PDA

View Full Version : Do Christians believe in alternate realities?



Shadow_Ferret
10-16-2006, 01:12 AM
I'm not here to start a fight, I'm just trying to clarify something for my own WIP.

Do Christians believe in alternate realities or dimensions?

Do they have any beliefs in astral travel?

Do they believe in different planes of enlightenment, like say Buddists or is it the Hindus, who believe in 12 Higher Planes we must pass through before we reach Nirvana (the place, not the band)?

Are Heaven, Earth, and Hell all different planes of existence or different dimensions, or are they all on the same plane?

Thanks.

Lyra Jean
10-16-2006, 02:21 AM
Well I believe there has to be at least two different planes of existence. The physical plane which is where humans reside and the spiritual plane where demons, angels, God, and Satan reside. One we can see (physical) and one we cannot see (spiritual) but it is there.

As far as other dimensions beyond these two I do not know.

gwendy85
10-16-2006, 01:07 PM
I think this actually differs from country.

Like in my country, which is predominantly Christian (particularly Roman Catholic), superstitions tend to get mixed with religion. I myself believe in different planes but there's nothing wrong with believing in that for as long as you believe in God first and foremost. At least, that's how we've been raised to believe.

Roger J Carlson
10-16-2006, 04:50 PM
I think you have to differentiate between what "Christians" believe and established Christian doctrine. As gwendy85 said, Christians have a variety of beliefs, many of which are not in any established doctrine.



Do Christians believe in alternate realities or dimensions?Other than heaven and hell (which I'll get to later), I can't think of any doctrine that would correlate to alternate realities or dimensions.


Do they have any beliefs in astral travel?No, although some of the prophetic dreams in the Bible (like John's Revelation and "Jacob's Ladder") might be categorized as astral travel, but the bible refers to them explicitly as dreams.


Do they believe in different planes of enlightenment, like say Buddists or is it the Hindus, who believe in 12 Higher Planes we must pass through before we reach Nirvana (the place, not the band)?In Protestant Christianity, no. You are either "saved" or "unsaved" which are states of Grace. These states are not differentiated by enlightenment or "works", but my simple acceptance of that Grace.

I don't know all that much about Catholicism, but the concept of Perdition might correlate, I don't know.


Are Heaven, Earth, and Hell all different planes of existence or different dimensions, or are they all on the same plane?That, I think, could go either way. I don't think there's an actual doctrine that covers that. Traditionally, Heaven and Hell were considered actual places for most of Christianity (though some modern churches consider them to be allegorical). Early Christians literally believed that Heaven was in the sky and Hell was deep in the Earth. Modern Christians no longer believe this, but consider them other planes of existence.

erika
10-16-2006, 06:45 PM
I say forget doctrine. Doctrine isn't the way to God. It is the way men set forth. The Bible itself deals with our dimension of reality, our time, space, consciousness bound existence. It does not say there are no other dimensions possible. What about a dimension unbounded by time? Could God not have created such a world?

Read "Flatland" by Edwin Abbott and you'll see his point. There are infinite dimensions because God is infinite. The Bible simply deals with our plane of existence because that is all our finite minds can handle.

So Christians can believe in other dimensions. Christians can believe whatever they want.

Shadow_Ferret
10-16-2006, 07:36 PM
Well, I'm writing an urban fantasy in which all religions co-exist. Like in real life. (Except if you ask my pastor, he thinks Christians are right and everyone else has it wrong, but that's a separate story).

I'm trying to explain that every religion is right and correct and the way that this is possible is different realities, different dimensions.

The set-up for this scene is the daughter goes to a Lutheran school (the wishes of the late mother who was a Lutheran). The father is a sorceror who is responsible for the protection of Man and this dimension and doesn't adhere to any one belief, but accepts them all equally (a concept that is straining my limited knowledge of religion ;)).

Essentially the following is a premise upon which the whole philosophy of the book is based. I just want to see how plausible it sounds.


That evening at dinner, Kali took a bite of her bratwurst and said around the mouthful, "Dad?"

"Yeah, hon?"

"How do alternate realities fit into Christianity?"

"Have you been thinking about this all day?"

"Yes, now tell me."

"Don't talk with your mouth full," I said in my best impersonation of a parent.

"Dad." What can I say? Impersonating a parent has never been my strong suit.

"They don't," I answered.

"What?"

"The concept of alternate realities is different from Christianity. Although there are different planes in the Bible, for instance Heaven and Hell are the spiritual plane and Earth is the physical plane, generally speaking these are all the same reality.

"Each religion be it Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, or any of a dozen other of the world's religions operate within their own reality. Each is separate and distinct place unto itself. Does that make sense?"

She shook her head no.

"Hmm. Well, each religion in a way compliments and yet contradicts the other religions. Many cultures for instance have a flood myth, however, for each culture that believes in Jesus there are a number that don't, that believe in their own gods. And yet they all exist here, now, at the same time. How? Different realities."

She raised an eyebrow quizzically. "So mom was wrong in her beliefs?"

"Wrong?"

"Yes, wrong. She didn't believe in anything outside of her faith."

"Hmm. No, she wasn't wrong. Her beliefs were -- how can I say this? - incomplete."

"I don't understand."

"Hon, no religion is wrong. Well, except for the Catholics."

She gave me an impatient look.

"It was a joke."

"Ah."

Kids. "No religion is wrong and no religion is completely right. They are partially right and wrong."

I could see the wheels turning behind her eyes and after a moment she said, "How is that possible?"

