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Nateskate
10-22-2006, 10:47 PM
I wanted to give a better answer than the one I gave on the "Alternate Realities thread"

"The questions were: 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?"

Science fiction has some basis in truth according to the Bible, in that the Bible does speak of what some might call- alternate realms or alternate realities- Even the statement Jesus made, "With man it is impossible, but with God ALL THINGS are possible..." implies that rules that we consider fixed- as they are fixed for us- are not fixed for God.

So, the laws of the Universe are boundaries to us, but not to God who created the laws.

Co-existing realms: In 2 Kings 6, Elisha is the prophet who took over for Elijah. There are a few dialogues that take place which are quite interesting. "Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was greatly troubled...and he called to his servant. And one of the servants said, "...the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words you speak in your bedroom." (v12)

But there is a more interesting conversation that happened when the armies of Syria surrounded the city. The conversation begins with Elisha's servant asking, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?"

"So he answered, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them." And Elisha prayed, and said, "Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. So when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, and said, "Strike this people, I pray, with blindness." And He struck them with blindness..." (V 15-18)

In another translation of this text, Elisha's prayer was actually that this man would see what he continually sees...meaning the prophet was always aware of this other reality.

The army that the man saw when his eyes opened was not a human army, but a very real army that existed in the spiritual realm. Elisha was comforting him that human weapons do not win wars. In fact Golliath was a testament that physical might means nothing in the greater scheme. The Jews were always warned not to put their trust in men, or weapons, or wealth, or horses, but to put their trust in God.

Some think of heaven and earth as being two plots on a map in this Universe; which is not at all what is actually portrayed. At some point the earth itself will be replaced by an incorruptable earth according to the Bible. There will no longer be a Veil/barrier between heaven and earth. Does it exist now? Not really, except we are aware of one and not the other for the most part. Though in prayer, people can perceive heaven/God in ways that others never do.

Even if Heaven exists as a specific place; the spiritual realm exists everywhere, even here. They exist concurrently (at the same time) and interact with each other.

There is a powerful dynamic in which the spiritual realm impacts this realm, but also a powerful dynamic in that we who exist in this physical realm also have power to impact the spiritual realm- through prayer and understanding spiritual authority.

We see another glimpse of this spiritual war in Daniel chapter 9.

Background: Daniel was in fact a slave living in the Babylonian empire, which is in modern day Iraq. Later Iraq was overthrown by Persia- modern day Iran. So, if you think this war between Iran and Iraq- the factions in the north and south is new, think again.

Israel was taken into captivity for it's sins according to the Book of Jeremiah, and it was foretold they would be there for seventy years. The seventy years elapsed and we see Daniel praying that Israel would be set free. In Chapter 10 v 20-21, an angel comes to him with an answer, and the angel tells him there is a spiritual battle taking place over the fate of Israel- "And now I must return and FIGHT with the prince of PERSIA; and when I have gone forth, indeed the prince of GREECE will come..."

In this same text it was revealed that Michael, the Archangel, was Israel's prince. Historically, Persia was going to overthrow the Babylonian empire. Evidently the spiritual Prince over Iran/Persia, didn't want to let the Jews go free. And so a war was taking place in the heavens. Greece is mentioned next. Historically Greece then overthrew Persia, and eventually Rome took over.

The implications here are that there are spiritual wars fought over kingdoms, and kings are moved and often manipulated like pieces on a chess board.

Daniel's prayer was temporarily hindered, not by human princes- but spiritual princes that were warring against this purpose. The Bible is very clear that wars take place in heaven and earth, fought over the fate of nations and over the fate of individuals. And so, at the end of the time of Captivity, there was a spiritual war taking place to keep Israel in bondage. The spiritual war had to be won. But here's a tip- we have power to influence the outcome of the spiritual war through understanding spiritual weapons. "For the weapons of our warfare are not CARNAL..." meaning not instruments of harm. Through prayer, fasting, understanding spiritual authority and blessings and curses, we can influence events in this world.

The New Testament says, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places..." (Ephesians 6:10)

Flesh and blood is simply a way of saying "People". In God's eyes, people are not the enemy. The Old Testament perspective changed.

Jesus rebuked his disciples when they wanted to bring harm upon a city that rejected Jesus. They wanted to call down fire from heaven. Jesus rebuked them sharply and said, "You do not know what spirit you are of (the devil)...I did not come to condemn...but to save..."

