What Is the Illuminati?

The Illuminati, like others at the time, did not believe in the Christian God. They considered Christianity irrational yet were influenced by the mystical Jewish Kabbalah, freemasons, Egyptian Hermeticism, alchemy, and more.

Contributing Writer
Updated Dec 21, 2020
What Is the Illuminati?

In 1776, a group of educated Bavarian gentlemen began an organization bent on “illumination” and propagating a “new kind of reason” in response to the restrictions of Catholicism. Their organization was known as the “Illuminati.” Although contemporary with the Enlightenment of Rousseau, Diderot, and Voltaire, they wanted more than wisdom; the Illuminati strayed into the realms of the occult while establishing a secret, hierarchical society.

A Brief History of the Illuminati

The Illuminati, like others at the time, did not believe in the Christian God. They considered Christianity irrational yet were influenced by the mystical Jewish Kabbalah, freemasons, Egyptian Hermeticism, alchemy, and more.

Members sought to “replace Christianity with a religion of reason” while their beliefs share more in common with occultism than with the Enlightenment. Occultism involves “various theories and practices” regarding “supernatural forces or beings” which “centre on the presumed ability of the practitioner to manipulate natural laws for his own or his client’s benefit.”

The Illuminati or “Perfectibilists” of Bavaria were carefully policed by a structure of “internal discipline and a system of mutual surveillance” established to maintain order and secrecy. They invited only wealthy, powerful, and/or intellectual men to join their ranks. The group was banned in 1787 under an “edict making membership [...] punishable by death” (History).

There were never more than 2,000 members of this “movement” which spread across Europe “from Italy to Denmark and from Warsaw to Paris.” Still, rumors persist that the Illuminati exists to this day and conspiracy theorists suggest this secret society was behind revolutions and high-profile murders throughout the past two centuries.

What Do the Illuminati Believe?

1. Secrecy: Members of the Illuminati promoted hierarchy, governing themselves rigorously behind closed doors.

2. Hierarchy: Division by class within the order was important.

3. Deity: A popular idea of theirs was that members of the highest class within their order could possess a special “deep, mystic, and divine knowledge” (gnosis), which would elevate them to “a superior form of human being” destined — for now — to live with lesser beings. People “too influenced by matter were doomed” but if one was able to acquire gnosis, he “could yet be saved.”

Essentially, one became a deity, rose intellectually to a higher plane, and was able and entitled to subjugate the natural world to his purposes and plans for personal gain or the good of the Illuminati.

4. Enlightened Thinking: Their brand of empirical reasoning was superior to that of any religion.

Biblical Response to the Illuminati

Intelligence does not save a person or elevate him. When the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus into blaspheming the Lord, knowledge stood in the way of recognizing the promised Savior. Christ declared “woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.” (Luke 11:52).

Although the 10 Commandments supply guidelines for living life, one does not achieve salvation by following the rules. Christians are saved by grace. When a person believes in Christ for salvation and submits to the process of sanctification, he becomes more and more like Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and chooses to live according to the two greatest commandments: Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:36-40).

Biblical Attitude Towards the Illuminati

Christians do not police, judge, and punish one another, lying in wait for their fellows to slip-up. A Christian is answerable to God and does not live in fear of his fellows, but “if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted” (Galatians 6:1).

Christianity is an inclusive faith, open to anyone who will believe in Christ for salvation — male, female, child, or adult; wealthy or poor. Everyone has access to the gospel. God hears how people respond to the good news: either with repentance and devotion or with indifference, skepticism, or scorn? None of these attitudes resides within a single social class. Wealth or academic success do not dictate whether one believes in Christ for salvation or rejects God altogether.

Jesus spoke to the matter of hierarchy: “So the last will be first, and the first last” (Matthew 20:16). Whoever thinks much of himself makes himself little in the eyes of God, for he does not exemplify the sort of love outlined in the second commandment which Paul expounds upon in 1 Corinthians 13:4. “Love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant.”

A.W. Tozer wrote, “Jesus calls us to his rest, and meekness is His method. The meek man cares not at all who is greater than he, for he has long ago decided that the esteem of the world is not worth the effort.” We don’t control or police one another as Christians. Instead, our role in the body is to “outdo one another in showing honor” (Romans 12:10).

Only God Is God 

Matt Slick writes, “God doesn't consult me with making decisions about running the universe. [...] He doesn't take any of my suggestions about how things ought to be in my own life. I don't understand why God doesn't take my suggestions. But [...] there is a God. I am not Him!” Believers acknowledge God as Sovereign instead of trying to play God with creation and with the lives of others.

John 1:3 says, “Through him all things were made. Without him, nothing was made that was made.” Human beings interfere with and break God’s laws: abortion is just one way they do that (abortion was promoted by the Illuminati) which is murder in God’s eyes.

Man cannot create something out of nothing, such as transforming iron into gold or discovering the key to eternal youth via alchemy.

A member of the highest class of a secret society has no right to take life and cannot restore life or even youth. God can bring and has brought someone back from the dead — from the very tomb, three days after death, when a stench should have settled in.

Christian Fellowship in the Open, Unlike the Secretive Illuminati

Not only was the Illuminati secretive; they were riddled with division. Fellowship is beautiful when one follows a single, unchanging, trustworthy leader. One way Christians demonstrate the healing and transforming work of the gospel is by publicly and corporately living out their faith in the glorious triune God. “And this is what the Church is, God’s orchestra! In order to fully manifest God, each person must not only play his part but must play it together.”

A symphony is played for an audience. Although we cannot know everything about God, He invites us to “reason together” (Isaiah 1:18) using our minds, with the caveat that “wisdom begins with fear of the Lord” (Proverbs 1:7).

God did not say that only men could obtain knowledge either (those invited to the Illuminati appear to have been men). God expected “the people, men, women, and little ones, and the sojourner within your towns” to gather and to “hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 31:12).

What Does The Illuminati Mean for Christians?

Officially, the Illuminati died out, although their ideas have never completely faded away. Traces of their beliefs have lingered with the Nazis, Stalin’s secret police, in many occult organizations, and in societies, which are strictly divided by social standing based on wealth and/or intelligence.

If there are Illuminati bent on restoring this order to prominence, power, and fame, they are doing so behind closed doors. Christ, however, continues to work openly. He commanded “what I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops” (Matthew 10:27).

©iStock/Getty Images Plus/eric1513

Candice Lucey is a freelance writer from British Columbia, Canada, where she lives with her family. Find out more about her here.


Christianity / Life / Cults and Other Religions / What Is the Illuminati?