How could I explain multi-dimensionalism so a 12-year-old would understand it? Actually, a 12-year-old would probably accept it easier than an adult who's been indoctrinated for years with the beliefs of their religion.

I got up and waved her over to the kitchen window. "OK, you look out this window."

She gave me a puzzled look.

"Humor me." I walked to the den and looked out the back window. She was looking south and I was looking east.

"What do you see out your window?" I asked.

"I see the side yard. The Peterson's house. I see a chipmunk poking it's head out of the rain gutter," she said with a laugh.

"OK," I said. "I see out of my window, the backyard. It needs mowing. Maybe after dinner you can . . ."

"Dad."

"Right. I see the woods. There's a blue jay on our feeder. I see a couple of squirrels chasing each other through the trees. Beyond the woods I can see the Menomonee River."

I turned to look at Kali. "We're both looking out windows, right?"

"Right."

"We each see different things, right?"

"Right."

"Which of us is right and which of us is wrong?"

"We're both right," she said without hesitating.

"Exactly. How much of my books did you read?"

"A little bit."

"Enough to realize they all seem to contradict each other, right?"

She nodded.

"That's because each religion, each belief system is like looking through a different window; each has its own view, its own viewpoint, they all see different landscapes, but they are all correct."

She wrinkled her forehead. "How is that possible?"

"That's where it gets complicated, hon. It's based on environment, societal influences, cultural and anthropological differences. It even has to do with your parental upbringing."

She raised an eyebrow.

"Well, you're Lutheran because of your mom. Jimmy next door is Catholic because of his parents. Scott across the street is Jewish. Your friend Bindi from down the block is Hindu. Each of these religions comes from different environments, different parts of the world. Their windows look out on their own different realities."

HorrorWriter
10-16-2006, 07:38 PM
Thank you, Erika. You've said it all! I agree!

casualPhilosoph
10-16-2006, 07:50 PM
Well Its a huge difference if you ask what cristians believe now, in the middle age or when tha apostel where still alive.
The apostels still shared many of jewish mythologies and stories, which I however do not know much abouut, the middle ages had detailed systems of hell and heaven which I do not know much about and todays christian mix with many different believes comparable when Irland became christian.
(The celtish believe was very magical and included the believe in the otherworld(s) such christian priest had to compete in the "magical" powers with druid and old celtish goods and the two believes mixed and created something new.)

Roger J Carlson
10-16-2006, 08:55 PM
Essentially the following is a premise upon which the whole philosophy of the book is based. I just want to see how plausible it sounds.Entirely plausible for the genre, IMO.

Higgins
10-16-2006, 10:22 PM
I'm not here to start a fight, I'm just trying to clarify something for my own WIP.

Do Christians believe in alternate realities or dimensions?

Do they have any beliefs in astral travel?

Do they believe in different planes of enlightenment, like say Buddists or is it the Hindus, who believe in 12 Higher Planes we must pass through before we reach Nirvana (the place, not the band)?

Are Heaven, Earth, and Hell all different planes of existence or different dimensions, or are they all on the same plane?

Thanks.

Believed all that and more. You won't believe the things they believed. They were sort of the extra-planes of enlightenment Buddhist Christians of their day.

For example some Gnostics thought that there were planetary layers that people had to use secret codes to cross on their way to Heaven. Kind of like the Matrix universe times 100 levels of intricacy. very weird stuff.

Shadow_Ferret
10-16-2006, 10:38 PM
I was sort of looking at current beliefs. What the church now believes and what it dismisses. That sort of thing.

Higgins
10-16-2006, 11:10 PM
I was sort of looking at current beliefs. What the church now believes and what it dismisses. That sort of thing.

I'm not sure they are Christians though. All of their priests died in the Flu of 1918 and they live in the marshes of Iraq. They think this world is Hell, but maybe that's more from observation than tradition.

Higgins
10-16-2006, 11:15 PM
I was sort of looking at current beliefs. What the church now believes and what it dismisses. That sort of thing.

http://altreligion.about.com/library/faqs/bl_mandeism.htm

I guess they are not Christians, though they do think well of John the Baptist and maybe this world is vaguely okay, though I think they have other dimensions to visit via Zodiacal Travel. Anyway all their Baptizers and knowers of Secret Gnostic things died in the Flu so we may never know.

Nateskate
10-20-2006, 11:34 PM
Complex questions. The Bible is a fascinating book. An animal talks to Balaam- yet if most people hear animals they need pscyhotropic meds. There is nothing to say demons can't speak through animals. But in Balaam's case it was really the animal speaking.

My guess is animals will speak in Heaven, but I can't teach this as a doctrine or say I know this as a revelation. It's just a hunch based losely on certain scriptures. Oh, and just the same, I am convinced Heaven will be filled with animals; and don't particularly like definitive statements about animals not going to heaven.

The Bible gives parameters- guides, but it doesn't claim to be exhaustive on every subject. It does however say some things are true and some things are not.

It's best to separate doctrine/truth/speculative/ and what is merely a mythology, without trying to blur the edges. Going too far is a dangerous practice, in that cults have been started by emphatic declarations.

As far as believing whatever you want to believe- technically what you believe does define something about who you are. And so, what does define Christian belief??? It isn't a matter of being a kid saying, "I can eat whatever I want and survive...even poison..." In other words, some things are true, some are false, and some things we can't say one way or the other. Declarations otherwise are not wise and in fact can mislead people who don't know enough not to listen.

