Eckhart Tolle On Scripture: Part 1

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.

31 Responses to “Eckhart Tolle On Scripture: Part 1”

  1. A New Earth » Eckhart Tolle On Scripture: Part 1 Says:

    […] Continue here: Eckhart Tolle On Scripture: Part 1 […]

  2. Bo Says:

    As a born again Christian, I love the insights of Eckhart Tolle. Why do Christians have to be so dogmatic. Not everything in the bible is meant to be taken literal! I mean is the earth really 5,000 years old, lol. Is God really Jealus, lol.

    THINK!!

  3. apologianick Says:

    Actually, that’s 6,000 years old, and no, the word yom has a range of meanings and Old-Earth creationism which I hold to is fully orthodox.

    Is God really jealous? Yep. There’s a good jealousy and a bad jealousy. God is jealous for the one he loves and does not want her going after other gods. (Namely Israel in the OT and Christ for his bride in the NT.)

    Yeah. Believe it or not, God does want exclusivity. Kind of a good thing when you’re the only God out there.

    And we will get further into Eckhart Tolle’s work here on his view of God.

  4. MarLee Says:

    Um. Geez. Who has the corner on the absolute “truth” of what the Bible “really” means. Seems the writer of this blog as well as Tolle both interpret it to fit their own world view . But I dislike the snarky, snide attitude on display here which makes it hard for me to “hear” what you are saying.

    And I really don’t see all that much conflict between the two interpretations so far.

    I agree with BO who posted above.

  5. tshirtninja Says:

    MarLee, it is not whether someone has the corner of absolute truth on a certain subject, but if the absolute truth of that thing exists. The answer in this instance is that the absolute truth of what the Bible declares does exist and that Tolle’s view is erroneous.

    “Seems the writer of this blog as well as Tolle both interpret it to fit their own world view”

    I’ve watched his behavior and his debates on Theology Web. I can assure that he’s not trying to make the Scripture conform to his world view but that he is trying to conform his world view to the Scripture through careful analysis and study of what it actually means.

    “But I dislike the snarky, snide attitude on display here which makes it hard for me to “hear” what you are saying.”

    Where was he being snarky?

    “And I really don’t see all that much conflict between the two interpretations so far.”

    So, these interpretations AREN’T all that different?

    1. Tolle’s view: “A new heaven is the emergence of a transformed state of human consciousness, and a new earth is its reflection in the physical realm.”

    2. Blog author’s view: “A New Heaven and a New Earth I believe refer to a recreated cosmos.”

    To begin with, they’re talking about two completely different subjects. Tolle is talking about humanity and its “reflection” in the unchanged physical realm and Deeper Waters is talking about the entire physical realm (the cosmos) itself.

  6. Darth Executor Says:

    “MarLee Says:

    Um. Geez. Who has the corner on the absolute “truth” of what the Bible “really” means. ”

    Educated people. You’re obviously not one of them since you think anyone can just conjure up any psychotic jibberish they want and consider it valid.

  7. Simon Says:

    If the original blogger and those commenting are all coming from a point of pure love than they are all correct. There is no need to complicate things – its prety simple really.

  8. Rayado Says:

    Love doesn’t make something true, any more than disliking something makes it false. I happen to believe that Tolle is dead in his sins and is currently risking an eternity apart from God in Hell, along with all of his followers, and I say that coming from a point of love (not pure love, no mere human can do that because ‘pure love’ belongs only to God). The blogger very likely does too. But somehow I doubt you’d think that’s correct.

    Driving off a pier into the ocean while feeling even pure love doesn’t lessen your chances of drowning. The same goes for bad theology like Tolle’s.

  9. Ron Says:

    I think as a sentient beings we all have perspectives and opinions. Because people have different world views and use different vehicles to reach the Transcendent (GOD) all of what has been posted can be seen as a relative truth to reach the Transcendent (that which goes beyond the limits of knowing and unknowing) or that which is immanent (that can only take place within the mind).

