Chapter Five: Why Should I Trust Jesus When All I Need to Do Is Trust Myself?
Sterrett addresses pantheism when answering this question because a main tenet of pantheism is trusting in self.1 I think he also addresses it because of the great influence pantheism has had in Western society. He notes Star Wars, Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey as examples of this influence. He even writes of the seepage of pantheistic thought into the minds of Christians. So before Sterrett answers the question, he first details how pantheism contradicts what Jesus taught in order to demonstrate that Jesus cannot fall under the pantheistic umbrella. The contradictory teachings he lists follow:
- Pantheism teaches that God is impersonal. Jesus teaches that God is personal.
- Pantheism attempts to defy the simple laws of logic. Jesus holds that logic is undeniable.
- Pantheism teaches that the universe is God. Jesus teaches that God made the universe.
- Pantheism teaches that the universe is eternal. Jesus states that that the universe had a beginning.
- Pantheism teaches that you are part of God. Jesus teaches that you are made in the image of God but separate from Him.
- Pantheism teaches that sin is an illusion. Jesus states that dealing with sin is the reason He came to earth.
- Pantheism does not emphasize absolute truth. Jesus emphasized worshiping in spirit and in truth.
1. We are limited in knowledge, but Jesus Christ is all knowing. We see evidence of the omniscience of Jesus in His encounter with Nathanel in John 1 and with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4.
2. We had nothing to do with our creation; Jesus Christ designed us and sustains us. For example, the Apostle Paul wrote of this in Colossians 1:15-17.
3. We are constantly changing, but Jesus Christ does not change. This is affirmed by Scripture. Hebrews 13:8 is an example.
In the light of these truths, and the truths of the previous chapters, I once again encourage you to…
Stand firm in Christ,Chase
Footnotes:1. Trust in self is needed to escape samsara; an endless cycle of death and rebirth. This escape happens when the realization that we are truly divine and that the divine is all there is achieved through our own merits. When this realization occurs we become one with the divine. This results in pantheism being contradictory because another main tenet is that the idea of an individual self is an illusion.
Forthcoming: A summary of Chapter Six: Why Should I Trust Jesus When There is So Much Disagreement about the Identity of the “Real Jesus”?