Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Natural, Supernatural, Preternatural, or Paranormal?

When I was a freshman at Rutgers University, I was assigned to John Ciardi (1916-1986) as my English Composition instructor. He was an eminent scholar, a poet/translator who could impart fresh literary motivation within his class of newly minted college students. Among his divergent interests Professor Ciardi had pondered the famous Salem witch trials. At an early point in the year his English Composition students were assigned writing projects commensurate with the instructor’s interests. As a class member, I did not understand the mysterious complexity of the Salem witch trials. Fortunately, we classmates were graded on our skills in English composition rather than knowledge of details concerning the strange witch trials.

In retrospect, the Salem Witch Trials are an example of how intensely our early forebears were aware of the preternatural (highly unusual), supernatural, and paranormal. Ancient Israelites were divinely warned against the dangers of the malevolent supernatural. Deuteronomy 18:11-12 specifically forbids divination, sorcery, omens, witchcraft, spells, mediums, spiritism, and consulting the dead, according to the NIV translation. In contrast, the Chosen People were instructed to “have no other gods before me” and to obey the commands of the divine, righteous, supernatural Creator of Heaven and Earth. Humanity has always been afforded a personal choice between good and evil.

Today we are still offered choices, especially in media entertainment which satisfies basic human preferences and perceptions of reality. Along with more conventional media offerings highlighting history, nature, adventure, religion, and current news there are literally hundreds of sources which offer topics of the supernatural paranormal—vampires, horror, magic, alien spacecraft, unidentified objects, sci-fi, and witchcraft, among other mystical spiritual subject matter.

We discovered over one hundred categories of spiritism, paranormal, or demon manifestation in encyclopedic references. A few categories may not qualify as blatantly paranormal or evil. For example, meditation, fantasy, magic, and Halloween “fun activities” in late October need not be condemned out of hand. Participation in such activities may or may not tilt us toward deeper participation in questionable activity. Wisdom from God is promised if we ask for it.

Our personalized, random alphabetic compilation of a small sample of paranormal activities and phenomena follows. (The list is not necessarily in order of spiritistic importance): apparitions, black magic, clairvoyance, divination, ESP (extra-sensory perception), fortune telling, ghosts, hauntings, levitation, mediums, New Age, ouija boards, palm reading, reincarnation, seances, tarot cards, witchcraft. We challenge interested readers to do an exhaustive search of paranormal phenomena classifications. How many hundreds of media programs and literature are grounded in paranormal thematics? Results of your search may surprise you.

One may ask concerning the relationship between paranormal topics, science, and faith, especially since the science/faith interface is the theme of our blog. Faith and belief in God is a supernatural gift. We are enabled by our Creator to exercise belief and faith.

Internet searches of paranormal categories mentioned in the above paragraphs almost unanimously categorize them as “pseudoscience.” This is because the phenomena generally cannot be analyzed scientifically. They are not empirically testable, repeatable, or predictable as cause and effect events in scientific laboratories. Many observers steeped in the reliability of the “scientific method” may, therefore, categorize the phenomena as “not real.” However, many studies of paranormal phenomena rely on scientific principles of careful observation and reliability of evidence. On this basis, some of their observations are empirical and scientific.

In our previous post entitled, “Dichotomy in Supernatural Realms” (1/9/20) we discussed two supernatural realms—(1) the evil, malevolent spiritual realm of Satan, and (2) the good, divine spiritual realm of the Creator of All Things. Between these two realms is the realm of the natural, the present home of humanity. Human residents of the natural realm may consciously contemplate and experience supernatural realms in various ways. Some deny the reality of one or both supernatural realms, claiming the natural world is all that exists; supernatural phenomena are pseudoscientific or unscientific, they claim. They exercise the gift of their personal “free will” to believe or disbelieve and to exercise faith.

We close with one more experience from personal college days. The daily college newspaper invited expression of student opinion on their “letters to the editor” page. Several students had exchanged letters regarding the reality of the Christian faith. It soon became apparent various writers were not on the same ‘spiritual’ page. In my personal letter contribution I quoted I Corinthians 2:14 from the King James version popular at the time: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” In contemporary times many still actively categorize, analyze, and experience various realms of reality.   