    Reading Socrates (The Last Days), Plato (Euthyphro), Nietzche (Beyond Good and Evil, The Madman & The Gay Science) you will all understand how meaning and language is arbitrary, ambiguous and abstract. Tolle makes a good point that Consciousness is the only absolute truth to all the relative truths and the only absolute truth that can point to all other relative truths.

    If you understand the Subject- Knower/ Object-Known correlation you will better understand “The Burning Bush,” – The I am that cannot consume itself because it is the infinite subject while humans are Human-beings) Man-God (Object-Subject). Subject- Object. “Cane and Able” can represent the object dying and the subject remaining.” Of course this is metaphorically speaking.

    Atlas depicts the subject that is “subjected” to the object (the world on his shoulder)… I know it can be a bit confusing.

    Also if you understand more ancient religions you will understand where the snake became the symbol for the devil instead of being one with god or seeing as God sees. In ancient religions (Egyptian from obvious drawings, Upanishads and Aborigine religion) The Chakras-Yoga. THe snake like power ascends the spine and blows a hole in the head through which God’s understanding is known. Aborigines serpent were said to descend into the medicine man and give him worldly powers including healing. Rod of Asclepis depicted this also. Funny, our doctors use the Caduceus symbol which has nothing to do with medicine. (OK going off on a tangent)

    Adam ate the apple and became conscious of himself and clothed himself. He viewed the “I am” Consciousness that he was as an object.

    Some believe that God (The Transcendent) is possibly using us to reach himself. We are all the one life and one consciousness. Even scientists believe that the Universe is expanding and will contract on itself. We didn’t need tolle to tell us that. It’s called singularity. When that occurs we will be one. The universe is not infinite just as our bodies are not infinite. And still (God) the Transcendent (that which is beyond) will be the consciousness, the is-ness outside of that singularity just as we the isn-ness (soul) is outside of our bodies.

    Row row row your boat. Walking in your vessel (body) gently down the stream (through life) merrily merrily merrily merrily (skillfully) life is but a dream. (in the world of form until we return to the void that is not the void.

    Namaste, Amen, Om,

    • Dan Says:

      Eckhart Tolle.a fool and those that follow him are foolish . God not confused .His word the Bible is absolute truth .Those like Eckhart Tolle.twist it to mold it into their own image to profit and become wealth.Hell is the end for those who reject the truth and follow lies like Eckhart Tolle..Truth is we are all guilty of crime of sins against a holy God .Guilty and will be judged and sentence to hell on death.The solution God Himself provide a way of escape.He God Jesus became flesh and bone .The cross was Him taking on our sin and judgement.He over came cross and death for us.Now one must accept this truth and ask Jesus to forgive all sins .Then one gains a pardon from Judgement and Hell .To refuse to follow lies like Eckhart Tolle.is one willingly rejecting God loving Gift .

  10. apologianick Says:

    Ron: I think as a sentient beings we all have perspectives and opinions.

    Me: Yep. And some are right and some are wrong.

    Ron: Because people have different world views and use different vehicles to reach the Transcendent (GOD) all of what has been posted can be seen as a relative truth to reach the Transcendent (that which goes beyond the limits of knowing and unknowing) or that which is immanent (that can only take place within the mind).

    Me: And there are forms of Buddhism that deny God and there are atheists that deny he exists as well. Also, can God be contradictory things? Finally, can you show one relative truth?

    Ron: Reading Socrates (The Last Days),

    Me: Actually, Socrates didn’t write that. Plato wrote what we have about the Last Days of Socrates.

    Ron: Plato (Euthyphro),

    Me: Which I’ve read Plato.

    Ron: Nietzche (Beyond Good and Evil, The Madman & The Gay Science)

    Me: Got his works here on the “To read” list.

    Ron: you will all understand how meaning and language is arbitrary, ambiguous and abstract.

    Me: Excuse me. How long have you liked to drown puppies for fun?

    Ron: Tolle makes a good point that Consciousness is the only absolute truth to all the relative truths and the only absolute truth that can point to all other relative truths.

    Me: Again, name a relative truth.

