The New Age concept of mind-body connection is an attempt to remove God from our bodies. Learn what the Bible has to say about the spirit-body integration.
Today we continue with the Top 10 Countdown of Lies of the New Age. In today’s program we’ll be examining a very subtle deception: the mind-body connection. The most effective deceptions are close to the truth, they seem very plausible. The only way to recognize deception is by knowing the truth. Policemen learn what authentic dollar bills look like so that they can recognize counterfeits. Art and antiques collectors know what the real work of art or the real object looks like so that they can spot the counterfeits. Satan has a counterfeit for every one of God’s truths, and his game plan is to lead us astray. We need to get serious about knowing the truth of God’s Word so that we can recognize the lies of the devil.
8th. Biggest Lie of the New Age: The Mind-Body Connection
There’s been a lot of hype over the past 15 – 20 years about the so-called Mind/Body Connection. New Age and self-help bookshelves are filled with mind/body books by Deepak Chopra, Joan Borysenko, Wayne Dyer, John Sarno, Eckhart Tolle and even the psychic Sylvia Browne. Mind/body theory is supposedly the meeting place of science and spirituality, with some authors even bringing in quantum physics. So what is truth and what is deception? As always, we need to go to the one source of truth for answers, and that is the Bible.
Mind and body
The very words used to label the concept already contain a lie. When we talk about mind and body we’re framing the conversation in human terms. In reality we should be talking about spirit and body, where the spirit and the body are completely integrated and both come from God. In the Book of Genesis, when God created Adam and Eve He fashioned their bodies out of clay and breathed life into their nostrils: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Genesis 2:7)
Now let’s stop right here and explain this one concept which has spawned so many misunderstandings about the nature of man. In this passage the Hebrew word which is translated as “living soul” is “nephesh”. This word is used over 750 times in the Old Testament, so clearly it’s important that we understand what it means. Translators have struggled with this word “nephesh” because it’s a Hebrew concept that has no real equivalent in Greek or Latin. In Hebrew spirit and body go together, there is no dissociation unlike in the Greco-Latin tradition where we say soul and body, a distinction that we can trace back to Plato. According to the Bible, the combination of the breath of life which is the spirit AND the dust or clay which is the body constitute the soul. Therefore a soul is a living person, consisting of a spirit and a body.
In Hebrew or Judaism for that matter there is no concept of a soul that’s a separate entity from the body. Let me repeat this, it’s so important: a soul is a living person resulting from the combination of a spirit and a body, both of which are created by God. The spirit can never be disincarnate. Furthermore the Bible doesn’t speak of mind and body, it speaks of spirit and body. The subtle deception taking place here is that by referring to the mind instead of the spirit they take God out of the equation. We’ve already taken God out of our government, our schools, our public squares, our families, our marriages, and now we want to take Him out of our bodies as well. This true definition of soul is extremely foundational and we’ll be coming back to it in a future program on this series.
The Astral Body:
We are not only spirit, but we have a physical dimension. We are also not only carnal, but we have a spiritual dimension. We can’t ever dissociate the human spirit from the body. But nowhere does the Bible talk about the so-called astral body or etheric body, which New Agers define as an ethereal body which is an intermediate body between the physical body and the spirit, and which is made of a subtle material which is never really defined. Eckhart Tolle calls this the “pain body”, where memories and emotions are stored that may lead to illness and disease.
Most New Age healers claim that healing primarily takes place on this level and therefore their interventions are designed to heal at this level. Let me set the record straight on this. The Bible doesn’t talk about the astral body because “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” That’s in Deuteronomy 29:29.
Listen up: The Lord will bring severe judgment against those who meddle with the hidden things that have not been revealed. It arouses God’s wrath, however well-intentioned that meddling might be. You may feel that this knowledge gives you power; instead it places you outside God’s will, and that’s a very dangerous place to be.
In His revealed Word the Lord has given us clear directives to help us to stay in good health, which most people today disregard at their own risk and peril. Also the Lord has given us – those of us who are healthy as well as those of us who are sick – a beautiful hope and promise in the resurrection.
Mind-body are one
Again, we’ll reframe this as spirit and body are one so that we approach this correctly. In the Garden of Eden when God created Adam and Eve, indeed spirit and body were one. But that unity of spirit and body was destroyed after the fall, when they yielded to the devil’s temptation and sinned. Let’s take a closer look at what happened for them and for all mankind.
