Is the law of attraction biblical? On April 4th, 2023, I posted this on my personal Facebook profile…
I think I want to write about this more.
So, what do you think people said about the law of attraction and the bible?
The Law of Attraction is a concept that suggests that positive or negative thoughts bring positive or negative experiences into a person’s life. While this idea is not explicitly mentioned in the Bible, some people draw connections between certain biblical principles and the concept of the Law of Attraction.
Proponents of the Law of Attraction often point to verses that emphasize the power of faith, belief, and positive thinking, suggesting that these principles align with the idea that thoughts and beliefs can shape one’s reality. However, it’s important to note that interpretations may vary, and not all Christians or biblical scholars agree on the compatibility of the Law of Attraction with Christian teachings.
Some argue that the emphasis on faith and positive thinking in the Bible is more about trusting in God and aligning one’s will with God’s, rather than the idea that individuals can independently manifest their desires through their thoughts alone. Others caution against the potential dangers of reducing complex theological concepts to a simplified formula for personal success.
While some individuals may see parallels between the Law of Attraction and certain biblical principles, it is a matter of interpretation and perspective, and opinions on this topic can vary among the Christian worldview.
In this post, we are going to dive deep into 100 or so comments on a Facebook post I made about this topic. Let’s examine the topic of “Is the law of attraction biblical?” from allllll the sides!
What are law of attraction principles
Before we jump in, let’s do a little review / prep:
The Law of Attraction concept suggests that positive or negative thoughts bring positive or negative experiences into a person’s life. While interpretations and specific principles vary, three commonly discussed principles of Law of Attraction include:
Power of Positive Thinking: The Law of Attraction emphasizes the impact of positive thinking on shaping one’s reality. Proponents believe that maintaining a positive mindset. Focus on what one desires rather than what is lacking. Use positive statements to reinforce your specific desires. Visualize successful outcomes to attract positive experiences and opportunities.
Law of Vibration: The Law of Vibration is sometimes associated with the Law of Attraction. It suggests that everything in the universe, including thoughts and emotions, has a specific vibration or energy frequency. According to this principle, aligning one’s thoughts and feelings with positive vibrations can attract similar positive energies and experiences.
Acting “As If”: This principle involves behaving and feeling as if one has already achieved the desired goals. By acting “as if” the desired outcome is already a reality, proponents believe that individuals can send a powerful message to the universe, aligning their energy with the desired manifestation.
It’s important to note that while these principles are commonly discussed in the context of the Law of Attraction, this concept is not universally accepted, and scientific support for its claims is limited. (But there is some science behind it!)
Individuals have varying perspectives on the extent to which these principles can influence real-world outcomes. Some find value in these ideas as a form of positive psychology, while others approach them with skepticism.
More Resources on manifesting
What does the bible say: Is the law of attraction biblical?
The bible, or what Christians call the word of God, contains some insight on manifesting.
The concept of “manifesting” as it is commonly understood in the context of the Laws of Attraction is not explicitly addressed in the teachings of the bible. However, there are biblical principles that some people might relate to the idea of manifesting. Here are a few relevant bible verses:
Faith and Belief
The Bible places a strong emphasis on the biblical concept Christian faith and belief. Verses like the biblical verse Mark 11:24 (NIV) say, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” This is often cited in discussions related to manifesting positive outcomes through faith.
Proponents of the Law of Attraction practice sometimes connect the idea of speaking positive affirmations with biblical principles. For example, Proverbs 18:21 (NIV) says, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” This is often interpreted as a warning about the power of words.
Many Christians believe in aligning their desires with the will of God. James 4:3 (NIV) states, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” This suggests that prayers or desires should be in line with God’s plan.
It’s essential to recognize that interpretations of God’s word vary. Not all Christians view them as supporting the idea of manifesting in the way it is commonly discussed in New Age or self-help circles. Some caution against reducing these biblical principles to a formula for personal success. They emphasize instead the importance of seeking God’s will, the holy spirit, and trusting in God’s plan. (Rather than attempting to manipulate outcomes through positive thoughts alone.)
The word “manifest”
The term “manifest” in English originates from the Latin word “manifestus,” signifying the act of making something clear, visible, or evident. In the context of the Bible, traced back from English to Greek and then to Hebrew, the equivalent term is “galah” (גלה).
Within the Tanakh, this word is extensively employed, with its verbal root conveying the notions of exposing, uncovering, or revealing. A closely related term is “galut” (גלת), which corresponds to the name of the final book in the New Testament, Revelation (Hitgalut), in Hebrew. This term signifies the revelation of something once concealed, emphasizing its use in both biblical covenants.
Word of Faith Movement and New Age Philosophy
The Word of Faith movement is a Christian theological and spiritual movement that emerged in the latter half of the 20th century. It is also sometimes referred to as the “Prosperity Gospel”, “Name It and Claim It” movement and “new thought movement” for other names to these new age philosophies. The central focus of the prosperity gospel movement movement is on the power of words, positive confession, and the idea that faith, when expressed through speech, can influence and shape reality.
