4. Egyptian time, e.g.: http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=594
Whilst it is important that what we believe is rational and not fabricated or a deception,
ultimately we chose to believe one way or another by Faith. It is difficult to prove
the existence of God, but it is also difficult to prove Evolution. We infer certain
things and build a belief system with which we are comfortable. Once people have
become entrenched in a way of thinking it is usually difficult to change their views
radically because our beliefs create filters through which we select what to look
at and how to interpret what we see. Often things that do not fit within our frame
of reference are ignored or distorted. So we continue to see and value only those
things that reinforce our belief systems and disregard those things that upset or
conflict with our viewpoint. This is not necessarily deliberate, but just the way
our minds work.
We have been looking at the creation of the physical universe, but is that all there
is to life? Is there such a thing as a spiritual realm? Are there forms of life other
than the physical? The Bible certainly speaks of Heaven and Hell, angels and demons.
Are these realities or mythical places and beings?
One spiritual being that we cannot afford to ignore is the devil or Satan. According
to the Bible he heads up principalities and demonic powers that have constantly been
challenging God’s authority and attempting to destroy mankind. We don’t know a great
deal about Satan, but at some time in the past, possibly even before creation, he
and one-third of the angels were banished from Heaven (Revelation 12:9). They now
roam the universe causing trouble, particularly for mankind.
Since Satan is a created being, God is infinitely more powerful than him or any demon
or angel. However, like viruses and bacteria, they can be very troublesome to us.
Many of the difficult questions, like ‘How can a loving God allow this or that…?’
are easier to answer, when we allow for the existence of this unseen malicious world.
Whilst we believe that God is all-powerful, we expose ourselves to evil by not coming
under His protection. For example, if you put your hand into a bucket of filthy water,
you will probably not come to any harm if you wash it afterwards. But if you had
a cut on your hand and you can expect to get an infection with potentially serious
consequences. The normal protective covering of skin has been compromised and damaged,
so that the inner layer of tissue is exposed to bacteria. So, by not living according
to God’s instructions, we step outside of the protection God provides and expose
ourselves to spiritual attack. We cannot really prove the existence of Satan or demons,
but if we assume their existence and treat them as real, the observable effects appear
to confirm their existence. One of Satan’s ploys is invisibility. Like bacteria,
demons cannot be seen and we are therefore likely to ignore or forget they exist.
Jesus recognised and acknowledged the existence of Satan and demons and spoke to
them with authority and effect (e.g. Luke 8:29). Even today, when we recognise or
suspect certain physical or emotional conditions as being due to demonic or spiritual
possession or influence, we can command the entity to leave the person in the Name
of Jesus and it usually works. I have seen demonic manifestations occur in a number
of people and subsequent deliverance at the very Name of Jesus. Thus pragmatically
we can infer the existence and even the presence of the demonic by the evidence.
So whilst this may not be proof, it is evidence that there is an unseen spiritual
realm or dimension in parallel with our own and it is accessible although not desirable.
Claims by spiritualist mediums to have access to the world of the departed are more
than likely to be encounters with the demonic. We are expressly forbidden in the
Bible to commune with spirits from whatever realm (Deuteronomy 18:10-11).
However, the good news is that only one-third of the angelic beings revolted, leaving
two-thirds who are ministering angels, totally subservient to God. These angels make
up the armies of Heaven as well as providing protection and service to mankind, albeit
normally unseen. Jesus spoke of these as guardians to children, ‘Take heed that ye
despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels
do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven’. (Matthew 18:10)
There are many instances in the Bible where angels were visible to men, such as Lot
(Gen 19), Balaam (Numbers 22) and Elisha (2 Kings 6:17), but also there are many
modern day stories of angelic sightings and encounters1.
Some of these stories require a lot of faith to believe and certainly those involved
undoubtedly had a measure of faith.
We do not know what God is like. He is a Spirit. He represented himself in physical
form as Jesus and comes to us as the Holy Spirit. We call this the Trinity or Three-in-One.
A helpful analogy is to consider the Sun. The real object of the sun is 93 million
miles away. Each of us can view the sun in the open or through a window, giving us
our own personal instantiation of the image of the sun without being aware of the
distance. We can close our eyes and bask in the sunshine, enjoying its warmth and
energy. It is the same sun, revealed to us in three forms. So it is with God. The
Father is transcendent and beyond our reach, but he comes to us as the man Jesus
so that we can understand and receive him. His Holy Spirit comes and gives us life
The dimensions theory can also be used to describe an analogy of the Trinity. Consider
a 3 dimensional being communicating with a 2 dimensional world. The 2D people would
have no concept of the 3D being, but as he enters the 2D world, they would perceive
only a flat cross-section. He could move in and out be in many places simultaneously.
He could get extremely close and even enter into a 2D being. His power would seem
to be unlimited.
If we understand that God exists in dimensions far above our 3D world, yet he came
into our world and became one of us, this may help to understand the concept of Jesus
being God and yet separate from Him. Jesus is the total representation of God in
our universe. He talks to God and is hence distinct from Him, yet they are one and
the same person (John 17:21). As God entered into our universe in the form of Jesus
He was seen by thousands of people. He was able to walk through walls and travel
a hundred miles instantaneously. He was able to perform miracles and die and rise
again. The Holy Spirit is yet another representation that can enter into us and be
closer to us than we are to each other. We cannot really understand this, but the
3D to 2D analogy helps to understand how this could be possible. What is miraculous
in our world is perfectly normal in the higher dimensions.
I am not offering these analogies as explanations of the Trinity, any more than St
Patrick tried to explain it as a three-leafed shamrock, but simply as aids to understanding
the concept. The point is that many people have difficulty with the Trinity because
it does not make sense in our world. What I am arguing is that, if you step outside
of our dimension and our way of understanding the physical universe, there is a whole
new realm of possibilities.
I am not trying to introduce a new way of thinking about God and the spiritual world,
but rather trying to get the reader to accept that there is so much above and beyond
what we can see and understand with our rational ways of thinking. Having accepted
this, I would like us then to consider that the Bible as written is a true account
of what happened in the past; what was said, what was done, by credible and honest
people reporting what they saw and heard, and that there is no intent to deceive.
Having overcome the credibility gap, I would then like us to see what the Bible has
to say, not only about the past, but also the future and actually accept it as truth.
We need to accept that this universe is not a chance situation brought about by a
series of meaningless accidents, but is a deliberately planned and executed strategy
brought about by a Being who is far beyond our comprehension. We humans cannot communicate
with this Divine Being, who created the universe, on our terms. We cannot decide
to find our own way to Him. That is impossible. He is the one who states the rules
and makes the way possible. There is no way that human effort can reach or influence
Him. We have heard it said that many or all roads lead to God. That is not true.
Only He can tell us how to approach and communicate with Him. That is why we have
to study the Bible, as it was written by Him for that very purpose.