    Ron: If you understand the Subject- Knower/ Object-Known correlation you will better understand “The Burning Bush,” – The I am that cannot consume itself because it is the infinite subject while humans are Human-beings) Man-God (Object-Subject). Subject- Object. “Cane and Able” can represent the object dying and the subject remaining.” Of course this is metaphorically speaking.

    Me: First off, the I AM does not try to consume himself. He is eternally active. Second, it’s “Cain and Abel.” Finally, the kind of genre you’re talking about is completely foreign to biblical understanding.

    Ron: Atlas depicts the subject that is “subjected” to the object (the world on his shoulder)… I know it can be a bit confusing.

    Me: No. Just foreign to the text.

    Ron: Also if you understand more ancient religions you will understand where the snake became the symbol for the devil instead of being one with god or seeing as God sees. In ancient religions (Egyptian from obvious drawings, Upanishads and Aborigine religion) The Chakras-Yoga. THe snake like power ascends the spine and blows a hole in the head through which God’s understanding is known. Aborigines serpent were said to descend into the medicine man and give him worldly powers including healing. Rod of Asclepis depicted this also. Funny, our doctors use the Caduceus symbol which has nothing to do with medicine. (OK going off on a tangent)

    Me: Heh. I love it. “If you understand ancient religions.” Gotta love the assumption that I don’t. Yep. It’s quite likely ancient Israel was influenced by Hinduism….

    Ron: Adam ate the apple and became conscious of himself and clothed himself. He viewed the “I am” Consciousness that he was as an object.

    Me: Or we could just say that he strayed from God and personally experienced evil and separation from God.

    Ron: Some believe that God (The Transcendent) is possibly using us to reach himself.

    Me: Then that God really isn’t worth serving. Fortunately, the Bible says God doesn’t need anything.

    Ron: We are all the one life and one consciousness.

    Me: Nice assertion.

    Ron: Even scientists believe that the Universe is expanding and will contract on itself. We didn’t need tolle to tell us that. It’s called singularity. When that occurs we will be one.

    Me: I thought we were one already….

    Ron: The universe is not infinite just as our bodies are not infinite. And still (God) the Transcendent (that which is beyond) will be the consciousness, the is-ness outside of that singularity just as we the isn-ness (soul) is outside of our bodies.

    Me: If we’re all one, then God cannot be infinite. He is finite. Why would I waste my life with a finite god?

    Ron: Row row row your boat. Walking in your vessel (body) gently down the stream (through life) merrily merrily merrily merrily (skillfully) life is but a dream. (in the world of form until we return to the void that is not the void.

    Namaste, Amen, Om,

    Me: I think I’ll keep going until I stand before Christ and hear him say “Well done good and faithful servant.”

    • Dan Says:

      Eckhart Tolle.a fool and those that follow him are foolish . God not confused .His word the Bible is absolute truth .Those like Eckhart Tolle.twist it to mold it into their own image to profit and become wealth.Hell is the end for those who reject the truth and follow lies like Eckhart Tolle..Truth is we are all guilty of crime of sins against a holy God .Guilty and will be judged and sentence to hell on death.The solution God Himself provide a way of escape.He God Jesus became flesh and bone .The cross was Him taking on our sin and judgement.He over came cross and death for us.Now one must accept this truth and ask Jesus to forgive all sins .Then one gains a pardon from Judgement and Hell .To refuse to follow lies like Eckhart Tolle or Buddhism.is one willingly rejecting God loving Gift .

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  12. Ron Says:

    Apolo,

    You make a good point. Some Buddhist may teachings deny God. That is why all organized religions aren’t whole or perfect. Especially when you consider how religions were used for Land, Money, and Power throughout history in addition to how the traditions of today’s Churches were formed from Power Hungry leaders (Constantine) that his only motive was to become catholic to gain an Empire. This is not a criticism, it is just an observation. This is one example of Countless. But I cannot understand what God understands.

    If I made it seem that I assumed you didn’t understand ancient religions, that was not my intention. You make many assumptions yourself, but I won’t judge or criticize them. I see past your Ego and imperfectness as I do my own.

