Wrestling With What If?
There is some VERY strange spiritual stuff in the Bible. Did the people who wrote the Bible think it was this strange too? What was their view of the world? It feels like what we see is obscured as if looking through dim glass (1 Corinthians 13:12). If God wanted us to know everything about the things of the spiritual realm, why didn’t He just have someone write all about it in the Bible?
God didn’t give us the tell-all comprehensive guide to the supernatural, but God’s Word isn’t silent on the subject either. The simplest way to consider these strange details is to ask, “What if?” (Romans 9:22-23). Things are about to get very super not boring!
Wrestle with: If a verse in the Bible seems strange, is it important?
CONTEXT WARNING – Taking Bible verses out of context or singling out verses and quoting them can be VERY dangerous – even The Devil does this – IN THE BIBLE (Matthew 4:5-7; Luke 4:9-12)! But, every verse is taken out of context if you don’t read the larger story. If the Bible is a unified story, then taking even one whole book of the Bible (looking at you Ecclesiastes) and using just that to make a claim would be taking the Bible out of the context of the larger story that reveals and describes who Jesus is and humanity’s need for such a Savior. If ALL of scripture is God’s Word and true, then scripture is going to confirm scripture, one strange verse, or book (Hi Revelation), should not be used to make a claim alone. The goal is not to make the Bible say something it doesn’t, but piece together and make sense of what it does say.
What if God created EVERYTHING?
What we know from scripture: God’s thoughts and ways are not the same as ours (Isaiah 55:8-9).
What if some angels came, took women they wanted, and had kids?
Let’s look in the Bible: Genesis 6:1-4
Wrestle with: Where in the Bible did angels sin?
What if those offspring were quasi-divine beings, bastard spirits from an unholy union, and when their bodies were killed became wandering spirits?
What we know from scripture: Demons are unholy, unclean, impure, evil spirits (Matthew 10:1; Mark 1:26; Luke 4:36, 6:18, 11:26; Acts 5:16, 8:7). Demons can come and go out of a person and they don’t have rest (Matthew 12:43-45).
Wrestle with: Where did the people who wrote the Bible think demons came from? How/Why do demons know who Jesus is? How/Why do demons know what their ultimate fate is?
What if God divided up the nations and assigned angels to rule over them? (God reserved a nation not yet created, Israel, for Himself.)
Wrestle with: How many nations are there? Why would God choose to create a new nation? Why start that nation from one guy, Abraham (Genesis 17:5)?
What if those angels didn’t rule those nations well?
What we know from scripture: Believers will judge angels (1 Corinthians 6:3).
Wrestle with: Why will believers judge angels?
What if The Satan was the ruler of this world? (2 Corinthians 11:14)
Wrestle with: 1 Chronicles 29:11-12 says “everything in heaven and earth” is God’s and He’s “the ruler of all things.” Jesus said before his ascension, “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18). If God had that authority on earth before he gave it to Jesus, wouldn’t God have just given it back to Himself? Either way, we can be sure now the Devil doesn’t have that authority.
What if God, by the Holy Spirit, came to a woman and had a Son?
What we know from scripture: God sent His Son to Earth (Luke 1:35).
Wrestle with: The science doesn’t work.
What if that Son didn’t take the nations from the ruler of this world by bowing down and worshiping him?
What we know from scripture: Jesus didn’t worship anything but God (Matthew 22:37).
Wrestle with: If the nations weren’t the Devil’s to give away, would it be a temptation? Why didn’t Jesus just say to the Devil, “You’re lying.”?
What if that Son instead, sacrificed himself, suffered, and died to make a way for everyone who believes in Him to be forgiven of their sin against God and partner with God?
Wrestle with: Why did Jesus say he was sent only to Israel (Matthew 15:24)? Why did Jesus send the disciples out first to Israel (Matthew 10:5-6)? Why did Jesus send out the 70 (or 72!) to every town and place he was about to go (Luke 10:1)? Why did Jesus say, “Go and make disciples of all nations…” after his resurrection?
What if God’s people will one day judge angels, rule, and reign over the nations in a new Heaven and new Earth?
What we know from scripture: In Eden, God told mankind to rule over the creatures of the sea, sky, and land (Genesis 1:27-28).
Exhausted? That’s A LOT to mentally wrestle with, but probably not as tough as PHYSICALLY wrestling with God (Genesis 32:22-32)! AND, those are just some of the spiritual realm “what ifs” you could consider!
It’s easy to ask, “Does any of this even matter?” Are any of these “what ifs” essential to God’s gift of eternal life? The core of CHRISTianity is Number 7 and Number 9 – belief in the power and person of Jesus. Jesus is the larger story throughout the whole Bible and God’s plan for salvation, that people repent, and turn to Him (Luke 23:39-43). You could die and be in paradise today, but what if Christians missed out on doing the “even greater works” (John 14:12)?
After you catch your breath from all the wrestling, here are some resources to help make sense of what the Bible says about the spiritual realm:
The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible
by Dr. Michael S. Heiser
Angels: What the Bible Really Says About God’s Heavenly Host
by Dr. Michael S. Heiser
Demons: What the Bible Really Says About the Powers of Darkness
by Dr. Michael S. Heiser