Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Things of the Unseen

As Christians, we are told over and over that we are to be aware of the very real nature of the spirit realm.  I use the term generally in order to reference all things that are hidden to the eyes of man, but which are nevertheless very real.  Angels, demons, and all other created creatures which are not seen with the natural eye are still as real as you and I, and should thus be granted the same amount of respect as that which is given the things of this physical realm... At the very least.
Ironically, the majority of the secular world also believes, to some degree, in the existence of the supernatural.  The most popular thriller and horror movies incorporate aspects of the unexplained, and shows such as Ghost Whisperer, Medium, and Ghost Hunters enjoy large followings even now.  I say this is ironic because, as one Christian rap artist observed:
"They scoof at the Bible and the things that it tells- They'll believe in stars and astrology but not in Heaven or Hell?!"
What is, perhaps, most ironic is that within the Christian community there remains a strong disavowal pf anything supernatural that isn't easily relegated to one side or the other.  Concepts such as ghosts, invisible creatures, or crying/bleeding statues are looked upon as imagination, or most popularly, things straight from the devil.  With the way mainstream Christianity reacts to these paranormal activities, it's no wonder we are portrayed as crackpots and worse in modern entertainment.  (The Waterboy's mother comes readily to mind with her oft repeated phrase "it's the DEVIL!")
So, what I'd like to do today is an exercise in broadening the mind.  We'll examine several kinds of phenomena, and look to the Bible for commentary.

Let's start with crying or bleeding statues.  This is very often associated with Catholicism, and usually involves a statue of the virgin Mary or some other saint bleeding or crying.  Most often, healings or some other sort of miracle occurs from physical contact with the liquid, and this is usually followed by a surge in faith.  It is important to note also that the majority of these events take place in areas where signs and wonders move people more than words.
Now, when addressing this topic, I am often referred to the writings of Jack Chick, whose take on this sort of happening is always that it is of demonic origin.  Friends, whatever you do, don't base your theology on ChickTraks.  He firmly believes the Catholic church to be Satanic, and rejects the fact that Protestantism sprang from Catholicism; instead, he espouses the exact opposite which is completely contrary to historical fact.  Anyone that rejects truth and substitutes their own should, at the very least, be viewed critically.
This to the side, the Bible is full of accounts regarding inanimate objects being used to give signs and wonders to those people who placed less stock in mere words.  The stone giving water twice; the burning bush that wasn't consumed; the idol of Dagon falling before the Ark of the Covenant; these are just a few examples of such cases.  Even Christ warned that the rocks would cry out praise if the people did not.  A crying statue in comparison?  Why not!

Ever heard people talk of seeing dragons, or any other sort of creature that no one else has seen?  How often they are ridiculed!  These are creations that are mythical or invisible; things no human eye can see and no one has ever recorded scientifically- Of course jeering and derision is the default response to such claims!
Yet in Ezekiel, the prophet writes about creatures that are otherwise invisible.  In Revelation, John observes a pestalence- a kind of locust/scorpion hybrid that no human has ever seen.  Pterodactyls are supposedly extinct, yet sightings are reported every year around the world.  Moreover, anyone who claimed to have seen a Coelacanth was thought crazy... Until, that is, a fisherman ended up with one in his net.

Ghosts are a favorite for church disparagement.  Every ghostly encounter is immediately and gleefully condemned as demonic activity.  I will agree that the majority of these are, in fact, the work of familiar spirits... But not all.  The Bible itself offers proof that the spirits of humans can, on occasion, appear to the living.  Look at Samuel's ghost appearing to Saul- Had that been a familiar, the witch's reaction would not have been nearly so violent, considering she would have dealt with familiars on such a regular basis it would have been a ho-hum matter of course.

In its zeal to paint the devil for what he is, the Church misses hundreds of opportunities to introduce the supernatural of God to unbelievers, and that is a tremendous disservice to both parties.  So, the next time you hear of some supernatural occurance, dear reader, do as the Bible instructs: Test the spirit of the account with the Holy Spirit.
Then, seize the opportunity to open that person up to the supernatural God of Creation, for Whom nothing is impossible.

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