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Spiritual Vision

John 4:24

God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (NIV84)

 

Genesis 1:26–27

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (NIV84)

 

Genesis 2:7

…the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (NIV84)

God is spirit and the Bible tells us that God made man in his image and in his likeness. Man is spirit too—inside.

Poetically God said that he “formed the man from the dust of the ground...” What exactly does that mean?

Genesis 1:11

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. (NIV84)

I find it interesting that God did not make the plants directly, but rather he commanded the ground to produce them. Put another way, the plants were formed from the dust of the ground, just like man.

Genesis 1:24

And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. (NIV84)

I find it even more interesting that God did not create the animals directly either, but again, he commanded the ground, or land in this verse, to produce the living animals. One must understand that the Bible reveals spiritual truth to us, and as such, must allow the poetry and symbolic language to convey to us spiritual meaning that cannot be stated directly, because all spiritual things are not of the physical universe. God is spirit, and ultimately so is man. Man has a physical body, but the body is nothing more than a temporary interface suit that we must wear to interact with things in the physical universe. At the command of God the land produced man’s physical body, (see Genesis 1:24 above) but at the time chosen by God, the Lord God breathed from his very own spirit nature into the physical body of man bringing to life spirit beings that were to exist inside those animal bodies.

Ecclesiastes 1:9

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. (NIV84)

The James Cameron film Avatar gives us a pretty good visual representation of the actual nature of man, that is, man being temporarily inside an animal body, so that he can interact with the world. While we do not slip into a machine to interface with a physical body (God is subtler than that) we nonetheless are placed into animal bodies so that we can interact with the physical world.

God created the world, and the physical universe, and then he commanded the ground to produce plants and animals to live on the world, all of this to act as a metaphor for true life, spiritual life. Then at the exact time of God’s choosing the Lord God brought into existence something entirely new. He created children for himself, actual children, that were like him, spirit, and he placed the first one into the body of a Homo Sapiens, that is, a man—Adam. God symbolically “breathed” this spirit child, into the nostrils of the man, so that the spirit child of God would thereafter live inside the animal body of the man. If you read Genesis 2:7 very carefully you can see that the man was a man before God breathed into him, but it was after God breathed the spirit into the man that the man became a living being. The man had animal life before God breathed into him, but did not become a living being until after God breathed into his nostrils. These words concerning the creation of man are spiritual words, poetically revealing to us, that man is not just an animal, but rather he is a spirit being, just like God, that was created in the image and likeness of God himself.

This fundamental fact appears right there in the beginning of the Bible, because without this understanding nothing in the Bible will truly make sense to you. You must understand that God is spirit and so are you, and that you are not your animal body. Neither the Bible nor God consider animal life or plant life to be true life. Animal life and plant life are only metaphors for real life, which is frequently called eternal life in the Bible.

John 11:11–13

After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” 12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. (NIV84)

Jesus was speaking spiritual truth, with spiritual words, but the disciples interpreted his words literally and so they were confused. Lazarus was a man that was spiritually alive because of his faith in Jesus Christ. Lazarus’ physical body was physically dead, but not his spirit person, so Jesus said that he was sleeping. If the disciples understood where true life exists they would not have been confused. Had they understood the duel nature of man they would have been able to understand Jesus’ words. After God breathed into the animal man (Adam) the man became a spirit being that had true eternal life within him. The child of God that then existed lived inside an animal body, but was much more than an animal. The man became a spirit being created in the image and likeness of God himself. How many things are more important to understand than this?

Now, with the understanding of the spiritual nature of man, you can understand what happened in the Garden of Eden with respect to the Fall of Man. It was not man’s body that fell, but rather it was man’s true nature, his spirit self, that became separated from God.

John 5:24

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. (Jesus Christ—NIV84)

Jesus is speaking in this passage from the perspective of his work of restoration that he was to accomplish through his resurrection. A person who believes in Jesus’ word crosses over from death to life (clearly this is spiritual.) What happened in the Garden of Eden was that man broke faith with God, and crossed over from life to death. Spiritually living man became spiritually dead man. Spiritual life and spiritual death, with respect to God, is a matter of faith. To have true faith in God’s word is to be connected to God, and to break faith with God is to put yourself above God, to break faith with God is to separate yourself from God—biblically this is called death. Spiritual life and spiritual death are both conditions of one’s relationship with God and neither has anything to do with the body.

In the Garden of Eden man separated himself from God, that is, he became spiritually dead, that is, spiritually blind, which brings us to the topic of this article—spiritual vision.

People who do not have living faith in God the Creator are spiritually blind and cannot therefore see spiritual truth. People who do not have living faith in God are left to their own understanding and can only see with their physical eyes. Spiritually speaking they are completely blind and can only guess as to spiritual truth.

After the fall of man a huge thing happened. God came and told man what the result of his separation from God would mean, and also God promised a future restoration from the fallen state. The promise was subtle, but it was understood by the still spiritually knowledgeable man and woman, which can be seen and understood in this next verse.

Genesis 3:20

Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living. (NIV84)

There’s that word living again. Again, it was spiritual life that the man understood. Man now had a basis for faith in God that came through the understanding of God’s Word. Before man could see spiritual truth directly from God, in his heart, but after faith had to come to man through his animal brain, that is, through his mind. Man now had to hear the Word of God through an act of his will, and his heart had to receive it through his faith in God. This was a huge fundamental change in man’s relationship with God.

