“Rather, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him.”[1 Corinthians 2:9]
The popular Netflix series “Stranger Things” just released it’s third season, further developing the bizarre plot of all things supernatural woven into a 1980s backdrop. Whether contending with the evil mind flayer or being trapped in the upside-down world, the writers of Stranger Things have proven that people are still fascinated with the mysterious and unexplainable. [Disclaimer — I would not recommend this show for children and struggled watching it as Christian simply because of the number of times God’s holy name was used in vain.]
Although many Bible believing Christians either gloss over or completely ignore the more difficult, stranger things revealed in God’s word, I believe it is imperative that we not only try to understand what God is saying but also why He is saying it.
If something in the Bible is bizarre or strange, I believe that is one way God is trying to tell us that it is important. There is a reason God wants us to know these things or else they wouldn’t be in His word.
But God’s story is no mere fictional Netlflix miniseries, it is truth and must be understood as such. Since the very beginning, some very strange things have been happening, and it is time we find out why.
The moment Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden of Eden and cut off from the presence of God, a veil was placed between heaven and the earth and the spiritual realm was concealed from our mortal eyes. The Apostle Paul reminds us … “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” [1 Corinthians 13:12]
Not unlike the upside-down world of Stranger Things, our reality can be likened to sitting in an interrogation room, looking into a one-way mirror. Although our instincts tell us that someone is watching from behind the glass, we can’t see out. Only those behind the glass can see in.
So it is with unseen realm of the supernatural world. We may know it is there — operating all around us. We may sense we are not alone, and we may even experience phenomena that cannot be explained by natural causes. But the veil remains in tact and our view is limited.
It is an understatement to say that something dramatic changed after that fall of man. Adam was walking with the God of the universe in the cool of the day. Eve talked with a light bearing supernatural being in the garden who seduced her to sin.
Ironically the Bible says that immediately after this treasonous act of rebellion their “eyes were opened,” seeing that they were naked and ashamed. It’s almost like their spiritual covering was stripped away, and they were cut off from immortality, left wanting. When Adam and Eve’s eyes were “opened” is the very moment they became spiritually blind.
Interestingly, the Bible says that God drove them out of paradise and cut them off from the tree of life. There was no way back. Mankind was placed under a curse of physical corruption and faced with the inevitability of death.
“He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.”[Genesis 3:24]
Notice that the LORD placed angelic guardians, cherubim, to guard the entrance to Eden. We read past a verse like that and forget to stop to ask, “who are the cherubim and what is this episode all about?” God is sending us a message here, and we miss so much because we fail to stop and study the stranger things.
The spiritual realm was officially off limits and out of sight for the rest of mankind. A separation had been put in place between the visible and invisible. This is critical plot line material.
And ever since, the story of redemption has been about God’s plan to bring heaven and earth back together again — restoring Eden and giving man immortality through the resurrected ONE Jesus Christ!
But until that day when Christ returns, we are bound by these mortal bodies and continue to look through a glass darkly. That does not mean, however, that we are totally blind when it comes the unseen realm. As a matter of fact, we may be able to see more than we could ever know.
Personal Experiences with the Supernatural
In my estimation, there really are only three ways we can see into this mysterious spiritual realm that alludes us. Two involve personal experience, which can be helpful but also quite unreliable. These include …
- Supernatural beings from the spiritual realm enter into our world and are observed by eye-witnesses.
- Humans who claim to have crossed over into the unseen realm by means of near-death or out-of-body experiences, astral projection, mind-altering drugs, or through some kind of vision.
My goal is not to discuss the reliability of personal experience or examine the many ways men claim to “peer” into the spirit realm. Although I realize that many of these personal experiences can be attributed to such things as mental psychosis, fantasy, delusion and simple confusion, I certainly acknowledge the reality that some of these experiences are true, supernatural encounters with spiritual beings.
After all, the Bible says that even by showing hospitality to strangers, we may be entertaining angels unawares. [Hebrews 13:2]
Special Revelation and the Word of God
The third way we are able to see into the spirit realm is by far the most reliable, and it deals exclusively with God’s revealed word to mankind — the Bible. The Bible is a supernatural book that contains supernatural encounters. The beauty about the Bible, however, is that the testimony of God’s word is completely reliable and true. The Creator and Lord of all has graciously chosen to provide trustworthy details about the spiritual realm that we would not have otherwise.
God, in His infinite wisdom and love, has given us a “behind the scenes” look into the most fascinating aspects of the invisible realm. He amazingly shines light through the darkened mirror and gives us a sneak peek into the great unknown.
The Bible does this in various ways. It sometimes gives us a glimpse into the mind of God. Sometimes it reveals the spiritual developments behind human affairs. Sometimes it provides eye-witness testimony from the human authors about a supernatural encounter, and sometimes it takes us to the very throne room of God in the highest heaven where we are given an audience with the divine council.
The most important aspect of God’s word is that it must be the standard and measure of everything pertaining to faith and godliness. All personal experience must tested by and filtered through the living and abiding Word of God. Anything contrary to the Word of God is categorically false, and yet anything in agreement with God’s word must be believed as inherently true.
“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”[John 17:17]
The more we delve into the stranger things of the Bible, the more our faith will be tested and the more we will be forced to think outside of the proverbial box.
Until next time, I leave you with the words of the Apostle Paul, who certainly experienced some stranger things.
“I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.”[2 Corinthians 12:1-4]