Now, to the question of realms. You'd be surprised what the Bible does say. Paul spoke of the "Third Heaven" but not only of a visit there, but that it was possible to visit it "In the body"- physically- or in the spirit- your spirit and not your body. And it is so real either way, the visitor might not know the difference, whether they were in the Body or the spirit.

Philip was actually translated from one space to another space instantly- sounds like "Beam me up scotty". So, some things that sound impossible are possible with God.

Ezekiel was taken some places in the spirit- where he was physically able to look on while others couldn't see him. God used this method to show Ezekiel the sins being committed by the leaders in the community.

This would sound like Astro Travel. But I wouldn't call it that.

The Bible talks about "False signs and false wonders". Meaning a miracle's source and actual method may be approximated- a hallucination/vision/ or supernatural substitute.

When it came to casting out demons- the Bible speaks of spiritual authority vs the practice of exorcism through rituals- two different things altogether. Jesus implied that Satan's kingdom is not divided, meaning Satan does not cast out demons. However, this does not mean people can't pray to a demon for a demon to leave someone. But if they (demons) are working together and not against each other, then the question is did the demon ever REALLY leave or simply go dormant for a time to appear to have occurred?

But back to the general subject of the supernatural; it exists, and from a wisdom standpoint, know what it is you're playing with before you delve into things.

Obviously, this being a public board that everyone can read, people will question spiritual realities. I've known Satanists/ mostly former satanists, and there is an approximate duplicate for everything from God- though it almost always led to harm. And since some will say- "Show me where that's in the Bible!"- I'll say, "Look at Pharoah's Charmers confronting Moses. They did some incredible miracles through human/spiritual means.

I think it's best to really be informed before delving into spiritual things and also before spreading something as "spiritual truth" . I can tell you real life stories of people proverbially sticking their forks in the toaster as far as going where they shouldn't have gone.
But for the origional question- God exists everywhere at once in all planes and realms. Our earth is temporal and will be replaced with an incorruptable earth. Then earth will in fact be a part of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus said the kingdom of heaven was within us- meaning if God is in us- which is in fact what Jesus said would happen (See John chapter 17) we in fact exist in two places at once- technically speaking, because if God is in us, we are in God -it is possible to taste of heaven while on earth.

joymark
10-23-2006, 07:42 PM
Interesting subject. I've been wondering about some things like this myself. A while ago I read a book by Randy Alcorn called Heaven. In it he has a chapter on scientific theories such as string theory.

In string theory, there could be as many as 31 dimensions in our universe as opposed to the 4 dimensions that we can sense (the 3 dimensions of space and 1 of time).

He builds the case that if string theory is correct, it could explain in a scientific way why we cannot sense the supernatural. The idea that the supernatural exists mainly in one (or more, or all) of those other, "higher" dimensions, and that we experience the supernatural when it invades our 4D world.

Not exactly alternate planes of reality, but a "parallel universe" that exists right along side ours. We cannot "see" it because we don't have the ability to look beyond our limited view of reality (because of sin in the Christian worldview). A C.S. Lewis type of mentality that postulates our world is just a mere shadow of what's really out there.

As a Christian minister, that idea really excites me.

Nateskate
10-23-2006, 08:27 PM
Interesting subject. I've been wondering about some things like this myself. A while ago I read a book by Randy Alcorn called Heaven. In it he has a chapter on scientific theories such as string theory.

In string theory, there could be as many as 31 dimensions in our universe as opposed to the 4 dimensions that we can sense (the 3 dimensions of space and 1 of time).

He builds the case that if string theory is correct, it could explain in a scientific way why we cannot sense the supernatural. The idea that the supernatural exists mainly in one (or more, or all) of those other, "higher" dimensions, and that we experience the supernatural when it invades our 4D world.

Not exactly alternate planes of reality, but a "parallel universe" that exists right along side ours. We cannot "see" it because we don't have the ability to look beyond our limited view of reality (because of sin in the Christian worldview). A C.S. Lewis type of mentality that postulates our world is just a mere shadow of what's really out there.

As a Christian minister, that idea really excites me.

It's interesting. The nature of God is to make layers. We were born with an intact "Why?" mechanism. Solomon said that God put eternity in the heart of man- a homing device, which I believe causes us to question all of these kinds of possibilities. Why? Where? How? When?

Man wants to believe he can "Know"-

At best we can know in part, at least in this life. But the Bible promises a time when the knowledge of the Lord will fill the earth. Our minds will be capable of knowing far more than what we know now.

Terms aside, there is a spiritual realm that is not bound to the same physical laws that we are bound too. Christ ascended into heaven. He didn't have to fly. Solids mean nothing to the spirit, in terms of being a boundary. As a resurrected person, Christ appeared suddenly in the midst of the disciples- defying natural laws. He didn't need to open a door to pass into a house.

The spiritual side of life is fascinating.

Ralyks
10-25-2006, 05:56 PM
Do Christians believe in alternate realities or dimensions?

It's hard to say what "Christians believe," since there are so many different denominations, especially when you are talking about matters not directly addressed in the Bible and which don't necessarily have any theological consequences. In a way, this is like saying, "Do blonde haired people believe in alternate realities?"

I don't personally believe in alternate realities, because the concept blows my logical mind, but, if it turned out to be true, I don't see that it would contradict anything in Christianity. We live in THIS reality, and this reality alone, and it is the one we must deal with, and God has given us the revelation of Christ in THIS reality.


Do they have any beliefs in astral travel?

I'm not sure what "astral travel" means.


Do they believe in different planes of enlightenment, like say Buddists or is it the Hindus, who believe in 12 Higher Planes we must pass through before we reach Nirvana (the place, not the band)?

