Huston, a New Age advocate of human potential, “Fractals show a holistic hidden order behind things, a harmony in which everything affects everything else, and, above all, an endless variety of interwoven patterns.”[50]

So according to this aspect of quantum theory, the world is not as hopeless as at times it might seem. As interrupted by chaos, fractals are observed to be coming and going. Chaos is a necessary prelude out of which fractal design will emerge. Our system is in a perpetual process of transformational change from disorder to order, disintegration to design, and confusion to creation. Fractals become the clues, the images, suggesting that life’s reality is spirally evolving from a “mess” (chaos) into a “garden” (a fractal). Chaos is only believed to be a temporary phase of disorder that the self-transforming system, of which we are the conscious part, must pass through. Perhaps this explains why some evangelicals label their church emergent. The disorder that now seemingly besets Christendom only indicates the emerging of a new form of Christianity.

The whole process bears similarity to the Yin and the Yang of Chinese philosophy where, “the concept of yin yang . . . is used to describe how seemingly opposing forces are interdependent in the natural world, giving rise to each other in turn.”[51] Amidst the chaos engulfing this planet, there resides the hope of fractal transformation. Hope happens.[52] So where physicists observe the system disintegrating and assuming fractals to be more science than art, they also see design (a “garden”) emerging out of chaos (a “mess”) everywhere. It’s like looking into the patterns coming and going in a kaleidoscope.[53] As an aside, it might be noted that the geometric architectural constructions of Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) also suggest his belief that design may emerge out of chaos.[54]

This brief description, from a layman’s point of view, is an understanding of quantum physics and its attendant aspects of chaos and fractal theory. Yet quantum physics has also given rise to a philosophy of life, a worldview.

To be continued. . . .

34. Leonard Sweet, SoulTsunami, Sink or Swim in New Millennium Culture (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999) 80.
35. Ibid.
36. J.M. Berger, “Flashbacks, Memory and Non-Linear Time,” Lost Online Studies (
37. M.H. Cressey, “Time,” The New Bible Dictionary, J.D. Douglas, Editor (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1962) 1277.
38. Lucas, “God, GUTs and Gurus.”
39. Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics, An Exploration of the Parallels between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism, 4th Edition Updated (Boston: Shambhala Publications, Inc., 1999) 62.
40. Hawking, A Brief History of Time, 136
41. Edward Harrison, Masks of the Universe, Changing Ideas on the Nature of the Cosmos, Second Edition (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003) 104-105.
42. Emphasis Mine, John Polkinghorne, Quarks, Chaos & Christianity, Questions to Science and Religion (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1996) 67.
43. “Benoît Mandelbrot,” Wikipedia ( See too “Mandelbrot set” (
44. Generated by computers, variations of the Mandelbrot set may be observed at the website Fractal Geometry. ( Computer generated fractals are truly beautiful works of art that tantalize both the eye and the soul.
45. Borders Books’ definition of “fractals” in the locater-monitor’s description of John Briggs’ book, Fractals: The Patterns of Chaos (New York: Touchstone, Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1992).
46. As Lisle explains, “A fractal contains an infinite number of copies of itself . . . The Mandelbrot set is infinitely detailed . . . on the ‘tail’ of the Mandelbrot set . . . we find but another (smaller) version of the original. This new, smaller Mandelbrot set also has a tail containing a miniature version of itself, which has a miniature version of itself, etc.—all the way to infinity. The Mandelbrot set is called a ‘fractal’ since it has an infinite number of its own shape built into itself.” See Jason Lisle, “Fractals.” Fractals do not though, it seems to me, account for the variation within creation.
47. Ibid. In his analysis of the Mandelbrot set and asserting there exists in numbers a “secret code,” Lisle employs the words, “infinitely . . . infinity.”
48. Borders Books.
49. Sweet, SoulTsunami, 80.
50. Jean Houston, A Mythic Life (New York: Harper Collins Publishers, Inc., 1996) 7. As another defines them, “In the most basic sense, fractals are defined as small parts that represent the whole while displaying the same level of complexity at any scale. One other definition of fractals is that they are mathematical models that mimic nature.” See Dr. Horace Campbell, “Think Piece, Barack Obama, Fractals, and Momentum in Politics,” The Black Commentator (
51. “Yin and yang,” Wikipedia,
52. In his book, Everything Must Change, Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007), Brian D. McLaren titles the first chapter “Hope Happens.” He frequently employs the statement in the book.
53. One can also observe kaleidoscopic and fractal-like designs in both Indian and African art. See ( and (
54. The Unitarian R. Buckminster Fuller preoccupied himself with the question, “Does humanity have a chance to survive lastingly and successfully on planet Earth, and if so, how?” See Bill McKibben, Editor, Environmental Earth, Environmental Writing Since Thoreau (U.S.A.: Penguin Group, 2008) 464. Evidently, he found hope through his calculated geodesic and tetrahedral designs. In his 1968 book, I Seem to Be a Verb, he wrote: “I live on Earth at present, and I don’t know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing—a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process –an integral function of the universe.” In Fuller’s worldview, human survival depends upon design emerging from chaos. It should be noted that William Young approvingly quotes Fuller. (The Shack, 194) Scripture does teach that God will create the new heavens and the new earth out of the chaos of a fallen creation (Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:11-13; Revelation 21:1; Romans 8:21).

[Ed. Note: The title for posting this segment (Part 3) was derived from the text. Links were added to this text.]

