I have embarked on a three-part apologetic series on Rhonda Byrne’s book, The Secret. In part one, we examined The Secret on its own terms. In part two of this series, we explored its framework, and now we have arrived at final installment of this series, in which we will examine its plausibility and inevitable blasphemy.

Plausibility

            I would be remiss if I failed to address the plausibility of The Secret. After all, there is a reason why this book has sold over 19 million copies and has been translated in 46 different languages worldwide. First, let us define the term “plausible.” According to Merriam-Webster, it is defined as something “superficially worthy of belief.”[1]In other words, plausibility has “the appearance of truth or reason.”[2] Plausibility is one of the primary reasons why this book has been so popular and pervasive—even among Christians. Common Scriptures such as: “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. ‘Eat and drink!’ he says to you, but his heart is not with you” (Prov. 23:7)[3] and “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” (Prov. 18:21) are just a few among several Scriptures cited by Christians, and false prosperity teachers in the Word of Faith movement, who seek to syncretize their Christianity with The Secret’s gnostic new-age philosophy.

Neither of the aforementioned Scriptures are affirming the false teaching of The Secret, namely that you can call things into existence. The first Scripture, Prov. 23:7, concerns a hypocritical person, who outwardly is encouraging you to eat his food, in spite of the fact that he increasingly despises you with each bite you take. His thoughts about himself are not changing him; he is well acquainted with who he is, and is projecting an ideal picture of himself to his friend in an effort to mask his true feelings.

The second Scripture, Prov. 18:21 does not teach that our words are on par with God’s words. Ex Nihilo is a power reserved exclusively for the Godhead. As the Creator-God, He literally speaks things into existence and His words create reality as we know it (Gen. 1). With that said, our words bring about real consequences; if that were not so, the Bible would not warn us to guard our tongues and the words we use (Jas 3:5-9; Matt.12:36). Nevertheless, even the consequences are subject to God’s providence and sovereign rule; which acts as bulwark against the superstitious tendency to anxiously fret over every word we speak. We are not demi-gods; our “positive” and “negative” words do not create reality.

Initially, a cursory look into The Secret may seem plausible, but upon further study the implausibility abounds. Observe the world around you; suffering is everywhere. No one asked for suffering to enter into his or her world—it is part and parcel of living in this fallen world. What of the starving children in India and Cambodia? You mean to tell me, the reason why they are living in poverty is because they did not get on the “frequency of receiving” through “positive thinking”? Have they never “visualized” a better life that did not include going to bed hungry? In our American context, the structures of plausibility are in place, but even when the secret seems to be working, bear this in mind: a broken clock is right twice a day. Consider Jesus: His every thought is pure, holy, true, and “positive”—if you will. Yet, He was crucified, in spite of the fact that He never had one unholy, false, or “negative” thought. Remember, plausibility and truth are not necessarily bedfellows. 

Blasphemy

            Now we venture into the delusional pits of profound despair in Byrne’s illusory world. “You can never not be.[4]You are eternal life. You are God manifested in human form, made to perfection.[5]You are all power. You are all wisdom. You are all intelligence. You are the creator.”[6] This litany of heretical statements and blasphemies are so steeped in utter wickedness and falsehood—it would be a sin for me not to contend for and defend the faith (Jude 3; 1 Pet. 3:15). Byrne has equated the creature with the Creator, by ascribing to the creature incommunicable attributes such as: pre-existence, eternality, condescension, omnipotence, omniscience, and creative power; all of which belong exclusively to the Triune God.

Contrary to Byrne’s “make-believe” universe, we are finite creatures—here today and gone tomorrow. We are like the flower of the field; when it withers away, its place knows it no more (1 Pet. 1:24). We are not eternal life; there is only one name under heaven by which men must be saved, and that is the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). In fact, “this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). Moreover, He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man, for He became the “God-man” when He took on flesh (Luke 1:35; John 1:14; 1 Tim. 2:5). He upholds all things by the word of His power—we do not (Heb. 1:3). He is the power and wisdom of God (1Cor: 1:24). He is the Creator and we are the work of His hand (Is. 64:8).

Conclusion

            “Why doesn’t everyone know this?” A burning desire to share The Secret with the world consumed me.”[7] This seems so noble, but then again, all false teachers have a burning desire to share their new insights with the world. Perhaps that is why The Secret has bewitched so many: it gives off an air of innocence, much like an “angel of light” and once it has you in its grip, you are mangled beyond description. This is the nature of idolatry. It holds out a false promise of satisfaction, security, and happiness, but it reneges on said promise once it has you, and leaves you worse off than you were before. Byrne is not revealing a secret that has been kept hidden for ages. Conversely, The Secret is nothing more than repackaged “doctrines of demons”: gnosticism, pantheism, and new-age philosophy, rolled into an anthology. There is nothing new under the sun, and the idolatrous worship The Secret promotes finds its origin in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3). Cornelius Van Til said, “Any god that is not the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is not God but an idol.”[8]

 

[1]“Merriam-Webster Dictionary,” http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com/unabridged/plausible .

[2] “Dictionary.com,” http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/plausibility?s=t .

[3] “BibleGateway,” accessed April 16, 2014, http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+23%3A7&version=NKJV .

[4] Rhonda Byrne, The Secret (Hillsboro, OR: Beyond Words Publishing, 2006), 159.

[5] Lisa Nichols, quoted in Rhonda Byrne, The Secret (Hillsboro, OR: Beyond Words Publishing, 2006), 164.

[6] Ibid., 164

[7] Ibid., 4.

[8] Cornelius Van Til, Christian Apologetics (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2003), 79.