Colossians 2


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Part 2 of our series on the New Testament book of Colossians

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  • Esoteric - Understood only by a chosen few or an enlightened inner circle.
  • James Cameron’s wildly popular Avatar revisits pantheism with its portrayal of the nature-worshiping Na’Vi, a race of people who pay homage to Eywa, the “All Mother.” the “All Mother,” described variously as a network of energy and the sum total of every living thing. In Star Wars it is the force, in Lion King thee circle of life and in Pocahantos it is Grandmother Willow spirits all around that guides us.
  • Why is this so popular today?Environmental Concerns and Desire for Peace are the two valid questions that people seek answers for.Pantheism Today's pantheists derive a deep sense of peace and spiritual satisfaction from nature.Pantheists profess a reverence for the universe, from which they find spiritual inspiration. Its central belief is that the universe and nature are to be revered, and that nature should be treated with the deepest respect.Because of pantheism's emphasis on the spiritual aspects of nature, it's not surprising that many of today's pantheists have connections to environmental and ecological movementsWorship in Pantheism: Pantheists do not believe that human beings have a soul that lives on after death, and in pantheism there is no heaven or hell. Instead, they believe that physical death is simply the completion of the cycle of life, a return to nature, and an end to consciousness. Pantheists really don't worship or pray in a traditional way. They don't pray because in pantheism, there's no personal God to whom one could pray. Pantheists believe human beings are in constant communion with the divine through nature, so there is no need for prayer or formal worship. Worship to a pantheist can be as simple as a solitary walk through the woods, or a quiet time of reflection and meditation by the ocean.Good and Evil: Pantheism requires little of its followers, except to respect nature and all living things.There is no specific doctrine one must follow, no set ceremonies or services to attend, and there is plenty of room under the banner of pantheism for a wide range of individual philosophies and beliefs. There is no personal God making moral demands.  Nature doesn’t tell you what to do; it just is.  As Douthat explains, “For anyone who pines for transcendence but recoils at the idea of a demanding Almighty who interferes in human affairs, this is an ideal combination.”  C. S. Lewis once described pantheism as “all the thrills of religion and none of the cost.”Douthat, however, questions whether nature deserves a religious response:Traditional theism has to wrestle with the problem of evil: if God is good, why does he allow suffering and death? But Nature is suffering and death. Its harmonies require violence. Its “circle of life” is really a cycle of mortality. And the human societies that hew closest to the natural order aren’t the shining Edens of James Cameron’s fond imaginings. They’re places where existence tends to be nasty, brutish and short.He continues, “Religion exists, in part, precisely because humans aren’t at home amid these cruel rhythms.”This is what has struck me about pantheism.  None of its adherents really take it to its logical conclusion.  In practice, we all believe in good and evil.  We all think that death is bad and that life is good, but these positions are incoherent under pantheism, because death is just part of the natural cycle.  There is nothing bad about it, under pantheism.Ironically, even James Cameron couldn’t go all the way.  In a scene just before the final climactic battle between the rapacious earthlings and the peaceful Na’Vi, the turncoat human hero prays to the “All Mother” that she would give victory to the Na’Vi over the humans.  As he concludes his prayer, his Na’Vi companion tells him that the “All Mother” does not take sides, a classic pantheistic position.Cameron, of course, cannot follow through.  (Caution: if you have not seen the movie, what follows is a spoiler!!)As the humans are about to win the battle, the “All Mother” joins the fray in the form of the indigenous animals of the planet.  The animals attack the humans and help the Na’Vi to victory.  The “All Mother” doesn’t take sides?  Evidently she does, and with a vengeance.Cameron understands good and evil like anyone else and he must ultimately override Nature in his movie, providing a great illustration of the practical unreality of pantheism.
  • Colossians 2

    1. 1. Colossians<br />Demons, Angels and Weird Rituals<br />
    2. 2. The Heresy<br />Gnosticism - a religious movement characterized by a belief in gnosis (esoteric knowledge), through which the spiritual element in man could be released from its bondage in matter.<br />Material world is evil, Spiritual world is good<br />
    3. 3. Col 1:13-20 <br />For He has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of His dear Son, (14) who purchased our freedom [with His blood] and forgave our sins. (15) Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, (16) for through Him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can't see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through Him and for Him. <br />
    4. 4. Col 1:13-20 <br />(17) He existed before anything else, and He holds all creation together. (18) Christ is also the head of the church, which is His body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So He is first in everything. (19) For God in all His fullness was pleased to live in Christ, (20) and through Him God reconciled everything to Himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ's blood on the cross.<br />
    5. 5. The Dividing Line<br />God<br />God and <br />Spirit World<br />Kingdom of Darkness<br />Kingdom<br />Of Light<br />Satan and Material World<br />
    6. 6. Lingering Dualism<br />There is No Dividing Line<br />Pantheism<br />God is everything is God <br />
    7. 7. Popular Pantheism<br />Environmental Concerns<br />Desire for Peace<br />Worship<br />Good and Evil<br />P = No Worship<br />C = Personal Creator<br />P = What is, Is<br />C = Good God, Personal Choice<br />
    8. 8. Deu 30:19 "Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!<br />
    9. 9. Jos 24:15 "If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." <br />