The physical resurrection and our five senses.


#1

As I was journaling yesterday, a thought came to me. Before I go into this thought, I’ll just say that I have had a rather dry spell in my life lately. These seem to happen every so often, where I start to doubt not God’s existence, but his presence. Of course, I carry on and eventually these feelings pass. But, I did want to speak on one that I always come back too: Why doesn’t God speak to us in our own language?

We have five senses in this world

Touch
Taste
Sight
Sound
Smell

Yet God has chosen NOT to communicate with us based on those senses. Sure, God sent Jesus Christ who was a man, but that was short lived time period in history. Regardless of the fact that was resurrected, he doesn’t walk on this earth and talk to people. All of this I can accept… But when people talk of the physical resurrection, I ask: Why? If God doesn’t talk to us in the physical realm, with the physical attributes we possess (our five senses) what is the point of a physical resurrection? We still will not be able to commune with God.

More than anything in life, my deepest desire is to commune with God. To see God. To hear from God. But If am honest, and stop drinking the kool-aide, the fact of the matter is that I don’t really hear God. Sure, I might ponder over a verse of topic and gain insight, but who is the say that isn’t just my brain working this out? That said, I know for a fact that God has at least done miraculous things in my life - too many coincidences that are just beyond sheer luck. However, that doesn’t mean I commune with God in the same way that I commune with my wife or kids.

We are assured that God is closer to us than any human being, and yet, don’t have the type of relationship with God that shows evidence of this fact. Having to quiet your mind for hours in meditation to be able to ‘hear’ God in some cryptic manner that could just be an over-active imagination at work is, to me, disingenuous. Even more than that, it really can make one stop and think “What kind of God creates a world full of physical interaction and yet fails to interact with these creatures whom he supposedly loves with all of his being…” Look, I can chose to drink the kool-aide and claim all these things God tells me. But I guess I am too honest for that. I don’t believe for a second anyone who tells me that God talks to them regularly. I think people have made it true in their minds by wanting it to be true.

Now, I am sorry if that means I am calling anyone out who believes in two way communication with God. That isn’t my intent. Besides the standard for truth isn’t whether I believe you or not. I am merely trying to see why a physical resurrection is worth a damn when God doesn’t communicate with us on a physical level. If we are to be human, we will have human limitations. If there are billions of people in heaven physically, that means none of us will have access to Christ himself very often. So our entire hearts desire - to know God intimately makes no sense in a physical world.

Of course, then there is the entire concept of God making himself hard to find. He created us, right? Yet he made it so that we seek out love everywhere except him, but which we only find him by listening to others who tell us about him? If God is love, wouldn’t he keep communication easy and open? Not cryptic and ambiguous? Gosh, I can see why people are agnostic. Who the heck can honestly say and believe that God makes himself known and knowable while most of humanity is off killing themselves pursuing the wrong gods (alcohol, drugs, sex, food, money, etc…)? Now, I still have faith. I still believe in Christ, but i have some serious doubts. I don’t come here to have anyone remove the doubts, I am certainly not looking for that, as I doubt anything anyone says could change my mind on what I have experience and observed of this world. I just don’t believe God is knowable beyond his attributes which are beautiful in and of themselves… It is just that it still leaves a void in the heart of someone who wants to see their creator face to face. In other words, this is “hope deferred” and the Bible says “Hope deferred makes the heart sick”… Well, I guess my heart is sick, for now.


Calvinism & free will
#2

Gabe, you have expressed clearly and succinctly a bundle of questions that, I suspect, a large majority of Christians ask in their hearts, though not thought out and clarified as you present it.
It’s like you were reading my mind.

St. Paul talks about the ‘love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit’ - I’ve asked various believers I’ve run into if they have had that experience, even just off-and-on, and have not gotten an unambiguous affirmative from any of them. Paul’s language is so generous - ‘shed abroad’ is a term of conscious closeness, experienced awareness, and I have little of that.