      



      

                       


   

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Dichotomy in Supernatural Realms

Over many years our posts have primarily focused on the wonders of the natural world and the manner in which the natural world points to the reality of a divine Creator. The natural world may be defined as all things in our environment, living and non-living. From the perspective of a creationist, it results from the benificent provision of God for humanity’s home. God’s initial creation was replete with operational laws undergirded by a host of physical constants. The supernatural God had produced a wonderful natural operating system for mankind’s existence.

Recent discussions of UAP/UFO phenomena on our blog site have called to mind the nature of supernatural manifestations on Earth. Our thesis has been that significant evidence exists of malign spirits or demons, including UAP/UFO phenomena. UAP/UFO phenomena disobey physical laws as they suddenly appear and disappear, achieve impossible speeds and directional changes, and in some rare cases impact humans in a malevolent manner.

We have appropriated adjectives such as natural and supernatural. What is natural, we might ask? Descriptions of the natural include ALL living and non-living things in our physical planetary system. This description of natural is very broad. Natural events are described by scientific methods—primarily events which are manifest and explainable according to measurable causes and effects. The natural world is the subject of formal scientific study. This fact, however, does not totally preclude the use of some science methodology in the study of supernatural phenomena. For instance, if a UAP is suspected, it is carefully observed and its effects are recorded. These are examples of scientific methodology. A hypothesis concerning them may be offered, but as a statement of prediction we are on shaky ground. The prediction is not testable. We are unable to repeat results as science methodology requires but our inability does not preclude the reality of UAPs. Apparently they are not components of the natural world. They are components of the supernatural world.

We are confronted with another question: What IS the supernatural? In this area there is room for discussion and misunderstanding. The creation of our universe was a supernatural, miraculous event. There could be discussions about different types of miracles. 

Residents of the natural world have links to the supernatural. In studying this linkage, we may better understand two different categories of supernatural entities, including the angelic host created by God. They were no doubt created long before the creation of humans. Some of the angelic host followed the devil, or Satan, when he rebelled against the Creator. These angelic rebels were expelled from their heavenly realm. The Apostle Paul refers to “..the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2b). There are many New Testament references to Satan under different names. Therefore, one category of the supernatural linkage consists of evil angels, malevolent spirits, demons, the devil, or Satan. The Apostle Paul wrote that our Earth’s atmosphere is home to such malign creatures. Our proposal that UAP/UFOs are manifestations of demons may be understandable in such terms as we comprehend the meaning of Ephesians 2:2. Humanity and agents of the “prince of the power of the air” may share the identical physical realm on occasion. There are dozens of terms for paranormal phenomena—part of the malevolent supernatural.

The other supernatural realm is the heavenly abode of God. Of course, God is capable of inhabiting the physical realm because He is omnipresent. Humanity is able to access information about God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit by understanding the truth of the scriptural narrative. Christian scholars have established the body of Christian theology with divine guidance using evidence from the physical world, the record of human history including the incarnation and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the inspired Word of God. Visible manifestations of divine beings such as righteous angels are rare in our age. We must commit ourselves to the realities of our Christian faith by diligent study of scripture which instructs us concerning the ministry of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. More, it provides instruction in righteousness. The key is our desire and effort to “search for God with all our hearts” (Deut. 4:29, Jer. 29:13, Acts 17:24-28).

The intellectual concept of the natural world is supported by careful study and analysis of our coherent physical world. How is our faith strengthened by observing its order? Wonders of the natural world declare the reality of the biblical Creator. Knowledge acquired in this way comes through general revelation supported by scientific knowledge.

Our natural world is the home conceived and created by the Creator of All Things. It is humanity’s tangible physical heritage, authored and provided by God. Our heritage is shared by what we term a dichotomy as described in the paragraphs above. The dichotomy consists, on one hand, of our awareness and knowledge of God—the supernatural Creator and Sustainer. On the other hand, we are aware of the supernatural malevolent, malicious, and malign “prince of the power of the air,” variously known as Satan, the devil, his angels, demons, and/or evil spirits. It is not a pleasant dichotomy to contemplate.

