Coaching for the Abundant Life
If you’ve been in the self-development world long enough, I’m sure that you’ve heard people talking about the Universe or the Life Force or the Great Quantum, all of which are ideas that come out of New Age thinking. You may have thought, “Oh, they are just talking about God. It doesn’t really matter if we use these different names for God. Right?”
Well, the thing is, it actually does matter, and quite a lot at that. You see, if God were really the Universe, a Life Force, or a Great Quantum, then it would be absolutely impossible for human beings to ever be happy. Bold claims, I know, but it’s not hard to see when you consider how deep our desire for happiness goes.
If you haven’t noticed, our desire for happiness is immense. We want perfect, unending, and utterly satisfying happiness. What’s more, we’re relational creatures. We don’t just want to be happy, we want to share that happiness with others whom we love and who love us in return. And again, we aren’t satisfied by an imperfect love. Instead, we want to be known and loved perfectly and completely.
The thing is though, nothing in this world of protons and electrons is like that. All physical things are in some way imperfect, simply from the fact that they eventually end. And while we may have deep love in our lives, no human being can love us perfectly. In order to satisfy our deepest desires, there would have to be something beyond this world that knows us more intimately than we know ourselves and loves us wholeheartedly.
In other words, there would have to be a person who transcends this world. This is why the Catholic Church has always taught that God is transcendent and personal. And it’s also why the Church warns us to be wary of New Age thinking, for, “the God of which the New Age speaks is neither personal nor transcendent.”(1) This becomes obvious when we realize that these names like “the Universe” and “the Life Force” mean something which is this worldly (not transcendent) and neither knows nor loves us (not personal). Can “The Universe” love you? Does “the Great Quantum” transcend a world made up of quantum particles? Can a force, even a “Life Force”, intimately know the people it is giving life to? In each case, the answer is no.
So, the next time someone tells you that “the Universe” is just another name for God, you can tell them, “No, it isn’t. The true God transcends this world, and He is a person who knows and loves me intimately. The Universe isn’t like that at all.”
1. Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian Reflection on the New Age.