THE EVOLUTION OF EVIL — PART III
GC 591. Satan’s policy in this final conflict with God’s people is the same that he employed in the opening of the great controversy in heaven. He professed to be seeking to promote the stability of the divine government, while secretly bending every effort to secure its overthrow.
In Part 1 we laid the groundwork for Lucifer’s development of Pantheism, and how he successfully exported his heresy to Earth at the garden of Eden. In Part 2, we made the connection between Pantheism and the modern theory of Evolution, demonstrating that Evolution is neither new nor scientific at heart— ancient creations myths and philosophers categorically described key aspects of Darwinism & Neo-Darwinism. A "purely scientific” approach to Evolution, with no regard to metaphysical influences, is passé and on the way out. Pantheistic impulses are once again being embraced by brilliant scientific minds, like world famous physicist, Michio Kaku:
“I have concluded that we are in a world made by rules created by an intelligence,” Kaku said. “To me it is clear that we exist in a plan which is governed by rules that were created, shaped by a universal intelligence and not by chance.”
Kako goes on to identify that conscious “intelligence” as God. But before you cheer that this growing trend among brilliant evolutionists may lead them to a Biblical faith, consider who is moving in which direction: nearly all Christian denominations have embraced evolution, and are progressively voiding the Biblical narratives of their historical and moral authority. All this makes Kaku’s “god” scientifically and spiritually acceptable: Mixing metaphysical and scientific concepts, Kakp concludes that “the mind of God, we believe, is cosmic music. The music of strings resonating through 11-dimensional hyperspace” (quoted in the Geophilosophical Association of Anthropological and Cultural Studies)
The growing popularity of an emergent universe governed by a pervading, self-ordering “Force” was not conceived by brilliant scientists like Kuko, nor sci-fi visionaries like George Lucas of Star Wars fame, but by the prince of darkness. They, along with a growing collective of popular media personalities and thought leaders are clearing the way for popular culture to intellectually embrace Pantheism. Major world religions like Hinduism and Buddhism have been advancing pantheism for millennia, no wonder nearly all Christian denominations have buckled and joined the band under the allure of “false science” and popular culture.
How does all this impact Adventism in our day? Actually, pantheistic waves have been battering at this movement from it’s very inception. As the prophetic hour approached for the Investigate Judgment to commence in 1844, God was raising a remnant people that would proclaim His last message of mercy and warning to the world. Lucifer also arose to the occasion, and filled the field with powerful diversions:
Under the “Christian” label he raised up Mormonism, Christian Science, The Unity School of Christianity, Unitarianism and others— all pantheistic in their philosophical outlook!
For those in the 1840’s-50’s who were ready to abandon Christianity for a more accommodating philosophy (as we noted in Part 2), Satan provided the world with a humanistic version of pantheism— Darwinism. No one was in charge of the universe, but not to worry, as the universe had at least produced human consciousness, with the possibility that humans would evolve into responsible sovereigns over their domain. To the contrary, Darwinism would later spawn Nihilism, Communism, Fascism, and Nazism, great evils justifiable only in an amoral universe. Ironically, both Hitler and Himmler, the key architects of Nazism increasingly reverted back to religious pantheism, embracing superstitions in desperate hopes of harnessing mystical forces to win the war they were losing on humanistic terms. (see Hitler’s Holy Relics, by Sidney Kirkpatrick).
Satan doesn’t care which version of pantheism you choose, as long as you grant greater authority to the desires and speculation of fallen humanity than to the will of God as revealed in His inspired Word. At the same time that he was advancing Darwinism, he was also repackaging ancient Spiritualism in ways that would captive the Western world. The Fox Sisters of Rochester, NY and a proliferating number of talented mediums launched a mass religious movement that would grow to over 8 million spiritualists in America and Europe, from 1848-1888!
It is crucial to note that this movement was primarily led by female mediums, who in turn used their growing influence to launch the Feminist movement in America (see Ann Braude’s Radical Spirits: Spiritualism and Women’s Rights in Nineteenth Century America, Beacon University Press, 1989; Dr. Laurel Damsteegt, "The Impact of Spiritualism on Feminism and Gender Issues Today” on Youtube). Most people are unaware of this but it is well documented: female mediums, on the basis of messages received from the “spirit world,” campaigned for the eradication of the Bible, because it’s “patriarchal system” and “oppressive morals” stood in the way of equality, women’s rights, sexual expression and spiritual enlightenment. Sound strangely familiar? That’s because the script for the modern Feminist movement came from these priestesses of Spiritualism, and it is clear that “the spirits” have gone mainstream and made tremendous progress since then. Please understand, no one is questioning that long-standing injustices should have been exposed and made right regarding women, but who’s version of injustice shall we go by— the Holy Spirit, as revealed in a correct understanding of God’s Word, or the evolving “spirits?”
Before we analyze Sis. White’s prophetic view of the impact of Pantheism on the remnant church in the closing hours of Earth’s history, let’s define a phenomena we will refer to often: Pantheistic Thinking.
