Manifesting the UNIVERSE: Faith with no strings attached

Is the universe an impersonal force like the wind? Wind on the Cliff by Charles Courtney Curran, 1930. All images from Wikimedia Commons unless otherwise noted.

Impersonal Force v Personal God

The Life-Force is a sort of tame God. You can switch it on when you want, but it will not bother you. All the thrills of religion and none of the cost. Is the Life-Force the greatest achievement of wishful thinking the world has yet seen?

– CS Lewis, Mere Christianity

The Universe was looking out for me. I sent my feelers out to the Universe and manifested this gift in return. The Universe is shaping a noble path for your life through suffering… hang in there.

I connect with the Universe when I meditate. The power of the Universe is in all of us.

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Heard anything like this before?

1. Impersonal forces have no intentions

2, Impersonal forces have no moral traits

3. Source must be a mind

The new faith of the West

According to renowned brain psychiatrist Iain MacGilchrist, from his encounters, only around 11–12% of people in Britain closely follow a religion while only around 5% are materialists. The rest (over 80%) fall into a category of people who think there is more to the Cosmos than matter and movements but do not hold to any religion.

In other words, people who think something greater exists than localised chemical reactions in our bodies but are not religious. Some would call themselves, spiritual but not religious.

New Age Spirituality

New Age worldviews (mostly in more subtle forms!) are common within this category. The “Universe” is often referred to as an impersonal force that is transcendent and powerful.

Impersonal governing force to be tapped into by meditation

As former New Agers turned Christians, Bancarz and Peck summarise in The Second Coming of the New Age, “In the New Age, spirit guides, Ascended Masters, and angels are regarded as having personalities, but the overall governing force of the universe is generally seen as lacking personhood. During meditation, the goal is more to tap into a universal energy field at the heart of nature rather than communicate personally with a transcendent creator (p.130).”

The Secret

Byrne, USA Today

Rhonda Byrne, the famous author of The Secret, echoes a similar view.

Byrne remarks, “The truth is that the universe has been answering you all of your life, but you cannot receive the answers unless you are awake.”

Regarding manifestations, she adds, “As you think thoughts, they are sent out into the Universe, and they magnetically attract all like things that are on the same frequency. Everything sent out returns to the source — you.”


Keeping it real

While the idea that you could manipulate an impersonal force to give you all the health, wealth, pleasure and good fortune you desire is a highly appealing and attractive idea, it is an untenable position to hold.

Note, I am not saying there are no benefits to thinking positively or living with love and forgiveness but rather that the idea of an impersonal yet transcendent Life-Force or Universe is implausible.

Rembrandt, Parable of Rich Fool

As Lewis notes, the Life-Force/Universe view has all the thrills of religion (something greater, looking out for you, working a purpose) but without the cost (no need to deny yourself to follow anyone!).

Why is this view untenable?

1. Impersonal forces have no intentions

Persons can be aware of themselves. Persons can make plans. They can have a purpose. A meaning. Persons have intentions. Persons are relational.

For example, Danielle chose to go to work today, she chose to react nicely to her boss, she chose to wear blue clothes, she chose to love her family.

Impersonal forces or energy or frequencies have no such traits.

Goyen, A Windy Day

Wind, waves and wills

A gush of wind can just as easily conveniently hold the door open for someone whose hands are full or carry a ball into the goals as it can destroy an antique vase or trash someone’s washing into the mud.

You don’t call the wind a gentleman for holding a door open any more than you call it a bully for destroying your vase.

It has no feelings. It has no desires.

Microwaves don’t make friends with the frequencies they emit.

You don’t thank sunlight for giving you a tan or warming up your cold hands.

Are the rays of the sun aware they’re putting on a show?

By treating an impersonal force as something which cares for us and has plans, are we doing little more than realising there is something greater than us but not wanting to worry about what it could mean if that something is a transcendent Person?

In other words- faith with no strings attached.

2. Impersonal forces have no moral traits

Similar to point 1, impersonal forces don’t care what happens to you. They have no moral value.

Gravity and goodness

Gravity is not acting immorally if your son lands on the road off his bike and smacks his chin. The wind isn’t intentionally malicious if your boat capsizes and you’re thrown to the sharks.

To speak of an impersonal force as something which is a source of goodness or has your good in mind is, therefore, implausible.

It is wishful thinking. As Lewis notes, it is possibly one of the greatest achievements of wishful thinking the world has ever seen.

Radov by Repin

3. Source must be a mind

We have minds. We are persons. We have a will. We can be self-aware. We have intentions. We can reflect. We can show love. We can relate.

We can’t be greater than our Source. We didn’t choose where we were born or what our family would be like or our nationality. We didn’t choose to be born in this era.

Therefore, our transcendent Source must be capable of showing love, relating, having a will, a mind, moral and character traits. In other words, Source must be a Person, not an impersonal force. God.

Ptolemaic System of Universe

Universe had a beginning

Cosmology professor Alexander Valenkin exclaims, “All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning.”

1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause

2. The universe began to exist

3. Therefore, the universe has a cause

As the beginning of the universe, marks the beginning of time, space, and matter as we know it, the cause must be timeless, spaceless and immaterial.

Abstract object or unembodied mind as Source?

We must ask if this cause is an abstract object (eg. no 7) or an unembodied mind. However, abstract objects do not exist in causal relationships as they have no intentions.

In the words of William Lane Craig, “we may therefore infer that a personal Creator of the universe exists, who is uncaused, beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and unimaginably powerful.”

In other words, if there’s something greater than us, it must be a mind with intentions, not an impersonal force that has no intentions or moral or character traits.

How to connect with this transcendent Being?

If it makes no sense for a transcendent impersonal force to exist but only for a transcendent Being, how do we connect with this transcendent Being?

Dealing with darkness within

You’re imperfect, you have a dark side, and your goodness is tainted with evil. God as the Source of morals is perfect. How can you connect with God?

Christ before Pilate

Look no further than Christ who embodied sacrifice and love. Oppressed by the religious. Rejected by politicians.

Cursed for living the truth which broke the shackles of the limiting beliefs promoted by the leaders of his time.

Good and evil within

You have fingerprints of greatness within but need to be made whole to be accepted by God. God is the ultimate Source of this greatness and goodness. Not you.

Yet, within us is also evil, of all kinds.

Chasm between us and God

Look outward, look to something greater. Look to Christ to be made whole. Not an impersonal energy, but a person.

You can’t bridge the gap to God yourself.

A person who embodied sacrifice for your sins so you could be made whole, flourish and grow. He was more than just an example.

He was the pathway for you to connect with the Greater Being. To God. A Person, not a force.

Christianity is not about following man-imposed rules to get you to heaven. That is fake news. It is about God imposing humanity and suffering on himself to cover your imperfections and connect you with something greater, the Source of all. Himself.

If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. — Jesus, Mark 8:34

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? — Jesus, Matt. 16:26

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