    Yes, Plato did right the last days of Socrates, of course, thanks for pointing that out.

    If you read the book, Eckhart gives an example of a relative truth. But I guess you just wanted another example so you can use language and sophism to deconstruct it.

    I didn’t get the “how long have I have been drowning puppies for.” comment. But perhaps I’m not as sophisticated and intelligent as you. However, that does not make us unequal.— ” For those who humble themselves will be exalted and those who exalt themselves will be humbled.”

    I also find it interesting that my words were taken out of context and others omitted to make a point. Perhaps I did not express myself good enough or there is a myopic view since you are so passionate about God, as I am.

    Perhaps you can take a re-read. You’re partial right. I did say the Universe is finite but that God is beyond the Universe.

    Take a re-read on the Subject-Knower- Object Known as well.

    Ron: “The Burning Bush,” – The I am that CANNOT consume itself because it is the INFINITE subject while humans are Human-beings) Man-God (Object-Subject). Subject- Object. “Cane and Able” can represent the object dying and the subject remaining.” Of course this is metaphorically speaking.

    Me: First off, the I AM does not try to consume himself. He is eternally active. Second, it’s “Cain and Abel.” Finally, the kind of genre you’re talking about is completely foreign to biblical understanding.

    So, I said the I AM does not try or CANNOT consume itself because it is eternally (infinitely) active.

    I know, I know… It is important for the ego to find what is most other in others so you can understand yourself better, but we agree more than you wish to comprehend. I also experience selective reasoning or listening too. It happens.

    Wish you had a chance to meet a professor I know (catholic). Think you would find yourself humbled and enlightened. I’ve had screaming atheists walk out at the end of the semester not knowing who they were anymore because they couldn’t identify themselves as atheists and die hard Catholics realizing that God in inclusive not exclusive.

    We will all meet our maker. He will know our true heart and true intentions. Wish you all the best! Namaste!

    • apologianick Says:

      I’m going to reply to this one and for the rest, I recommend that you come to TheologyWeb.

      You:Apolo,

      You make a good point. Some Buddhist may teachings deny God. That is why all organized religions aren’t whole or perfect. Especially when you consider how religions were used for Land, Money, and Power throughout history in addition to how the traditions of today’s Churches were formed from Power Hungry leaders (Constantine) that his only motive was to become catholic to gain an Empire. This is not a criticism, it is just an observation. This is one example of Countless. But I cannot understand what God understands.

      Me: But that won’t stop from expounding on it. Okay. Some people of various religions did actions for immoral reasons. Irrelevant though. I want to know about the truthfulness or the falsity of the beliefs themselves. Now you say that Buddhism is wrong in denying God. Which one? Hindus have about 330,000,000. Jews and Muslims both believe in a deity that is one in person. For a Christian, he’s essentially triune. For a Jehovah’s Witness, he’s a monad just like he is in Judaism and Islam. For a Mormon, he was once a man as we are and became God. Does the word “God” have any content to it?

      Ron: If I made it seem that I assumed you didn’t understand ancient religions, that was not my intention.

      Me: Sure it was! I’d prefer you come right out and admit it.

      Ron: You make many assumptions yourself, but I won’t judge or criticize them.

      Me: Oh please. Go ahead and judge or criticize. Judging is the method you use to determine truth and criticism is a way of testing a truth claim.

      Ron: I see past your Ego and imperfectness as I do my own.

      Me: Well, if having a desire to be right is ego, then I will claim ego. You see, I like the things I believe about the world to be right. Do you prefer to be wrong instead?

      Ron: Yes, Plato did right the last days of Socrates, of course, thanks for pointing that out.

      Me: Actually, there is no “Last Days of Socrates.” The collection of different books written have been called the Last Days of Socrates, but there is no one writing by Plato called that.

      Ron: If you read the book, Eckhart gives an example of a relative truth. But I guess you just wanted another example so you can use language and sophism to deconstruct it.

      Me: I did read the book and I never saw a valid relative truth.

