I recently read Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth” as I believe I mentioned in an earlier thread describing a vacation to the beach. It’d be very tedious to go through this chapter by chapter as each chapter has numerous subsections and most of it is psychology. We will discuss that aspect in another thread. For today, I’d like to discuss his use of Scripture.
For those interested, I am using the First Plume printing edition from September of 2006.
On page 23, we read the following in regards to Isaiah 65:17 and Revelation 21:1 talking of a New Earth.
“We need to understand here that heaven is not a location but refers to the inner realm of consciousness. This is the esoteric meaning of the word, and this is also its meaning in the teachings of Jesus.”
Later that same page we read
“A new heaven is the emergence of a transformed state of human consciousness, and a new earth is its reflection in the physical realm.”
Geez. Don’t you love how these people come along and tell us what these teachings really mean considering no one took them to mean this kind of stuff for thousands of years? All of the disciples of Jesus got it wrong!
No. A New Heaven and a New Earth I believe refer to a recreated cosmos. This time though, God will dwell personally with his people. I don’t believe God is dwelling in some physical location outside of our cosmos. (Although he’s not confined by it certainly.) He is omnipresent. I believe instead though that in the New Heavens and the New Earth, that God’s presence will be manifest amongst his people. I see no reason to accept Tolle’s idea that this is what Jesus had in mind and he has given none.
On page 41, we read of a lady fretting over a lost ring and Tolle telling her she needs to release her attachment to the object. She then says “Now I understand something Jesus said that never made sense to me before. If someone takes your shirt, let him have your coat as well.” Tolle tells her that Jesus was indeed talking about letting things go.
Um. No. This was in a time when you didn’t have access to the legal authority immediately with Rome ruling and the basic point behind it is “Don’t escalate violence.” Giving more to someone who takes from you is a way seen then of dealing with the situation at the time. Rather than arguing theologically, do be willing to part with things to avoid a fight.
On page 43, Tolle equates being poor in spirit with meaning having no inner baggage or identifications. The Kingdom of Heaven is then the simple joy of being.
Um. Wrong again.
Poor in Spirit would refer to those who are poor in this world and seen to not have the blessing of God. Instead, they have the Kingdom of Heaven.
On page 56, we are told that Paul must have known about the sacred sense of presence in his writing of Philippians 4:7.
Um. No. Paul is talking about interpersonal relationships actually and not the interior life. He is trying to defuse a heated argument in the church and telling the church as a whole that they need to focus on those things that are good and pure and the peace of God in their interpersonal relationships will then dwell in their midst.
Unfortunately, this kind of bad exegesis continues. Tomorrow we shall look at more of it.