Course: Biblical Worldview I: Only Two Religions?
Section 2A Humanity Is One
Humanity Is One
Oneism is defined as the worship of creation, where all is one when creation is worshipped and served as divine. In Oneism all distinctions are eliminated and through “enlightenment” Oneism proclaims that man is also divine.
Twoism is defined as the worship of the divine Creator of all things. In Twoism God alone is divine and is distinct from His creation, yet through His Son, Jesus, God is in loving communion with His creation.
Oneists don’t believe that there is a God “out there” to help us and rescue us, so we must do it ourselves. Something in the human heart knows that the world is not as it should be, and so we all feel the need to improve it. Humans have amazing powers to create beautiful, complex and productive things and ideas, so we are tempted to think that if individuals could only unite their powers, we could perfect the condition of the world. This was the very idea of those who constructed the Tower of Babel. [i] God said about them:
Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. (Genesis 11:6)
The hope for a better universe inspires many valuable political and social movements and projects—from solar power projects to new varieties of grains to micro-loans for women. But many of these hopes become grandiose utopian dreams that are contrary to God’s will.
The founders of the United Nations hoped that the organization could “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.” One famous philosopher, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, [ii] said, “Our duty, as men and women, is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist. We are collaborators in creation.” He believed in an Omega Point that we could reach if all human beings would work in unity. Hitler felt that if certain undesirable elements were eliminated, the human race could produce the perfect Superman, who would serve as the world’s Savior. What is commonly known as “multi-culturalism” believes that by ridding the world of national, racial and cultural divides, a world government can eventually allow us to function in harmonious relationship with one another and the earth.
We see many Oneist expressions of this optimistic hope for global unity and a perfected planet.
- The ecology movement, after interpreting some mathematical and scientific data as indicating a fearful rise in temperatures, hopes to solve the problem by encouraging, even forcing countries to choose certain types of fuels.
- A global justice movement sees an international court as the only way to keep our world from spinning out of control, with the consequence that there is much confusion about where and by whom people are fairly judged for possible crimes.
- A movement toward genetic engineering, not only of foods (which may or may not be safe), but of animal and human cells, which are being combined in a variety of ways. This movement also sees great hope in the combination of computerized or mechanical elements to be incorporated into the human body, creating what is known as cyborgs. [iii]
- A movement for “sustainability” combines aspects of the ecology movement, an emphasis on giving large swaths of land back to the wild animals and a desire to reduce the world’s human population dramatically. This movement seems to believe that if there were fewer people, more wild animals and less industry, everything would turn out perfectly! People would be less likely to cause trouble, fight wars or otherwise disrupt the peace.
- There is now a push for a kind of “Sexual Utopia,” the belief that if only every expression of sexuality could be equally valued, we would all be happy and the world could exist in peace as we “live and let live.” The demand that same-sex marriage and other gender-neutral and non-traditional sexual relationships be accepted is based on a hope that by getting rid of sexual distinctions, we will create a more just and peaceful society.
Those who want to bring humanity together as one are not seeking to do so on God’s terms, but on their own terms. The desire for a world functioning in harmony is a good and right desire. But God tells us that those who love and worship him can have no spiritual fellowship with those who worship creation, so the kind of unity Twoists can have with Oneists is limited.
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14)
The dreams of unity put forth by Oneists are based on anti-God assumptions and use anti-God principles. They, like Teilhard de Chardin, think of themselves as “collaborators in creation.”
Oneism wants to bring humanity together on the basis of principles such as these:
- All is one and one is all, so humanity is a part of God.
- Humans are a kind of cosmic energy and can create their own reality.
- Because humans are divine, they are basically good and can create heaven on earth.
- We are uncreated, as old as God.
- We can decide our own truth.
- Children should learn to rely on their own inner instincts to find peace and unity.
- Humans are only a part of the circle of life, and we need to listen to nature to teach us our morals.