Reprinted with permission. This article series is from a chapter in Pastor Larry DeBruyn's book, UNSHACKLED: Breaking Away From Seductive Spirituality, which is available from Discernment Ministries for a gift of $10.00 plus $2.50 for shipping. Orders can be placed by phoning: 903-567-6423. Bulk discounts are available. Book sales directly benefit "Eastern European Ministries," a very special mission project that is close to Pastor DeBruyn's heart.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The “Uncertainty Principle”


By Pastor Larry DeBruyn

Whereas—viewing the universe according to largest scales of measurement (i.e., from the top down)—the old Newtonian physics saw “the system” as ordered and determined, quantum mechanics—looking at the universe from the perspective of the smallest scales of mathematical measurement (i.e., from the bottom up)—theorizes the system to be unordered and undetermined. By calculating mathematical formulas so complex that only elitist physicists can understand them, the new physics will only postulate probabilities, not absolutes. The cause-effect interaction of the smallest quantities of matter/energy (i.e., quarks, gluons, and electrons) appears to be uncertain and therefore chaotic.

Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976), a German physicist, theorized that, “we cannot localize a particle with arbitrary high precision and at the same know its exact momentum.”[24] At the tiniest level of observation, accurate conclusions are impossible, for in the same instant of time—because both are constantly moving—a particle’s position and velocity cannot be precisely measured. In the same millisecond either the position or the velocity of particles can be calculated, but not both. At the subatomic level, the flux of the one renders getting a fix on the other impossible. So just when you think you have it, you discover you don’t. For example, maybe light is particle, or maybe it is waves. Depending on the experiment and who’s observing it, light exhibits the properties of either particles or waves.

So a system, once thought to be determined, measurable, and predictable, now appears to be undetermined, immeasurable, and unpredictable. At the micro level, the random interaction of quantities of particles/energy introduces uncertainty as to how those parts might impact the “happenings” of the whole. When viewed from the bottom up, the only certainty about the universe is uncertainty. Science becomes a game, and life a bet!

So as physics morphs into philosophy, the uncertainty principle emerges as the template against which the entire spectrum of reality or life must be evaluated, including spirituality. As the Hungarian scientist-mystic Arthur Koestler (1905-1983) reportedly stated of the uncertainty worldview, “The nineteenth-century clockwork model of the universe is in shambles and, since matter itself has been dematerialized, materialism can no longer claim to be a scientific philosophy.”[25] As New Age advocate Gary Zukav sees it:

The world view of particle physics is that of a world without ‘stuff,’ where what is = what happens, and where an unending tumultuous dance of creation, annihilation, and transformation runs unabated within a framework of conservation laws and probability.[26]

A Quantum Question
According to physicist Stephen Hawking (1942- ), reconciling certainty with uncertainty—as could be compared to the theological question regarding the relationship between determinism and human free will—is one of the great challenges facing modern scientific inquiry. “One of the major endeavors in physics today . . .” he writes, “is the search for a new theory that will incorporate them both—a quantum theory of gravity.”[27]

In the chapter “A Piece of π,” God asks Mack in The Shack about how freedom and determinism relate in life.

Does freedom mean that you are allowed to do whatever you want to do? Or could we talk about all the limiting influences in your life that actually work against your freedom. Your genetic heritage, your specific DNA, your metabolic uniqueness, the quantum stuff that is going on at a subatomic level where only I am the always-present observer. (Italics Mine, The Shack, 95)

By her remarks it can be noted that “God” (i.e., Papa-Elousia) views her relationship to reality to be that of an observer, and not the Creator and Controller of the universe; and to be like that of a physicist, not the Sustainer of the universe. Nevertheless, the disparate chaos and fractal theories appear to be an attempt to reconcile irreconcilable aspects of quantum mechanics.[28]

Chaos Theory
A few decades ago, Edward Lorenz (1917-2008), discovered the mathematical aspect of chaos theory when,

He inadvertently ran what seemed like the same calculations through a creaky computer twice and came up with vastly different answers. When he tried to figure out what happened, he noticed a slight decimal point change—less than 0.0001—wound up leading to significant error. That error became a seminal scientific paper, presented in 1972, about the butterfly effect.[29]

As Lorenz’s discovery might seem to indicate, some scientists now believe that the random interaction between quantities of matter and energy in the micro-cosmos can affect the behavior of matter and energy in the macro-cosmos. This perturbation is known as “the butterfly effect.” In the “dynamical system” in which human beings are the conscious part, a butterfly flapping its wings in the Congo could stimulate a wave/particle disturbance causing a tropical storm in the Atlantic Ocean. Looked at in another way, the first falling of a small domino somewhere in the system could eventuate in the falling of greater and greater dominos until the whole planet finds itself in state of chaos.[30] Though in a closed system it appears that the smaller does influence the greater, the magnitude of the impact of the smaller upon the greater remains uncertain.

This is one hypothetical aspect of quantum physics known as chaos theory, the theory assuming “that small, localized perturbations in one part of a complex system can have widespread consequences throughout the system.”[31] But I call it hypothetical because as the-physicist-turned-theologian John Polkinghorne defines it, “Quantum chaology [is] . . . the not-fully-understood subject of the quantum mechanics of chaotic systems.”[32] In other words, like the weather, one cannot assuredly predict the long range effects of quantities of particles/energy interacting at the sub-atomic level, and whether that interaction might affect the greater part of the whole. A butterfly flapping its wings in the Congo does not necessarily cause a hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean.

Though the Newtonian view of the system (order above chaos) is still viewed to be a player in the physics game,

The world view of particle physics is a picture of chaos beneath order. At the fundamental level is a confusion of continual creation, annihilation and transformation.[33]

To be continued. . . .

