By Reverend Mark Hunnemann
"Turn fuzzy and dull into clear and bright..... no matter what conditions you are in, you will see clearer." Such are the words advertising some "night-glasses" in an email I received today. This reminds me of the purpose of pursuing a biblical worldview. A worldview is the framework from which we view reality and make sense of life and the world. The more your worldview beliefs align with the Word of God, the more the distortions, fuzziness, and dullness in your perception of reality will give way to a clearer and brighter perception of reality AS IT REALLY IS! A worldview is like spectacles through which we view God, the universe, and our relationship to both. Clear and bright spectacles which illumines the entire landscape.
We live in a post-Christian culture...one in which there has been a radical paradigm shift, which is just another way of saying that our culture has experienced a radical change at the worldview level. George Barna discovered through polls that very few bible-believing Christians have even an inkling of a biblical worldview. What we are doing in this series is extremely important and will equip you with a tool for discernment that very few pastors have. This series can and should change your life...and I find that exciting!
Last time I mentioned that our beliefs about God (Ultimate Reality) is by far the most crucial aspect of our worldview...it effects everything else. Let me put it this way: suppose there is a house in which there is extreme paranormal activity. Two people investigate, at different times,this "paranormally alive" house. They see basically the same phenomena but one believes FIRMLY that Ultimate Reality is the God of the bible, and the other believes that Ultimate Reality is matter/energy. As Thomas Kuhn pointed out in his ground-breaking book, "The Structure off Scientific Revolution" (1962)....how one CONCEIVES reality will affect how they PERCEIVE that reality. According to Kuhn (and Scripture) these two investigators are steeped in two radically different theories of reality, which will cause them to view the same phenomena differently...THEY WILL SEE DIFFERENTLY. If this is not taken into consideration, the two investigators (and us) will end up talking past each other. In addition, the two will have radically different expectations of what they will encounter once inside.
One way of summarizing the bible is thus--the OT teaches that God (Yahweh) is Lord, and the NT teaches that Jesus is Lord. Since the nature of God is so crucial to laying the foundation for a biblical worldview, let us look at THREE LORDSHIP ATTRIBUTES. (control, authority, and presence). When we say that God/Jesus is Lord, these three attributes help us to understand the richness of what that pregnant phrase means...."Jesus is Lord!"
God is Lord--control. The bible sees God as Absolute or Infinite Personality. His tri-personality sets Him apart from other false monotheistic religions. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have been in loving communication for backwards eternity, and will be forever. Hence, God did not need to create due to lonliness. But the Trinity is absolutely sovereign over every molecule in His cosmos...the Earth being the palace of the Great King.
He has sovereignly decreed everything that has occurred and is in control of all things.. (Eph.1:11; Acts 17:26) We cannot break His sovereign will (which is enshrouded in mystery) but we can and do break His moral and affective will all the time.
God is so much in absolute control that He can bend the wicked actions of wicked men (or demons) to accomplish His will. The most obscene, unjust, and evil act in history was the murder of the sinless Lord Jesus, and yet the Lord used it to bring about the most wondrous display of His love and holiness. "...this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men."(Acts 2:23; cf 4:27-28) His control establishes human responsibility...Astronomers estimate that there are 10 billion trillion stars in the universe. In Isaiah 40:25-26 the Lord is said to have created every one and has a name for each.."...because of the greatness of His might not one is missing." Behold your God!
God has infinite power and knowledge. He controls and sustains every inch of the natural and the supernatural realms.(Col. 1:16-17) From the smallest sub-atomic particle to the nations and entire universe, God ordained from all eternity all the has or will occur. If He merely "permitted" some things, then He could not deliver on Romans 8:28. In SOME SENSE God is in control of everything. Every thought of Satan was decreed from eternity past...just as the Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world. The Lord is particularly concerned that we know that He created the heavens and the earth, and is in control of the flow of human history--which can be summarized...Creation--Fall--Redemption. God is infinitely more powerful than Satan and in absolute control over his every action. He is a consuming fire....Our God reigns!
Lordship as authority--when Jesus ascended and sat down at the right hand of the Father, He did not sit in a lounge chair; He sits upon the throne. As Lord, that means He has full authority over all aspects of His creation. In what we call the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus says, "All authority in heaven and earth has been given to Me...." His Person to person communication in the bible has divine authority that creates absolute ethical obligation in us. His Word has normative authority, which must be recognized by individuals and nations alike (Psalms 1, 2). We prevail over the demonic in Jesus' name because He is the Divine Messiah who wrought our redemption in order that the captives might be set free. Darkness flees from the name of Jesus because His name entails all of who Jesus IS and DID. Behold your God!
Lordship as presence--the movement of the drama of redemption is towards "dancing Adam's steps backwards." (Rom. 5; 1 Cor.15) As Adam walked with the Lord in the Garden, the goal of redemption was Immanuel--God with us. In the Incarnation, God the Son took on our humanity, forever. To say that God is Lord, means that He dwells intimately with us.In the same text regarding the Great Commission, Jesus tell us, "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." The Holy Spirit indwells all true believers. As His beloved sons and daughters, He has promised to never leave or forsake us. (Heb. 13:5) In heaven we shall see Him face-to-face, and all tears shall be wiped away. Behold your God!
What does God as Lord mean for our understanding of the paranormal and "trapped spirits"? Consider our two investigators. The one with a worldview with matter/energy as Ultimate Reality will expect to see "residual energy" displays as well as intelligent human spirits. With his blurred glasses, that is precisely what he will "see". (what we conceive is what we will perceive) However, the investigator who fears the Lord, will know that "residual energy" is utterly repugnant to God's laws of science (please see my series on this topic), and his clear spectacles will enable him to discern the presence of supernatural evil in the form of demons mimicking the dead. He will know that the notion of trapped spirits does violence to a biblical worldview in a thousand different ways. It vandalizes the control, authority, and presence of the Lord, and diminishes the perfection of the singular honor and dignity of the Person and Work of Christ.
He will know that Jesus is Lord--His power, authority, and presence. The notion of trapped spirits is an insult and dishonoring to the absolute control of God over all His creation. His authority, as expressed in His normative Word, commands him not to attempt necromancy..and to realize that all supernatural events are not from God. Lastly, the Lordship of God in His presence, reminds this investigator that God is our ultimate environment, and not a host of foul spirits. Wherever he goes, God IS...and in Jesus name, the miserable shadow figures shrink back into the shadows. This investigator realizes that God is God....that Jesus is Lord in His control, authority, and presence. He is comforted and emboldened by the fact that God is nearer and dearer to us than our own breath.