After the Fall of Man, man was functionally spiritually blind. To see spiritual truth accurately in anything he needed someone to see it for him and then explain it to him—sort of a seeing-eye-person. The only person who could now see spiritual truth accurately was God. If man wanted to know spiritual truth he had to listen to God or, and this is a big or, he had to listen to someone whom God had already spoken to—for example: Moses.

This is not a perfect system. How does one know if the person who you are listening to knows what they are talking about? Faith is believing something in your heart. Faith has absolutely nothing to do with what your brain believes, it is a spiritual power, and eternal power, and only operates within the spirit of a person, that is, within a person’s heart. Another thing about faith is that it is absolute, that is, your heart believes something or it doesn’t, and you can’t make yourself believe something in your heart by an act of your will. So, we end up with a dilemma or, if you like, a catch-22. People are spiritually blind from birth and so they require the aid of people whom God has spoken though and yet people are not one hundred percent reliable, but faith requires on hundred percent belief.

Matthew 17:20

…I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (NIV84)

This is a dilemma indeed. How can one have absolute faith through the word of an unreliable person? The easy answer is that we can rely on the Bible, but even that has issues.

Hebrews 10:8

First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” (although the law required them to be made). (NIV84)

Here the writer of Hebrews points out this dilemma to us. The law required the Israelites to offer sacrifices, and yet God did not actually desire them to do that. What an interesting puzzle.

Matthew 19:3–8

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” 4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” 7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” 8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. (NIV84)

Here is another puzzle. The law permitted divorce, but Jesus said that it was not permitted. Scripturally speaking, what does this mean? How can one have absolute faith in anything that Moses said if Jesus tells us that Moses’ words are not absolutely reliable?

This next one is my favorite.

Matthew 1:18–19

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. (NIV84)

The law required that a person guilty of adultery be stoned to death, and yet the righteous man Joseph, because he was a righteous man, did not want to expose Mary to public disgrace and had in mind to divorce her quietly. Interesting.

Are we supposed to obey the Bible or not?

The truth is, is that the Bible is not a law book—none of it is. We cannot, when faced with a problem, quote from the Bible and say “thus is it written.” That is not how it works.

1 Corinthians 13:13

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (NIV84)

In my mind, this is one of the most interesting Scriptures in the Bible. The meaning here is subtle. The fact that these three remain means that they are eternal. If they are eternal, then they are spirit. If they are spirit then they have nothing to do with our physical mind, that is, what we believe in our brain. They are qualities of the spiritual mind, our heart, as it were. It can be argued that, say, a dog loves his master and has faith in his master and even has hope after a fashion, but none of these forms of faith, hope and love is what this Scripture is talking about. This passage, this chapter (please read it), is talking about eternal faith, eternal hope and eternal love, that is, the very nature of God himself. These are spiritual qualities.

If you are a faithful person who makes a vow before God regarding your devotion to your spouse, then you will never, ever break that vow, and I don’t care what the Bible says (do you understand what I am saying?) Our object is to become like God—not to do what the Bible says.

Jeremiah 9:23–24

This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord. (NIV84)

If we are spiritually blind, then how can we see the spiritual truth? We may be blind, but we are not unlike God. This is a powerful statement. We were created in God’s image and after his very own likeness. When God’s love touches our heart we are filled with joy. We know goodness. We know gentleness and compassion, patience and we even know and understand selflessnessGod himself. Our hearts recognize these things because they just fit.

When we see Jesus Christ living a selfless life and willingly submitting to a terrible death for us, we respond on a very deep level. A level that touches our hearts at our very core. Forget the Law Book Bible, this touches us with hope, faith and love. This touch, this seed of God’s Word, enters into our heart and takes root. It is like mother’s voice to an infant child. This seed of hope takes root and grows into faith and love.

Mark 4:26–29

He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” (Jesus Christ—NIV84)

No man knows how the seeds of faith, hope and love can sprout and grow, but they can, they do, if the soil is good. Our hearts were made in God’s image and likeness, is it so strange that God feels so right in the hearts of those that receive him?

Now, I don’t want you to misunderstand what I have been saying. I believe in the Bible. I believe that the Bible is perfect. I believe that the Bible is exactly what God wants it to be. I can’t see that it is possible that anyone has more faith in the Bible than me. I am not saying that we can ignore the Bible and follow our hearts. Our hearts are dead, that is, until the Seed of the Bible enters into them and brings them back to life. What I am saying is that the Bible is far more subtle than you think. Biblical revelation comes in steps. It is a process. The first step in the process is to see in the Bible the willingness of God to save you from death. Then we can see the method of his salvation through the willing sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross and his subsequent resurrection. Through the understanding of the meaning of this sacrifice we can have the Seed of Faith necessary to bring about the rebirth of our spiritual life, that is, the restoration of our spiritual vision, so that through our vision we can see the spiritual truth in the Bible. By this I mean that we can then see the truth behind the words. Through this restored vision we can see the Bible for what it truly is, that is, the LIVING Word of God. The Living Word of God can impart life to us, that is, our cut off spirits can be reconnected to God by the restoring power of true and living faith. That which was broken in the Garden of Eden can be restored.

We are spirit beings, created in the image and likeness of God himself. Everything in the Bible speaks from this starting point.

 

This article can be found at www.TheBiblePhilosopher.com and SeekersTrove.com