Echardt Tolle is the author of the book “The New Earth”. After the widespread promotion by Oprah Winfrey, it is now selling really well, and has made several best seller lists. While there are plenty to write about in the book, one specific quote jumped out at me.
“Don’t get attached to any one word. You can substitute ‘Christ’ for presence, if that is more meaningful to you. Christ is your God-essence or the Self, as it is sometimes called in the East. The only difference between Christ and presence is that Christ refers to your indwelling divinity regardless of whether you are conscious of it or not, whereas presence means your awakened divinity or God-essence.”
– Eckhart Tolle
The New Earth
Now while some Christians may be willing to give Mr. Tolle the benefit of the doubt and argue that he is merely referring to an indwelling of the Spirit here, I am not quite inclined to accept that. When I see words like “your indwelling divinity” and “your awakened divinity” equated with Christ Himself, the warning lights are shining brightly.
When we start to read more we should not be surprised to learn that Mr. Tolle see that “higher level of consciousness” as the result of millions of years of evolution. Not only does he state that we as humans share in some sort of cosmic consciousness with all the other results of evolution, but he also implores us to evolve further…so that we, the human race, may survive.
Cornelius van Til writes: “The Bible requires men to believe that God exists apart from and above the world and that he by his plan controls whatever takes place in the world. Everything in the created universe therefore displays the fact that it is controlled by God, that it is what it is by virtue of the place it occupies in the plan of God. The objective evidence for the existence of God and of the comprehensive governance of the world by God is therefore so plain that he who runs may read. Men cannot get away from this evidence. They see it round about them. They see it within them. Their own constitution so clearly evinces the facts of God’s creation of them and control over them that there is no man who can possibly escape observing it. If he is self-conscious at all he is also God-conscious. No matter how men may try they cannot hide from themselves the fact of their own createdness. Whether men engage in inductive study with respect to the facts of nature about them or engage in analysis of their own self-consciousness they are always face to face with God their maker. Calvin stresses these matters greatly on the basis of Paul’s teachings in Romans.”
While at first glance it seems not to differ too much from the earlier quote from Tolle, it does lift out a crucial difference. That difference is the distinction between the Creator and the created. Mr. Tolle, with his apparent reverence for the creative powers of evolution, seemingly missed that part. (I’ll note in passing that it is of course fallacious to appeal to evolution as having creative power, neither staunch evolutionists nor Christians do that. Not only is it fallacious, it is also illogical because an object cannot create itself.)
We learn from Scripture that there is a very definite distinction. From the very first words of the Bible there is a definite separation between the eternal Creator, who made all of creation come into existence, and the creation itself.
But the most graphic illustration of that distinction is found in Romans 9:
Rom 9:21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use?
Here it is very clear that the relationship between man and God is analogous to that of a potter and the clay he uses. The clay can be nothing without the potter. The potter decides what the clay will be, and forms the clay in such a way that it performs the function that the potter wants. If we have to be consistent with what Mr. Tolle is saying then somehow the clay is turning into the potter.
With the best imagination in the world that is not possible. God, in His mercy and grace, imparted the breath of life into man at the time of creation, and gave man enough spiritual awareness so that he would be without excuse, even in his natural state. After regeneration, in itself a gift from God, man is endowed with the wisdom of the Spirit.
Joh 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,
Joh 14:17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
There is nothing that we can do to entice the Spirit to come to us, the Father gives us the Spirit. The result of having received the Spirit is the ability to discern the things of God, and to glorify and worship the Creator forever. All we do is unto the glory of God, not that of man, because that is what He purposed for us, His creation.
There is no way that we can ever become God, and assume divinity as Christ did. He lowered Himself to become man, exactly because we are totally and utterly unable to imitate the divine and be sinless. So I am afraid to say that not only is Mr. Tolle logically fallacious, he is also gloriously overestimating the spiritual status of man.
I hope and pray that those Christians who become interested in the teachings of Tolle will see the truth, and steer clear.