Not really, if by Chirsitans you mean "orthodox" Christians. Paul spoke of being caught up into the third heaven, and Catholics of course have Purgatory, but on the whole, this "planes of enlightenment" is not really a concept in Christianity. "It is appointed once for man to die and then the judgment." Whap--booom--bam. This life contains all the planes of enlightenment there is every going to be.

[quote]Are Heaven, Earth, and Hell all different planes of existence or different dimensions, or are they all on the same plane?

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? It's one of those questions--irrelevant to the essentials of Christianity, and Christians no doubt have diverse opinions on the matter.

SeanDSchaffer
10-26-2006, 07:26 PM
I'm not here to start a fight, I'm just trying to clarify something for my own WIP.

Do Christians believe in alternate realities or dimensions?

Do they have any beliefs in astral travel?

Do they believe in different planes of enlightenment, like say Buddists or is it the Hindus, who believe in 12 Higher Planes we must pass through before we reach Nirvana (the place, not the band)?

Are Heaven, Earth, and Hell all different planes of existence or different dimensions, or are they all on the same plane?

Thanks.


Some Christians believe these things, some don't.

For instance, some Christians believe in 7 Heavens and 7 Hells, while some believe in no Heaven and no Hell. Still others believe that there is a Hell that is ice-cold, while some believe that Hell is a burning inferno.

The point I'm making is, that it really depends on the individual, the society they live in, etc. Christians are a very diverse group of people, with many different and diverse beliefs.

I would say that somewhere, there would be Christians who believe in everything you've mentioned, be it considered orthodox or not.

Nateskate
10-26-2006, 08:57 PM
I'm willing to stick my neck out a little here. I think the underlying questions bring out an important point; and that is there much more to Christianity than dogmas and traditions, and debates on various issues.

It speaks to the bigger question: Is there more to life than doughnuts? So, I don't take it that the questions stop at a specific interpretation of what "Realm means" or "enlightenment".

The scripture I quoted from Ephesians specifically uses the term "enlighten" that Paul's prayer was that we would live in a place where Revelation was not only possible, but a way of life, in reference to comprehending mysteries that are hidden from mankind, including other Christians. How could Paul have known that we would judge the angels, if he didn't have revelation? Where does one come up with such things? How can Paul comprehend that human submission to authority is a sign unto the angels? Hmmm? Does anyone here know how? Does anyone here know what this means?

Does anyone know that Job chapter one was not just about humans, but also about angels??? What was the message in Job that applied to the angels, and not just men?

Is the Bible only about humans then? Why does the Bible tell us that we will judge angels? It isn't about angels, it's about us realizing the value of the place of honor our God is giving to us, and also to realize that in our dealings with others we shouldn't be so petty.

When Paul says in Romans 8, that if God the Father did not withhold his son from us, will he not also give us ALL THINGS besides; can we know what this means apart from revelations? What are "All THINGS" and how does that apply to our lives? It means so much more than most realize it means.

So, when the Bible says "Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it entered into the hearts of man..." it didn't stop there. The scripture begins by saying that there are so many truths and mysteries beyond all we could possibly imagine; but then the scripture says that the Spirit of God reveals these to us--- or I should say it happens to those who are willing to seek, ask and knock.

Christianity should be a religion that is far more dynamic than bake sales and hoping we guessed right about God's love and the hope of eternal life.

It's actually about getting to know God in this life, in this here and now. It is about experiencing that love, and tasting it (as Peter said). So many Christians don't know there is a "More". Others have experienced "More".

And so, this question asked is really at the core of the most profound of questions, one that King David spoke of in the Psalms: God knows us inside and out, our comings and goings, who thinks about us and who is actually active in our lives, even when we are oblivious to this.

But what about those who want to come into his gates, his courts- "I will enter his gates with thanksgiving in my heart...I will enter his courts with praise..."

Well, this is far more than a song, it is actually a formula for entering a deeper walk with God. Thanksgiving- which is fostering the attitude of being attentive to the gifts God has given us, will bring us closer to God- his gates. If we learn how to praise- which transcends thanksgiving. It is coming to the place where we actually see and appreciate God's motives, his love for us, his wonderful attributes, we actually have the capacity to enter into a place where we see and hear and understand things we were once blind to.

God is always near in the sense of being able to hear and understand our needs; but our sense of that reality is blurred. Through changes in our hearts, we have the ability to "know God"- what Jesus was talking about in John 17:3- Fellowship.

In Revelation 3, Jesus said, "I stand at the door of your heart and knock...if any man hears my voice and opens...I will come in..."

This is wrongly used at altar calls spoken as an appeal to non-Christians to consider Christianity. Jesus was speaking to lukewarm Christians here, Christians that thought they could see, but were spiritually blind. In other words, Christians can close their doors to God. They don't necessarily have a clue who he is or how much they are missing, or how close God wants to be to them.

So, in this sense, talk of different planes or realms is appropriate, however it is phrased it is a valid question that I interpret- "Is there a whole lot more to this thing? Can Christians live in the supernatural- experiencing a taste of heaven here on earth, knowing the actual feeling of God, being physically and spiritually touched by God here and now?

The answer is obvious to those who know there is more, and it is speculative to those who've never seen it. It is doubted by those who are cynical, just as Thomas doubted Jesus really rose from the dead. But I think it is absolutely great that someone is asking the question.

Pat~
10-26-2006, 09:01 PM
Interesting subject. I've been wondering about some things like this myself. A while ago I read a book by Randy Alcorn called Heaven. In it he has a chapter on scientific theories such as string theory.

