Answering 02: Two Realms

How do you explain it?

In my mind there remain a handful of people who seemed to understand. They were on their own path and knew it, so I offer not a word of criticism about their choices. Most of them chose to stay in the churches I simply had to leave. I can recall one good church and a segment of time in a military chapel when things were delightful. Military chapel congregations vary because of the mandatory turnover, so the character of that kind of “church” is a broad snapshot of time and you wouldn’t recognize the character of the group later. One such snapshot brought together a truly amazing congregation at a critical time in my spiritual development. The rich atmosphere faded before I decided it was time to move on, but I stayed past that point because of a few fine people. So in general, I can say I miss certain individuals, but I don’t really miss the churches that much.

About a decade ago was the last time I gave mainstream organized Christianity a try. I’ve stayed close enough to observe, but far enough away to avoid entanglement. Over the years one truly amazing and disconcerting feature remains constant: The jarring disconnection between words and actions. Not the typical hypocrisy you hear or read about from most critics, this is something far more subtle, and far more damaging. So subtle it is that you might not be able to agree with me, even if you grasp the nature of this thing.

A critical element in Christian Mysticism is a powerful sense of Two Realms. Not in the sense of my doctrinal teaching, but I refer to a full apprehension burned into your awareness. With rare exception, all of the Christians I’ve ever met ascribe to some version “Heaven” as somewhere different from here and now. But it seems most of the time a mere idea. It’s not part of their calculus of life. They act as if it’s not real; they talk and write and construct a whole framework that denies it. This denial is pervasive. The belief is not a truth, but a mere fact for them, and has precious little effect on how they operate. It’s always out there somewhere and they aren’t striving to connect directly. It’s an orthodoxy without faith.

I can recall a session in the NATO chapel with a bunch of teenagers from those military families in the chapel. I tried to convey the concept of our universe as a mere bubble with distinct boundaries and a distinct lifespan existing within a broader existence that has no such boundaries. I used a lot of jargon common to science fiction from those days. I suppose some of them got it, because you could see the proverbial light bulb flash on their faces. But these were kids just a few years from legal adulthood. Why was this so new to them? So I tested the idea against their parents in a different setting, and it was a similar experience. Military adults don’t respond the same way as civilian crowds, but I could see it was news to many of them. These weren’t new converts and not ignorant within their own sectarian backgrounds, but even the typical American evangelicals seemed surprised.

It’s not that anyone argued with me. It’s the sort of thing where, if they got it, they recognized it instinctively as true. Some of them began to exhibit noticeable changes in their moral existence. It awakened something in them.

To this day I can’t explain where the concept came from. I’m pretty sure my youthful obsession with Science Fiction and the theory of dimensional physics was part of it, and I suppose that was the fertile ground for when I began reading Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) literature and academic explanations of the ANE intellectual background in college. It must have all fit together neatly because I can’t recall any moment when it dawned on me, only that I had assumed it for quite some time. It crystallized when I felt compelled to answer some sharp questions.

By now you probably recognize that people can’t get this concept if it’s not already true inside them in some way. All it does is give some kind of intellectual shape, pulls it into conscious focus from where it stood in the shadows. It was already there or it isn’t something people can accept. We believe that Creation is much bigger than our universe and that some part of us belongs to that higher dimension, but there seems no way for us to actually create the connection, only recognize when it’s there.

We have a distinct cosmology and anthropology. Without them, this whole religion dissolves into mist. We assert by our very lives that there are Two Realms and that we are designed to connect across that dimensional boundary. I can most assuredly tell you what it’s like to lose that connection; God allowed me to experience it briefly and it was worse than dying physically. A lot of things died during that time. The experience was the final destruction of a lot of goofy theology for me, I can assure you. Without these fundamental differences in cosmology and anthropology, our religion doesn’t exist, but we have to be ready to live with the simple fact a lot of folks will never get it. We can do our best to offer some kind of explanation that may or may not work, but we can’t make them see something that doesn’t exist for them.

Answering questions about your faith can mean having no answer for some folks.

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About Ed Hurst

Disabled Veteran, prophet of God's Laws, Bible History teacher, wannabe writer, volunteer computer technician, cyclist, Social Science researcher
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13 Responses to Answering 02: Two Realms

  1. Mr. T. says:

    That’s a good way to put it. For me Christianity means that there is a spiritual realm; not exactly sure how it works and what the different actors do (in any given situation, physics included), but the world works that way. Sanctification, the Holy Spirit, the power of prayer and the supernatural are in a sense part of your everyday reality. Personally I must admit it was first quite daunting because of the… privacy implications. “God knows what you’re thinking!”

    One interesting reference point I have found is the “Biblical Seed War” as described in this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igCCXtrChNc) by L.A. Marzulli. You can’t get much more “Science Fiction” than that: genetics, nephelim, giants, time manipulation, etc.

    A useful page for me that describes how the two realms interact is here: http://www.kingwatch.co.nz/Church_Ministry/spiritual_realms.htm “The spiritual dimensions consist of many more dimensions of reality beyond what we can see.”

