The Worldview and Practices of the Occult – Reality

By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©2002
In occult monism, normal ways of thinking and perceiving are often rejected. Because “All is One,” there is no ultimate distinction between good and evil, moral and immoral, or right and wrong. But who can say such thinking has no consequences?

The Worldview and Practices of the Occult – Reality

In occult monism (Everything is divine. There is only one divine reality (Spirit).), normal ways of thinking and perceiving are often rejected.

Because “All is One,” there is no ultimate distinction between good and evil, moral and immoral, or right and wrong, because true reality is beyond these “illusory” categories. In other words, rape, theft, murder, etc., cannot finally be considered evil if evil itself has no final reality. But who can say such thinking has no consequences? Charles Manson himself once observed, “If God is One, what is bad?” [1] In the end, nothing evil is really evil.

But in the end, neither is anything ultimately good. Love, empathy, forgiveness, and truth cannot be considered “good” when “good” also has no ultimate reality. In future articles we will supply specific illustrations of how occult monism can adversely affect peoples’ lives and the decisions they make.

Further, there is no such thing as genuine personality, either human or divine, because true reality is impersonal. In other words, the personal God of Christianity plus all individual human personality is ultimately an illusion. Thus, as we will see, in occult practice we often find an attempt to destroy the personality (as it currently exists) since it is supposedly a hindrance to true spiritual enlightenment.

Finally, in occult philosophy there is no Creator/creature distinction because inwardly man’s true nature is intrinsically united to the one impersonal divine reality. Man is already God; he is simply ignorant of this fact until he becomes “enlightened” through occult practice.

It should be plain that whether we are Christians or whether we are occultists, the differ­ence between these respective philosophies is both profound and important.

Occult philosophy, of course, has been with man from the beginning. In encapsulated form, it began when the spiritual father of the occult lied to mankind’s first parents when the serpent told Eve 1) “You surely shall not die,” 2) “Your eyes will be opened,” and 3) “You will be like God,” 4) “knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4, 5). Respectively, these lies involve the suggestion that 1) man will live forever even if he disobeys the commands of God, 2) he can independently discover secret understanding or illumination of his true condition, 3) by self-will and disobedience to God, he can become godlike and gain forbid­den power, and 4) a condition of innocence is counterproductive to his best interests be­cause it is only the personal experience and final transcendence of good and evil that will make him like God.

Today the essence of occult practice involves three related but supernaturally derived phenomena: 1) the reception of secret knowledge—information normally unavailable through the five senses; 2) contacting the spirit world in various forms and at various levels; and 3) the acquisition of power to manipulate or control the creation, animate or inanimate (things, people, the spirit world). The underlying necessity of the supernatural is evident in each category; whether perceived or not, these three characteristics of the occult cannot be successfully achieved apart from supernatural assistance.

From the biblical perspective, then, the fact of the supernatural and the innate hostility of occult practices and philosophy to biblical revelation requires one conclusion.

The entire gamut of the occult realm lies under the domain of fallen angels (demons) and their leader, Satan. Their goal is part of a plan to oppose God, to deceive men, and to build a rebellious kingdom. Scripture does assert that Satan has a kingdom (Matthew 12:26). Indeed, it refers to him as the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) and implies that he is the one behind the occult realm (1 Corinthians 10:20; 2 Corinthians 11:11-14). Nev­ertheless, in spite of the attraction of occultism, God asserts that evil and disaster will ultimately fall upon those who disregard His warnings and transgress His covenants (Deuteronomy 18:9-12; Isaiah 47:8-15).

Before we examine occult methods in more detail, it is important to understand that, broadly considered, the world of the occult comprises a sizable number of practices and phenomena. We include here a brief listing for purposes of illustration.


Occult Practices Séances, ritual, spells, curses, automatism (writing, typing dictation, painting), astral travel, psychometry/radionics, magic charms, psychic diagnosis/healing/surgery, rod and pendulum, crystal gazing, dowsing, I Ching, tarot cards, Ouija board
Occult Categories Magic, witchcraft/sorcery/voodoo, Satanism, spiritism, divination, astrology, shamanism, necromancy
Occult Related Parapsychology, mysticism, New Age holistic health, yoga, meditation, visualization, Dungeons and Dragons and similar fantasy role playing games, hypnotism
Occuly Religions (Almost all major religions and cults are occultic to one degree or another.) Rosicrucians, Scientology, Theosophy, Church Universal and Triumphant, The Association for Re­search and Enlightenment (Edgar Cayce), Silva Mind Control, Astara, Eckankar, Children of God, Anthroposophy, Mormon­ism, Kabbalism
Occult Phenomena Ectoplasmic manifestation, materializations/apparitions, telepathy, telekinesis, apports, clairvoyance/ clairaudience, poltergeists (ghosts), trance, possession, psychic transference of power, levitation, fairies, devas, nature spirits, spirit guides, polyglot mediumship, certain altered states of consciousness, precognition, reincarnation phenomena

As noted, one principal goal of occult practice is the acquisition of supernatural power.

Richard Cavendish is a leading authority on the history of magic and occultism. Edu­cated at Oxford, he is the editor of two encyclopedias on the occult. He observes in The Black Arts, “The magician’s central preoccupation is with the exercise of power, but his use of his power is also as various as his methods.” [2] Significantly he begins his text discussing the occultist’s attempts at self-deification (which typically accompanies the quest for power) and its theological roots:

The driving force behind black magic is hunger for power. Its ultimate aim was stated,appropriately enough, by the serpent in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were afraid that if they ate the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil they would die. But the serpent said, “Ye shall not surely die; for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” In occultism the serpent is a symbol of wisdom, and for centuries magicians have devoted themselves to the search for the forbidden fruit which would bring fulfillment of the serpent’s promise. Carried to its furthest extreme, the black magician’s ambition is to wield supreme power over the entire universe, to make himself a god.
Black magic is rooted in the darkest levels of the mind, and this is a large part of its attraction, but it is much more than a product of the love of evil or a liking for mysterious mumbo-jumbo. It is a titanic attempt to exalt the stature of man, to put man in the place which religious thought reserves for God. In spite of its crudities and squalors this gives it a certain magnificence. [3]

Paradoxically, in his quest for personal power the occultist must somehow give way to the nonhuman power available from the supernatural realm. He must step aside and permit this supernatural reality to enter his life and his world. In one sense, he must “die” so “it” may live.


  1. Charles Manson, letter to the editor, Radix Magazine, Nov-Dec. 1976, p. 2.
  2. Richard Cavendish, The Black Arts (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1967), p. 229.
  3. Ibid.

1 Comment

  1. Andrè M. Pietroschek on January 22, 2016 at 3:19 am

    An appreciated summary! Thanks for the article.

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