In string theory, there could be as many as 31 dimensions in our universe as opposed to the 4 dimensions that we can sense (the 3 dimensions of space and 1 of time).

He builds the case that if string theory is correct, it could explain in a scientific way why we cannot sense the supernatural. The idea that the supernatural exists mainly in one (or more, or all) of those other, "higher" dimensions, and that we experience the supernatural when it invades our 4D world.

Not exactly alternate planes of reality, but a "parallel universe" that exists right along side ours. We cannot "see" it because we don't have the ability to look beyond our limited view of reality (because of sin in the Christian worldview). A C.S. Lewis type of mentality that postulates our world is just a mere shadow of what's really out there.

As a Christian minister, that idea really excites me.

Great post, Jaymark. This is a belief I personally hold, though loosely. I see evidence for God operating multidimensionally, for example, in scripture (which I believe is divinely inspired); there are several 'layers' or dimensions of truth in the written word (eg. symbolic truth present alongside historic truth). I also believe in the spiritual dimension of heaven and hell, and even the presence of a spiritual world co-existing with the physical here on earth. So it could be entirely plausible that there were multiple dimensions we don't even know about.

Higgins
10-26-2006, 09:48 PM
The scripture I quoted from Ephesians specifically uses the term "enlighten" that Paul's prayer was that we would live in a place where Revelation was not only possible, but a way of life, in reference to comprehending mysteries that are hidden from mankind, including other Christians. How could Paul have known that we would judge the angels, if he didn't have revelation? Where does one come up with such things? How can Paul comprehend that human submission to authority is a sign unto the angels? Hmmm? Does anyone here know how? Does anyone here know what this means?


If you stick only what what Paul said in the authentic Pauline letters (and ignore Acts version of Paul and the Pauline letters that Paul didn't write)...well Paul is a very transitional writer. You can even make a case that there is a lot more that is pure Second Temple Judaism in Paul than there is that is of what later people would retrospectively think of as simply Christian. In the context of Second Temple Judaism, a person could know quite a bit about angels.
Remember that when Paul wrote, the Temple was still standing and functioning and that Paul probably knew what the inner workings of the Temple and the many concentric rings of ritual purity extending out into the world, meant. The authentic Paul, on this topic, as on many others, is best read as offering some resolution of the tension between two very different grounds for claims about ritual purity: one centered on the Temple and one that situated the Temple in a wider world and allowed for some types of extreme personal purity such as that practiced by John the Baptist, and Jesus Christ and other extreme Pharisees.
The Angels, as mentioned by Paul, would probably represent some of the extreme interiority (in terms of purity) of the Temple, but also its administrative functions in Judea and possibly elsewhere in supervising areas of ritual danger such as burial, water supplies and dangerous texts (such as sacred texts on papyrus...a significant and problematic ritual violation).

Nateskate
10-26-2006, 11:18 PM
If you stick only what what Paul said in the authentic Pauline letters (and ignore Acts version of Paul and the Pauline letters that Paul didn't write)...well Paul is a very transitional writer. You can even make a case that there is a lot more that is pure Second Temple Judaism in Paul than there is that is of what later people would retrospectively think of as simply Christian. In the context of Second Temple Judaism, a person could know quite a bit about angels.
Remember that when Paul wrote, the Temple was still standing and functioning and that Paul probably knew what the inner workings of the Temple and the many concentric rings of ritual purity extending out into the world, meant. The authentic Paul, on this topic, as on many others, is best read as offering some resolution of the tension between two very different grounds for claims about ritual purity: one centered on the Temple and one that situated the Temple in a wider world and allowed for some types of extreme personal purity such as that practiced by John the Baptist, and Jesus Christ and other extreme Pharisees.
The Angels, as mentioned by Paul, would probably represent some of the extreme interiority (in terms of purity) of the Temple, but also its administrative functions in Judea and possibly elsewhere in supervising areas of ritual danger such as burial, water supplies and dangerous texts (such as sacred texts on papyrus...a significant and problematic ritual violation).

I'm sorry if I don't debate theology. It's really not so important to get into. Have you heard the phrase, "One picture is worth more than a thousand words."? Well, a thousand scriptures about God healing people in the Bible isn't as powerful as actually being healed or seeing someone miraculously healed. The greater point is that miracles still happen.

If I read about heaven or about some heavenly Bible scene, that isn't as powerful as my actually talking to a person who has actually been to heaven. I get to ask details.

I've studied the Bible and theology, and I've seen as many people ruined by both as I've seen benefited.

For many years I've done Lay Ministry, and that included ministering to people with terminal illnesses and their families. I know real people who've died and been resucitated who've seen heaven, who've talked to God. I also know you don't have to die to experience this. I've known others who've seen God and heaven in visions.

The Bible talks about healings. Well, a thousand stories about God healing someone doesn't necessarily convince people it happened. I've seen people healed supernaturally, bones straightened. One of the women I ministered to had terminal osteosarcoma that spread throughout here body and into her lungs and organs. Drs from Sloan Kettering gave her six weeks to live. She was cut up, had chemo, radiation- it all failed and she had no more options. God healed her and she's been cancer free for five years and going. I could go on and on, but my point is not to tell every story I know of; only make the point that the supernatural still happens. People still experience God in a wonderful and personal way.

Higgins
10-27-2006, 12:14 AM
I'm sorry if I don't debate theology.