Consider this example of the above Oneist principles, as evidenced in a statement from a“values clarification” program in the Los Angeles, California schools some years ago:
- Each person creates his or her own reality by choosing what to perceive and how to perceive it…once we begin to perceive that we are all God…the whole purpose of life is to re-own Godlikeness within us.
“Churches” also fall into the Oneist trap. Consider this statement from the Unity Church of Life:
- Purpose: We celebrate a world expressing oneness with God—a world of peace, unity and abundance for all.
- Mission: We are a loving, spiritual community empowering active leaders in stewardship to an awakening world.
- Affirmation: There is only one power and one presence in our life, “God the good.”
If we are all sinful, as the Bible teaches, these principles will obviously not bring about peace! This is why Oneist Utopian dreams always fall flat.
Our efforts to unify and bring peace to warring factions have failed miserably, no matter how many or how few people were living on the earth. Before the two world wars of the 20th century, philosophers and religious leaders had high hopes for the growth of worldwide peace. Instead, they saw misery, bloodshed and destruction. In fact, the desire to unify people using Oneist principles has perhaps increased, rather than decreased violence, which seems so deeply rooted in human nature that no amount of self-generated goodwill can tear it out. Schools teaching children principles like the ones above can produce adults who go on shooting sprees in the schools where they grew up.
Some argue that humanity can never be united until the right political structure is created. Has there ever been or will there ever be a political or social structure that allows us to maintain our own identity, yet live in peace and love with one another? The problem is not the political structure, since any political structure would work if perfect people were running it and living under it!
The problem with humanity is not the social structures, but the heart of those living in those structures. The Bible tells us that not one human being is perfect, except for Jesus himself, so no political structure can ever be perfect either.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9, KJV)
They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. (Psalm 14:3)
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
The sin and evil of people living in a socialist system will ensure that eventually the most powerful will rule and justice will not prevail, in spite of the wonderful idea that people could just share their surplus with others. We are all sinful and don’t share with others easily until we are motivated by the love God gives us. The sin and evil of people living in a monarchy will make even the most righteous king quake, for how can he force his people to do what is right? He is quite likely to get beheaded if he tries! And of course, the king himself is not righteous, so his intense power makes him intensely dangerous. The sin and evil of people living in a democracy can be held at bay until the point when fifty-one percent of them no longer respect a morality based on the absolute justice of the God who created the world and declared what is right and what is wrong. Democracy, though a great ideal, will only work if the voters and their representatives have a deeper, internal morality based on the only worldview (Twoism) that can produce peace.
Only those sharing a common moral worldview based on God’s justice and mercy can begin to lay the foundation for peace—and even then, peace is far from automatic.
We’ll see in the next section that Christianity offers hope for human reconciliation, though perfect peace will only come when Christ returns and evil is completely eradicated.
1. Listen for expressions of a yearning for peace and unity in the words of a colleague at work, a politician seeking office, or a character in a novel. Share them with your group
2. What solutions are offered for the human problems of greed, hatred, violence and broken relationships
3. What optimism can you find in the lives of those around you, and on what is it based?
[i] Tower of Babel:The tower made early in the history of mankind by which people thought they could have God visit them by descending from heaven on a tower-like structure called a Ziggurat. God disturbed their plans by causing the men working on the tower to begin speaking in many languages. Since they could no longer understand one another, they scattered in language groups and the project was not pursued. See the story in Genesis 11. God did come down to mankind, of course, but in his own way—through Jesus his Son who became a man to live with people and to provide a way for them to know God and have communion with him.
[ii] Teilhard de Chardin:A French anthropologist, Jesuit clergyman, paleontologist, and theologian who held that biological evolution was the divine creation process that would lead to the ideal “Omega Point,” a perfection of the consciousness of mankind.
[iii] Cyborg: A person whose body contains mechanical or electrical devices and whose abilities are greater than the abilities of normal humans. Originally seen only in stories, people are now looking more realistically at creating such human/mechanical beings.