Answering Final: Otherworld

We come to the end of this series, and frankly some half of what I might have said in the first place shows up in the comments in reply to other comments. It occurs to me one point in particular bears repeating, so as the final installment of the Answering Series I wanted to restate something about reading the Bible. My comment arose from a reference to a writer chattering with a presumption of authority about angels, demons and other realms of existence using the word “dimension.” This writer insisted that we could use such terminology from theoretical science as a means to capture the factual essence of things beyond this realm of existence.

Human rational science dies at the boundaries of this dimension. The very structure of thought and knowing do not survive the passage; you have to die and leave this human frame to pass over. That doesn’t mean God can’t bring you back to the same old body or a different kind of body, but it does require separating your soul from this current life. This body and some measure of your human awareness must remain here because it is fundamentally flawed and God will not allow it to leave this domain. Science is a construct of that fallen human nature. That’s not a question about how well science works for its intended purpose, but simply to indicate the limitations.

Be aware that the people who wrote the Bible used a lot of figurative language (parabolic language) that had nothing to do with what they actually believed about things. If everybody and his dog uses the phrase, “bring my gray hairs down to Sheol,” it gains a vested meaning far beyond the words themselves. It arises from a primitive Mesopotamian mythology that is not consistent with revelation, but everyone knew what it meant as a colorful contextual expression. I find it goofy that we use language that way ourselves in our culture, but somehow imagine that people in the Bible could not. The same goes for the expression “third heaven” that Paul uses; it comes from the mythology of the Pharisees, not from Scripture. Besides that, it translates poorly into English. You should not assume Paul describes an experience, but that he characterizes it. There’s nothing deceptive about that usage as it was commonly understood as a literary expression of his times. Sometimes they used such expressions with sarcasm and Westerners don’t catch on.

All of this pretense to accurately slice and dice terms and phrases is a Western approach to extract data, and utterly misses the moral gravity behind the words. Most of the blather along those lines might provoke some interesting thoughts, but would never grasp the “ultimate truth” — which is the moral importance. However, English language presumes that whatever we mean as “truth” is contained in, or constrained by, the words. People of the Ancient Near East would snicker at such a concept. They knew the human mind could not leave the limits of this realm of existence, so words were also constrained, but truth from those higher realms was not constrained. So they instinctively used parabolic language, a protocol to indicate things beyond intellect to indicate the moral demands it all places upon us here. Thus, the languages of the Ancient Near East operated more like signposts to indicate directions for our contemplation. The ancients would choke on the common assertion in the West that “words mean things” as the phrase is normally used. If meaning is restricted to the choice of words, then we cannot possibly be talking about anything that really matters.

Thus, science has yet to ascertain usable data on anything beyond the four dimensions we experience as fallen humans. Thus, you can use the term “dimension” either precisely in factual chatter, or you can use it merely as a figure of speech to color our discussions of things we could never understand in reference to spiritual things. You cannot presume to use factual structures to describe anything beyond the boundaries of those four dimensions we experience here. Revelation as a whole warns against thinking you can escape this realm alive. Whatever is “out there” beyond this realm of existence is not accessible to the human mind, but requires a higher faculty that we use to establish moral imperatives from which the mind can organize and implement a moral way of life.

This is not stuffy orthodoxy, because it relies on the Holy Spirit and your own heart to verify what constitutes a prophetic warning.

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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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16 Responses to Answering Final: Otherworld

  1. forrealone says:

    My, y’all do have the clay soil!!!!!!

    (Moderator notes: This comment somehow got shifted to the wrong post and WordPress won’t let me move it.)

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  2. Mr. T. says:

    Currently I would be inclined to differ in the sense that there are spiritual realities and dynamics that are currently above our understanding, but are nonetheless objective. They exist objectively as spiritual realities, dynamics and processes of those kinds. They clearly seem to reflect and influence our physical realm somehow (in the moral sense as well) and we can find out rough correspondences even if we don’t understand or see all the variables. For example negative entities as described in Robert Bruce’s “Practical Psychic Self Defense” book don’t like EMF disturbances (water pipes, fountains and grounding) so they have something to do with electricity.

    How exactly these things work… don’t know. And what’s recommended for a Christian.. don’t know. Christine mentioned that for example astral projection and third eye related things are “natural” but I’m not entirely sure if they are recommended activities for anyone. Humans don’t seem to be designed for spiritual realities as such.

