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A Supernatural Beyond Sacred and Secular

December 12, 2013

The word “supernatural” is almost universally tied to a religious worldview. Regardless of whether one affirms the supernatural or denies it, the term seems inextricably and necessarily connected with some belief in higher powers. Interestingly however this religious definition of the supernatural is almost concerned only with the purely natural realm. For instance, miracles are ascribed to physical occurrences like a resuscitation of someone who was dead or the feeding of a vast crowd with a few loaves of bread and a handful of fish.

In contrast, there is a different way of approaching the supernatural: one that doesn’t see it as describing a change in the natural realm, but rather as describing a change in how we interact with the natural realm (hence super-natural). This is a view of the supernatural that can be affirmed by the theist and the atheist alike. Here a miracle isn’t directly encountered in being able to raise someone from the dead or in feeding a vast crowd of strangers with crumbs (amazing as these acts would be). Rather it is indirectly glimpsed in that change in our life when we judge a person’s life worthy of being brought back to life, or when discover a compassion that makes us believe a crowd of total strangers should be fed. It is then testified to in that moment when we come to believe that life has a depth dimension worth living for. A depth dimension worth dying for.

This is something I explore in my (almost completely unknown) book The Fidelity of Betrayal.

Supernatural

3 Responses to A Supernatural Beyond Sacred and Secular

  1. SW says:

    Tx for posting. Inspires me to pick it up again.

  2. David says:

    Hi Peter, I really love your work and am gleaning so much from your ministry. Interesting and provoking thoughts on your definition in the article on the supernatural. Whilst I’m enjoying your slant I personally still feel that the natural dynamic of the supernatural is still pertinent (though obviously not the whole story as many proclaim). As a post penetecostal Charismatic I can not deny physically seeing people receive healing miracles in front of me (blind eyes opened, children born deaf hearing instantly after prayer, even a lady shrinking several dress sizes as she was healed of a thiorid condition). I’m not a revival hunter and actually believe that much distraction and confusion exists in the parts of the church that tend to champion and chase after this phenomena. I guess I’m just saying that your article helps to enlarge my framework for the supernatural rather than inspiring me to replace one angle over another! Thanks

  3. Sharon peters says:

    Tx peter for comming to the surface in this terror of a time w/a fresh unafraid speaking abt what you think and what is important to you. You get a lot of flac fr the Turf warlords and I have benifited fr the exposure of everyones madness. It seems to me that another word for Conditioning might be addiction to mind games and the big winners are best skilled at rearranging the deck chairs (on the Titanic )

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