24. Peter Schupp, “Particle Physics on Noncommutative Space-Time,” Physics in the New Millennium, 305.
25. Arthur Koestler, Research in Parapsychology 1972 (special dinner address), quoted by Dave Hunt, A Cup of Trembling (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1995) 373.
26. Gary Zukav, Dancing Wu Li Masters, An Overview of the New Physics (New York: Harper Collins Publishers, Inc., 2001) 217.
27. Stephen W. Hawking, A Brief History of Time, From the Big Bang to Black Holes (New York: Bantam Books, 1988) 12. de Laplace too surmised that, “Given for one instant an intelligence which could comprehend all the forces by which nature is animated and the respective positions of the beings which compose it, if moreover this intelligence were vast enough to submit these data to analysis, it would embrace in the same formula both the movements of the largest bodies in the universe [i.e., the old Newtonian physics] and those of the lightest atom [the new quantum physics]; to it nothing would be uncertain, and the future as the past would be present to its eyes [the concept of time becomes non-linear]. See “Science Quotes.”
28. See James Gleick, Chaos, Making a New Science (New York: Penguin Books, 1987). The terms chaos and fractal occur frequently in the book.
29. See “MIT prof Edward Lorenz, father of chaos theory, dies at 90,” News, April 16, 2008 (
30. Theoretically, the detonation of a nuclear device could lead to spontaneous and uncontrolled combustion melting down the whole planet.
31. John M. Last, “Chaos Theory,” (http://www.
32. John Polkinghorne, Quantum Theory, A Very Short Introduction (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002) 97.
33. Zukav, Wu Li Masters, 216.

Reprinted with permission. This article series is from a chapter in Pastor Larry DeBruyn's book, UNSHACKLED: Breaking Away From Seductive Spirituality, which is available from Discernment Ministries for a gift of $10.00 plus $2.50 for shipping. Orders can be placed by phoning: 903-567-6423. Bulk discounts are available. Book sales directly benefit "Eastern European Ministries," a very special mission project that is close to Pastor DeBruyn's heart.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

“Half-Baked” Christianity

A Meditation Upon Hosea 7:8

By Pastor Larry DeBruyn

"Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned. Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not: yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not. And the pride of Israel testifieth to his face: and they do not return to the LORD their God, nor seek him for all this."
Hosea 7:8-10, KJV

In a previous generation, a churchman observed of the church's relationship to the surrounding culture of that era and said: "I looked for the church and found it in the world. I looked for the world and found it in the church." In the history of American Christianity there perhaps has never been a time when the criticism uttered by that Englishman against the church of his day is not also an apt indictment of Christianity in our culture today.

Admixing faith with culture--something we might call the Canaanitization of Christianity--is something that both testaments warn against. The Apostle Paul warned the Corinthians against allowing it to happen. He wrote: "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty" (2 Corinthians 6:17-18; Citing Isaiah 52:11.). About allowing themselves to become blended with the culture, to become culturized by Corinth, the Apostle Paul called upon true believers to separate themselves from those who, by their actions and beliefs, violated the covenant of faith. He admonished, "Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God . . ." (2 Corinthians 6:14-16a).

Using an interesting metaphor, the prophet Hosea warned that, "Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned" (Emphasis mine, Hosea 7:8). Hosea describes that Israel had violated God's call for them to remain a distinct people from the pagan nations around them (See Exodus 34:12-16.). Because Israel was in clear violation of God's command, Hosea compares Israel to an unturned pancake, an ancient version of fast food! Cooked upon hot coals, the cake had to be turned from one side to the other at just the right moment, else the downside, the side closest to the fire, would become scorched and burnt, while the upside, the side away from the fire, would remain unbaked, doughy, and odious. That is how the prophet likened the northern nation of Israel just before their captivity. Their courting of and alliances with the pagan nations, as exhibited by the men of Israel marrying pagan women and their gods, caused the prophet to picture the nation as a "half-baked" pancake fit only to be discarded into the fire of God's judgment.

The question must be asked, is there a sense in which, whether corporately or individually, we like Ephraim, are cakes not turned? The question is not irrelevant. In comparing the sins of Northern Israel--fraud, lying, adultery, alcohol consumption, unresolved anger and outbursts of rage, unfaithful leadership and prayerlessness--can it not be discerned that the sins which plagued ancient Ephraim are also evident in today's professing church? In short, the same sinful influences upon Ephraim in Hosea's day are observable in and amongst Christians today.

For allowing itself to become culturized, the consequence is that the church loses her credibility. What the church is (or is not) speaks so loudly that the culture cannot hear what she says, her prophetic voice as it were. In trying to reform society, the church finds itself in the hypocritical posture of first needing to reform itself; of needing to clean herself up before she attempts to clean up others. "We've met the enemy" Pogo says, "and he is us!" Such is the way worldliness impacts the church. It causes the church to be half-baked.

In the 70s and early 80s, Edward Dobson worked with Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority. Admitting that the cause was neither moral nor a majority, Dobson is recorded to have assessed the movement, striking at the nerve of the problem. From the movement's inception it was doomed to fail because as he stated: "It was an attempt to change values in the world at large when those values haven't even been changed in the community of faith."[1]

I fear for the Religious Right during 2010 and in the years beyond, that if its own values have not changed, any positive change foisted on America in the upcoming election will be short lived, and in the end prove to be "chump change." A culturized church cannot change the culture.


[1] Edward Dobson quoted by John Seel, "Nostalgia for the Lost Empire," No God But God, Os Guiness and John Seel, Editors (Chicago: Moody Press, 1992) 74.

Used with permission. The original article is posted here: Be sure to see the other excellent articles posted at Pastor DeBruyn's website

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"The Emerging Order"

Part 6: The Next Great Awakening. . .
Or Great Deadening?

"Dominion, suggests David Coe, Doug's son, is 'an invisible Kingdom,' won not by conquest but through substitution, the replacement of democratic vistas with 'His vision.' Not through revival but through relationships, man by man."
–Jeff Sharlet, C Street[1]

"The first great evangelical awakening gave birth to the American Revolution. The second great evangelical revival spawned the abolitionist movement and helped trigger the Civil War...."

"...America's two great spiritual awakenings of the past... serve as a base of operations for a challenge to the existing order or a catalyst for a revolutionary visions of society."