    And of course God can do and change everything.

    For example:
    “What happens when there are wars in heaven? They have repercussions on our earth. When angels in heaven are fighting over who controls areas in heaven (for example, those heavenly regions called Persia and Javan), we have similar battles here on earth (usually in the wake of the heavenly wars). See Revelation 12:12–17.”
    http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d990501.htm

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  3. Mr. T. says:

    “Human rational science dies at the boundaries of this dimension.”

    And of course even understanding this “dimension” based on sense impressions is a difficult task — the actual reality could be anything and include all the “dimensions” if needed. Quantum weirdness and so on. The physical laws and the world just work as expected usually. However miracles as currently thought could be an everyday occurrence if need be. There’s in principle no limits to what reality can be and what can happen, it’s up to God and other spiritual entities (book of Job).

    Owen Barfield (found thanks to Bruce Charlton, http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/) has come up with some useful conceptual tools for talking about these things: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saving_the_Appearances:_A_Study_in_Idolatry

    “the familiar world which we see and know around us – the blue sky with white clouds in it, the noise of a waterfall or a motor-bus, the shapes of flowers and their scent, the gesture and utterance of animals and the faces of our friends – the world too, which (apart from the special inquiry of physics) experts of all kinds methodically investigate – is a system of collective representations. The time comes when one must either accept this as the truth about the world or reject the theories of physics as an elaborate delusion.”

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  4. Mr. T. says:

    Strangely enough this quote from Buhner’s “Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm” (fascinating, thanks Christine!) seems to apply somewhat to the spiritual as well:

    “Our view of the world as a static backdrop to
    human activity has obscured the fact that we are
    only minor players in the scheme of things. The
    vast majority of interactions that occur here have
    nothing to do with human beings, as Hird notes,
    “Humans do not even know about the vast majority
    of intra-actions that take place on Earth.” Plant
    intelligence, microbial memory and culture, viral
    swarm behavior and horizontal gene transfer, the
    capacity of animals (and slime mold) for mathe-
    matical computation are only tiny bits of the “vast
    majority” that remains unknown to most people,
    including nearly all scientists. There are so many
    others that exist, in numbers beyond counting. We
    will never know them all . . . for instance . . . plate
    tectonics, which has shaped the geography of the
    world, and which is widely believed to be a non-life-
    initiated event,

    it’s just physics, man

    and the amount of water on the planet (ibid) are
    both generated by the bacterial superorganism of
    Earth, but most people don’t realize it, can’t com-
    prehend it. But then, even stranger, bacterial organ-
    isms are responsible for the formation of clouds
    and rain. Those don’t “just happen” either.”

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  5. Christine says:

    no comment, just following ..

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  6. Christine says:

    On second thought, I can’t help but think that this:

    “What happens when there are wars in heaven? They have repercussions on our earth. When angels in heaven are fighting over who controls areas in heaven (for example, those heavenly regions called Persia and Javan), we have similar battles here on earth (usually in the wake of the heavenly wars).

    is just about the ultimate in buck-passing. Let’s grow up and take responsibility for our own wars, ok? As to wars in heaven? I think not, and nothing, Mr T., that you link me to, will convince me otherwise.

    Mr T., I can tell that you’re intelligent and your mind craves activity. Stick to the awesome reality that God has given us here and leave the fantasies alone. Try it for 6 months, and you’ll feel better. There’s so much here that you’re missing out on.

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  7. Ed Hurst says:

    Amen, Sister, and a bit more: The passage in Daniel 10 is obscure at best in its original language. The reference to some kind of conflict is offered in some of the weakest, most generalized root verbs that range all over the place in terms how it could be used. One angel resisting another — war? Maybe it was no more than a debate before God, or just a simple argument amongst themselves. Again, don’t read too much into an iffy translation into English. Our minds are utterly incapable of imagining what it was really like, since angelic beings are not constrained time until they enter this realm of existence. It sounds more like angels arguing while stuck in this bubble of existence if you ask me. With God’s authority they could evaporate any of us in a split-second, but we probably cannot imagine how they tussle on their own terms. That would have been the attitude of Daniel, his friends and associates, and every member of the scholarly class in Mesopotamia. If you could take the time to read the ancient materials and the analysis of those who deal with Ancient Near Eastern culture, it would be pretty obvious. I seriously doubt the likes of Paradox Brown and some of those others have bothered with it. The material is there; it’s a little obscure but I found it without going to graduate school.