In our culture we have both believers and doubters in the dichotomy—people who believe in God and people who do not. Likewise, we have believers in Satan, evil angels, and demons, and those who do not. The topic is clothed in subtlety, mystery, and complexity.              

              

  

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Dimensionality Musings

Scripture unambiguously states that the universe had a beginning: its dimensions of length, height, width, its dimension of time, and the origin of all matter and energy. Physical laws, which we have somewhat humorously dubbed “Rules of the Game” in several past posts, were also set in place by the Creator. No other religious holy book suggests such extraordinary causes and effects. God created “all things,” an alternate meaning of “the heavens and the Earth.” (Genesis 1:1) “All things” embraces the dimensions listed above. The Creator originated the dimensionality of our planetary home and also a suite of physical laws under which living things, especially humans, could thrive. We may be sure that Our Creator designed the most favorable dimensionality and physical laws to govern the behavior of matter and energy for the benefit of humanity.

Several inspired Scripture verses state that God existed “before time began.” Human experience does not instruct us in regard to the qualities of timelessness such as referenced in three startling New Testament letters penned by the inspired writer—the Apostle Paul: I Corinthians 2:7, II Timothy 1:9, and Titus 1:2. The Bible also suggests a timeless future eternity. We may only imagine!


God could have created an alternate dimensionality for every day human existence. The IDH (Interdimendional hypothesis) is a reality for supernatural beings. He is capable of creating, transferring to, and utilizing a dimensionality parallel to ours. The trinitarian God Himself as well as the good and evil angelic beings He created operate in a parallel dimensionality—interdimensional reality—as well as within the current natural dimensionality we now experience. Supernatural beings demonstrate abilities such as appearing suddenly out of nowhere and vanishing equally suddenly. If they commandeer a vehicle such as a UFO, the vehicle could instantly accelerate to warp speed and/or achieve impossibly sharp turns. These beings have abilities beyond those possessed by humans in our present dimensionality and under the physical laws by which we operate.

In the past several years our descriptions of apparent interdimensional capabilities in UAP/UFOs have been documented many times by civilian and military observers using the most technologically advanced equipment as well as ordinary sensory observations. What formerly seemed like science fiction accounts have achieved unquestioned credibility. UAPs are real is the remarkable current media ‘punchline.’ Astrophysicist Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe opened one paragraph of his book on UAPs with the statement that “…Only the Bible unambiguously states that time has a beginning.” He closes the same paragraph with “…God can—and does—exercise cause-and-effect capabilities outside the time dimension of the universe.” (Emphasis mine)

A topic with serious potential for study is the overlap of Newtonian physics, our current operating system, with interdimensionality at speeds approaching the speed of light or under intensely strong gravity. Conditions on enormously large cosmic objects or vanishingly tiny sub-atomic particles may impact us. Physicists have supplied some answers related to general and special relativity, quantum mechanics, and string theory. But be forewarned: This is a highly esoteric topic. It is beyond the comprehension of all but the most advanced theoretical physicists (including this writer). Ordinary observers may rest assured that our normal physical experience is governed by ordinary dimensionality of an orderly cosmos in our familiar physical environment. Advanced modern technological discoveries have made our lives more convenient and enjoyable in terms of ease of communication, travel, entertainment, and a host of additional benefits. Modern technologies seem almost miraculous in the benefits they produce, but sometimes a surfeit of modern benefits could deflect us from simpler and more satisfying divine realities. Now we must be on guard against the dangers of materialism.

We close this discussion with a cautionary warning. In God’s wisdom He has permitted fallen angels (demons) to wield some interdimensional power within the world of our familiar dimensions. This power particularly applies when humans willingly submit to the appeal of the supernatural paranormal. Many games, activities, and entertainments of dubious value are promoted owing to their appeal to the fascinating and mysterious. These paranormal activities should be actively shunned. Our last post, “The Malevolent Paranormal” references these activities with a goal to discuss the wide spectrum of paranormal activity in future posts. UAPs, while they consist of a spectacular occult aerial manifestation, may open Pandora’s box to many other activities which are best avoided by wise men, women, and children.