Although we were clearly told, "...we do not wrestle against flesh and blood..." this is exactly what many Christians do, are doing, have done throughout history. But this is wrong. Jesus said, "My kingdom is NOT of this earth OR my servants would fight..."

Inquisitians and Crusades and witch hunts were vile and evil events where people claimed to be fighting Flesh and Blood in the name of Christ.

The New Testament never portrayed humans as the enemy, and implied that in Christ the wall of hostility between God and man was torn down. In the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15, God had no enemies, only sons that were either lost or found.

God loves the world, the whole world...all mankind. And in 2 Timothy 2:24-26, Christians were warned against being quarelsome against people that oppossed them. In fact he said to be gracious with opponents- those who oppose Christianity. In fact, it went so far as to say they were not the enemy- if you understand v26. But it did also imply that humans could be ensnared by the real enemy.

In 1 John 1 Christians were warned against "hating", which is a deadly sin.

But back to the scripture in Ephesians- The Bible implies we are in a war, a spiritual war. But humans are never the enemy. Any Christian that does not understand that in fact becomes a tool of the enemy. As soon as Christians justify hatred condemnation, they fall into the trap of the enemy.

On the other side, there is a real war- and we need to be on the side of all that God loves- including those who might see us as the enemy. (See the warning in Romans 11) "Concerning the gospel they are enemies...but...they are beloved..."

It is possible for someone to be against you, but you have to still be "for them". Jesus said "Bless and do not curse..." Why? He later says that we are to love our enemies...and to do good to those that spitefully use us..."

More importantly, "...and so be like your Father in heaven..."

There is so much more to be said about this. Yes, there are realms in the sense that spiritual and physical can co-exist in the same place.

Astro-Astral travel- as in the occult sense can be dangerous. The Bible doesn't say it can't happen; but being there is a spiritual realm and for the sake of all hearers- every religion on earth teaches there are evil spirits, not just the Bible. Vacating your body for the sake of some experience, if possible, would be like leaving a vacation home unlocked for other spirits to enter. Whatever out of the body experiences that are of God- have God's protection. The Bible does speak of these out of body experiences- but they are guided by God's spirit- as when John the Apostle saw heaven, and when Ezekiel the prophet was taken into the secret places to see how pervasive the sin of his nation was.

Do Christians believe in alternate realities- well insofar as there are spiritual realities- yes. There are limits to this, in that there are also "False signs and False wonders"- meaning spiritual fakes.

"Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. (the veil of our heart that blinds us to spiritual truth) ...But we with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Corinthians 3: 16-18)

Paul prayed, "the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and REVELATION in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being ENLIGHTENED; that you MAY KNOW...what is the hope of his calling...what is the exceeding greatness of his power..." (Ephesians 1:17-19

Christianity is not supposed to be some dull lifeless religion of groping in the dark, but a living experience of having our eyes opened to see things we were once blinded to. From experience, I know that the Christianity
experienced by some is far from what God wants them to experience.

Christianity as it should be, is all about Enlightenment, not guessing or wondering forever if God is there. How can we "Behold" what is not there? And yet, if the Veil/blinders exists in our hearts we cannot see it if it stood in front of us.

Now, as a balance to this. In 1 Corinthians 13: verses 9-13, after explaining love is the highest call, he explains that our knowledge is imperfect. "...now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face..." He is speaking here of God, meaning we can know God, but not as fully as we will someday.

Yet many religious people, Christians as much as any, are walking relatively blindly having no clue at all who God is or what God wants or what God is like. They may have had some experiences that tell them God is there and they are just hoping as far as their religious practices that they are guessing well. But there is a "Knowing" that is not only possible, but should be the rule and not the exception. God wants to be KNOWN, not simply worshiped. See John (the Gospel) chapter 17 and verse three- this is what should be the aim of all of us.

Unique
10-24-2006, 01:29 AM
Nate -

Your post was well thought out and well written. I'd shop that baby around if I were you.

None of us can 'know' these kinds of things with 100% accuracy - they aren't provable by any methods we have these days.

Your admonition of not to fool around with it is valid. I think astral projection is possible but I don't try it because an empty house is an invitation. To come back and find a spirit stronger than my own in residence in my body ... <shudder> I can't think of anything worse.

