Come Alive !: The Secret and Life Abundant

Jesus says, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10

The Secret, the 2007 mega bestseller by Rhonda Byrne, provokes divided reactions. The basic message of this book — and the accompanying DVD – can be life-affirming. The teaching of The Secret, it may be argued, resonates with the teachings of Jesus in some respects. Both support people to come alive in ways that are natural to our hearts, given our unique talents and desires.

Contrary to the message of the New Testament, however, The Secret can encourage rank materialism, which deviates from moral or generous aims.

Life Abundant

In the New Testament, we are to enjoy life abundant (John 10:10) by making use of our gifts for the benefit of all.  If we follow our goals and dreams, according to The Secret, while envisioning success with faith and right intention, then life will assist their realization. Surely, from a spiritual perspective, our hopes and goals for life — which make us come alive — ought to be respected and nourished. If we come fully alive, then we can assist the world likewise to be alive. The Secret may be a tool toward this end.

Many believe themselves to be prisoners or victims in life. The Secret offers those who feel like victims tools for self efficacy, so that they may chart their own destiny. Similarly, the teachings of the New Testament–for instance, concerning prayer– give us power to decide our fate and our happiness while assisted by an infinite and creative intelligence.

Morally Dubious and Deluded

Some, however, criticize the concept of the law of attraction, which is substantially the message of The Secret, as being simplistic or even deluded. (See, for instance, this critique: Mark Manson The Secret.) The empire behind The Secret, furthermore, has been riven by law suits, arguments, and betrayal, thus seeming to vitiate the message of ethically rigorous and pure-minded positivity, championed by its architects. (On lawsuits, see: Lawsuits and the Secret NYTimes and The Australian Critique Rhonda Byrne.)

Testimonials: Benefits in People’s Lives

Those who are inspired by The Secret, however, attest that its message has helped them to change their lives. Proponents and converts report that they wake up through this book to the reality that they are no longer victims in their lives but instead creators of them. The Secret restores our personal power, as one advocate describes, which is endowed by God.  (See, for instance: How the Secret Changed the Life of Jewel     Manifesting Goals and Spirituality.)

What gives people hope about this message is its affirmative vision of life. What if life is actually amenable, malleable, and responsive to our deepest desires, aspirations, goals and wishes? Whether our desire be for a wonderful love relationship, for financial success, for healing, or for the capacity to carry out a humanitarian project, The Secret affirms that these desires are good and may be realized so long as we remain focused and positive in our approach to realizing them.

Furthermore, if life can be trusted to carry us forward toward self-realization, then we need not struggle by pushing against the current of life. Instead, we may jump into the life stream and let it carry us to our highest good.


The Secret can, indeed, encourage wishful thinking and a superstitious fear of negativity. The emphasis, in the movement around it, on material goals may lead to ethically dubious results.

Yet, in a different way, the message of this book confirms the gospel promise of life abundant. The gospel message says that life is generous and abundant. Our individual goals and dreams may be realized through right intention and faith. After all, God cares for each of us. We are guided, easily and joyously, toward the glory of our own flowering and fulfillment — like the lilies of the field which neither toil nor spin.



Conversation Snippet: the Bible, the Pope, and the end of the world

Tara believes that we are in the end-times. Her opinion does not matter nor anybody’s opinion. About God and the Bible, what matters is the Truth.

Tara believes we should go to the source for the Truth, not just any source but the King James Version of the Bible. The NIV (New International Version) leaves things out. The Devil has added things to most modern translations.

Tara believes that the Sabbath must be celebrated, regularly, because God said so. The world is in the hands of Satan. People can disobey but God is the authority. Only the few are obedient to God, and reflect Jesus Christ. Discipleship is a lonely road.

Tara believes, too, that the Pope is the anti-Christ, and that the Catholic church devises to take over the world and to make worship of the Pope compulsory.

As Tara says this, her companion, named James, who has been listening quietly, protests: “My relatives are Catholic. Just because you think that Catholics are wrong or misled, that does not mean that the Pope is evil.”

Tara replies, “I don’t care whether your relatives are Catholic. Catholics hold on to human traditions not God’s word. Which Bible are you reading? You must be reading one of those translations, which Satan has filled with lies.  It says in the Book of Revelation: the Pope is the anti-Christ, who will usurp the throne of God and demand worship in place of Christ. Compulsory worship of the Pope is already on its way, in our lifetime.  I can’t say exactly when, but the end times will be soon, in our lifetime. The trouble with these days is that people don’t read the Bible. Modern translations have bent the word of God out of shape.”

James says, “Stop being opinionated. The people who translated the Bible did so out of love, in order to communicate the message of the Bible to people in their own modern languages, in a style that they can understand. You may not like those translations. But honor the fact that the translators are kind not wicked. They performed an act of love.”

Tara brightens. “You think so? So they translated the Bible — even the NIV which leaves things out — in order to help people? You say it’s an act of love to translate God’s word into a human tongue? I see what you mean. Yes. Love. That is an act of love.”

James and Tara come to peace for a moment. This moment of peace is where truth resides, not in their religious quarrels, or within the pages of one Bible translation or another.

“But the King James Bible,” Tara adds, “is the true Bible. The KJV is the one I read and it’s enough to get me out of the mess we’re in. To get me out of this mess. That’s good enough for me.”