It’s true that we as a culture and society have come to a place where information is readily available at our fingertips, especially here in the west. Everything we could ever want to know, we can find out in mere seconds. “Google it!” or “Wiki it!” have become a mantra for finding out information about anyone, anything, anywhere, and anywhen. But as knowledge is increased and humanity taps into this huge stream of information floating through the air, the chasm between those providing the information, and those receiving it, have become ever so wide. This is precisely why I believe the Word of God is so important. If the Bible is true and it really is a message from an all powerful Creator, a mind which spoke the universe into existence and has given life to me and you, then under such circumstances that we find ourselves today, information that we can be confident as “Truth” can only be found in the Bible. The Bible is a collection of 66 books, written by 40 people, in three different languages, spanning over 1500 years, various cultures, and time periods. Yet the conclusions of many who have researched and scrutinized the Scriptures for centuries have agreed that it is a message of supernatural origin.
I’ve often heard theologians and Christian apologists talk about how the Bible is not simply a book of spiritual truths, but also a historical book. While the secular scientific community is quick to dismiss and doubt Noah’s Flood, the Garden of Eden, or even according to the some New Atheists, the existence of Jesus as a man who lived in the first century, as a Christian, it is my conviction that the events which are described in the Bible (that are not obvious parables or metaphor) are real historical events. Do they have spiritual, moral, emotional, social significance? Absolutely. But without the events actually taking place in the fabric of our past, these other truths cannot be related to at the level they were meant to by God.
So when I read in Genesis that God formed the entire universe piecing together time, space, matter and energy, I believe it was a real event. When God formed the earth and formed man in His image from the dust of the ground, I believe this was a true historical event. When I read how the serpent (or shining one per Dr. Mike Heiser) came and deceived mankind into eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, I believe this was a real historical event. When I read in Exodus 14:21 how God parted the red sea so Moses and the Israelites could pass, I believe this was a true event. When I read events described in 2 Kings 6:17 when God opens the eyes of Elijah’s servant to see the spiritual realm with horses and chariots of fire, I believe it was a real event. When I read Ezekiel 1:16 and Ezekiel 10:10 where he saw a cherubim, a living creature with four faces and what appeared to be a wheel within a wheel, I believe it was a real historical event. When I read Jesus rose from the dead, I believe this was a true historical event. When I read through Him, we are born again and are promised to be clothed with immortality, I believe this will be a real historical event in the future.
The Bible is full of supernatural events, past present and future. My little rant in the paragraph above is just a small snippet of all the supernatural events described in the Bible. I left out some of the more intense and important events so I can address them later in the book, but either way, it should be obvious that the Bible contains a supernatural history which is in context to eternity. The foundation to such a claim is that the supernatural is the reality that feeds the natural realm.
Supernatural Feeds the Natural
Francis Schaeffer’s most popular analogy was the upper story/lower story duality. This was the philosophical handling on the difference between the natural realm, the lower story, and God’s realm, or the upper story. The lower story consisted of reason, rationality, mathematics, materialism, nature, and all of the tangible compartments of existence while the upper story is where transcendence of meaning itself resides. This is the place of God. A place beyond understanding, explanation, and the confines of nature. While I can go deeper into the philosophical ramifications of this analogy, for our purposes, I simply wanted to show the trail of thought that can help us gain a better understanding of what the supernatural consists of.
Schaeffer, being a theologian and philosopher, never went into how this upper story may simply be the spiritual realm. What is the spiritual realm but a place that transcends nature? And since this reality does exist, and can be verified from the lower story where we reside now, it’s impossible to negate its existence. In other words, we being firmly in the lower story to conduct our communication between one another, it takes rational, logic, and reason to describe the upper story. Yet, while I am certain that no words can accurately describe what it’s like to be in that other place, or simply put, the spiritual world, I do think that it is important that we can use our lower story confines to investigate how or what the implications are. Otherwise, such evidence would only only be a construct of fantasy.
