Guest Post: Azure Ides-Gray

Another slice of our booklet project. Tell us what you think.

————

3. The Spirit Realm is real and beyond comprehension (this universe is not everything)

My intent with this writing is to bring some doubts to the table as they relate to the Spirit Realm. This is inherently difficult territory to navigate through a medium like writing as the topic is, inherently speaking, beyond description. However, beyond description is quite different from beyond actuality. The Spirit Realm is capable of being recognized by humans in the sensory world, though it doesn’t exist in the same way and is not contingent upon the world as we know it. In addition, this reality will only be convincing to those who make the decision to listen to Christ first, for it is by His grace that humans might be imbued with a change in understanding (Ephesians 1:7-10). Systematic arguments are only successful to a certain point with topics such as this, and so I shall, rather loosely, let my thoughts stream.

In no way whatsoever does the observation of natural phenomena discredit, at base level, the possibility of supernatural reality. Roger Trigg makes this point with clarity in his book Rationality and Religion: “It does not follow from the mere fact of human rationality that there is no transcendent reality… That assumption was the product of the Enlightenment” (1998:27). Fellow philosopher Peter Kreeft is correct in rebranding this historical period as “the Endarkenment.”

Though there are numerous ways in which one can reject the reality of the Spirit Realm, the atheist Hegelian, Ludwig Feuerbach, seems an apt example of someone who pushed this quasi-Enlightenment philosophic notion right to the edge. Despite being alive post-Enlightenment, Feuerbach’s thinking was nonetheless tainted by materialism. He maintained that the human collective was God and that the supposed qualities of God were mere human qualities being projected to a “false zone of reality” (Singer, 2000:23). Whether one takes the ideological route of Feuerbach or a different path, any path that deviates from the narrow road is the wrong way (Matthew 7:14).

However, the Enlightenment should not be our main focus; the focus is the Spirit Realm, particularly, how its reality might be denied. Doubts made in relation to the Spirit Realm come in a variety of forms, and they are not only committed on behalf of unbelievers but also Christians. What form does this disbelief come in for the Christian? It is my suggestion that Christians are at risk of what might be considered one-sided supernaturalism. What I am referring to here is that many Christians sincerely believe that the evil dimension of the Spirit Realm is very accessible and dangerous, and yet regard the good dimension as being quite distant and ineffective. Think about it for a few minutes and be honest with yourself. Is it not easier to tremble at the thought of witchcraft participation and its consequences, for instance, than to imagine oneself being in awe when praying to God or taking scripture into account? Why is that so?

Again, there is nothing I can write here that can prove the reality of the Spirit Realm. This writing is a structured expression and the Spirit Realm is beyond structures, so it’s intrinsically inadequate to make so great an achievement. But there are some points that I hope would resonate with you. First, tread with caution in a world that’s brimming with vain philosophies. Second, be serious about your beliefs – especially in relation to the supernatural. Belief in the Spirit Realm need not be reduced to a type of misguided Gnosticism. The Genesis account informs us that natural reality was intended by God (see chapter one) but it is certainly not an end in itself. The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13 verse 12: “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” Hold fast to Christ while you exist in this world of temporality. But remember, your knowing of Christ is not intended to be a temporal, this-world experience, but rather, an eternal knowing (John 3:16, 36).

Azure Ides-Gray

Works Cited:

Singer, Peter. “From God to Money.” Marx: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. 23. Book.

Trigg, Roger. “A Defense of Religious Realism.” Philosophy of Religion: Selected Readings. Ed. Michael Peterson, et al. 4th. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. 27. Book.

Advertisements

About Ed Hurst

Disabled Veteran, prophet of God's Laws, Bible History teacher, wannabe writer, volunteer computer technician, cyclist, Social Science researcher
This entry was posted in meta and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Guest Post: Azure Ides-Gray

  1. Jay DiNitto says:

    Good job, Azure!

    Like

  2. Christine says:

    I’m afraid I found this quite inaccessible! I believe that it would be more helpful to bring such discussions a bit more down to earth where most readers live.

    Nor do I agree that it is “easier to tremble at the thought of witchcraft participation and its consequences, for instance, than to imagine oneself being in awe when praying to God or taking scripture into account”.

    But then, perspectives differ.

    I do not come from a Church background, but one immersed in Creation/Nature. Awe comes more naturally to me than the fear of witchcraft and evil, which (I believe) comes from being immersed in the world of Western thought.

    While this piece may be useful to someone with an academic background who prefers intellectual arguments to experience, I don’t believe it addresses the true nature of Radix Fidem – root of faith – for the common man.

    Like

  3. Thanks, Jay! I enjoyed reading yours too, particularly, the paragraph about how we as humans really aren’t as ruled by logic as some of us would like to believe.

    Like

  4. Thanks for reading and sharing those thoughts, Christine. I would agree with you that the “trembling at witchcraft…” phenomenon is rather Western. I mentioned it because I know it’s true for me, but maybe my guess of it being true for others, generally speaking, is unfounded? My intuition said otherwise, but I could be wrong, and it’s certainly not true for all God-fearing people. Your comment at the end is interesting and understandable. I find Western philosophy to be fun, so I jumped around with some short philosophic thoughts. That said, I also tried to make it a priority in this writing to make clear that the reality of the Spirit Realm is not really understood through arguments, but Divine intervention. Arguments can replace bad thinking with good thinking but that’s about it. The experience of the spiritual is a whole other animal. As you probably know, Ed mentioned in his proposal for the booklet that “…a primary qualification is that you tend to feel unworthy.” Indeed, that was one of my qualifications going in with this, as I’m somewhat an outsider to Radix Fidem, though not totally at odds. To be honest, I’m still working through doubts and questions about the heart-led life, though I find it to be a very fascinating concept.