"A new economic order is emerging in the world. It calls for a second Protestant reformation. The historical moment has arrived."
–Jeremy Rifkin, The Emerging Order[2]

Like the evangelical leaders who met together at the two Consultations on Future Evangelical Concerns,[3] Jeremy Rifkin's blueprint for another Great Awakening was based upon the controversial 1972 Club of Rome report, The Limits to Growth, which predicted dire global catastrophes such as population growth, material consumption, pollution of the environment, etc. In fact, Rifkin, in his landmark book The Emerging Order, devotes an entire chapter (Chapter 3, "Limits to Growth") to this topic. These crises are the foundation upon which he then proposed a radical solution – creating an "emerging spiritual revolution"(p. 91) and a "massive religious awakening."(p. 92)

Rifkin explained that a global redistribution of wealth would "comprise only half the solution." The earth would need a longer term "steady-state society," an economy that would "require that each person live a much more frugal or spartan lifestyle." In order to achieve this controversial goal, and to help people to accept these profound changes on the earth, he proposed a concurrent change in spirituality. Spirituality could appease the masses and give them new higher ideals. He called for a shift to the "spiritual and transcendent" (p. 90) in people's values and worldviews; a "revolutionary change in myths, values, and governing arrangements;" a "metamorphosis in values and social behavior." This new spirituality would facilitate "a qualitative leap from the end of one epoch into the beginning of another."(p. 94-95)

Rifkin liked the mysticism he saw inherent in "Eastern religions" and the "human potential movement," but he noted that a global "spiritualism" shift couldn't be pulled off without the involvement of Christians. He explained his rationale:

"America is a Christian nation, and it is within the Christian community that a renewed religious awakening will be most deeply felt. In fact, though it is difficult to imagine, what may well emerge in the years to come is nothing short of a second Protestant reformation, one that may have as powerful an effect on the world as the first. Already Protestant doctrine is being transformed by the epochal shifts occurring in the economic world. These changes in doctrine are, in turn, beginning to shape and define the specific direction of these economic forces."(p. 96) [emphasis added]

Rifkin believed that "people's economic life is continually being defined by their religious convictions." He held the First Reformation responsible for our modern consumer-based capitalism, writing a detailed historical chronology expressing his unique viewpoint that takes up several chapters in his book. In order to shift over to a new global economic order, which he said "is emerging from the realization that the world is moving from the age of growth to the age of scarcity," he therefore saw the need for a radical "religious transformation that American Protestantism" should undergo"– in other words, "a massive religious awakening."(p. 96)

The problem became one of mechanics. How could a Third Great Awakening be brought about, engineered, orchestrated and managed? Rifkin proposed jumping onto the evangelical movement's bandwagon, particularly infiltrating its "communications network" and its community-based "infrastructure" with new theology. (p. 105)

To do this, Rifkin took note how evangelicals were utilizing the new technologies to convey their message. In the late 1970s, it was the rise of television that Rifkin observed was "dramatically changing the way people perceive Christian faith and doctrine." Consider Rifkin's remarks below in the context of subsequent rise of the personal computer, the Internet, and telecommunications:

"A revolution in Christianity is beginning to unfold, and it owes much of its impetus to television, just as the Reformation owed much of its impetus to print. The movement from print to TV has transformed the human mind. The sensual and experiential mode of instant television communications has replaced the objective and analytical mode of reflective print communications. Time and distance have been overtaken by spontaneity and immediacy. The individual no longer thinks as much as he acts. He no longer ponders as much as he experiences. This new conceptual mode will transform much of Christian doctrine between now and the turn of the century. The Charismatic phenomenon represents the first significant step in that transformation process....

"While evangelicals continue to exploit the TV medium to influence their public, they have not yet fully realized how much the medium, in turn, is influencing their own personal shifts in theological emphasis and interpretation."
(p. 113-114) [emphasis added]

Technology, then, would be the MEDIUM through which this shift in theological interpretation could occur. New doctrines could be widely promulgated by the new communication technologies. Finally there would be a way to get new doctrines into people, circumventing the traditional structures of denomination, pastorate and pew. People could be fed a constant diet of heretical doctrines via home-based technology. There were no holds barred. Through the ensuing decades evangelical theologians embraced an unethical "the ends justify the means" and "do whatever it takes" worldview that permitted them to utilize any aspect of technology for building their "kingdom." In fact, leaders contextualized technology, applying its "truths" to their "all truth is God's truth" mantra for transformation, and teaching an unsound "if it is available, it will be used for good" precept.

Rifkin divided the evangelicals and Charismatics into two groups for his planned "theological movement." The evangelicals would be in charge of "developing a reformulated theological doctrine for a new order and a new covenant." The Charismatics would be in charge of fueling a "liberating energy that is essential for any full-scale assault on the authority of the existing economic (and political) order."(p. 169)

"If the Charismatic and the evangelical movements come together and effectively unite a liberating energy with a new covenant vision, America could experience a third great awakening." (p. 169) [emphasis added]

Rifkin needed the mystical Charismatics to pull off the substantial doctrinal shift he was calling for. He noticed that "many evangelicals are putting more emphasis on the Holy Spirit.... This new emphasis on the Holy Spirit and revealed truths is a key theological link between the new evangelicals and the Charismatics."(pp. 170-171)

"The Charismatic experience is one of the heart. It is a deeply subjective emotional encounter with God. It does not rely on the kind of rational scholasticism that is a central feature of more orthodox Christian belief."(p. 180) [emphasis added]