Key beliefs and teachings of the Word of Faith movement include:
Followers of the Word of Faith movement emphasize the importance of speaking positive affirmations or confessions. This is based on the idea that words have creative power and that speaking positively can bring about positive outcomes.
Faith as a Force
The movement teaches that faith involves both 1) belief or trust in God AND 2) acts a force for bringing about healing, prosperity, and other desired outcomes.
Prosperity and Health
A significant aspect of the Word of Faith movement is the emphasis on material prosperity and physical well-being. Adherents believe that God desires His followers to be prosperous and healthy, and that faith-filled confessions can lead to financial success and physical healing.
Atonement for Prosperity
Some within the Word of Faith movement teach that the atonement of Christ not only provides for spiritual salvation but also includes provision for material prosperity and freedom from sickness and disease.
Criticism and Controversy
The Word of Faith movement has faced criticism from within and outside the Christian community. Critics argue that it distorts biblical teachings, reduces God to a cosmic vending machine, and preys on the vulnerable by promising material wealth and health as evidence of faith.
Just read this comment from the Facebook post I mentioned at the beginning of this post…
I grew up in the 1970/1980’s charismatic Christian “name it/claim it” world in the Tulsa area. At one point, as an adult I totally rejected the extremist version. I literally remember my childhood pastor saying from the pulpit “God wants me to drive a white Cadillac” and someone in the congregation literally bought him one. These were called “positive confessions”. On the other end, I remember suffering with a sinus headache to the point of tears because I was told not manifest a lifetime of pain or problems by admitting that I needed medicine. That was called a ” negative confession.” These days I’m prone to believe there’s something to keeping your goals in the forefront and speaking them out but I grew up in an overdone version of it. The lingo comes with lots of junk for me.
It’s important to note that views within the Word of Faith movement can vary, and not all individuals associated with this movement hold identical beliefs. While some elements of positive confession and faith are present in various Christian traditions, the distinct emphasis on material prosperity and the specific teachings associated with the Word of Faith movement have led to controversy and debate within the broader Christian community.
So what is the problem of “manifesting” to Christians?
This quote from my Facebook post helped me start to understand the Christians’ problem…
The way manifesting is discussed online is “the universe” wants you to have whatever you want. That’s not biblical. Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father, and God gives us what’s best for us, not what always feels good. That’s scripture. I believe that’s one of the core issues many Christians have with the term. The Father and the universe are two different things. The Father is the creator and the universe is His creation.
Scripture says our words matter. The names/attributes of God listed in the Bible is what I will always reference Him as. What was the context Romans was referring to? It’s dangerous to take a scripture out of context and make it mean what we want it to mean. Either way, the Holy Ghost in me, isn’t ok with calling my Heavenly Father (creator) the universe (creation that doesn’t care anything about me or my life). I disagree and there’s no scriptures that says it’s ok to call God absolutely anything we want. It also explicitly says “He” … which means He isn’t female. But, you’re welcome to believe whatever you’d like.
To which someone responded….
“Where is the scripture that says we have to call *him* God?Isn’t the name “Yahweh” which means “I am” too sacred to even utter according to Jewish tradition? Meaning the name is literally man made and crafted outside of what God refers to themself as.And my hesitancy to refer to God as *him* only takes the Bible in context… a.) at the time it was written, a female god would not have been accepted, worshipped or followed universally in the same way, and the god of the universe (i.e. universe, because in him we live, and move, and have our being) WILL be worshiped. To assume a god-being is one gender is as misguided as believing they are only human. They are literally none of these things and all of these things. A diety (if you believe the Bible) that bends solar systems and literal life and death to its will.How we see God in Christianity is much more cultural than Biblical… although if Christians admitted that, they would have to rethink their values.., change is hard and control is easy… so it stays.The church in Jesus name has been the spear head for so many cruel acts against humanity.Any culture (including our own) twists God… it is literally all struggling to interpret what we don’t understand.The one thing that the Bible is clear about (at least in the New Testament) is the importance of love.It’s how Christians are supposed to be recognized…. Not by other Christians, but by everyone.Getting hung up on a name (as long as it’s not a derogatory one) doesn’t sound like the God I have been priveleged to encounter.”
But someone also commented this:
“I’m pretty sure Christians are among those who do the most manifesting whether they realize it or not. I hadn’t heard of it until I saw this post, and when I looked it up, it seems like people are getting worked up over nothing. Here is a post by a devout person who agrees with this perspective”
And someone brought up the fact that manifesting doesn’t have to be spiritual at all.
I don’t get that it needs to be a spiritual conversation. Science has explained quite a bit of what we call manifestation. It’s legit from a scientific perspective… particularly quantum physics. It’s not religion that’s the issue, it’s cultural programming. We’ve been programmed for centuries to believe that we are disempowered. That’s the real issue… it challenges social and cultural programming (how we see the world and fit into the world).
And another vote swinging the other way…
I guess I would be curious about your definition of “manifesting.” I believe the way it is used today is much different than it is used in the Bible, as someone posted above. This post shares many of my views on it. Yes, I totally believe our mindset can hold us back from the things God has planned for us or wants for us, but I don’t believe “manifesting” is the way to change that.