You seemed to be asking about angels. In the works of Paul, they are a pretty ambiguous topic.

see for example:


http://home.comcast.net/~walkswithastick/1Cor11angels.html

Nateskate
10-27-2006, 03:18 AM
You seemed to be asking about angels. In the works of Paul, they are a pretty ambiguous topic.

see for example:


http://home.comcast.net/~walkswithastick/1Cor11angels.html

The point I'm making is about God and the supernatural in general. I looked at the reference link, which is a rather exhaustive speculation on the subject. I wasn't sure exactly what the author's points were other than to imply certain passages could be taken a variety of ways. Most of the context scriptures are actually pseudo paraphrases- loose interpretations.

Still, even if we're talking about angels, I will tell you about a woman who was terminally ill. An angel came and sat by her bedside for an entire night. I will tell another story as it relates to this subject. Several years ago an incident happened where my wife and her friend (a minister's wife) had gone to a concert around Philadelphia. As I was watching the television I had this overwhelming thought- "Pray for your wife!"

Now, being spiritually dull, I ignored it. But the feeling came back even stronger. "Pray for your wife!" Pretty much I finally said, "God, I can hardly tell if you're trying to tell me something...or is this just my imagination?"
The thought came stronger, "Pray for your wife's safety, she is in danger!"

Well, I finally gave in and knelt and prayed that God would protect my wife from whatever danger she was in. Finally I went to bed.

Later she'd come home late in the morning, maybe 2 am. I just had to test my hunch. I said, "Did anything strange happen to you tonight?"

She said, "You won't believe this. Deb and I were in the car and we were in rush hour traffic on the highway. This terrible storm came out of nowhere and we lost control of the steering. All these cars were whizzing by. Just then our car drifted into the other lane and we were about to get hit by another car. At that exact moment, Deb and I both saw an Angel appear on the left side of our car. It pushed our car back into the right lane and afterwards we got control of the car." Then I told her about what happened, and how God put it on my heart to pray for her- which I almost didn't. (I didn't tell her that)

I have lots of angel stories. Same thing happened to the minister. He and six friends were on a road in Western Pa, on one of those mountain roads where you can't see what's on the other side until you hit the top of the hill. Well, there was an oncoming truck in the wrong lane, and they had no time to react. A visible hand reached out of the air- hand and arm only- took hold of the wheel, whiped it around and parked the car on the side of the road. There were six witnesses.

But this is all the same. I'm not going to beat a dead horse trying to convince you these things happened. I can't make another believe in something, and wouldn't insult them to try.

All the same, it still fits in with what I'm saying, there is a spiritual world that is rather wonderful. I don't pretend to have answers to all questions; but I know countless skeptics who find all these things hard to believe, including clergy.

But I will say this; once you've seen evidence of the supernatural, it's easier to believe. Then again, Jesus said that it is more blessed to believe without seeing.

Higgins
10-27-2006, 04:26 AM
Interesting stuff.

Nateskate
10-27-2006, 05:12 AM
Interesting stuff.

You want to know what's funny- maybe sad. My entire life is full of incredible stories but I never think about them until a conversation happens like this.

But then again, nothing in my life was quite conventional. Perhaps I was best off learning who Christ was without a church to tell me what to think first or I'd never had the faith to believe that the God who did all this wonderful stuff thousands of years ago could still do wonderful stuff now.

I grew up in a house without any religion, a dysfunctional nightmare where some nights would end in an anti-Waltons screaming match- You shut up...no you shut up...if everyone would just stop talking, then...SHUT UP! Only nobody was named Johnboy- though some called me John- wasn't my name- long story.

I grew up an atheist, last place I'd ever look for truth was in Christianity. Well, my neopagan brother bought home a Bible, and I thought I'd save him by finding all the contradictions and telling him it was a waste of his time.

My thoughts were, "Oh, no...he's not going to buy into all that..."

Well, it was a Red Letter edition of the Bible, and I decided to only read the Red, which were Jesus words. "Blessed are the peacemakers...blessed are the merciful...love your enemies...do good to those who spitefully use you...whoever comes to me I will in no wise cast out...the Son of Man has no place to lay his head"

It suddenly dawned on me Jesus hung out with what society called the losers. He wasn't hanging out with the religious people. The religious people were picking on him.

In the end, I actually had such a unique view of Christianity, in that I fell in love with Jesus who was so radical and passionate, and loved the little guy, while taking on the system. He forsook all the stuff that many Christians seem to be fighting for- stuff. He was saying this stuff, these trophies, this is not what life was about (my interpretation). Love, mercy, kindness...people...God...this is what life is about.

In a way, at one point I felt like a loner a loser a pariah that society didn't want, and when I saw his life, how he had no home and was disliked by so many, it dawned on me that he actually could relate to how I'd felt my whole life.
So, I wasn't really a churchie kind of person. I stood on the fringes watching, and wondering- do these people really get who Jesus was, what he said? It was kind of sad, because I almost felt that not only now, but through much of history, people just bought into packages hook line and sinker, and missed this beautiful Jesus.

Even now, I think mostly people form their opinions about who Jesus is through what they see in churches and religions and denominations, and worse-people who have an agenda to twist the truth to fit their goals; and not who he was- the guy who reached to the down and outer that others looked at with scorn. I felt like Mary Magdaline, not like I was a woman, but like I was an object of scorn that could never measure up to society's expectations.

Honestly, I fell in love with Jesus, and not a religion. It's kind of sad, but I did find other Christians who felt the same way. Even now I want to say, "Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers...the humble...the merciful..."