To reformulate doctrine, Rifkin rejected "scriptural inerrancy" and biblical separation. He worried about the "mass anxiety wrought by the steady breakdown of the present system and emergence of a new and still undefined economic order...."(p. 219) This was a psychologized anxiety. Rifkin was concerned about how people would react to changing over to the new order. How could the mass anxiety of people on the planet be effectively managed when the old economic order shifts over to the radical new order? The only solution would be a new spirituality that was emotive, but also had a corresponding doctrinal justification for the extreme frugality that would be required. Rifkin offered a two-pronged solution that first "lies in the establishment of a new world view based on an ecologically balanced steady-state economic system."(p. 221) And, second, he anticipated that the Charismatic's de-emphasis on science and rationalism could provide "the liberating energy and the potential revolutionary power that could dislodge the existing order."(p. 222)

"It is important to note the extreme nonrational anti-institutional nature of the Charismatic movement. It is, first and foremost, a movement of the heart over the mind, of personal experience over objective analysis. The very basis of the Charismatic renewal is nonrational and subjective."(p. 228)

But how to blend the more rational evangelicals with the Charismatics? Up to this point they had been separate camps. Rifkin wrote, "You have to break a few eggs to make an omelet."(p. 232) The new economic order would require a "new covenant vision" to "maintain control over the country during a period of long-range economic decline."(p. 241) Therefore, a "new covenant" doctrine would have to be concocted upon which everyone from all sides of the theological spectrum could rally around and agree – both political Right and Left, and both Protestant and Charismatic. This "new covenant" would bring in a new social gospel and a new eschatology. Not surprisingly, this shift would be to Dominionism!

Consider the radical nature of what Rifkin proposed thirty years ago:

"Genesis, Creation and the Steady State

"A major reformulation of Protestant doctrine is beginning to take shape. At its center is the story of creation from the Book of Genesis. This reformulation could set the stage for a third great awakening in America and a new covenant vision for a steady-state economic order. Not surprisingly, the theologians who are refocusing on the story of creation and redefining its central message are largely unaware of the profound revolutionary impact their theories could have upon America and the world. Nonetheless, their reconstruction of doctrine continues to ripple out into wider circles. If it becomes a tidal wave within the Christian community, then Luther and Calvin may well be retired to the theological archives to be replaced by the yet unnamed heretics of the second great reformation.

"Many evangelical and mainline Protestant scholars are beginning to argue that a basic redefinition of the story of creation provides the only viable starting point for establishing a new ecologically sound approach to people's relationships to the world around them."
(pp. 241-242) [emphasis added]

Rifkin also proposed including another group of people to assist in this radical theological shift – Jim Wallis and the "new evangelicals." Rifkin wanted to bring in this group, which was an early experiment in creating a Emergent movement, because they were "developing a very different approach to ecology."(p. 245) Rifkin praised Wallis for his "theology of service" that championed the poor and worked against "economic injustice."(pp. 174-5) And he especially liked the shift in doctrinal emphasis to collective salvation: "For the new evangelicals, sin is inherent to both the individual and the institutions. Both are fallen, both need to be changed."(p. 176) Notably, in the years to come, Wallis would engage in an ongoing dialectic with the Christian Right, championing Leftist causes against the extremes of the Religious Right. As the Emergent Church movement has grown, Wallis has regained prominence and influence, touting a "third way."[5]

Rifkin especially liked the fact that the "new evangelicals" believed that there was a "mistake in Christian doctrine,... the misinterpretation of the concept of dominion in the Genesis account of creation."(p.245) He noticed, "Now, for the first time, evangelical scholars are beginning to redefine the meaning of dominion, and in so doing, they are creating the theological foundations for a steady-state world view."(p. 245) These "new evangelical scholars" were developing theologies that taught that "anything that exploits or harms God's creations is sinful and an act of rebellion against God himself."(p. 245) Worse, "anything that undermines the 'fixed' purpose and order that God has given to the natural world is also sinful and an act of rebellion. This is no small theological point."(p. 245-6) So, according to this worldview, "Dominionism means stewardship over nature."(p. 246) And there are serious penalties for non-compliance with the stewardship/Dominion mandate. This then leads to the idea of a covenant.

Throughout the book, Rifkin continually refers to the necessity for a new covenant. His obsession with covenants may explain the preponderance of charters, covenants, declarations and manifestos arising from the various sects of Dominionism today. Rifkin explains that the "new definition of dominion, though popularly embraced, has not yet been formally consecrated as the theological foundation for a new Christian world view." But when a new Dominion covenant can be agreed upon, "Protestantism will take an unalterable turn toward a second reformation"(pp. 247-8)[emphasis added]. Covenants, then, become a binding mechanism to enforce the new theologies.

Jeremy Rifkin was always big on entropy, even writing a book about it entitled Entropy: A New World View (Bantam, 1981). He held to an idealistic feature of a Dominionist worldview where entropy could be "dramatically reduced, extending the life of the world's ecosystem for millions of years into the future."(p. 250) This would require the cooperation of people on the planet. He was optimistic that the "laws of thermodynamics are finally being rediscovered and redefined within a broader theological and philosophical context," and proposed that these laws could "become the philosophical and metaphysical focus for the new age of scarcity"(p. 251) [emphases added].

But there remained one problem. Rifkin was upset about premillennialism. It would have to give way to a "new creation theory" inherent in a stewardship of the earth covenant.

"When combined with more orthodox evangelical theology, the new creation theory and the laws of thermodynamics set the tone for a reformulation of Christian doctrine and a covenant that is suited to the ecological prerequisites of a steady-state social order. Still there remains one critical obstacle in the way of such a development. The current premillennial attitude prevalent among most evangelicals is at direct odds with some of the interpretations of the creation story that have been set forth....

