Thursday, February 23, 2012

My Problem with Reality

People, and I include Christians in this category, want to rationalize events and behaviors to make some kind of logical sense.  I think most of us use logic to mean something that makes sense to us.  It means we can justify the way we want to view the world. 

We often find people wanting to believe in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, but they want to base their belief on historical facts and physical realities.  I love to read history, and finding artifacts from biblical events thrills me.  Reading about excavations of ancient cities or battles is exciting.  Understanding the engineering of the water systems and the building of walls reveals technology I had never expected.  It makes those stories in the Bible real and present, but it is not the basis of my faith. 

The truths the Bible teaches do not depend on our understanding of history.  We make a severe error when we depend on the provable, physical reality to explain or prove a spiritual truth.  Some things cannot be proven in physical reality, but the spiritual significance cannot be jeopardized because we haven't found the DNA.

We claim to experience the presence of Jesus when we pray based on his promise in Matthew 18:20 that "where two or three are gathered" in his name he will be with them, but then we want to see a fluttering of the curtains to indicate his presence.  If this is a faith based event, then we must take it by faith that he is with us.  We don't need the curtains. 

I cannot explain miracles.  I believe they happen.  I don't know why.  Some people dedicate themselves to investigating events that defy explanation.  I don't even argue with that, but explaining the event does not make it miraculous or prevent it from being miraculous.

It seems counter-intuitive to expect a spiritual event to express itself in a physical form.  Those things that are spiritual have spiritual consequences in people.  Understanding the Holy Spirit means that he moves me to act in the physical plane, but I do not need to see physical actions to believe he is present.  It is true that the Bible records dramatic events like mighty winds and tongues of flame accompanied his descent.  I believe that, but I don't put that requirement on him.  He is free to act as he chooses, and I am obliged to believe in him however he comes.

How would your understanding of God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit change if it depended totally on physical realities?

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