The mistake that is made with the modern sciences and even some folks who would call themselves Christian, is that they have ignored the upper story. They have forgotten that all that is down here, comes from up there. But even those who do acknowledge the upper story, like new agers, spiritualists, and other esoteric and occult practitioners are not realizing that there can be good and bad beings in the upper story realm. Because the beings in the upper story are very much intelligent entities, God being the ultimate, it is important to realize how much influence they have to our lower story existence. There are entities in the spiritual world who willfully rejected God, and therefore, there is an very important element of discernment that is needed for us down here.
This is why the Bible is what it is. While various religions and alternative spiritual practices will provide a particular staircase that promises a destination of upper story glory, pure, holy and transcendent, God Himself provides the proper staircase to ensure that the one we walk up will be met with the Creator Himself. It sheds a whole new understanding of that famous passage by Jesus doesn’t it?
“Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” ~ Matthew 7:14
In a sense, Jesus is the carpenter who built the staircase for us. God freely gave His life up so that this staircase would be constructed and available for anyone who wanted to accept the path. But not only that, He left instructions on how to get to that staircase and what it would take to make the steps upward. I’ve heard a clever acronym for the Bible; B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth) and I really think this applies when looking at this analogy.
When we grasp this concept, we understand a wealth about our own behavior here on earth. First, we can understand why humanity itself is in constant search for something. For the transhumanists, it’s immortality in this physical world. For the new agers, it’s spiritual ascension and getting in tune with the “higher self.” For the esoterics, it’s “becoming gods.” For the scientists, it’s finding the cure for diseases. Whatever the label of a person or persons, the mission in life is to find purpose and meaning in an attempt to find a connection with that transcendent element of our being that is lacking so hard in the depths of our souls in this fallen world. It becomes abundantly clear that outside of the love, grace, and mercy of Jesus Christ, we are walking blindly in a world that offers false staircases, all of which lead to destruction.
Second, and more to the point, is that no one can live in the lower story without the reality of the imposing upper story. Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. Our concepts, motives, drive for meaning and purpose are all factors derived from the upper story realm. All of these things would be meaningless if the materialistic view is true, as many philosophers have agreed that a truly pure materialistic perspective ends in nihilism. Yet, all humanity yearns for something more than simply the material part of who we are. It is inconsistent for the person who lives believing there is meaning and purpose in their life, while at the same time believing that life is simply a grand clash of atoms and particles. Furthermore, when we get into the constructs of DNA, quantum physics, and the fact that information itself is an immaterial entity, we will really begin to see how the upper and lower story are inseparable.
‘Though Christians would never accept naturalism as a philosophy, many have absorbed a naturalistic approach to marketing, adopting techniques that treat a target audience essentially as passive “consumers” to be manipulated into buying “a product.”‘ ~Nancy Pearcey in the Book Total Truth: Study Guide Edition p 367)
The institutionalized church community has become trapped so to speak in the lower story. We have become salesmen for Jesus, not messengers of Salvation. The blurring of the line between financial gain and spreading the Gospel have become the stronghold that has driven our churches to become “seeker friendly” and all about “social justice.” Part of my criticism here is that the institution of church are largely seeking meaning and purpose in the same places that the humanistic atheists, new agers, occultists, and scientists are seeking. In other words, what makes the church that feeds the homeless different from the atheists who do? What makes the church that seeks quiet time for prayer different from the new agers who meditate for hours? And so on. And while the church does recognize the upper story and point to the unique God of heaven, how many stand in our pulpits today and deliver an alternative staircase that lead to destruction? How many have become mere word smiths verbalizing some snake oil of self improvement playing into the desires of the flesh? A question comes to my mind as I write this. “Who am I to judge the institution of Church and the intent of the pastors in seeker friendly churches?” And this is true. Who am I to point the finger? Again, I don’t have all the answers, but as I continue, I hope to continue to provide you with some food for thought and some concepts to chew on so that you are made aware of the impending dangers of deception lurking behind the appearance of success, fame, wealth, fortune, and the beautiful beast that is the institution of church.