FROM SERMONS AND BEST-SELLING BOOKS to television talk shows, a growing number of people are conversing about "spiritual DNA." But what is it? Almost unheard of five or ten years ago, a Google search for this phrase now turns up 22,400 pages, with authors ranging from mainstream evangelicals to practitioners of eastern mysticism and the occult. Is the term simply a profound metaphor, or does it convey a literal meaning? Does it refer to a tangibly deeper (or higher) truth-or is it purely metaphysical nonsense? Let's examine a few of the ways in which this phrase is "catching on" and test its legitimacy according to God's Word.
First of all, it has become a popular contemporary metaphor by many who profess Christ. In her article "Discovering Our Spiritual DNA" posted on the North American Mission Board website, Meredith Day writes,
Metaphorically speaking, when we are reborn in Christ, He instills in us a sort of new spiritual DNA that makes us hungry to tell others about Him....
This explanation of spiritual DNA seems fairly innocuous-if there is such a thing. But is there-and if so, what is it? Is it biblical to refer to the drawing and conviction of the Holy Spirit as "a sort of new spiritual DNA?" The question, "What is spiritual DNA?" was posed to Liberty University's website. Their response:
The phrase "spiritual DNA" talks about the new nature that you [receive] from God when you are born again....Paul says we have an old nature...called the old man (Eph:4:22). And then we put on a new man, i.e., a new nature (Eph:4:24).
This answer seems straightforward, and it assumes the phrase has its primary use as a Christian metaphor. But other professing Christians have stated (on www.schizophrenia-info.info):
When God adopts us into His family....He now lives in our DNA, in our blood, in our spirit. His blood in us is what operates to do His work in our flesh, NOW. We can do His miracles, signs, and wonders....As in human conception, when sperm unites with egg, His Spirit unites with our spirit to become one spirit.
The exact way in which the Holy Spirit resides in the believer is truly a mystery; but ascribing this miraculous new creation to a change in our physical/spiritual DNA is dangerous mysticism. Furthermore, although believers do become "one in spirit," we do not become "one with God" in the sense of the union of Jesus Christ as fully God and fully human. Scripture is clear: our present bodies are "earthen vessels," temporary "tabernacles," and not in any sense "supernaturalized" by a change in "spiritual DNA." They await the blessed hope of our glorified bodies yet to come.
The popular prophet Bill Yount (famous for his ministry of shofar-blowing, which allegedly has mystical powers to "open the heavens" by communicating on God's "frequencies") recently decreed over the babies of Britney Spears and other Hollywood stars,
While some stars argued over who was the father of their children, I heard one Father cry out, "They are all Mine, every last one of them! They have My DNA and they look like Me!"
This error is even more blatantly a contradiction of Scripture. Humans only become "children of God" when they become spiritually adopted "joint heirs" with Jesus Christ by repentance and grace by faith, thereby inheriting the free gift of eternal life. Babies and young children (to an age of individual accountability that only God knows) are not condemned to eternal damnation if they perish prior to receiving Christ; however, they are not automatically (or even metaphorically) God's spiritual "offspring" from birth, nor do they bear his non-existent "spiritual DNA." This is mystical nonsense-similar to "spirit child" teachings propagated by Mormonism and other religions.
One website titled "spiritualDNA.net" talks about the "transformation of the DNA of Creation" as "another way of looking at evolution":
The impulse creating life is governing our creation and imprinted in our gene-structure: the DNA....Our imprint is an individual one and the result of soul-radiation into earth matter...based upon the total end result of our karma....We shall be able to bring about The New Age ruled by a New Covenant through a...different kind of praying in Wholeness for everything that lives and grows, visible and invisible.
Most believers immediately recognize and dismiss this false utopian hope as diabolical deception. But what of the following quote from a professing Christian "minister" whose alleged visitation from Christ in 1986-and subsequent "flight" to heaven in 1993-spawned his "Eagle Vision Ministry":
DNA is like a computer program that is placed into our cells...Every one of our [cells contains] a program that is not written in electromagnetic form, [but is] written in chemical form....Eight souls came out of [Noah's Ark]....So whether you like it or not that person sitting next to you is related to you.
