Does Occultism Have a Dark and a Light Side?

By: Dave Hunt; ©2000
White magic, black magic. The dark side and the light side of the Force in Star Wars. Those involved in the occult usually argue that the powers can be used for either good or evil—and that most practitioners are committed to using their powers only for good. But is that true or even possible? Dave Hunt explores the issues and the source involved.

Does Occultism Have A Dark and a Light Side?

(from the Occult Invasion, Harvest House, 1998)

The basic foundation of occultism is the belief that an infinite Force pervades the uni­verse which those initiated into its secrets can use to their own ends. How one controls this Force varies with each school of occultism. For some, it is essential to make contact with spirit beings or power animals who are the guardians of the Force and who channel it to or through those who become their servants. For others, this Force (which also is believed to be a reservoir of all knowledge—past, present, and future) responds to certain rituals, ceremonies, or secret techniques which can be learned and are passed down to each new generation of initiates.

Of course, the idea of an impersonal Force is enticing. Instead of being accountable to a personal Creator, how much more appealing to become one’s own god through mastery of the Force! The personal God of the Bible demands obedience, and there are conse­quences for disobedience. Forgiveness must be on a righteous basis; i.e., sin’s penalty must be paid. A Force, however, being impersonal, knows nothing of morals; it is there for all to use who will follow the laws or rituals by which it operates. One does not need to be a righteous or religious person to use electricity; it is the same with the Force. It is no more moral than gravity, yet it supposedly holds the key to all power and knowledge.

Occultists of all kinds claim that there is a positive and negative side to the “Force”—a “light” side and a “dark” side, as Obi Wan said in Star Wars. In witchcraft, similar terminol­ogy is used: “white” magic and “black” magic. And so it is in indigenous native spirituality all over the world, in all cultures, and at all times. The famous Lakota Medicine Man, Archie Fire Lame Deer (so admired by Phil Jackson and other celebrities), says exactly that.

A Mysterious, Invisible “Energy Source”?

That there are mysterious forces in the universe no one can deny. A Force beyond human understanding holds the nucleus of the atom together and somehow supplies energy to the electrons in orbit around the nucleus. The universe is filled with mysteries which science is unable to explain.

Although we know that gravity and electricity exist and we can observe and measure them and even put them to use to our own ends, science does not know what these forces are or how they originated. Science tells us that everything is made of energy and that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, but it cannot tell us what energy itself is, how it originated, the source of its power, or why it operates according to certain laws. Physicist Lambert Dolphin writes:

The nucleus of the atom contains positively charged and neutral particles…. Mutual electrostatic repulsion between the like-positive protons would drive the nucleus apart….
There is thus an active force imposed on the universe, which actively holds the very atoms of the material world together moment by moment, day by day, century by century
Similarly, accelerated electrons circling the nucleus should quickly radiate all their energy away and fall into the nucleus unless there exists an invisible energy source to counteract this.[1]

What is this “invisible energy source”? And what is the “intelligence” behind it? Obvi­ously no “force” has intelligence. That there are many forces productively involved in nature is evidence of an Infinite Intelligence behind all things.

The fact that each force, whether of gravity or entropy, is bound by definite laws (which in turn all cooperate with one another) is evidence enough that no individual “force” is in control. Clearly, all forces are subject to an overriding Intelligence that created them. Nor can anyone sustain a suggestion that one “side” of the Force, either “light” or “dark,” is stronger than the other. Thus the situation is hopeless, for neither side will ever triumph. Indeed, “good” and “evil” are meaningless terms.

A Basic Problem: Power Corrupts

Furthermore, if occult power exists innately within all things and all beings, as Archie Fire Lame Deer declares, then far from bringing peace and unity to mankind, the opposite would be true. If “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” the prospect of mankind developing unlimited occult power is frightening rather than encouraging. The temptation to seek greater and greater power in order to outdo the competition would seem inevitably to corrupt everyone, even those ostensibly using the “light side of the Force.”

Here we confront a basic problem with the occult: unlimited power to be used for “good” by “white witches” and for “evil” by “black magicians.” But who is to define “good” and “evil”? All who master the Force can use it to their own ends, to get what they want out of life in opposition to all others. There is no personal God of infinite love, holiness, impartial­ity, and authority in charge of the universe—and thus the “Force” could never bring peace to earth. The same would have to be admitted of the entire Human Potential movement. Power brings greater conflict, not peace.

The Bible claims that God is a personal Being of infinite love, wisdom, and power who made man in His moral and spiritual image and to whom man is accountable. Occultism, in contrast, holds out the promise that each person can acquire Godlike powers and thus become his own god. Of course, some occultists believe they must look to the spirit entities who allegedly control these forces. From this concept developed complex rules for obtaining favors from the gods, which were passed on from initiate to initiate in the form of occult rituals.

It is easy to see that the teaching of Positive Mental Attitude in the worlds of business, academia, and psychology is an appeal to call upon the “light” side and avoid the “dark” side of the Force. So it is with Positive/Possibility Thinking, popularized within the church by Norman Vincent Peale and his chief disciple, Robert Schuller. And the same can be said of the Positive Confession (speaking forth the “word of faith”) of today’s charismatic leaders. Each person’s mind (or tongue) can become the channel for this Force so that what one thinks or speaks aloud (“positive” or “negative”) will come to pass.

Explaining God Away

Similarly, science has tried to explain the order in the universe as resulting from imper­sonal laws. Yet consciousness is not subject to any known laws of nature, and its develop­ment cannot be accounted for by physical laws. In order to avoid admitting to some “intelli­gence” behind nature, the hard-core evolutionists hypothesize an “organizing principle” innate within the atom.

Organization requires intelligent planning and direction. This “organizing principle” is credited with all the qualities of God except that of being able to righteously judge those beings which it creates—a capacity which must be vigorously denied in order to escape its awesome consequences. Indeed, the impersonal force becomes personified in man where it resides, mysteriously hidden, as his alleged infinite potential.

Similarly, many modern theologians insist upon “truth” without divine inspiration. Deny­ing that the Bible is God’s inerrant Word, they nevertheless appeal to it for lessons con­tained within its “myths.” That “myth” should be revered would seem to require far more gullibility than to believe in truth revealed by God. The famous mythologist Joseph Campbell tells Bill Moyers in their celebrated television series:

Man’s tendency… is to personify… natural forces. Our way of thinking in the West sees God as the final source or cause of the energies and wonder of the universe. But in most Oriental thinking, and in primal thinking, also, the gods are rather manifestations and purveyors of the energy that is finally impersonal. They are not its source.
The god is the vehicle of its energy. And the force or quality of the energy that is involved or represented determines the character and function of the god. There are gods of violence, there are gods of compassion… personifications of the energies in play….
And then do you say, “Well, there must be somebody generating that energy”? Why do you have to say that? Why can’t the ultimate mystery be impersonal?[2]


  1. Lambert Dolphin, “Physics and the Bible: What Holds the Universe Together?” in Per­sonal Update, January 1997, p. 13.
  2. Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyer, The Power of Myth, (Doubleday, 1988), pp. 207-08.

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