"Their attention has become so riveted on anticipation of the coming of the kingdom and saving as many souls as possible in the remaining time, that they have left God's created order unguarded and unprotected. In not honoring their covenant to God to serve as stewards, the premillennialists are acting in direct rebellion. Secondly, by doing nothing to resist or slow down the ongoing forces of disorder and chaos, they are not only showing disrespect for God's creations, but they are also failing to bear their cross, that is, to act as witness to the glory of God's order and the future coming of the kingdom.... In their noninvolvement, they are as guilty of disrespect for God's creation as those who exploit the earth directly."
(p. 251)

"The new interpretation of the creation story is as theologically significant for the future steady-state society as Calvin's Reformation doctrine was for the emergence of the expansionary era of capitalism."(p. 252)

Rifkin went on to espouse a radical new economic theory based on this reinterpreted Dominionism doctrine. He proposed an end to individual autonomy, private ownership and accumulation of wealth,(p. 253) even going so far as to radically propose that "the entire concept of private ownership of land and resources is an act of rebellion" by "violating God's covenant and his relationship with the rest of creation."(p. 254) Like the modern Emergents today, he suggested a Dominionist worldview that would "create a reverence or respect toward creation."(p. 255) From here it is only a slight leap to the Christian Right's similarly redefined Genesis 1 mandate to "subdue" and "rule" the earth and bring in the kingdom of God.

Rifkin gets downright bizarre. He was upset that people were getting their "psychic energy" from the various therapies, cults, and "numerous psychological and spiritual encounter groups," which he felt only served to fuel their excessive consumerism. He wanted to switch their emotive allegiances because there would have to be stringent new "limits placed on them by God's order and creation."(p. 262) These limits are steeped in his Communitarian worldview, which he explains in Chapter 4 as "public stewardship for the common good" and "public duty and responsibility." (p. 90) A switch in worldview was necessary, "forcing a revolutionary change in myths, values, and governing arrangements."(p. 94-5) The Bible could be wielded as a tool to enforce these limits:

"Fallen people, say the evangelicals, are people who refuse to accept the real limits placed upon them by God's order and creation. By reasserting the belief that human beings are fallen, and by placing self-imposed limits on what they can do and what they can't do—those limits being prescribed in the Bible as God's revealed truths and commandments—the evangelicals say that a semblance of order and discipline can be restored to the world and God's natural order."(p. 262)

However, Rifkin had his own limits. And his limits for the coming global society would not apply to sexuality. Rather, "The new interpretation of the creation doctrine would hold that sex is something to enjoy and appreciate." Worse, he suggested penalties for not embracing this new unlimited sexual freedom:

"Any behavior, therefore, that undermines the natural pleasure of sex, overconsumes sexual activity and fails to respect the intrinsic self-worth and sexual equality of others is an act of rebellion against God and God's created order."(p. 263)

To accomplish this, Rifkin deconstructs the traditional family into a "reconstructed family" that could play "a new role—one of caretaker or steward," and a "primary regulator and enforcer of the communal economic norms of a steady-state society."(p. 266)

Finally, in a subsection entitled "Toward a Second Protestant Reformation," Rifkin asserts that his "new stewardship doctrine turns the modern world view upside down."(p. 270) His "newly defined creation doctrine" effectually becomes the Dominion Mandate.

"...[T]he new stewardship doctrine represent a fundamental shift in humanity's frame of reference. It establishes a new set of governing principles for how human beings should behave and act in the world. As a world view, the stewardship doctrine demands of the faithful an uncompromising allegiance."(p. 270)

"Faith healing, speaking in tongues and prophesying are, indeed, weapons of rebellion against the authority of the modern age.

"Similarly, by radically redefining humanity's relationship to the rest of God's creation, contemporary evangelical scholars are thrusting a theological dagger directly into the heart of the expansionary epoch. The new concept is that dominion is stewardship.... This belief is at loggerheads with both the [First] Reformation and the materialist world view of the past several hundred years. By refocusing the story of creation and humanity's purpose in the world, evangelical theologians have committed an act of open rebellion against their own Reformation roots.... The new emphasis on stewardship is providing the foundation for the emergence of a second Protestant reformation and a new covenant vision for society."(p. 271)[bold and color emphases added]

Jeremy Rifkin said it. We didn't: "evangelical theologians have committed an act of open rebellion against their own Reformation roots." Which is a rebellion against Scripture and its Gospel of Salvation.

Jeremy Rifkin's blueprint for an "emerging order" set in motion a series of changes that took decades to put into full operation. Obviously, he wasn't the only proponent to call for a radical restructuring of evangelical doctrine in that era. But over the years his book has proven to be most consistently on target as a "blueprint" for a new postmodern era. Finally, in the past several years, with the open rise of Dominionism and its flagrant mandate to take control of the cultural centers of the country (and the world), Rifkin's plan can be seen in its full global scope. The power elite of the Religious Right and Left have done their dialectic dance long enough. The merger of "the great emergence" is about to begin. . . . and it will be no "great awakening," but rather a terrible spiritual deadening to the Gospel of Salvation.

The Truth:

Just for the record, this blueprint of Jeremy Rifkin's is New Age to its core. Author and prominent researcher of the New Age movement, Constance Cumbey, recorded in her 1985 book A Planned Deception, that Rifkin had written a new book, "appropriately entitled Declaration of a Heretic" in which "he has come forth with the references to enable Christians and others to fulfill their duty as 'earth stewards.'" Rifkin had come out of the closet as a New Ager. Among the New Age references in that Rifkin book included the Findhorn Community, David Spangler, Roberto Assagioli, Carl Jung, Teilhard de Chardin, Donald Keys, Gerald and Patricia Mische and Rudolph Steiner.[6]

"In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;... In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise." (Ephesians 1:7, 13)
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth." (Romans 1:16a)

1. Jeff Sharlet,
C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy (Little, Brown & Co., 2010), p. 43.
2. Jeremy Rifkin with Ted Howard, The Emerging Order: God in the Age of Scarcity (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1979), pp. 104-5, 272.
4. Evangelicals Face the Future: Scenarios, Addresses, and Responses from the "Consultation on Future Evangelical Concerns" held in Atlanta, Georgia, December 14-17, 1977, Edited by Donald Hoke (William Carey Library, 1978). An Evangelical Agenda: 1984 and Beyond: Addresses, and Responses from the "Consultation on Future Evangelical Concerns" held in Overland Park, Kansas, December 11-14, 1979 (William Carey Library, 1979). The Discernment Research Group first broke this story in September 2005 in a series of posts that ran into October 2005. One can look through the posts to read more details about these consultations. and
5. See "A Covenant for Civility: A New Order of the Third Way," 3/31/10,, and various posts on, such as :
6. Constance Cumbey, A Planned Deception: The Staging of a New Age "Messiah," 1985. This rare book can now be downloaded by going here:, pp. 162-3.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


Part 5: The Next Great Awakening. . .
Or Great Deadening?