    Like

  5. Christine says:

    I can understand finding Western philosophy fun.

    However, the whole point of Radix Fidem is to put aside the assumptions and definitions of reality that are intrinsic to Western thought so that we can approach the Bible, and the Lord, in a way that is closer to what He intended.

    When we (any of us) write, speak or even think about something as intangible as the Spirit Realm, we can’t hope to pin it down with definitions. It simply defies description. But what we can do, sometimes, is *sense* it. We can sense when something “there” intersects with our lives, “here”.

    That’s a personal experience. If we want to offer to anyone else a sense of what we’ve experienced, we have to use the first person. Debate and argument don’t come into it because no one can question your lived experience, it is what it is.

    So I believe if you tried again, and wrote about what the Spirit Realm means to *you*, what experiences, if any, you have had that gave you a sense of its existence, it would be more meaningful to the reader.

    The process of writing such a piece might be more meaningful to you, too. Rather than juxtaposing or stringing together the writings of others, leave them aside. When you write from your own truth, it leads you to find more of it.

    Like

  6. Ed Hurst says:

    I’ll back Christine’s comments, Azure. I felt that posting your offering would be instructive for you as well as anyone who read it. What we really need is Azure the person, not just his learning. That’s what we hope Radix Fidem does for people. Maybe you aren’t used to thinking of writing in that fashion, but people who live by their hearts can discern the difference when you invest your inner self, opening up with a strength that cannot be threatened by anything.

    Like

  7. Mr. T. says:

    I think there’s something to be said for an “empirical approach” (experiences) to the supernatural.

    For example gifts of the Spirit (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiritual_gift) do happen nowadays as well, more often in some circles and circumstances than others. But those things experienced by yourself or even anecdotal evidence heard from others makes it less “otherwordly” and more concrete and real and also effective part of healthy spiritual experiences. As a warning there seems to be this “overly charismatic”/”New Agey” Christianity as well with angel dust and weird doctrines (claim your healing and money now!)…

    About fear of witchcraft and such things: I think Christianity and the church is also about “destroying the devil’s work” (the influence of evil/dark spirits), conquering and giving hope and freeing people from oppression/bondage.

    Like

  8. forrealone says:

    I have only one comment here. A heart-led existence can only exist between the individual and our Father where the connection is solely in the heart. None of our mental capacities for capabilities can describe it or define it. Attempting to do so is futile.

    Like

  9. Christine says:

    Are such things as “gifts of the Spirit” supernatural?

    Or are they a perfectly natural part of human life that we are trained to fear?

    Like

  10. Lots of good discussion here … more than I can comment on. But I am interested in hearing more about what forrealone said: “A heart-led existence can only exist between the individual and our Father where the connection is solely in the heart.”

    That sounds agreeable … though do I know that to be agreeable in my mind or my heart, or, both? One of my questions about the heart-led life has to do with its completeness … what about a verse like Luke 10:27, where it talks of loving God with numerous faculties? I really don’t think I’ve wielded a knock down argument here, so please don’t interpret this as being pretentious, but I’m curious how folks here would respond to that.

    At any rate, I’m thankful to have contributed an entry to this blog and to see all these different thoughts about it … especially since it’s a little different from the usual material around here 🙂 Brought me to some points of introspection about my writing and “psychological life.” I can’t wait to see what other writings get made for the Radix Fidem booklet, and I’d be especially curious to see some different ones for this topic.

    Like

  11. Mr. T. says:

    “Or are they a perfectly natural part of human life that we are trained to fear?”

    Good question! In that list from Wikipedia all kinds of things (so both if we need to use the natural/supernatural dichotomy?) are covered.

    And for example in some charismatic circles tongues are seen practically as a requirement for a spiritual birth. Supernatural words of wisdom, healing miracles and such are easily observable evidence of supernatural things for those who might need it. That they occur even nowadays in missionary work and all kinds of situations.

    But I’m not sure it’s perfectly natural to see supernatural things because there are pretty rare and exceptional events. Maybe all kinds of rare, unknown and exceptional events can cause people to have fear even if they are positive?

    Like

  12. Ed Hurst says:

    Azure wrote: One of my questions about the heart-led life has to do with its completeness … what about a verse like Luke 10:27, where it talks of loving God with numerous faculties?

    The language of the Bible requires some awareness of Hebrew mystical thinking, particularly how language works. Western tongues are descriptive; Hebrew is indicative. Hebrew is not designed to carry ideas, but to indicate areas of moral contemplation. It could convey facts, but that was not a minor consideration, the lesser routine of traffic in the Shadow Lands (as CS Lewis called this world). Thus, love the Lord with all those faculties means love Him with a full personal commitment. However, in Hebrew language the center of our being is the heart. The heart is the starting place and allows connection and coordination of all those other faculties. The mind alone cannot accurately assess the unseen realm, but the heart perceives it clearly. The struggle is getting the mind to surrender to the heart-mind.

    Like

  13. Ed Hurst says:

    Mr. T. wrote: But I’m not sure it’s perfectly natural to see supernatural things because there are pretty rare and exceptional events. Maybe all kinds of rare, unknown and exceptional events can cause people to have fear even if they are positive?

    In tomorrow’s post I’ll cover that a bit, but here’s the spoiler: When you operate from the heart-mind, the range of what is “normal” is far wider than our culture recognizes. It includes all kinds of things the intellect cannot manage by itself.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s