Been the meditation/contemplation route and that is not my path; an ever-increasing fine tuning of my theological/dogmatic knowledge is not what the heart needs; the writings of the mystics will sometimes warm me up but it does not last. The charismatic route that I started my Christian life in leaves much to be desired, apart from the shallow theology that often accompanies it. The yearnings for the far country, the land of righteousness, can be stirred up by great imaginative literature, and those yearnings, if I give them the honor of being messages from Over There, have been substantial over the years. I basically interpret the scripture through the lens of Lord of the Rings. :blush:

What we want is actual communication from outside ourselves, not a product of our thinking or imagination or interpretation.
Perhaps we are asking too much? I don’t know. I’d like to hear what others think.


#3

What we want is actual communication from outside ourselves, not a product of our thinking or imagination or interpretation.
Perhaps we are asking too much? I don’t know. I’d like to hear what others think.

I don’t want to be Debbie Downer but although Rom 8 says the Holy Spirit speaks to our spirit that’s not discernible to us, and so actual communication from God that we can discern is never promised or guaranteed from scripture.


#4

I shared part of this in another thread here:

And you can see - via this YouTube video - how God still speaks, to the Native Americans at Native. I know this medicine man well and can vouch for him. He is currently helping me, through some health crises. I believe the Native Americans, have a covenant with God. And God communicated with them before Christianity. Just as the Roman Catholic church believes, that God still has a valid covenant with Jews. It says this at Red Road Spirituality:

And it goes on to say this:

Now let’s look at three examples - the article mentions:

I came across an interesting article - from the Protestant site Pathoes:

If You Want to Break Up With Beth Moore, Pick a Better Reason

Well, this is what the author - has to say:

On the other hand, we have Father A. (name not revealed, to protect his identity). He claims to have the gift of healing and hearing the voice of God. Well, he publicly says that, in all the healing masses I’ve attended. And I have fallen down, on more than one occasion. When I have received his healing touch. And he wouldn’t be a priest and speaking publicly, if the Roman Catholic hierarchy - thought these items were baloney.

So what does the article author think?

Well, I’ll let you make up your mind - who is right. The Baptist, the Roman Catholic priest or the author. And whether the Native Americans are - in the terms of the musical group The Monkees - “Daydream Believers”.

Sometimes things have more then one perspective.


#5

Gabe, those are the reasons I could never join a charismatic/fundamentalist church.


#6

DaveB said:

The idea of communication from God is a loaded manure spreader :laughing:

Having said that, I think that God will and does communicate with us on a constant and ongoing level if we will simply check our unbelief at the door. Reason, logic, science are all well and good, and I think they are from God. But in my estimation, God wants simple submission. If you have a problem, put it in his hand. If you are ailing, put it in his hands. If tomorrow seems like a situation you just can’t face, put it in his hands. You do not have to look far to find someone who will attribute a small miracle in their life to God.

If my father takes the time to show me how he thinks life should be lived, due to his real world experience, and tries to steer me from the problems he ran into, thus saving me the anguish and humiliation, if I follow his way, his spirit is with me and I am following it. My life should be better than if I flounder around on my own, thinking I know all there is to know, yet not having lived through much of anything.

We don’t have to let our imagination go too wild to realize that there are those who have no guidance, no compass. Guidance and compass through this life is huge. That is what submission to God gives us. sometimes we say ‘I’m not sure where this is going’ :astonished:

And then step out and let Him work. I realize this seems foolish to all who are wiser and more knowledgeable, but it can and does work. This is where we have to ask are these things a product of our thinking, imagination, or interpretation? Or is it possible that God gets us through each day?


#7

But does He? Say that the man who is sandwiched between two semi’s or the child that is abducted and killed. He doesn’t get them through the day. Look, I am I am ignorant. In fact, I think I can’t be anything but, and if there is a God, and if he is love, then whatever he does it correct. I can accept this on an intellectual level, but I cannot accept this as a son currently living in ignorance. My Heavenly Father is absent, period. You say he is not? Let’s examine an earthly father scenario;

If a dad were to leave his family, but show up for all his son’s activities, but wore a mask so his son wouldn’t see him and then waited until his son grew up to be 30 or 40 and then revealed “I was there the whole time buddy! I never left you!” do we really suppose that boy’s hurt from those absent years will go away? I mean, really? No, that would be a terrible father, an evil father by our standards… But that is effectively what God does to us.

