We live in a culture that seems both fascinated by the supernatural and repulsed by it at the same time. TV shows, books and movies are filled with tales of invisible reality, supernatural occurrences, magic, and all kinds of fantasy.
Yet when it comes to Christianity, many resist taking scripture seriously regarding an expectation for miracles, divine encounters, angelic visitation, prophetic dreams, visions and all the other spiritual experiences that seem very normal in the Bible.
Our culture easily embraces the supernatural if it is limited to the world of fantasy and quickly rejects the supernatural if it is expected in our day to day lives. This rejection escalates significantly if such expectation is framed within a biblical worldview. The momentum of culture is building in direct opposition to the concept of the gospel of Jesus demonstrated with power and authority.
Christians far too often participate in this momentum and even contribute to it, settling for a gospel of theology and principles and ritual (all of which are good) and neglecting or even overtly resisting the biblical expectation for a gospel with power.
It fascinates me that in most cases, the Christians who resist expectation for the miraculous are the same ones who claim a very high view of scripture and scriptural authority.
I fail to see how a high view of scriptural authority can on one hand uphold the principles and theology of scripture as being authoritative while rejecting the very miraculous and spiritual worldview that saturates the entire context of the same Bible that those principles and theologies are drawn from.
You cannot quote verses about justification by faith alone from a Bible that’s full of angels, demons, miracles, divine encounters, healing and deliverance and not embrace an expectation for the miraculous. Well, you can, but not in a way that consistently honors the authority of scripture. If what scripture teaches is authoritative, then the worldview and related experiences scripture presents as normal are also authoritative.
How biblical are you prepared to be?
“having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power…” (2 Timothy 3:5a, ESV)
NATURAL OR SUPERNATURAL
My friend Rick had a serious scratch on his eye. There was much pain and irritation and he was constantly wearing these big wrap-around sunglasses, even indoors. He attended a class I was teaching and during a moment where we were inviting God to heal those in need of healing, his eyes were instantly healed. All the pain and irritation immediately vanished and didn’t come back.
This is normal Christianity. This is biblical Christianity. If it’s to become more common, however, we are going to need to shift our thinking.
These two categories assume a separation between the spiritual (non-material) and the material aspects of reality. Within this framework, it is assumed that material things are not spiritual and spiritual things are not material.
I think scripture actually presents a very different reality. In scripture, we find that though not all spiritual things are material, all material things are spiritual.
“By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” (Hebrews 11:3, ESV)
Once we see that all material things are made out of things that are non-material (the word of God) it becomes obvious that all material things are, at their root, spiritual. The natural world is, in its essence, supernatural. So the distinction between natural and supernatural is somewhat false. Natural and supernatural can only exist as distinct categories where there is a distinction between material reality and spiritual reality. As soon as we overlap and integrate them, seeing that all material things are formed and sustained by God’s word, then we wind up with an integrated worldview where nature is not independent of or distinct from the supernatural.
If all that is natural is supernatural, then the terms themselves become interchangeable to some extent.
None of this is mere abstract philosophy. There are very practical ways that all this works out in our lives. Only in a world where material things are, in their very essence, spiritual does it make sense that bread and wine can become a means of grace, that my body can be the temple of the Holy Spirit, that physical intimacy between a husband and a wife involves more than physical connection, or that laying my hands on a sick person can result in healing. My definition of a miracle completely hinges upon the way I think natural and supernatural realities are related.
If natural reality and supernatural reality are separate and distinct, then a miracle is defined as the supernatural world interfering in the natural world to effect an abnormal outcome, as the natural world normally functions by natural cause and effect independent of supernatural intervention.
Miracles are not normal.
But if natural and supernatural reality are integrated in such a way that all natural things are spiritual, where all natural things are themselves supernatural, then miracles can no longer be defined as abnormalities. The natural world never operates independently of supernatural reality. Miracles are the most normal thing possible within a world where natural and supernatural are integrated realities.
One of the keys to growing in our experience of the miraculous is to begin to see the supernatural in all of natural reality.
This is how faith sees.
This is what faith understands.
“Most Christians repent enough to get forgiven, but not enough to see the Kingdom.”
-Bill Johnson in When Heaven Invades Earth.
*You can also read more from Alan: Unveiled: The Transforming Power of God’s Presence and Voice.
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