Well, as the story goes, I thought Jesus really was special, but I finally ran out or red words, and started reading the Black. Here's a guy walking on water, raising the dead, casting out demons...

You know what I thought? No, not great story...but...it's a metaphor...or it only happened way back when.

I had no religion. No church ever told me...believe this...believe that... My thoughts were, "If it happened then it can happen now...where in the world did the church go wrong...aren't there anymore real Christians?"

I'd only known hypocrits and weird people who dressed up in black and handed out pamphlets on the boardwalk in sweltering sun and thought, "I doubt Jesus looked like that!" Sorry if you dress in black and hand out pamphlets on boardwalks. I figured Jesus would look like everyone else.

So, I had this conversation with God, "If you did this then...you could do it now..." In other words, I can't explain it. I had faith.

One day there was a coffee house- I went all around looking to see if I could find real Christians who believed in a real God...not the stuffy kind, but the kind that walked on water. Eventually I did, and there was this woman who prayed over these people and they got healed. And I saw a miracle. We all saw it.

Well, this woman left, and one of the people who came with us was a woman who was injured in the military and her shoulder bone was crooked, and she said, "I should have asked this woman to pray for me."

Well, again, I'm weird. I didn't know not to believe. So I said to her, "Well, she's gone, but Jesus is still here. And I resolutely said, "In the name of Jesus...shoulder be healed" and no word of lie, an L -shaped bone straightened out as we watched. Then I prayed for rich who came on crutches...and Rich was dancing and threw down his crutches..."

Now, it gets stranger. No I didn't go into a ministry and heal people. I did pray for a drug dealer and he got healed. But when some people didn't get healed, I couldn't figure out this whole thing, and instead of playing the odds that some would get healed, I just sort of backed off to try to figure out this faith thing... that was almost thirty years ago. I figured out lots of stuff since then...but...

Oh well, hands are tired, said far more than I ever intended to say.

Tracy
11-03-2006, 08:23 PM
What an amazing post. thanks for sharing so much. It is so obvious that it comes from the deepest part of you. An amazing story - thanks for sharing it. It's obviously deeply personal, so huge to share. Thank you.

Pat~
11-03-2006, 08:48 PM
Now, it gets stranger. No I didn't go into a ministry and heal people. I did pray for a drug dealer and he got healed. But when some people didn't get healed, I couldn't figure out this whole thing, and instead of playing the odds that some would get healed, I just sort of backed off to try to figure out this faith thing... that was almost thirty years ago. I figured out lots of stuff since then...but...


I'm thinking it probably takes more than a lifetime to fully figure out this faith thing...

Jamesaritchie
11-03-2006, 11:00 PM
I say forget doctrine. Doctrine isn't the way to God. It is the way men set forth. The Bible itself deals with our dimension of reality, our time, space, consciousness bound existence. It does not say there are no other dimensions possible. What about a dimension unbounded by time? Could God not have created such a world?

Read "Flatland" by Edwin Abbott and you'll see his point. There are infinite dimensions because God is infinite. The Bible simply deals with our plane of existence because that is all our finite minds can handle.

So Christians can believe in other dimensions. Christians can believe whatever they want.

Doctrine is important, and because the Bible doesn't say something is impossible does not mean it is possible. Despite all the talk you hear about alternate dimensions, they do not exist, either in Christianity or in science.

I don't mean to put down Abbott, but that really isn't a very wise theory. Gravity is real, and the universe can't work without it. Alternate dimensions are not real because the universe can't work with them, at least in the sense we're talking about here.

The word "Christian" has a specific meaning, and you must believe what Christ teaches, not just anythng you want.

But alternate dimensions are a scientific question, not a theological matter, just as gravity is a scientific question.

There are no alternate dimensions that people can travel through, and God being infinite has nothing to do with it. It makes no more sense to say an infinite God means infinite dimensions than it does to say an infinite God means you have infinite hairs on your head.

God created this universe, and when He did so it was created with certain rules of science that make it work as it does. One of these rules is that other dimensions, at least ones it's possible to travel through, are simply not possible, anymore than it's possible for this universe to function without gravity.

Alernate dimensions are true superstition, or pseudo-science, depending on how you view things, and never have had any basis in reality. They're a fantasy, and nothng more. Fun to speculate about, fun to write about, but they're as real as fire-breathing dragons, leprechauns and the Easter bunny.

mrsrgm
11-04-2006, 12:38 AM
The Easter Bunny isn't real?!?

limitedtimeauthor
11-04-2006, 03:49 AM
Well I believe there has to be at least two different planes of existence. The physical plane which is where humans reside and the spiritual plane where demons, angels, God, and Satan reside. One we can see (physical) and one we cannot see (spiritual) but it is there.

As far as other dimensions beyond these two I do not know.

Really, this is an excellent answer and explains it quite nicely!



ltd.

Nateskate
11-04-2006, 11:37 PM
I'm thinking it probably takes more than a lifetime to fully figure out this faith thing...

I've realized something. We who value growth gain insight by two means, exerience or revelations. Revelations, in simple terms means that God can open our minds to understand things- the proverbial light going off! "Oh, that's what love is!"

We do not generally have supernatural spiritual experiences, although these do happen. When Jesus said to Peter, "Who do you say that I am?" And he said, "The Christ (Messiah)...the Son of God..." Jesus told him, "Flesh and blood did not reveal this to you (Other people telling you, teaching you)...but my Father in heaven..."

Well, why would Jesus need to tell him this if Peter would have ever figured this out on his own? It's likely he would have just figured, "Well, I put two and two together" and just knew this scripture meant...this.

