This post is a sequel to a previous post, Where Is God In The Cosmos?, where we discussed the present reality of the Kingdom of God.
In this post, I’ll unpack the basic meaning of spirituality and what it means for us now and forever.
What is “spiritual?”
As Christians, it’s important to understand spirituality, to learn and grow as spiritual beings.
The term “spiritual” can be used vaguely to describe things outside of our natural understanding. They truly are “supernatural.”
There is, however, a scientific term used for studying spiritual matters. Metaphysics is the study of things “beyond the physical.” It asks the question, “what is real?”
While naturalism is the study of material things, metaphysics studies the basic components of reality. It deals with matters of knowing, thinking, and being.While naturalism is the study of material things, metaphysics studies the basic components of reality. It deals with matters of knowing, thinking, and being. Click To Tweet
Those who hold to naturalism, claim these experiences are merely chemical reactions of our physical brains.
However, matter cannot think about the future, draw distinctions based on information, and make choices for its well-being.
These are spiritual faculties that exist outside of scientific explanation.
William James refers to these as “deeper organs of communication.” 1 Love for example, isn’t detected by the five senses, but we we know it’s real.
As I’ve stated previously in a blog series, we need more than scientific explanation to solve life’s spiritual issues. We need divine revelation.
Science helps us understand how the world works, but only religion explains why it exists.Science helps us understand how the world works, but only religion explains why it exists. Click To Tweet
Here are three things we need to know about the essence of spirituality.
1. “Spiritual” is not physical, but it is substance.
“Spiritual” is not physical, but it does have substance. In fact, physical things are put into motion by spiritual agents. Take the heavens for example.
The fine-tuning of the heavens speaks of a fine-turner. Motion speaks of a Prime Mover. Information speaks of an Information Giver. Our innate desire to do good speaks of a Moral Law Giver.
All of life as we experience it speaks of the will and intent of a personal agent. God is not localizable in space by the five senes, but his power and ingenuity is evidenced throughout creation (Rom 1:20).
God is Spirit, and yet we read:
“For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers for authorities; all things have been created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:16).
Our lives and choices are also governed by our spirituality. Paul says, “if there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:44).
As we will see, the spiritual body is more important.
2. Humans are spiritual beings with physical bodies.
Of what do humans consist?
Humans aren’t simply an indivisible unity of matter only. We are made of two natures, body and spirit.
Genesis 2:7 says, God “took man from the dust of the ground and breathed the breath of life into him; thus the man became a living being” (italics added).
A “living being,” therefore, consists of dust and breath. Material and immaterial. Physical and spiritual. God took matter and breathed consciousness into it.
The “heart,” as Scripture refers to it, is actually our spiritual center. The “flesh,” is our mortal bodies.
It’s quite fascinating how the two are joined together.
Take the brain for example
Dr. Brand, explains just how marvelous the human brain is. Notice the spiritual elements, which are naturally unexplainable:
“The brain contains imagination, morality, sensuality, mathematics, memory, humor, judgment, religion, as well as an incredible catalog of facts and theories and the common sense to assign them all priority and significance…
…In the human head, concludes Nobel laureate Roger Sperry, “there are forces within forces within forces, as in no other cubic half-foot of the universe that we know.” There is nothing on the earth so wonderful.” 2
We are a wonderful mixture of matter and spirit.
Every person is, as J.I. Packer describes him, “a personal, self-conscious, Godlike creature with a Godlike capacity for knowledge, thought, and action…”
He further describes the human body as the agent “through which we experience reality, express ourselves, and exercise our dominion…” These are “image” or “likeness of God” properties not physical ones. 3
We need to understand, therefore, that humans are spiritual beings with physical bodies — not physical beings with spirits.
We occupy our bodies.
This means when we die, our consciousness goes into a new dimension of existence.
3. Death is a transition of consciousness.
Our physical bodies were made from the dust, and to dust they will return (Gen 3:19).
However, the “breath of God” never ceases, for Jesus said, “whoever believes in me will never die” (John 11:26). While our flesh decays in the grave, our spirits live on.
This means although we often fear death, we really shouldn’t. We have a living hope beyond the grave.
Paul said, “Therefore, do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Col 4:16).
How fascinating that as we waste away, we simultaneously renew day by day!
What we learn here is that death exchanges mortality for immortality. So we never cease to exist. We simply change residency.
Death days for Christians are birthdays in heaven.Death exchanges mortality for immortality. So we never cease to exist. We simply change residency. Click To Tweet
Jesus said himself,
“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them from my hand” (John 10:28).
After all, God “is not the God of the dead but of the living” (Matt 12:27).
Where are you in 10,000 years?
In concluding this post, I’d like you to image this with me for a moment. What will you be up to in ten thousand years?
I’m sure you’ll be enjoying a great task given to you by Jesus in the “ongoing creativity of the universe.” 4
As the favorite hymn sings, “When we’ve been there 10,000 years bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we first begun.”
This is wonderful news for us.
We know that “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2 Cor 5:8). As Jesus told the thief on the cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).
Those in Christ will consciously be aware of this paradise.
Eternity is bound in our hearts, Solomon said (Ecc 3:11). And for this reason we really shouldn’t fear death.
For those in Christ, God has prepared an eternal destiny, “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has imagined” (1 Cor 2:9).
D.L. Moody said, “one day soon you will hear that I am dead. Do not believe it. I will then be alive as never before.”One day soon you will hear that I am dead. Do not believe it. I will then be alive as never before. - D.L. Moody Click To Tweet
You don’t have to wait to enjoy eternal life. It can be enjoyed now, by all who will rely on Jesus.
What’s something you hope to enjoy 10,000 years from now, in the “ongoing creativity of the universe?”