the power of the this the devil's another trick

edited December 1969 in Faith Issues

They say what you think and believe comes true. How does this notion go with God? how on earth what I think will come true without God's will? the power of the mind bla bla bla ...what is this? why do we pray then? I think the devil is making us think we have the power over everything not God.


  • But who says what we think and believe comes true?

    There is undoubtedly at least one person in the world who thinks any idea we could describe. But that doesn't mean that the idea is true.

    I have never heard any of the Fathers or any of the Scriptures teach that what we think and believe comes true.

    It is what God wills, and that which God allows, which comes to pass. Everything is in God's hands.

    Father Peter
  • I think that if you look at things like St. Mary's mass apparition in the Church of Zeitoun, where there were hundreds of thousands of witnesses- both believers and non-believers- it is impossible to think that the human mind alone is what creates our concept of God. Those people were not just seeing an image created by their mind. Likewise, things like St. Mina appearing in the picture of H.H. Pope Kyrillos after development is not a trick played by the mind; it is hard, tangible evidence.
  • “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” (Matthew 21:21-22)
  • in reference to what a man thinks comes true:
    Proverbs 23:7  "For as [one] thinks in his heart, so is he."

    not sure if you want more of person's future or just things happening in general, or more of  the development of a person which goes along with my quote
  • Everything is in God's hands.

    Thank you Father Peter for your clear reply.

    Matthew 5:38-37
    36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.

    May I add, if anyone think and concentrate with all their mind as much and as long as they can to change a trivial thing as the color of one hair will it change? Our Lord Jesus Christ clearly states it will never do.

    Some wrong philosophy ideas (e.g. like Gnostic ones) were about a god that allows humans the power to materialize their ideas with time if they think them strongly enough and repeatedly as if they were real and well formed in the minds. Like wishing something and imagining that it is already there where it should be, or giving it a continuous fully detailed representation in the mind.

    They think that there is a kind of 'plasma' or unseen substance that will eventually materialize into reality (like a dream turning into reality). This leads to the belief in human creative powers as being divine or as being a divine gift and does wrongly describe God as a creative tool or as a provider for a free human creation power (God forbid). This is a serious fall in the most deadly sins of pride and vanity and is a direct spiritual infection coming from the devil.

    It is not really too far from exploiting the principle of having and keeping a positive state of mind to be successful to reach your targets and get what you want from life, but with much added abuse and deceit.

    The verses mentioned would be understood as related to the spirituality of our faith and our sincere prayers so that may God provide us according to His will, His wisdom, His power and His glory. The Proverbs verse relates to the inner deep intentions of our hearts that God sees and therefore He knows if our righteousness is genuine or an apparent superficial one.

    The gift to make miraculous works is given by Almighty God to a few selected saints and according to His wisdom. Obviously this is not for everybody, lest they fall due to their weak human hearts.

  • [quote author=katanikhoros link=topic=9954.msg121758#msg121758 date=1288881359]
    “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” (Matthew 21:21-22)

    Hi there,

    I just wanted to calrify one or two things. There are lots of self help books, course and ideologies out there these days trying to sell us the idea that we can make health, wealth and material success appears through visualisation, and the power of positive thinking and the mind. As with al things, although there might a be a slight truth to this, it is largely false. In this Scripture agrees with science  / psychology.

    I wanted to point out that Matthew 21:21-22 quoted by katanikhoros above does not say that everything you think or believe hard enough will happen. The scriptures and the church as a whole teach that it is God who does miracles, not us. You can believe all you want that a mountain will  move, but if God does not Will it at the same time, nothig will happen. It is therefore not faith alone that causes a miracle. It is faith in God, and then only if it is his Will at the time. Science generally agrees that we cannot just make something happen by thinking about it. It would take the Willful action of someone much more powerful than us to make something happen.

    Secondly. Proverbs 23:7 is broadly right. It says that what we think affects the way 'we' are. It does not say that waht we think changes objects or the world outside ourselves. It only says that it changes or has an effect on ourselves. Psychological research has shown time and time again that imagining or visualising yourself achieving your goals actually might make it less likely that you achieve them. It does not increase success, it can actually have the opposite effect on you objective achievements. It does however change your internal state, and generally puts a smile on your face. So, imagining yourself happy wil put a smile on your face, but will not make you more succesful (or change objective reality.)

    Thirdly. Lost of 'Self Help' books advocate that we should constantly 'think positively' or say positive things to motivate ourselves. Even with this we have to be careful. Psychological research has shown that attempting to 'think yourself happy' by suppressing negative thoughts can make poeple obsess on the very thing that makes them unhappy. What's the answer then? Distracting yourself with work or other activities remains ons of the best ways to help deal with troubling thoughts. This was much the same advice given to Abba Anthony:

    Abba Anthony said "Lord, I want to be saved but these thoughts do not leave me alone; what should I do in my affliction? How can I be saved?"

    A short time later Abba Anthony saw a man like himself sitting at his work, getting up from his work to pray, then sitting down and plaiting a rope, then getting up to pray again. He heard an Angel say to him: "Do this and you will be saved."

    Don't be fooled by those saying that the power of positive thinking can change reality.

    Best Wishes

  • Thank you all for the replies.
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