Bible Quotes That Don’t Really Work
As someone who graduated from Bible college, I will say that some of the defenses against manifesting don’t really work. These quotes are all referenced in one of the posts I linked above. Most of them are from the old testament, and the one from the new testament seems like a stretch to apply.
Rather than trusting God, manifestation causes you to trust in your own abilities. The Bible tells us to trust in God, not in our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). When we trust in God, He will guide our path and give us direction.
If an individual is looking to manifesting for security, then manifesting has become the individual’s idol. God tells us we are to have no other gods in our lives (Exodus 20:3). Jesus is the only true Way (John 14:6).
And this quote I think strongly speaks to manifesting being an encouaged principle by Jesus:
Scripture, in the book of Luke, cites Christ himself as saying, “By the abundance of a person’s heart will that individual speak.” Think about that!!! Christ taught that whatever you nurture in your heart, your soul, should be clearly manifest in your demeanor, your actions, and everything that emanates from your mouth.If persons calling themselves Christians are troubled by your verbiage and its clear meaning, might I recommend they read the textbook, the New Testament, to see what He actually taught.
Summarizing Concerns From Christians
Many Christians approach the “Law of Attraction” with caution and skepticism for several reasons, rooted in their interpretation of biblical principles. At first glance, the movement may appear to share common ground with positive Christian teachings, emphasizing the power of faith and positive confession. However, a deeper examination often reveals concerns that lead many Christians to withhold their support.
One significant apprehension is the association of the Law of Attraction with the concept of “false prophets.” In biblical teachings, there are warnings about false prophets who may lead people astray with deceptive messages. Some Christians are wary of embracing teachings that seem to promise worldly success as a result of adhering to specific formulas, seeing parallels with the cautionary tales found in the Bible.
Furthermore, the notion that positive thinking alone shapes one’s reality raises concerns among Christians. Faith remains a vital aspect of Christian belief. But not when divorced from the acknowledgment of God’s sovereignty and His ultimate control over the universe. The Law of Attraction sometimes overly promotes self-reliance. This feels incompatible with the biblical understanding of relying on God.
Distinguishing between positive biblical teachings and other ideologies
Although the Law of Attraction shares some surface-level similarities with concepts like the power of faith, Christians often emphasize the importance of distinguishing between positive biblical teachings and potentially misleading ideologies. For example, the law of gravity is a universal principle that operates consistently, whereas the perceived cause-and-effect relationship in the Law of Attraction is seen as more subjective and conditional.
Lastly, Christians may be cautious due to the potential conflict between the focus on personal success and the Christian concept of seeking first the “Kingdom of God.” The biblical emphasis is often on aligning one’s life with God’s will rather than pursuing personal desires exclusively.
In summary, Christians’ reservations about the Law of Attraction stem from concerns about false teachings, the elevation of positive thinking to an exclusive force, potential misinterpretations of similar concepts, and the perceived misalignment with fundamental Christian principles, such as acknowledging the sovereignty of God and prioritizing the Kingdom of God over personal desires.
So what’s my opinion: God or “positive vibes”?
I graduated from bible college with a four year degree in Leadership, and a heavy focus on studying scripture.
I later became agnostic for a few years before re-starting a personal relationship with a higher power. I’m aware that this language (higher power) sounds like the new age movement. But after leaving church for a few years, I found it empowering to feel control over my own reality.
And isn’t this what “freewill” is in the bible?
God controls the script and characters in the movie, but we get to choose the next frame.
So my answer is: it’s both.
In conclusion, the inquiry into whether the Law of Attraction aligns with biblical teachings prompts a closer look at the intricate interplay between spiritual practices and personal beliefs. While the concept itself finds indirect references in verses emphasizing faith, positive confession, and the power of words, discerning its compatibility with God’s way remains a subjective exploration. As we navigate through this discussion, it’s essential to consider the diverse perspectives within Christianity.
The journey through this exploration often brings us to the influential work of Australian author Rhonda Byrne. Her popular book “The Secret” fueled discussions around the Law of Attraction. However, we must approach these teachings with discernment when they involve anything esoteric. Spiritual practices extend beyond mere positive thinking and visualization. True spiritual growth involves aligning ourselves with God’s purpose and following steps that lead us closer to that divine plan.
In the realm of health and well-being, the Law of Attraction enthusiasts highlight the potential for positive thinking to influence good health. But if we ignore the practical, physical components of health, we invite risk. A holistic approach for well-being includes physical, mental, AND spiritual personal development.
As we navigate this topic, it is crucial to hang on loosely.
We don’t know everything about God, though we try to understand. We don’t know everything about physics and the quantum realm, though we try to understand. Manifesting is a spiritual practice for some. For others, it’s a practical real life way of bringing into life more of what you want.
In a quest for understanding, the most important thing involves remaining open to interpretation. AND staying grounded. After all, the search for truth is a journey, and the answers we seek may lie beyond the stock footage of popular ideologies, awaiting discovery.