My point here is to say that we may get a revelation from God and never know it because it didn't come to us in some great ball of flaming bushes. It just simply made sense to us one day.

But you are right in that lifetime is one long course. We tend to grow like a foundation is built, one block at a time, and you can't throw a roof on until the groundwork is laid.

Nateskate
11-04-2006, 11:56 PM
I think it is wisest to say that we are limited by parameters- or boundaries. Whenever we try to explain what is outside of those boundaries, we are merely speculating.

The Bible is far from an exhaustive text, and in fact John (if my memory serves me right) said that the world isn't big enough to hold all the books that could have been written about Christ. He was saying, "There's more..."

Now, I'm saying this because two extremes are wrong, a wifty view that nothing is absolute and we are meandering through life never knowing what is true or real; and have no way of finding out. Jesus said, "The truth will set you free..." But then Paul said, "We know in part...".

The rigid view is that somehow we can extrapolate all truth from the Bible and that if it is not written there then it can't happen. Scripture teaches us all things pertaining to life- meaning how to make sure we're in right relationship with God. It is a very directed book. The O.T is as Paul said in Romans (paraphrasing again) a tool to help us realize we're helpless to overcome sin. It leaves us (mankind) frustrated, because even when we know good, we can't quite be good.

That doesn't mean we can't do anything good, because that's not true. However, we are forever falling short and missing the mark. And so the commandment says, "Thou shalt not covet..."

Why did Paul pick that one for an illustration? Simple. It's a thought and not an action and just try to never covet and see if you can do it. We covet by nature, priests, ministers, rabbis, lay people; and so without God's help, we live in futility always like the oldest brother in the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15) always striving to feel like a son, but forever feeling like a servant. If God didn't use the gravity of the Old Testament to show us how futile it is to try to earn God's love and mercy, we'd still be building a better tower of Babel. "Maybe this one will reach heaven!"

Until Peter and Paul healed people with their shadow and handkercheif respectively, there was no context for this ever happening before. And in their day, some would have said, "Hey, that's demonic! Where in the Bible does it say you can heal people by passing around a cloth! Jesus never did that..."

People are great at calling something God is doing 'evil', simply because it is beyond what they think God will do. I'm always slow to proclaim things true or not true, not because it doesn't matter; but only because I don't want to make the same mistakes of countless others. I'm not saying I know nothing. I believe Jesus is indeed the Messiah, the Son of God; but if you ask me how I got there, you'd better be willing to listen, because it's a long story; and it wasn't because someone told me what to believe.

Our knowledge is imperfect- Paul said that. We have pieces of truth, glimpses of God, but not the whole. When the perfect comes, only then will we know as we are known. Still, we have what pertains to life, and we can be rather confident that we can know something.

Laurawrites
11-18-2006, 06:24 PM
Very interesting topic. I am a Christian and a paranormal investigator, so I believe there are many things in the universe we have no knowledge of. However, I don't believe in mediums or things of that nature.

I think this is deliberate because humankind, as a whole, has a tendency to complicate things. We all have the tendency to "what-if" a simple solution until it becomes this terribly complex and confusing mesh of questions with no solid answers. Our attention then becomes focused on the unknown, and the questions surrounding it, as opposed to the solution or reason. When that meets with people who really have no thorough knowledge of the bible, you seem to start finding "cult" groups who have concentrated their entire belief system on a verse or two from the entire bible. I've encountered more of those than I care to think about. What man can do to scripture seems more frightening than anything unknown, sometimes.

The bible states that God's thoughts are higher and man, in no way, can fully appreciate them. With that said, I believe there are many dimensions we aren't allowed to see. God has them for his own purposes. I can't help, but wonder, if the term "dreams," were used so many times in the bible because many of our vocabulary terms for unknown events are new.

Christians don't often have a "set" system of belief when it comes to anything unknown because faith should be a personal experience. People aren't supposed to rely solely on the foundation of a denomination or a minister's words to grow in their spiritual life. They are supposed to be proactive and search the bible for answers themselves. They are supposed to pray without ceasing and wait for assurance. I firmly believe God uses all supernatural things as a tool. It proves that there is more to "life" than this existence. Often when something happens to someone, who doesn't really believe in anything, it can be wonderful. They become aggressive in the pursuit of answers and achieve an awareness that wouldn't have came any other way.

mrsrgm
11-19-2006, 06:08 PM
Excellent post, Laura. I agree with you completely. :)

Sean D. Schaffer
11-20-2006, 01:17 AM
I'm not here to start a fight, I'm just trying to clarify something for my own WIP.

Do Christians believe in alternate realities or dimensions?

Do they have any beliefs in astral travel?

Do they believe in different planes of enlightenment, like say Buddists or is it the Hindus, who believe in 12 Higher Planes we must pass through before we reach Nirvana (the place, not the band)?

Are Heaven, Earth, and Hell all different planes of existence or different dimensions, or are they all on the same plane?

Thanks.


I believe there could be alternate realities, personally. I've heard it said that there are different levels of Heaven, for example, just like there are different levels of spiritual maturity within each individual.

As far as what I believe about Heaven, Earth and Hell and their planes of existence, I personally believe they are all on the same plane of existence, but that the people in Hell and Heaven are spirits that have been separated from their bodies, whereas Earth is a place where we all have our bodies, souls and spirits combined into one package.

However, I think that you'll find the answers will differ between Christians, just like there are different denominations within the faith. It just depends, I think, on the person you're asking.


I hope this helps.

:)