Different Scenario:

If a dad were to leave his family, but showed up for all his son’s activities, hid among the crowd and the son on his death bed sees his Father would come into his room… The son would say “Dad? Where were you my whole life?” Would a good father reply “I was there, you just didn’t look hard enough for me, son”? Uhhh… Yeah, no.

I may speak from ignorance here, but my earthly father sure appears more loving and involved than my heavenly Father. I am blessed to have a great earthly father.

Again, I have nothing to live for besides my own family if God is not knowable. The greatest void in my life cannot be filled, apparently. I admit, maybe I was sold a lie that this void could be filled with God. Maybe the entire concept is hogwash. I don’t know. But just because things have worked out so far, doesn’t mean that God is involved. That just means things worked out, simple as that. Many things don’t work out. When a friend dies, when a child dies, etc…


#8

I’d really like to hear from [tag]Bob Wilson[/tag] on this, if he has any thoughts he’d like to share.


#9

Again, I have nothing to live for besides my own family if God is not knowable. The greatest void in my life cannot be filled, apparently. I admit, maybe I was sold a lie that this void could be filled with God. Maybe the entire concept is hogwash. I don’t know. But just because things have worked out so far, doesn’t mean that God is involved. That just means things worked out, simple as that. Many things don’t work out. When a friend dies, when a child dies, etc…

It’s hard to answer you because you sound filled with emotion and i have to give you a biblical answer which you may not be thrilled with. We have the bible to know God and we have Jesus to know God. We have to walk by faith not by sight and we have to believe Jesus that nothing happens that God is not aware of. We need to understand God owes us nothing because he has given us everything including his Son. God has given us life, given us what we need to love, to think,to be productive and be fulfilled. We need to remember Paul told us to think of things that are lovely and that’s a choice to make for anyone. You can focus on negative things and drive yourself crazy or you can make a conscience choice to follow scripture.

On our own we do not have the answers, we can not get the answers about why this or why that or where is God when we think we need him. Scripture does not say God will audibly talk to us or make us feel a certain way. It does say the Holy Spirit talks to our spirit but i suspect we have to be open to receive this and it’s more of a prompting which i think you have to have faith to receive. With all due respect if you think faith is a concept that’s not a good sign. Faith is a choice, a decision based on evidence taken as a whole. A concept is not going to work. You mentioned a friend died, a child died etc, the reality is people die, we all will die at least physically but life isn’t really over, it moves on to the next life when i believe we will know more then we do now.


#10

Me too so thank you Gabe and DaveB.

**Isaiah 45:15
Truly, You are a God who hides Himself, O God of Israel, Saviour!
**

I have no answers, just ideas:
When my daughter was five years old, she got angry with mum & dad and decided to leave home. She went ‘walkabout’. I followed her at a discreet distance keeping hidden but desperately waiting for the moment she would decide to come home. When that moment arrived I ran to her and carried her home.
I wonder if this is similar to Adam’s experience? Did Adam (and Eve) reach a point in his (her) development when it was time to taste independence? During this time of learning (ie our lifetimes) perhaps it is important for our maturation that God remains hidden? Our five senses are the links between ourselves and the environment God has put us in. But our environment (the whole of creation) is fallen and groans in expectation of a future re-union with God. Our five senses are not links with God, rather it is our spirit (or His Spirit within us) which connects us to God.

Cue for old song:

The last line in that song used to exasperate me when I was a child, and it still does for the reasons outlined in the opening post.

Our faith seems to be extremely precious to God. Possibly the more God reveals of Himself, the less we are able to exercise any faith?

None of the above seems very satisfactory and I await suggestions from others.


#11

Gabe, thanks to DaveB’s prompting, here’s some reactions:

I don’t see your profound question about how we now access or experience God to be much connected to the “worth” of believing in a physical resurrection. I was taught that the value of this notion in a Hebraic context was to make the belief in the defeat of death coherent, as well as belief that Jesus was actually vindicated. And also to convey that resurrection life will involve a continuity with our identity in this bodily life (though I don’t even grasp the nature of what Paul meant when he referred to a resurrection body as a “spiritual” body).