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  8. Christine says:

    Okay, grabbing another few minutes to address something else (spring is finally here and all of a sudden there is lots to do!)

    Mr T., it’s true that what we’re calling astral travel and/or the abilities that are related to what we call the third eye may not be for everyone, but there are plenty of folk to whom it comes naturally. Part of our problem in this society of ours is the limits we place on what ‘normal human consciousness’ is. Don’t dismiss the complexities of the human experience so easily!

    As to this: “negative entities as described in Robert Bruce’s “Practical Psychic Self Defense” book don’t like EMF disturbances (water pipes, fountains and grounding) so they have something to do with electricity.”

    I would suggest that these ‘negative entities’ are, in fact, not entities at all but the sensing of non-native EMF itself. Some of us are *very* sensitive to nnEMF, but even those who can’t sense it are affected whether they realize it or not. It affects the brain’s (and heart’s) own electromagnetic fields, distorting thought patterns, disturbing sleep patterns and messing with the levels of serotonin, melatonin and dopamine. That’s dangerous and can make those who are already susceptible to the ideas of others even more so. Advertisers and other unscrupulous types are very much aware of this and take advantage of it. The only negative entities we’re talking about are the humans who produce such tosh as books about psychic self defence when what is needed to unplug the damn wifi every night. I’m sorry, but I call ’em as I see ’em.

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  9. Mr. T. says:

    Christine: “Mr T., I can tell that you’re intelligent and your mind craves activity. Stick to the awesome reality that God has given us here and leave the fantasies alone.”

    I think this is very good advice.

    Currently I’m just kind of intellectually throwing mud/things on the wall and seeing what sticks. Don’t take my comments that seriously — except in the sense that I’m trying to figure things out and went through a pretty shocking experience, or initiation, or whatever. However, I can’t help being interested in this stuff, even if my speculative take on it can be all over the place.

    But really, I have very few solid opinions of my own regarding any interpretations.

    Ed: “Our minds are utterly incapable of imagining what it was really like”

    That’s true, but we can speculate. I had a few interesting if negative experiences of my own, so I have a few personal data points on how these things can happen and “materialize”.

    But yes, I should clean my windows and do real world things more.

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  10. Mr. T. says:

    Regarding astral projection and remote viewing…

    I recently read through Robert Bruce’s “Treatise on Astral Projection” (http://www.v-j-enterprises.com/rbruce1.html) which was interesting. I do think it’s somewhat questionable if you can really trust many/any of your experiences, even if it’s not all deception, after all you don’t actually know what is happening and what kind of inputs you may be getting.

    For example, this is what the Farsight Institute found using “squaky clean” experimental protocols in “The Crucifixion Ruse”: “…how these new data, collected under controlled experimental conditions, indicate that someone else was crucified instead of Jesus. Moreover, Jesus took part in the ruse, a risky plan that made Jesus into a martyr, allowing his teachings to spread across the millennia.” (http://farsightpresentations.com/RV_Projects/CrucifixionRuse.html) Trustworthy?

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  11. forrealone says:

    I have to say something here. Faith begins with accepting the basic premises that i, as a Christian, hold dear. First and foremost God created all and Jesus was right there with/in Him. Second, God became man through Jesus, His Son. Third, Jesus gave His Life so we, though sinners, have the glorious opportunity to be immortal. Anyone can argue with that. Don’t care. My faith in these things are the basis, the foundation for all I am. Once I was blessed with this faith, then all else matters not. Simple. Complete. Amazing. Wondrous. Go beyond that and your mind will settle on many things, get confused, follow wrong paths and if you wander too far or too long, you WILL get lost. Been there, done that. Like I have said many times before, I like simple and i am glad i chose simple. God didn’t create the world so things would get complicated. We made it that way. We can choose not to, but the beauty in all of this, it’s our choice.

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  12. Mr. T. says:

    forrealone: “Go beyond that and your mind will settle on many things, get confused, follow wrong paths and if you wander too far or too long, you WILL get lost.”

    I’ve certainly seen that happen. The trouble is that people have come up with all kinds of explanations and extrapolations over the last 2000 years. Theology gets complicated and everybody has a different take on things. Probably not that dangerous unless you let that have a negative effect on yourself and your relationships. However, some kind of theology and intellectualization seems to be necessary if you want to understand anything (as a whole) or to remember better what you’ve learnt. Some kind of balance is needed.