"At first blush, Jeremy Rifkin would hardly seem to be talking about Dominion Theology. After all, he advocates the paradigm of 'entropy.' Our mission as humans, this New Ager says, is to 'dress and keep the earth.' Rifkin calls this the "stewardship paradigm.' The Dominion theologians, on the other hand, such as Rushdoony and Gary North, say that our mission is to 'subdue the earth.' What do these two have in common? It is the pointing of their respective camps into preparation for revolution at approximately the same time, with both sides being convinced they will control the outcome. Both planned a significant role for the charismatics in advancing their mission.... While Dominionist theologian Gary North has been critical of Rifkin, he has nonetheless been following a Rifkinesque scenario of bringing the revolution he envisions to birth – both in terms of planned use of evangelicals and charismatics."

What does the Emergent Church have in common with the New Apostolic Reformation? Everything! They are two sides of the same coin.

The same template has been followed for both – the very same blueprint was used from day one. The rising political power and influence of the New Apostolic Reformation, and the simultaneous growth of the Emergent Church movement, is no accident. It was planned all along. And New Ager Jeremy Rifkin wrote the "blueprint" for it!

This blueprint for an "emerging order" was published as a book, significantly in the year 1979, just after the Evangelical Consultations on the Future,[2] and before the rapid rise of the political Right in the early 1980s. Titled The Emerging Order: God in the Age of Scarcity,[3] Rifkin's book, at first blush, appears to be a manifesto for environmental stewardship. And that is indeed one of its objectives. But that's not its full purpose, as New Age expert, author Constance Cumbey, noted. She wrote about it in her book A Planned Deception,[4] where she explained how Rifkin had passed himself off as a Christian during the era in which The Emerging Order was published:

"Rifkin has deceived many Christians and he has used his friendship with Pat Robertson to help do it. In 1980 Robertson praised Rifkin's Entropy unpublished manuscript. (p. 157)

"Pat Robertson sent a newsletter endorsing that book while it was still an unpublished manuscript! Pat Robertson's Perspective of June/July 1980, rather than exposing this horrible threat to Christianity, almost made it sound Christian...." (p. 161)

Cumbey detailed the many New Age connections and philosophies embraced by Rifkin, and then explained that "Rifkin also wrote The Emerging Order. There he made it clear that the evangelical church would be their primary instrument to bring the new world order to birth." (p. 162)

Rifkin's book was touted as a blueprint. The cover jacket for The Emerging Order states, "In this provocative book, the authors provide a blueprint for American culture that is staggering in its implications. Beyond being yet another indictment of the liberal welfare state, their thesis points to a major cultural reformation in which religion will play a leading role in the rearrangement of our nation's priorities."

The book was also called "a blueprint for the economic and spiritual challenges facing the Christian community in the remainder of this century" by Senator Mark Hatfield, a key member of the secretive Washington Fellowship ("The Family").[5] Hatfield's endorsement of the book may become increasingly significant.

A "second Protestant reformation" –
"a great religious awakening"

In the introduction to The Emerging Order, Rifkin lays out his blueprint, stating that he believed that "we are in the early morning hours of a second Protestant reformation" which is evident by "the shift now taking place in Protestant doctrine."(p. ix) In the late 1970s, noticing the rapid rise of "church renewal" that was taking place across America, he expressed the hope that this event would "give form to a new theological construct; one whose sweep is so broad that it could well consume the theological world view of the Reformation." (p. ix) He wanted to hitch a ride on the renewal train, and his blueprint told how to commandeer the train and turn it onto a new track.

This seemed impossible at the time. But Rifkin outlined a specific plan. He proposed jumpstarting a "second Reformation" with the missing element of mysticism. The emphasis on the "supernatural" would "provide a bridge" to acceptance of both new doctrines and a global economic transformation, he suggested. The basic blueprint for using mysticism was articulated as follows:

"Today's Christian renewal movement is a two-pronged phenomenon. First, there are the millions upon millions of Charismatics, whose belief in supernatural gifts of faith healing, speaking in tongues, and prophesy represents a monumental assault on the modern age itself. For the Charismatics, these supernatural powers are beginning to replace science, technique and reason as the critical reference points for interpreting one's day-to-day existence. If this unconscious challenge to the modern world view continues to intensify, it could provide the kind of liberating force that could topple the prevailing ethos and provide a bridge to the next age of history." (p. x)

The blueprint also called for a corresponding more rational approach, a pseudo-intellectualism that could concoct new doctrines, especially doctrines that would lead Christians to embrace a "new covenant vision" and a "new world view."