I sense that the actual and widely shared problem you raise is what is often called the problem of the “Hidenness of God” (and some of the discussion overlaps the broader and ultimate classic challenge of the problem of evil). Whole books seek to explain and justify why God remains so hidden (or allows such a crummy existence). While I get that having a manifest GOD may be problematically coercive, unfortunately I don’t find any specific explanations of evil, or of God’s hidenness, to be all that convincing.

Still, the degree that believers’ directly experience God (say comparable to a face to face knowledge) seems to vary. My wife appears to commonly experience the presence of God quite palpably. Like many others, most of the time my own knowledge just lies in my own conceptual intellect. Having a faith that is provable or objectively manifest would appeal to me. But I can’t see that this is the reality.

As others have suggested, the Biblical tradition doesn’t seem to deny this sober reality. I’m not sure what text you imply when you say that the Bible says that hope deferred is a lousy thing. But my impression is that there is precisely an assumption that we live in a world where our ultimate hope is indeed deferred. While there is some sense in which we are to ‘know’ or trust that it belongs to us, there is an eschatological assumption that what we yearn for now remains a future reality.

The upshot of all for me is that I am reduced to making judgments about what ‘faith’ to embrace, without being able to look to the kind of objective knowledge and experience you (and I) would prefer. For a good while, it has seemed to me that ‘faith’ is about making a bet on what ultimate reality is, and then living according to that assumption. And I sense that in healthy religion it is more about making sense (not of vexing evil, but) the existence of the experience of good, especially of our sense that love is a reality of ultimate value, and thus needs to triumph if our moral sense of this is not just a foolish illusion (I think this was essentially Kant’s argument).

I personally find this approach bolstered by Jesus’ emphasis that we should judge things by the fruit they produce. In short, even though I can’t prove it, I find that living in the faith or assumption that Love is ultimately behind our confusing existence, and thus will ultimately triumph, not only helps me makes sense of the challenge of life I face, but produces the fruit of the best kind of life. Indeed, personally, while I still struggle with doubt, when I move ahead, operating with that assumption, its’ hope and substance seems increasingly compelling to me. I wish I could offer something more substantial, but this is where I currently am.


#12

As I understand it a lot of our frustrations and questions around these areas arise and are due to the mindset we have been programmed with according to certain understandings of scripture.

For me a lot of these difficulties have dropped off in coming to an understanding of scripture via what has been called ‘covenant eschatology’ aka full prêterism. In essence, God has dealt with his creation via covenant and as such certain principles of scripture can be better seen in that light, and so lessen or even negate the frustrations and confusion mentioned above.

For example: IF we understand the disciples’ query… “what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” as referring to the end of their old covenant world as opposed to the end of our time-space universe i.e., “our world” then ALL that dovetails with that teaching takes on a whole different perspective, and in grasping this starts to change a whole bunch of preconceived assumptions we have thereby attached.

Thus what we read as being plain “physical” can be a reference to the old covenant mode of existence versus that which is “spiritual” refers to the new covenant mode of existence. The Gentiles Paul says… “have been partakers of Israel’s spiritual things” i.e., they through Christ have obtained and come into the covenant blessings of Israel, that is, Israel’s spiritual things as per Rom 3:1-2; 9:4; Eph 2:12-13, 19; 3:6.

Thus when Paul speaks of THE BODY in 1Cor 15:42-46 being sown and raised in corruption/incorruption or in dishonour/glory or weakness/power OR a natural body/a spiritual body he is contrasting the corporate COVENANT life or BODY of Israel which in covenant renewal (the call of the gospel) was being (Gk. present tense) raised up in newness of life. This is what Paul elsewhere calls the “new creation”.

The confusion has occurred (as I understand it) by individualising and physicalising what were Israel’s corporate covenantal realities.


#13

The Psalms contain one brilliant verse, which I will now paraphrase.

Well, I think that says it all. I have spent many years, in a silent Quaker meeting. And I’m convinced, they heard the voice of God - because they still the mind.

Same thing goes for the Native Americans. They go on vision quests or partake in sacred ceremonies, where the mind becomes still. I know. I have taken part.