This mixture of simile and fact sounds plausible. But the writer continues, making a transition from the physical to metaphysical:
Now in the spirit world there is spiritual DNA....The thought realm, which we [have already] considered and defined to be spiritual DNA, has a structure. The structure is always in a certain pattern. According to that pattern and structure it will produce after its kind. [Spiritual] DNA will reproduce itself. [Emphasis added]
In what appears to be a sincere effort to expound on the Scriptures, which declare "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Cor:5:17), the writer introduces an authoritative, scientific-sounding concept that has no tangible or biblical basis. This error is serious! Just as do mind-science "experts" (such as those in The Secret), he attempts to take what is useful and understood as physical and apply it "scientifically" to the spiritual realm; but "spiritual DNA," like "thought waves," are only imagined. Would that all Christians test the spirits that bring such "new revelations" as this!
An article titled "DNA and God" by Bill Donahue reflects on a 2004 Time magazine in which the cover story, "The God Gene," recounts a search by laboratories to find "spiritual receptors" in physical DNA. Intrigued by "the fact that change can be made to DNA through electricity," and since "God is not a man" (Num:23:19), and "God is light" (1 Jn:1:5), Donahue (a researcher of "hidden ancient wisdom") reasons that
...we are created in the image and likeness of God suggesting that we too are light....DNA has two aspects to it. One is the physical DNA which the body we use is equipped with through the heredity of our parents. The other is what the Buddhists suggest is a spiritual DNA....That is why I have such strong feelings against executing people. Their spiritual DNA will go into a new body...and do the same evil again.
Notice that both professing Christians and metaphysical spiritualists attempt to explain invisible, intangible spiritual processes with scientific research, supposedly backed up by Scripture. Today, this error is being perpetuated at an increasing rate by two "evangelical" movements, the neo-prophetic "New Apostolic Reformation" (NAR) and the Emerging Church. An NAR prophet, Bob Jones, (no relation to the University of that name) and Paul Keith Davis, who annually issue a "prophetic" proclamation called "The Shepherd's Rod," wrote in 2006:
Many people living in this generation have a unique and holy attribute woven into their spiritual DNA. A predetermined virtue provokes us to move beyond the outer court and into a place of Kingdom expression. [This predetermined virtue] is called "divine destiny."
This alleged "divine destiny" relates more to the Hindu concept of Karma (or even Calvinism) than any Scriptural truth; it suggests fatalism. The idea of a spiritual "New Breed" originates from the Latter-Rain movement (deemed heretical by the Assemblies of God and most evangelicals) and dovetails nicely with the New Age concept of a "paradigm shift" or "quantum leap" in spirituality and the evolution of a "christ consciousness" that is expected to unify mankind and bring restoration of "the kingdom of heaven" on earth.
Bill Johnson, another NAR "apostle" and pastor of Bethel church in Redding, California, says in his book When Heaven Invades Earth, "It has been written into our spiritual DNA to hunger for the impossibilities around us to bow at the name of Jesus." This mystical statement sounds lofty, but what does it mean? Could the NAR's Kingdom-Now theology be synonymous with this "new" view below, taken from a book (coincidently titled Creating Heaven on Earth) by Asa Wulfe?
We have been used to thinking of ascension in terms of leaving the Earth to enter a higher plane of being or to reach "heaven." But many now feel...that ascension in our time is really about creating Heaven on Earth, right here and now....This process can be started by activating additional strands of DNA-the spiritual DNA.
Exactly how does one "activate" one's spiritual DNA? By an "inner awakening" experience of some kind-such as yoga, centering prayer, reiki, drum circles, trance dancing, eastern meditation, etc. Even professing Christians are being guided by dozens of "prophetic evangelists" who promise (and deliver) techniques for creating "third heaven visions" and "angelic encounters." Grievously, these spirits are too often untested. In fact, the pursuit of a tangible manifestation of "God" on earth has become a pre-eminent focus for multitudes of spiritually "hungry" believers who have grown impatient waiting for "the blessed hope." Today, increasing numbers are forsaking our Savior's promise to "catch us up" to be with Him, and are instead determined to forge a "golden calf" religion that promises a false rapture of ecstatic encounters "here and now."
While "spiritual DNA" can be an interesting metaphor, its imagined existence breaks down quickly under rational and biblical inquiry. In reality, it appears that the Enemy is using this quasi-scientific explanation to justify a New Breed of spiritual "super-sapiens," brought about by the alleged next stage of human evolution: a global awakening to "christ consciousness"-a harbinger for the "strong delusion" of Antichrist.