Prior to salvation, is the Creator internal or external?
As a yoga instructor I taught my students that God
resides within every human being, that all people possess an inward 'spark
of divine nature.' This is basically the stance taken in Far Eastern and
New Age religious groups, that the Creator is internal. In order to find
him, devotees are instructed to look within. Meher Baba instructed his
disciples, "Do not search for God outside of you. God can only be found
within you, for his only abode is the heart."1
Usually, this belief grows out of pantheism: the proposition that creation,
with its substance, forces and laws, is an emanation of God. If Deity
indwells everything in Nature, it is only logical to believe he already
indwells all of us.2
In direct contrast, the Bible teaches that men and women
are born into this world separated from God. Helen Schucman, author of
"A Course in Miracles," counters the biblical view insisting,
"A sense of separation from God is the only lack you really need
correct. This sense of separation never would have arisen if you had
not distorted your perception of truth, and had thus perceived yourself as
lacking."3 However, the Bible does not
teach a 'sense of separation,' but rather, a 'state of
separation.' (Isaiah 59:2 warns that, "your iniquities
have separated you from your God.") This 'separating'
influence is not only our individual iniquities, but the sin status we have
all inherited from Adam. The good news is: the Bible also teaches that we
can be reunited with God. This happens when Jesus Christ comes to dwell in
our hearts by faith. (See Romans 8:9–11, Ephesians 3:17–19.)
An important biblical happening supports this view of man's
status with God. Right before Jesus ascended into heaven, he encouraged his
disciples to wait in the upper room until the promise of the Holy Spirit
came. The Bible explains that on the Day of Pentecost (a Jewish feast day)
"there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind."
This supernatural 'wind' filled the entire house where the disciples
were sitting. (See Acts 2:1–21.) Tongues of fire appeared
over their heads and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.
Notice the Bible says they were filled. The Spirit of God came into
them from outside of them. The Holy Spirit was not awakened from within
their inner being. Seeing this automatically answers the question posed at
the beginning of this section.
Yes, without a doubt, God is external prior to a person's
experience of salvation. This separation between God and man is the chief
reason for the emotional and mental misery that racks the human race. No
wonder Jesus is entitled the Prince of peace, for "peace with God"
and "the peace of God" are gifts he deposits in every heart he
reconciles to the Father. (Philippians 4:7, Romans 5:1) This really
is the cure for our dilemma.
1 Information brochure from Meher Spiritual Center,
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, A Place of Pilgrimage For All Time, p.
2 Actually, this argument would be offered by both
pantheists and panentheists.
3 Helen Schucman and William Thetford, A Course in
Miracles (Tiburon, California: Foundation for Inner Peace, 1976)
“Text,” p. 11.