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What is the Truth About Psychic Phenomena?With the New Age Movement rapidly gaining support today, it is necessary that Christians understand it. Are the reported stories of spiritual phenomena true? Are these things from God? Let's begin with a look at the man who propelled the metaphysical world into the spotlight in the 20th century.
Edgar Cayce was a good and moral man who sincerely wanted to help people. Much of Cayce's life is documented in the book There Is a River, by Thomas Segrew. Cayce was a student of the Bible and a Sunday School teacher who had reportedly read the Bible through once for each year of his age. Believing that he had a special spiritual gift from God, Cayce became engulfed in the spiritual world, and indeed he did help many people. Cayce would go into a hypnotic-like trance in which he was able to diagnose health problems and prescribe health cures with marvelous accuracy. There are over 30,000 documented cases of his successes. With his psychic powers he was not only able to analyze and heal the sick, but he also made remarkably accurate predictions concerning such things as the stock market, oil discoveries, earthquakes, World War II, and the lost city of Atlantis. Cayce actually prescribed cures for some cancers which the medical world acknowledges today. Yet, he never sought wealth or fame. He was truly a humble man who wanted to help people.
When Edgar was 12 years old, he had a vision of a lady who granted him one wish. He wished that he could help people. His first amazing feat was to change from a failing student into an exceptionally smart one. He was able to do this by sleeping on his school books. The lady would tell him, "We can help you." He would sleep with the books under his head, and when he would wake up, he would amazingly know all the contents of the books! Afterwards, Edgar would pray a prayer of thanks to the lady.
Even now we have our first clue as to the source of Cayce's amazing powers. God does not reveal Himself to us through visions in this age of grace. The biblical explanation is that the lady was a demon from Satan who worked in association with other demons (Ephesians 6:12). This is why she said, "We can help you." Also, the lady was worshiped by Cayce. To him she was God, and this was likely part of Satan's deception.
As an adult, Cayce would routinely place himself under a self-hypnotic trance and conduct what he called "readings." An assistant would ask him questions, and he would commence to describe the exact condition of the subject, and then he would prescribe a treatment. Cayce would speak in a different voice, and he would tell things that he could not possibly have known, because he was not a well-educated man. His voice would say things such as, "We have the body now," or "We are through." Here again we see a plurality of spiritual beings.
One of Cayce's remarkable successes involved his own son, Hugh Lynn Cayce. Hugh Lynn had seriously burned his eyes with photographic flash powder, and a group of doctors agreed that he would never see again, and that one eye would have to be removed. Cayce gave a reading, prescribed an unorthodox treatment, and Hugh Lynn's vision was restored.
Satan is the great deceiver, and he apparently had established an effective means of deception through Cayce. With the physical proof of so many health cures, Cayce began what he called "life readings," whereby he attempted to ascertain answers from the spirit world to theological questions. The logic he used was that since these spirits were right about the physical world, they would have to tell the truth about the supernatural world too.
We must come to the realization here that not all supernatural activity is from God. Neither do all the earthly things that seem good come from God. Satan and his demons work plenty of good when it will advance their deceptions. Satan has a way of mixing the truth with lies, thus deceiving the unsuspecting.
The Universal Mind
Perhaps the greatest deception pulled off by Satan through Cayce was the advancement of the theory of the universal mind. Cayce's life readings explained how all the souls of the universe share a common pool of information, thereby allowing all souls access to information such as that revealed by Cayce. It is through this subconscious state that the metaphysical phenomena of the New Age Movement occur today.
A deception closely related to the universal mind is the theory of reincarnation. Reincarnation says that when we die, we return to this life in another body, and we keep coming back in different bodies until we have learned so much about life that we reach a state of perfection, and we become gods. Reincarnation is taught extensively in India today, where through one's Karma, merits are increased and demerits are overcome, with perfection as the final objective. Some of these groups even believe in transmigration, where humans return in the bodies of animals, insects, or plants. The theory of reincarnation is refuted by Hebrews 9:27 which tells us that each of us dies only once. Cayce perverted the scriptures by using passages such as John 3:3, which actually explains the meaning of being born again, as evidence of reincarnation.
Another deception promoted by Cayce was that of theosophy. In theosophy, there is no personal God, no atonement, and no divine Jesus. The Bible is considered to be only a partial revelation, and salvation is achieved through a series of several planes of self-improvement. Again scripture was distorted by Cayce's claims of reaching perfection. He used the passage in Matthew 5, which says one must be perfect to enter the kingdom, in order to support his belief in reaching perfection. He also said that the reason the Bible didn't teach these doctrines more emphatically was because man was not yet ready for explicit revelations concerning these subjects. These doctrines are closely related to the practices of both the ancient mystery religions and the Gnostic beliefs, where the common man was kept in ignorance, and only a few insiders were trusted with the secrets of their religions.
Astrology is another deception promoted by Cayce, and it goes hand in hand with the others. Satan is eager to make man forget God and worship something else, such as the stars. We should beware of the demonic influences in astrological activities such as reading daily horoscopes.
The Doctrine of Demons
In 1 Timothy 4:1-2, Paul refers to all these false religions as being the works of Satan, and he even calls them the doctrines of demons.
Cayce taught the creation of God from a wandering spirit. Similar to Mormon belief, he believed that all souls were created by God at one time and they wandered to and fro looking for bodies to inhabit. Among the outrageous stories of lost souls, Cyclops, apes, and evolution, he saw souls entering animals and men at every opportunity. Through a series of reincarnations, these souls would finally reach perfection via their individual efforts. They would provide their own salvation and then become gods themselves. To Cayce, Jesus was just a good man and a good soul who had reached perfection, and now teaches others how to follow His example of becoming a god.
Satan is the great deceiver, and through Edgar Cayce, he was able to mix enough lies with enough good to deceive millions, just as he was able to do with the ancient mystery religions. Cayce's power came from Satan and his demons. Satan will perform good, such as healings, when it will elevate his deceptions. We are truly in the midst of the spiritual warfare described in Ephesians 6. The holy angels fight for us under the authority of Christ (1Peter 3:22, Matthew 26:53, Hebrews 1:6, Matthew 9:34, Mark 1:23-24). They perform such services as protection for the children (Matthew 18:10). The demonic angels fight against us under the authority of Satan (Ephesians 6:12). We must be aware to recognize where their actions violate Bible doctrine. "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ." (Colossians 2:8)
Owen Weber 2009