At the risk of sounding redundant, allow me to restate and connect some dots. Pantheism at core is the belief that the universe is a self-ordering, self-authenticating “god.” In the case of Lucifer, this “false science” led him to believe that given enough time and freedom, men and angels would become “like the Most High.” In the case of humanistic philosophers & scientists, human beings are “conscious” expressions of this emergent, self-ordering universe, thus humanity always represents the most advanced expression of evolutionary development. In the case of world religions, we are individually and globally on a progressive metaphysical march towards nirvana. There is a common denominator in all this: because humanity is ever evolving towards something “better,” emergent human culture— what we might call “popular culture”— is therefore always “good” and “right!” The latest is always the greatest. This way of thinking makes objective history and the ancient words of Scripture obsolete! This way of thinking-- Pantheistic Thinking—now pervades our western societies, and makes even Christians, including Adventists, vulnerable to the fallacy that popular culture naturally represents what is most relevant and right. We will see how this plays out later.
PANTHEISM VS. PANENTHEISM: One more point of clarification. Some have no doubt wondered whether it would be more appropriate to address Satan’s theory of self-exaltation as Panentheism rather than Pantheism. I continue to use the term Pantheism for 2 reasons. First, the New Oxford American Dictionary defines Pantheism as (a) a doctrine which identifies God with the universe, (b) or regards the universe as a manifestation of God, (c) or worship that admits or tolerates all gods. As such the term is adaptable and inclusive of all that we are observing. Second, this is the term E.G. White used to describe the developing apostasy.
Needless to say, from it’s very inception, Lucifer’s pantheism threatened to infiltrate the young Adventist movement. The limitations of this article do not allow for developing the historical picture nor quoting reams of text, but I urge the reader to carefully study pages 291-294 in Testimony for the Church, vol. 8 (8T 291-294) from which we will quote. In these pages she not only looks at the Advent movement’s past and her present, but also at our future:
Already there are coming in among our people spiritualistic teachings that will undermine the faith of those who give heed to them. The theory that God is an essence pervading all nature is one of Satan's most subtle devices… Pantheistic theories are not sustained by the word of God. The light of His truth shows that these theories are soul-destroying agencies… They gratify the natural heart and give license to inclination..[8T 291.1-2]
She is describing Pantheistic Thinking. How did it impact the Advent movement, and what would it lead to?
After the passing of the time in 1844, we had fanaticism of every kind to meet. Testimonies of reproof were given me to bear to some holding spiritualistic theories…the doctrine that all were holy had led to the belief that the affections of the sanctified would never lead astray. The result of this belief was the fulfillment of the evil desires of hearts that, though professedly sanctified, were far from purity of thought and life…. It is the seducing bait of the father of lies, and results in the impenitence of self-satisfied impurity. This is only one of the instances in which I was called upon to rebuke those who were presenting the doctrine of an impersonal God pervading all nature, and similar errors (8T 292.5 ).
Let’s make an important clarification here. Those who considered themselves “holy” in these instances did so on the basis of Pantheistic Thinking— they were merely tapping into the “God” that was naturally within them, as they believed He was in all nature. They considered themselves spiritually enlightened, thus with smug enthusiasm they professed that their “sanctified” impulses were now a more reliable guide than stuffy Victorian rules and antiquated prohibitions of Scripture. Through Pantheistic Thinking they were blinded to their own self-satisfied impurity.
Regardless of how high-minded and egalitarian pantheistic values may seem when presented, they are “soul-destroying,” because the tolerance they champion “gives license to inclination.” She describes what this amounted to in a letter to E. J. Waggoner, who was supporting Kellogg’s pantheistic views in her day:
"I have seen the results of these fanciful views of God, in apostasy, spiritualism, free loveism. The free love tendencies of these teachings were so concealed that it was difficult to present them in their real character. Until the Lord presented it to me, I knew not what to call it, but I was instructed to call it unholy spiritual love” (Letter 230, 1903, cited in Bio., vol. 5, p. 303. See also Testimonies, vol. 8, pp. 290-304).
Theologians in main-stream denominations are now viewing sexual practices which are described as “abominations” in the Bible as personal preferences that should be respected. They are simply following the lead of popular culture, which is progressively seeking to dignify and legalize those abominations. They have arrived at these conclusions through pantheistic moralization, as did the “free-love” apostates in Ellen White’s day. What about Adventists in the end-times?
The experience of the past will be repeated. In the future, Satan's superstitions will assume new forms. Errors will be presented in a pleasing and flattering manner. False theories, clothed with garments of light , will be presented to God's people. Thus Satan will try to deceive, if possible, the very elect . Most seducing influences will be exerted; minds will be hypnotized (8T 293.4]).
We will take a closer look at these prophetic insights in part 4.
Sam Solér currently teaches in the Religion Department at Ouachita Hills College. He has pastored for 25 years, and besides sharing Jesus with others, Sam enjoys outdoor adventure, travel, science, history and the arts. His wife Marti is registrar at the college, and they have 3 fine young adult children, Raquel, Raphael and Sophia.