And I think this does happen to people. Not always purposely on their part but by circumstance, i.e. injury, drugs, alcohol, or just accident.
Thanks for giving my opinion better than I could have done myself.

joymark
10-24-2006, 03:22 AM
Nate, have you been sneaking a look at my short story WIP? ;) j/k

Nice write up.

Nateskate
10-24-2006, 04:01 PM
Nate, have you been sneaking a look at my short story WIP? ;) j/k

Nice write up.

No, I'm sorry, I didn't know you had one posted?

Nateskate
10-24-2006, 04:11 PM
Nate -

Your post was well thought out and well written. I'd shop that baby around if I were you.

None of us can 'know' these kinds of things with 100% accuracy - they aren't provable by any methods we have these days.

Your admonition of not to fool around with it is valid. I think astral projection is possible but I don't try it because an empty house is an invitation. To come back and find a spirit stronger than my own in residence in my body ... <shudder> I can't think of anything worse.

And I think this does happen to people. Not always purposely on their part but by circumstance, i.e. injury, drugs, alcohol, or just accident.
Thanks for giving my opinion better than I could have done myself.

I believed in evil before I believed in good. I grew up with a brother who had somewhat of an occult library, and I'd read some of the books out of curiosity. Interestingly, I was in a non-religious house that had no Bibles and we went to no churches. As a blank slate, I still was curious about truth and what happened after death. I was also curious about all things "supernatural". I would question people and listen to people who said they had experiences of any kind. It became clear rather quickly, what all religions acknowledged- though they see things quite differently- that evil entities exist. People can have a demon/or multiple. And when that happens, there is a remedy.

There is a secular world that doesn't recognize the supernatural; but many people in this world have seen evidence of the supernatural world.

I didn't start with a "Christian" worldview, or Biblical interpretation of things. I remember reading Taylor Caldwell and Edgar Caycee (sp???) and other books, enough to make me suspect there was a spiritual world regardless of the question of whether God or a devil existed.

My journey was a rather interesting one. But with that said, demon possession/oppression is a reality, not superstitious jargon. Again, I can tell of real stories that make for good Halloween tales.

Unique
10-24-2006, 04:48 PM
Then please write a book. A realistic warning might save a soul.

(I probably won't read it - those things scare the crap out of me)

If things like that weren't real they wouldn't scare me. But I believe they are so the less I have stuck in my brain pan, the better I like it.

eta:actually, Nate - if you wrote it I probably would read it. i'm just like any other little kid who peeks.

joymark
10-24-2006, 05:12 PM
No, I'm sorry, I didn't know you had one posted?

Oh, no, no, no. Sorry, my humor doesn't translate well to the written word. It just struck me as funny that your outline of scripture above was very near to a section of a short story I just started on Saturday.

Again, good posting.

Nateskate
10-24-2006, 07:52 PM
Oh, no, no, no. Sorry, my humor doesn't translate well to the written word. It just struck me as funny that your outline of scripture above was very near to a section of a short story I just started on Saturday.

Again, good posting.
It's interesting to study spiritual warfare-angel lore, appocalyptic scriptures, for the sake of understanding. But as a fantasy writer, the insights can be priceless. Look at Tolkien's works. They are fascinating. He drew upon many sources for his mythologies, but few people know that he was one of the translaters of the New Jerusalem Bible. Much of his story comes from Norse mythology and other ancient sources, but he also drew direct allegories/metaphors from much of the Old Testament.

Nateskate
10-24-2006, 07:57 PM
Then please write a book. A realistic warning might save a soul.

(I probably won't read it - those things scare the crap out of me)

If things like that weren't real they wouldn't scare me. But I believe they are so the less I have stuck in my brain pan, the better I like it.

eta:actually, Nate - if you wrote it I probably would read it. i'm just like any other little kid who peeks.
Well, if it's of any consequence, I don't talk much about the subject, since I prefer to focus my attention much more on what God is doing, than the devil. Yet, it's a part of life; and although it's not the stuff of headline news that side of life is very real. Generally, people that minister in that area- although there are some flakes- are the most unassuming people- gentle souls. My close friend's uncle was one of the Priests involved in the exorcism that the movie "The Exorcist" was based upon. Of course it didn't turn into the circus the movie portrays. The real child was a boy, and not a girl. Still, once and awhile there are dramatic instances; but I like to metaphorically look at casting out demons as somewhat like removing a boil. It happens, people's lives are restored, and that's the end of it.