We live in a time and place that is wildly materialist. If it cannot be engaged by the senses then it is immediately thrown into the garbage bin as superstition or pseudo-science. As our culture has scientifically advanced, those who had been actively suppressing the truth by their unrighteousness (Rom 1:18-20) were given a new tool for suppression. That is not to say that science is useless or incompatible with the Christian faith. To be honest, I am convinced that the physical world around us testifies (often through scientific discovery) of the God who intricately created all things, but that is a discussion for another time. Tools can be and often are abused to confirm whatever agenda that is set in the heart of man. As the materialist worldview grew in popularity it began to creep into the church, as culture often does. When culture creeps into the church it, if the church isn’t vigilant, corrupts what it touches. In a recent podcast, we discussed the necessity of being supernaturalist., I wanted to take a brief moment to give a few reasons why I am a supernaturalist and believe in a spiritual realm that the scientific method cannot nor will ever be able to quantify.
First, I am a supernaturalist because scripture reveals that God is Spirit (John 4). It is a fundamental denial of the God of the Bible to deny a Spiritual realm. This reality also points to His transcendence. God is above the physical realm that He created, though He is active and involved in its existence and order (Hebrews 1)., We often refer to this as His immanence (Psalm 145). The God of the Bible is Spirit and is both transcendent and immanent.
Second, I am a Supernaturalist because scripture reveals a very real spiritual realm. Multiple times in the Bible God pulls back the veil and allows men to see these realities. One of the most noticeable is the story of Elisha when the king of Syria was attacking Israel. Elisha amidst this siege was calm and steady. However, Elisha’s servant was filled with fear for he knew they were outnumbered. Elisha then prayed and the Lord opened the eyes of his servant so that he saw the spiritual realm. Immediately he was emboldened for around him he saw a great multitude of angels with chariots of fire. God rarely gives visions like this. Many would say visions like this are normative in our day but throughout redemptive history these moments have been exceedingly rare. God’s intent is not to give us regular revelations of these realities. His intent is clear; it is to remind us of the messengers and servants that are at His disposal to serve His saints. Though we are never given the normative workings of these angelic beings we do know that they do the bidding of the Lord, and we know that His bidding is always good.
Thirdly, I am a supernaturalist because the Bible reveals a supernatural enemy that has been and will be defeated. There is a necessary balance in our understanding of Satan (Isaiah 27:1). He is active in our world, but he is a defeated foe awaiting eternal punishment. Nonetheless, he hisses in our world attacking the children of God as an accuser, a liar, and a tempter (John 8:44, Matthew 4:3, Revelation 12:10). He is a very real foe. But just as a way of warning, he is not our only foe., Tthere are three great enemies of the Christian: Satan, the flesh, and the world. We must remember that Satan is not the only guilty one nor is he the one to blame for all our sin;, our sin is our own. Thankfully if we are in Christ we see each of these great enemies smashed under His almighty heel (John 16:33, John 12:31, Romans 8:1-4).
Lastly, I am a supernaturalist because I am the glad benefactor of the supernatural work of the Spirit of God. This is the reality that I am convinced most Christians overlook. We are a supernatural people because of the work of the Holy Spirit of God. Have you ever noticed how the scripture speaks of the natural man? Carnal, dead, corrupt, dishonorable, and weak are just a few ways the natural man is described. For the sake of contrast, the scripture uses words like holy, honorable, alive, royal, and spiritual to describe the Christian. How do these things come about? It isn’t through fleshly means, it is only through the spiritual work of the Holy Spirit. John 3:1-7 tells us that God gives the new birth by the Spirit of God and only by the Spirit of God. Galatians 4:6-7 tells us that it is by the Spirit that we confess “Abba! Father!” This is indicative of our New Birth into the household of faith. Romans 8:11 reveals to us of the Holy Spirit’s continual work of giving life to our mortal bodies. Brothers and sisters, according to the scriptures, all of the Christian life is spiritual. But it is normatively spiritual. We don’t look for signs and wonders to validate the spirituality of the Christian life or even to validate the existence of the spiritual realm. We look to the normative operations of the Spirit of God giving the New Birth when the Gospel is preached and in empowering the Christian to live faithfully before God.
We are a supernatural people. Unfortunately, the word “supernatural” has been hijacked and thrown around in the gutter of showmanship for so long that it has lost its true vigor. Born again people are supernatural people. A people who aim to worship God who is spirit in spirit and in truth are supernatural people. A people who see three very real enemies defeated by the Cross of Christ are supernatural people.