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  13. Ed Hurst says:

    Mr. T wrote: However, some kind of theology and intellectualization seems to be necessary…

    Quite so. What folks need to remember is that your formulation is your own. After that, the issue is remembering that whatever you do with that intellectual content has to start from the intellectual background of Scripture, not bringing everything else under the sun back to Scripture.

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  14. Christine says:

    Good morning all!

    forrealone/Linda – You’re singing my song 🙂

    Ed – you too of course

    Mr T – I’m starting to understand where you’re coming from, sorry if I was a bit slow on the uptake there. I have a hungry mind too, so I surely know what it feels like. I happen to find Buhner a lot more interesting and believable than anything gathered by “remote viewing”. (To anyone who knows that I most often rail *against* science, that would be amusing to hear me say.)

    I skimmed the Crucifixion Ruse link, didn’t watch the video. In a word? Yawn .. that’s been around in New Age circles forever. I consider it bosh, but then I have a low tolerance for anything that messes with Scripture as you now know 🙂

    I read the Robert Bruce link more carefully. I thought it a bit overwrought to be honest. I agree with you that – especially if following his treatise -” it’s somewhat questionable if you can really trust many/any of your experiences, even if it’s not all deception, after all you don’t actually know what is happening and what kind of inputs you may be getting”.

    In my experience, most of these supernatural (for lack of a better word) experiences are best when spontaneous, and then it is a matter that each person must figure out the meaning for themselves, treating them as something like dreams, full of personal symbolism. That’s why it’s good to have an intellectual background in something like Scripture and also to have a pretty solid psyche.

    The more respected of the occultists (Israel Regardie, for example) recommended that before going into magickal practices like those we refer to above, the aspirant should undergo some sort of psychological therapy in order to find and, if not eliminate, then at least become aware of their own personal bogeymen. Childhood traumas, sexual repressions, that sort of thing, when stuck in the subconscious, will turn up in one way or another and will very often come in the guise of demons (or aliens or ..), when all they are is our own issues. Everything you’ve linked us to so far indicates to me that’s a step these people haven’t taken.

    In my own experience, I find my mind works much better when I’m eating properly, getting enough sleep and fresh air etc. I’m less inclined to fall down rabbit holes that lead nowhere and more apt to follow golden threads that apply to real world situations in a positive way. I want my explorations to lead me into the light, not take me down shady alley ways, you know? Not that I haven’t been down a shady alley way or two in my day, because I have, believe me, and I suppose I needed some of that to get me where I am now. “Here” isn’t always bright either, but I guess it’s a case of no longer having as much interest in what other people are wondering or thinking about and seeing the importance of what’s right under my nose. This world is so rich and multifaceted and fascinating to me that my hungry mind has plenty to feast on.

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  15. Mr. T. says:

    Ed: “intellectual content has to start from the intellectual background of Scripture, not bringing everything else under the sun back to Scripture.”

    It’s quite a lot of study on its own to even get the basics correct. And then 2000+ years of background and development.

    Christine: “I skimmed the Crucifixion Ruse link, didn’t watch the video.”

    Same here.

    The problem is that “remote viewing” seems to have some credibility in some circles, such as U.S. Military. And even if the protocol is “scientific” and for example several people get the same results, you really don’t know how it happened or what could be influencing your results. Physical reality is physical, that is something else.

    Christine: “Everything you’ve linked us to so far indicates to me that’s a step these people haven’t taken.”

    Well, mostly I’m just interested in these “alternative” occult/esoteric things as something to check out because they “found me”, not to do personally. And because it’s out there and some people clearly get some kind of results. It’s in some way interesting but I’m treating it as an “isolated box” due to not knowing what exactly to trust.

    For myself I think I’ll stay with the Bible and just praying anyhow.

    My current take is that mostly spirituality should be about applying it to your life and environment in a positive and moral way. For some reason all kinds of “technologies” exist, but taking the moral/ethical perspective is the crucial one. And from a mainstream Christian perspective what else do you need other than prayer? Most of the “other stuff” just doesn’t seem that useful either, but would probably take a lot of time to explore with questionable benefits and possible risks.

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  16. Christine says:

    Attaboy Mr T. 🙂

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