The Circle of Life or the Hand of God?
I'm sure most of you will have heard about the movie called The Lion King. It is an interesting movie about a great lion king called Mufasa, his son Simba, and a jealous uncle called Scar. The movie is packed with action and filled with lots of singing. Songs like I Just Can't Wait to Be King, Be Prepared, Hakuna Matata, Can You Feel the Love Tonight capture the imagination and touch your emotions.
The same can be said about the song Circle of Life. Its words are very clear and its tune very catchy. The song goes like this:
From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking, step into the sun
There's more to see than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
There's far too much to take in here
More to find than can ever be found
But the sun rolling high
Through the sapphire sky
Keeps great and small on the endless round
And then comes the chorus:
It's the circle of life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the circle
The circle of life.
The idea of the circle of life is a popular idea nowadays. Not so long ago, I was reading an article about Tom Cochrane in a monthly magazine. Also, he sings about the circle of life. According to the article, in his song called Washed Away on his album Mad Mad World, he sings:
Round and round and round we go,
Where it stops don't no one know.
And in another song, called Everything Comes Around, he sings,
Everything comes round and round,
What goes up must soon
Perhaps, you sometimes wonder what this idea of the circle of life is all about. Is life really a circle or is life something else. Allow me to say a few things about this.
The New Age Movement
To begin with, we can say that the idea of the circle of life is not a new one. Actually, it is a very old idea, but has been popularized by what is known as the New Age Movement. According to a well-known author, this movement tells us that there is a new world coming.
The Old Age is passing away, a New Age is dawning. The world's philosophical, religious and political structures must be overhauled. We are a part of a great transformation of consciousness and culture. Astrological lore calls it 'the Age of Aquarius,' the age of new beginnings. After three centuries of Western materialism and secularism, a new spirituality is ascending which will permeate the planet. The evolutionary pace is quickening, and we can take charge of it through 'conscious evolution,' in which we steer the cosmic ship.
Concerning God, this movement teaches that God is not a Person, but an It. He is not a divine being, but a divine, cosmic power that permeates this whole universe. Everything in this universe has some of this divine power in it. Also human beings like you and I.
Our task, then, is to come into contact with this divine, cosmic power within. According to this movement, we can do this by all sorts of consciousness-expanding techniques, such as, yoga, meditation, drugs, biofeedback, sensory deprivation, visualization, martial arts, hypnosis, and other technologies. The use of any of these techniques will slowly but surely enable you to become the god you in essence already are. It will enable you to cope with the pressures and challenges of life. It will enable you to make it through despair and hope, through faith and love as you find your place on the path unwinding in the circle, the circle of life. And one day, it will enable you to merge with this divine cosmic power called God and become one with it. Much like a drop of water merges into the ocean and becomes one with it.
Up until that time, your life keeps going round and round on the circle of life. You see, according to the New Age Movement, time is not linear, but circular. It keeps going round and round and round. also you. Once you die, you will return to this earth in a different life. You will be reincarnated, as that is called. And these reincarnations will continue until one day you become one with the divine, cosmic power called God.
Is this true? Is God really not a Person, but an It, a divine cosmic power? And is life really circular, going round and round on the merry-go-round of the circle of life until we one day unite with the universal, divine power called God? In order to find an answer to these questions, we will have to see what the Bible has to tell us.
And Impersonal Power or a Personal Being?
The Bible clearly tells us that God is not an impersonal power but a personal Being. As a matter of fact, He eternally exists in three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Father is the One who created this world and now still upholds and governs this world as with His own hand. The Son is the One who lived a perfect life and shed His precious blood for all of the Father's chosen people. The Holy Spirit is the One who dwells in the hearts of God's chosen people and enables them to live Christian lives.
For now, I would just like to focus on God, the Father. He is the One who created this world, we said. And He is also the One who upholds this world as with His own hand. The Bible is clear on this point. Psalm 104, for instance, says, "These (= all God's creatures) look to you to give them their food at the proper time. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things. When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust" (verses 27-29).
The same can be said about how this world is governed. Again, not by an impersonal power, but by a personal Being. Proverbs 21:1 says, "The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD; He directs it like a watercourse wherever He pleases."
In other words, we are what we are not by an impersonal power that keeps moving us round and round on the circle of life, but by the personal hand of God the Father Himself. It is this hand of God the Father and not the circle of life that moves us through despair and hope, through faith and love. It is this hand of the Father that enables us to deal with our struggles and face our challenges. Because of the hand of God in our lives, we can be patient when things are not going the way we would like them to go and thankful when they are going the way we would like them to go. Why even with regard to the future, the hand of God can make us confident that nothing will ever separate us from the Father's love in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Is Time Circular or Linear?
And as far as that future is concerned, we need not think that time is circular. That after we die, we will keep returning to this earth in all sorts of different bodies until we finally unite with that divine, impersonal cosmic power. On the contrary, time is linear. There is a straight line from the beginning of this world to the end of this world. And on that straight line, also you and I live our lives. Our life has a beginning and our life has an end. Once we die, we either go to heaven or we go to hell (Luke 16:19-31; Hebrews 9:27). Where we go, will depend on whether we have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Lord. He Himself said so Himself.
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16
It is my prayer that you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. If you do not, then I urge you to do so today. When you do, you will not feel yourself to be moved along by some impersonal force through despair and hope until you find your place on the path unwinding in the circle of life, but you will feel the hand of God leading and guiding you through life until you find your place in the life of heaven and the life on the new earth.