Sin, which is defined as the transgression of God’s law, had physical consequences on their bodies. Before their fall in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were naked and were not ashamed according to Genesis 2:25. They were not ashamed because they had been clothed in God’s glory. Psalm 104:2 says that God “wraps Himself in light as with a garment”. God created man in His image and likeness, which means that man also was clothed in light. After the fall, Adam and Eve saw that they were naked and were ashamed, because they had lost their robes of light, their robes of light were removed from them.
Sin also shortened human lifespans. In the Old Testament until the flood, men and women lived for hundreds of years, with Methuselah being famous for having lived up to 969 years – Methuselah was the son of Enoch who walked with God. Noah lived up to 950 years. After the flood life spans drop to around 450 years for a few generations leading up to the Tower of Babel. After God scattered over the face of the earth the rebels who were building the Tower of Babel life spans decreased further to around 235 years and kept decreasing until New Testament times and into our days.
Diet has much to do with this decrease since until the flood people ate a mostly vegan diet as God had prescribed in the Garden of Eden. But widespread collective sin as well as our individual sinfulness has also contributed to our feebleness as a species, so that not even the strictest vegan today could aspire to live 200 years.
There was yet another way in which sin broke the unity and introduced a duality between body and spirit. We often experience this as a tug of war between the flesh and the spirit. In the New Testament the Apostle Paul wrote a lot about this, and in one passage in Philippians 3 refers to “the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things. For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Even more pointedly in Romans 8 we’ll read a rather longish but very key passage about this duality of flesh and spirit: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
Trust your body
If your body is not brought into submission to the spirit, it will take over and you’ll be forever slave to it. The body is the seat of lusts and desires. The Bible teaches us that we just can’t trust our bodies to do good works or to seek good things. We read in Galatians 5 and 6::
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. … And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:16-24)
“For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” (Galatians 6:8)
There’s a sobering story in the Old Testament that symbolizes how the body can lure us into losing the most precious thing of all: our heavenly inheritance. You’ve all heard the story about Esau and Jacob, the two sons of Isaac and Rebekah (for memory Isaac was the son of Abraham). Although they were twins Esau was the firstborn and Jacob the younger son. One day Esau had gone hunting and came back faint with hunger. Jacob had cooked a tasty pottage and his brother asked for some. Jacob said “Sure, only if you sell me your birthright”. And Esau answered “I am at the point to die. And what profit shall this birthright do to me?” And he sold Jacob his birthright. So Esau traded his earthly inheritance for a plate of lentils. In the very near future, will you trade heaven for the ability to buy and sell when the mark of the beast is required to do so?
The body has infinite intelligence and heals itself
Many New Age writers pontificate about the innate intelligence of the body and its ability to heal itself. They have testimonies of people who’ve healed themselves by “reconnecting with their inner self”, “going into silence every day through meditation”, or through positive affirmations. Let’s turn our attention now to the body’s intelligence.
The body is completely dead without the spirit of God. The body without the breath of life or God’s spirit is an inanimate lump of clay, with no intelligence or ability of any kind. In Old English the expression was used “to give up the ghost” when people died. The King James Version of the Bible says that when Jesus died, “He gave up the ghost”. We find the same expression when Abraham died. The breath of life left them. The body doesn’t control when that happens.
The body has no intelligence of its own. Instead, it’s the intelligent spirit of God that permeates the entire body. It’s this intelligence that regulates the body functions and directs each cell, tissue, organ and system to fulfill its role. Without God’s spirit our body has no intelligence of any kind. Any communication that happens through cell receptors and through our neural networks is animated and directed by God’s spirit. The “body’s ability to heal” claimed by New Agers is in reality directed by God. Outside of God’s will the body can do nothing. The body has no divine power whatsoever. God heals or allows healing according to His perfect will. We dishonor God when we don’t recognize Him as the divine healer of our bodies and don’t thank Him for healing us. We commit idolatry when we worship the supposed power of our bodies to heal themselves.
In the Book of Exodus chapter 15 the Lord is leading the Israelites out of Egypt after the miracle of the parting of the Red Sea. After three days of journeying they come to a place where the only water available was bitter. The people murmured against Moses, and Moses pleased with the Lord. Listen to what the Lord says in Exodus 15:26: “If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.” In the Hebrew it says “I am Jehovah Rophe your healer”.