"While the Charismatics are generating a potential liberating impulse, the more mainline evangelical movement is beginning to provide the necessary reformulation of theological doctrine that is essential for the creation of a new covenant vision and a new world view." (p. x)

What was to be the key doctrinal shift for this Emerging Order? Rifkin identified Dominionism, especially the early chapters in Genesis, as the core doctrine that must be "redefined." The process of "redefining" Dominionism is explained in this manner:

"God's very first commandment to humankind in the book of Genesis is being redefined. Its redefinition changes the entire relationship of human beings to both God and the temporal world. In the beginning, God says to Adam 'have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.' 'Dominion,' which Christian theology has for so long used to justify people's unrestrained pillage and exploitation of the natural world, has suddenly and dramatically been reinterpreted. Now, according to the new definition of dominion, God's first instruction to the human race is to serve as a steward and protector over all of his creation." (p. x)

Note how easily this "redefinition" of Dominion caught on. There was virtually no opposition to this heresy!

"It is interesting to observe that this most fundamental reconception of God's first order to his children on earth has been accepted by Protestant scholars, ministers and practitioners in just a few short years without any significant opposition being voiced. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find a leading Protestant scholar anywhere today who would openly question this new interpretation of dominion in the Book of Genesis.... While it is true that the new interpretation of dominion is also being promulgated by the mainline Protestant denominations and the Catholic Church, it is the evangelical community, with its resurgent spiritual vitality, that has the momentum, drive and energy that is required to achieve this radical theological transformation in American society." (p. x-xi)

Rifkin was right. Protestant and Catholic scholars had begun developing this Dominion theology. But by the mid-1970s, changing doctrines had also become a major project of Fuller Theological Seminary and its evangelical cohorts. C. Peter Wagner, Ralph Winter, and other professors began to chip away at traditional orthodoxy, slowly concocting a strange brew of ever-evolving progressive "revelations," heading towards an outright Dominionist theology. Thanks to Ralph Winter, Mission Frontiers, and the U.S. Center for World Mission, the "redefinition" teachings of Dominionism were standard fare in the global mission movement by the mid-1990s.

But all of this activity was still missing a critical ingredient Rifkin had identified as necessary to shift over to "a great religious awakening" – the mysticism. He wrote:

"If the Charismatic and evangelical strains of the new Christian renewal movement come together and unite a liberating energy with a new covenant vision for society, it is possible that a great religious awakening will take place, one potentially powerful enough to incite a second Protestant reformation." (p. xi)

Here it was, The Master Plan for the next "great religious awakening." It took one man, C. Peter Wagner, to ignite the fuse according the plan laid out in Rifkin's blueprint. Wagner became a key player in a confluence that began to have massive repercussions throughout the rest of evangelicalism. It began to take off when John Wimber of the Vineyard Movement connected with the Kansas City "prophets," part of the old Latter Rain cult. John Wimber had previously been hand-picked as an “experiment” by C. Peter Wagner as part of his Fuller Theological Seminary class on “signs and wonders.” Wimber’s connection to the Kansas City group proved to be the catalyst for the beginnings of "The Third Wave," what C. Peter Wagner was to later call the “New Apostolic Reformation.” In short order the esoteric doctrines of the Latter Rain movement trickled into mainstream evangelicaldom and gradually became an integral part of the postmodern evangelical canon. And because of Wagner’s influence, Latter Rain leaders such as Mike Bickle and Rick Joyner, who were obscure in 1991, are now widely known throughout evangelicalism. The Latter Rain cult, most notable for
its anomalous signs and wonders, would pick up steam and continue to provide the necessary "powerful," "liberating energy" to fuel the blueprint.

Jeremy Rifkin's "
great religious awakening" went a step further. It called for a "new Protestant conservation ethic, ready-made for the new age of scarcity the world is moving into."(p. xi) To accomplish this he called for a "great economic transformation," an "economic shift," the intended result of the "theological spark" created by "the evangelical awakening that is spreading across America and... the... second Protestant reformation emerging between now and the year A.D. 2000."(p. xii) This economic shift would be nothing less than a global redistribution of wealth. This theme was dutifully picked up by the New Apostolic Reformation as an abiding prophecy, and continues to gather steam as it co-mingles with Dominionism.[6]

There was still another missing ingredient. It took an entire generation to come up with it, but after oodles of money, gigantic publishing contracts, and massive stealth "change agent" training, Leadership Network became a leading player in the more mainstream evangelical world. It began by dialectically facilitating both components of the blueprint for transformation. It developed a church structure that modeled corporations in a form of extreme pragmatism that rewrote the basic biblical doctrines of "church." It then hijacked the consumer-driven train and turned the church into its own marketing agent for the blueprint. And it simultaneously launched the Emergent Church movement, which added the necessary pizazz of mysticism to blunt rational thought. Its leading Emergent spokesperson from early on, Brian McLaren, would serialize Rifkin's blueprint in his successive books, each more fine-tuned than the last, systematically destroying the old order theology while laying the groundwork for the new order theology.[7]

Just how did Rifkin propose to implement such a monumental scheme? In 1980 it seemed far-fetched and nearly impossible. But the whole blueprint is fully operational today, thirty years later, and no longer a plan but a reality.

To be continued. . . .

The Truth:

"Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me:" (Isaiah 54:15a)

New Age Monitor, May-July 1986, p. 11, links added. See for more readings by this author.
2. See Part 4 of this series: The Discernment Research Group first broke this story in September 2005 in a series of posts that ran into October 2005. One can look through the posts to read more details about these consultations. and
3. Jeremy Rifkin with Ted Howard, The Emerging Order: God in the Age of Scarcity (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1979).
4. Constance Cumbey,
A Planned Deception: The Staging of a New Age "Messiah," 1985. This rare book can now be downloaded by going here:
5. To understand the significance of this point, see Jeffrey Sharlet's two books: The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power (Harper, 2009) and C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy (Little, Brown and Co., 2010). Also read "Early Experiential Emergents"
6. See "The Great Outpouring of Wealth,"
7. See our Herescope series "The Emerging Church - Circa 1970" and follow the links and footnotes:

Note: The word blueprint is emphasized throughout this article, even in quoted material.