      Ron: I didn’t get the “how long have I have been drowning puppies for.” comment. But perhaps I’m not as sophisticated and intelligent as you. However, that does not make us unequal.— ” For those who humble themselves will be exalted and those who exalt themselves will be humbled.”

      Me: Which means the humbled are not those who are humbled and the exalted are not those who are exalted. There is equality. What my statement was saying was that you were speaking of how ambiguous language is. When people speak to me about the ambiguity of language, I understand it as pointing to hidden tendencies to abuse animals. Now pray tell, is my understanding wrong?

      Ron: I also find it interesting that my words were taken out of context and others omitted to make a point. Perhaps I did not express myself good enough or there is a myopic view since you are so passionate about God, as I am.

      Me: Demonstrate where this was done.

      Ron: Perhaps you can take a re-read. You’re partial right. I did say the Universe is finite but that God is beyond the Universe.

      Me: Which would mean I’m partially wrong now also in your eyes. Right?

      Me: Yeah. The universe is finite and God is beyond it and within it.

      Ron:Take a re-read on the Subject-Knower- Object Known as well.

      Me: In lieu of an explanation?

      Ron: “The Burning Bush,” – The I am that CANNOT consume itself because it is the INFINITE subject while humans are Human-beings) Man-God (Object-Subject). Subject- Object. “Cane and Able” can represent the object dying and the subject remaining.” Of course this is metaphorically speaking.

      Me: Metaphorically for what? By the way, it’s “Cain and Abel.” I surely hope you’re not going for English synonyms of Hebrew words to make a point.

      Ron: So, I said the I AM does not try or CANNOT consume itself because it is eternally (infinitely) active.

      Me: And the text has the I AM as being distinct from the bush so the point is…?

      Ron: I know, I know… It is important for the ego to find what is most other in others so you can understand yourself better, but we agree more than you wish to comprehend. I also experience selective reasoning or listening too. It happens.

      Me: No. It’s just the person who cares about truth has a great desire to have true beliefs.

      Ron: Wish you had a chance to meet a professor I know (catholic). Think you would find yourself humbled and enlightened. I’ve had screaming atheists walk out at the end of the semester not knowing who they were anymore because they couldn’t identify themselves as atheists and die hard Catholics realizing that God in inclusive not exclusive.

      Me: He is extremely inclusive! When you come on his terms that is….He says “whosoever will”, but that path has been made only through his Son.

      Ron: We will all meet our maker. He will know our true heart and true intentions. Wish you all the best! Namaste!

      Me: Come find me on TheologyWeb to continue.

    • Cindy Mulvey Says:

      Amen says One Deist !

  13. Ron Says:

    Plato did *write (instead of right) Figured I fix that before I am labeled evil or ignorant for a type from writing quickly… heheh just busting on you… Have a good one.

  14. Ron Says:

    You: Well, if having a desire to be right is ego, then I will claim ego. You see, I like the things I believe about the world to be right. Do you prefer to be wrong instead?

    Me: Ego is not right nor wrong, it is unconscious. But yes fear and desire fit into the dysfunction of ego so if you wish to claim ego, perhaps there is some self discovery and realization there that you might want to be aware of. Perhaps your zeal to be right blinds you to the Truth. The desire to like things you “believe” to be right is the separation from others, from yourself, from God.

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    Eckhart Tolle On Scripture: Part 1 « Deeper Waters…

  17. Joss Says:

    Surely you’re arguments and Tolle’s could be seen as true or false depending on what you believe. After all, Jesus’ words mean what you interpret them to mean depending on your beliefs. Tolle believes something different to you. That’s why he’s interpreted the bible that way. You believe something different. Neither of you is wrong or right. That’s the magical thing about beliefs. We fit the world to them. Ultimately nothing means anything until we give it meaning.

  18. bill Says:

    He is the light of all men. Written in the gospel of john

  19. bill Says:

    I would also like to point out that the most high is kind to the ungrateful and the evil alike. The sun rises on all. So when i read this things like this its apparent who is speaking rightousness.

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