And the Franciscans are very big on contemplation. One can learn a lot, by invoking a Catholic method of centering - called the Keatings Centering Prayer. Or learn from our Buddhist brothers and sisters. Who have been perfecting meditation, for a couple thousand years or so. Just look into a tradition, like Insight Mediation, Mindfulness or Zen. As long as you don’t adapt their metaphysics …and focus on the methodology…it’s very compatible, with Christian belief and theology. Just look at the Roman Catholic, Trappist monk - Thomas Merton.

So back to the Psalmist and test the waters - for yourself.

.

http://www.allnationsforchristintl.org/fig2.gif


#14

Davo, given your unorthodox understanding of resurrection, on what basis do you think we’ll go to heaven after biological death?


#15

I’m glad you accept the resurrection of Jesus as a fact. The only way one can do that is to recognize the four “gospels” as historical records of what Jesus taught and did. But those same historical records state that Jesus talked with his disciples after his resurrection and even ate fish with them.

As for your thought that God does not talk to anyone audibly in our day… perhaps you ought not to dismiss the claims that some people have made in saying that they have heard the audible voice of God. Personally, I haven’t heard His audible voice, though I have placed “fleeces” before Him to discern His will concerning particular matters, and the results were that I cannot accept that they occurred by “chance” since there would have had to be too many chance events occurring in harmony—as unlikely as tossing a hundred coins and they all turning up as heads (although this is a mathematical possibility of course). I can describe what I did in a future post, if you are interested.

However, my cousin’s husband Charlie (who was raised to be an atheist) DID hear God speak to him in an audible voice, while yet an atheist! Someone told me the following account of Charlie’s experience, but I wanted to know the facts for sure. So I talked with Charlie himself later on and asked him about the event. He told it to me exactly as I had previously heard it. Here it is:

One day, Charlie and his brother (who was also an atheist) went to a pub together to have a couple of beers. They had just sat down when Charlie heard the words, “Charlie, what are you doing? You shouldn’t even be here.” Remember Charlie was an atheist. It certainly never entered his head that God had spoken to him. He thought it was his brother who had spoken, but he couldn’t believe his brother would say those words, and so he asked him, “What did you say?”

“I didn’t say anything. Why?”

“I thought I heard someone say something,” replied Charlie.

Then Charlie happened to glance up at the people sitting there; he was astonished. They all looked like skeletons! That was the point at which Charlie knew that God existed and that He had spoken to him. He then said to his brother, “I’m getting out of here. God has spoken to me.”

“WHAT? Are you crazy? Well, I’m not leaving,” said his brother.

“I am!” Charlie said, and got up and walked out. Charlie’s brother thought that Charlie was not well; that something was wrong with his mind. So he got up and saw him home. Immediately Charlie told his wife (my cousin) what had happened. She had become a Christian (though she wasn’t a Christian during the first years of their marriage). Then she helped him to submit to Jesus as the Lord of his life.

After Charlie related his experience to me, I said to him, “That’s amazing! God has never spoken to me in an audible voice.”

Then he said, “Don, you didn’t need it! In my case, if that hadn’t happened to me, I would NEVER have believed in God. In fact, before that happened, if someone had told me that it happened to him, I would have called him a liar to his face!”


#16

How does this work… you’ve told me plenty of times in the past my position is basically universalism—that has an obvious implication qaz :laughing:


#17

What verse(s) are your belief that we’ll go to heaven based on?


#18

Well my position is universalism, but I disbelieve that anyone will go to heaven at death—for no one exists after death until their resurrection, and that doesn’t occur at death but at the last day.

The apostle John recorded that Jesus said four times (all of them recorded in chapter 6) that He would raise up His people at the last day.

*John 6:39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.
John 6:40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
John 6:54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
*

Also, the “last day” doesn’t refer to the last day of the first covenant when the second was instituted. No one was raised from the dead at that time or near that time except Jesus Himself.


#19

And in case you misread Jesus, his “He is not the God of the dead” is no contradiction but a clarification that the dead do indeed exist, thus not non-existent. Plus Jesus’ “that they rise” is actually in the present tense, i.e., an action in progress… thus suggesting their presence before Him upon death. This would also align with a standard reading of “it is appointed for men to die once, and after this judgment.


#20

Thanks davo. Any other verses or is that the only one?