    For me this “reality aspect” of faith that goes beyond the normal empirical/physical worldview (dimensions, supernatural, spiritual) is perhaps the most important new thing along with the sin/moral/ethics/”absolute moral standard” one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mr. T. says:

    I’ve been working on updating a book by another author which takes Biblical/spiritual/gospel concepts and translates them into computer/network/cloud service terminology. For example the gifts of the Holy Spirit do make a lot of sense if you think of them as a Cloud Service and Server of sorts, that you can use and access (i.e. pray) as a Mobile Device.

    Another analogy:
    – Believer – a personal computer
    – Jesus Christ: a server
    – God the Father: a mainframe

    We have access to the spiritual realms throught faith in Christ. Of course there are other routes as well, but I’ve found it useful to think of other faiths as “legacy stuff” that will be replaced (Heiser’s book The Unseen Realm)…

    One more link I found useful: http://www.instonebrewer.com/visualsermons/GodProgrammer/_Sermon.htm

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ed Hurst says:

    Interesting stuff, Mr. T. Good work.

    Like

  4. Ed Hurst says:

    Be careful with that analogy, Mr. T. It’s not so bad if you use it as a springboard to push beyond the limits of technology thinking, but don’t camp there too long.

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  5. Christine says:

    Mr. T.

    “For example the gifts of the Holy Spirit do make a lot of sense if you think of them as a Cloud Service and Server of sorts, that you can use and access (i.e. pray) as a Mobile Device.”

    I think it would be more appropriate if we spoke of this in terms of technology as a potential tool of the Holy Spirit. As I understand it, the Holy Spirit doesn’t serve us, but counsels; the Holy Spirit serves God. I, personally, could never think of the gifts of the Holy Spirit as gadgets for us to use, more like qualities to cultivate within our hearts so that we can better bring glory to God.

    I respectfully submit that these analogies do more harm than good.

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  6. Mr. T. says:

    The book (it’s in Finnish, titled “God Explained Using Computer Anologues”) is for beginners and focuses heavily on the charismatic spiritual gifts. The previous edition is about 10 years old so we are just revising and updating some things. Such as changing “CD-ROM” to “DVD”, adding cloud technology terms, etc.

    It was helpful for me and in my opinion works especially well in describing how the spiritual gifts work. I’m still a total newbie in faith and Christianity (about 1 year), the other person and original author is a true veteran.

    The computer analogues are kind of updated versions of the terms usesd in the parables — just using modern techology terms instead of agricultural terms (reaping, sowing, etc). Made so much sense to me when I read the book the first few times!

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  7. Mr. T. says:

    Christine: “I, personally, could never think of the gifts of the Holy Spirit as gadgets for us to use”

    Well, not exactly gatgets, but for example you could think of a word of knowledge/wisdom (or, prophecy or xenoglossolalia, or something else, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiritual_gift ) as a type of “data” in computer terms you can be given by the Holy Spirit if needed. These if we speak of “discrete supernatural events” and not something more general. I’m not totally sure if the terms I used were correct but I meant these spiritual gifts.

    But yes, for me this just helps to put things in more understandable form for a beginner. Not that you should necessarily always and permanently think of things this way. “I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.”

    It’s not exactly the most holy way to put things, but helps understand how exactly these things work — and that they do work supernaturally or spiritually. And that they cannot work according to natural laws or current science.

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  8. Christine says:

    Mr. T., I understand that you believe you need something to help you understand all this stuff, but I think you’re over-complicating it by trying to use your brain, logic to “get” it. This isn’t about logic, this isn’t even something it could be said you can ‘wrap your head around’. This has to be taken into the heart to be understood .. your brain cannot awaken your heart, it’s the other way around. The brain will do its best to keep the heart silent. That’s the trap I see ahead of you.

    I would advise that you skip the up-dated versions and the analogies and go back to the parables we were given. There were reasons beyond the historical fact that His was an agricultural and pastoral culture that Jesus spoke of reaping and sowing, mustard seeds, or flocks of sheep. The parables mean something in their own right and to ‘update’ them, “just using modern technology terms instead of agricultural terms” changes their meaning.

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  9. Ed Hurst says:

    Don’t be put off by our insistence, Mr. T. We love you, but to be honest, we find some of those links a little disturbing. You’ll have to make up your own mind what works for you, but we would lying if we didn’t let you know what we thought about them. Stick around a little longer, at least, and see if you can catch the joy.

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  10. Christine says:

    Haha! That’s Ed’s way of saying “don’t mind Christine, her bark is worse than her bite”.

    It’s true, Mr. T., I’m a pretty mellow gal mostly. I just get my dander up when it comes to gussying up the parables in Western dress to make them ‘easier’ to understand. This isn’t supposed to be easy, the effort to understand the Bible as written is its own reward.

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  11. Jay DiNitto says:

    “I tried to convey the concept of our universe as a mere bubble with distinct boundaries and a distinct lifespan existing within a broader existence that has no such boundaries.”

    I have always thought similar as well, as far back as I could remember.

    Additionally, and I have no evidence to support this, but it seems to me the supernatural realm and our realm is co-located in some manner, though we obviously can’t directly perceive the “other” realm the way we perceive things here.

    Like

  12. Ed Hurst says:

    Yes, the Science Fiction image of parallel universe approaches the truth. Coexisting but on different dimensions.

    Like

  13. Pingback: Natural and Supernatural Co-Location – jaydinitto.com

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