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.

Natural. Supernatural.

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. To our point in this series, 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.

2016-10-17T10:29:24-06:00

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