Then we read in Deuteronomy 32:39 “See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with Me. I kill and I make alive. I wound and I heal. Neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.” It is God who heals and none other. The devil may produce counterfeit healings, but woe always falls upon those who give their temples to the devil.
I’ll share my story of how all New Age healing methods failed to heal me. I was living in Paris at the time, and my body was in great shape. For most of my adult life I’d worked out very regularly. I also was a vegetarian and had my own personal trainer. She was a dancer and I’d see her 3 times a week plus I’d work out in between my sessions with her. I wasn’t talented enough to be a dancer but I enjoyed the physical training of dance with all the stretching and the splits and also did yoga and pilates.
All was going well, until one fall I started experiencing terrible pain and tightness in my right hip whenever I worked out. The problem increased and the pain was always there, whether I worked out or not. It’d be worse at night, very inflamed. The medical tests revealed that I’d been born with a minor malformation in the hip, and with the constant pressure of my workouts I’d burned through my cartilage very quickly so that there was very little cartilage left, hence the severe pain. The doctors said “if the pain becomes unbearable we can do a hip replacement” which is a major surgical procedure.
That’s when I went into high gear, trying every imaginable New Age healing method. I was already a regular meditator. Now I consulted all kinds of shamans and healers including Philippine healers who came to Paris, used crystals, got massage therapy twice a week, paid for my first Feng Shui consultation for healing, injected plant-based remedies into the hip area, etc. etc. etc. The body is NOT in control of its own healing – God is. There was a lot of pride in wanting a natural healing and rejecting the solution that was offered to me.
Finally, after three years of sometimes unbearable pain and a very noticeable limp, it got to the point where I could hardly walk anymore and spent a lot of time in tears. I finally yielded and got the surgery. In His infinite mercy the Lord, who already had a calling on my life, healed me. The result of the surgery was impeccable, and today I have a normal life and can walk and work out again normally by God’s grace.
Our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit
We are only stewards of the body which God has given each one of us. It is His property. Our bodies belong to Him. They are the temples of His Holy Spirit. As the Apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians 3:16: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” Therefore it behooves us to take care of our temples, especially by staying away from sin and seeking holiness, but also by observing wholesome lifestyle practices in diet and rest. God’s Word guides us in these and other areas to keep us healthy.
The Bible encourages us that “Whatever you eat and drink and whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” God has told us that we’re not to eat certain unclean meats such as pork and shellfish because they’re harmful to our bodies. They may taste delicious but they bring disease. Meats with blood are also harmful because blood carries disease. This is why the Jews eat kosher meat, from which the blood has been withdrawn.
God also instructed us to take a 24-hour period to rest and be restored physically and spiritually. This holy day of rest is the Sabbath. Our bodies need the Sabbath rest in order to remain healthy. No other day of the week provides the quality of rest and restoration that the Sabbath does, because it was set apart by God and blessed for that purpose. During 24 hours you shut out the stress and demands of the world and turn to God for a season of refreshing.
Why does God allow illness?
If our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, why does God allow illness? This is a complex question that we can’t examine thoroughly in the time that we have. But let me provide four biblical scenarios illustrating various reasons why God allows illness:
- Curse for disobedience given in Deuteronomy 28. This is why the Jews thought that whenever someone was ill it was because of their sinfulness or their parents’ sinfulness.
- To manifest God’s glory in the healing. Let’s read what happened when Jesus and his disciples came across one blind man.
“Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam”. So he went and washed, and came back seeing.”
- Test of faith and obedience: In the Book of Job, Job was a righteous man who endured terrible trials, one of them being horrendous skin boils. God didn’t bring this upon Job, the devil did. But God allowed it to prove Job’s faithfulness. Job remained faithful through the trial and was fully restored and rewarded for his faithfulness.
- Many shall be made white and refined in the fire. In Daniel 12:10 we read, referring to the end time: “Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.” Suffering is a great purifier. The bible doesn’t specifically say illness will be one of the trials but because illness is such a great source of human suffering I believe some of God’s people will be refined through illness.
- And for those who are not of the faith, illness can be a wake-up call from God.
The hope of the resurrection and a glorified body
This body is perishable, conceived in sin. Let’s preserve the temporary temple God has given us, but more importantly, let’s keep our focus on Jesus and our inheritance as children of the promise. If we do, the Lord will give us a glorified body like Christ’s – a perfect body with no imperfections and no disease. And we’ll dwell with Jesus where He is forever and ever.
“The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. …. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15)