Monday, 3 October 2005

A spirit world?

Recently I heard a sermon on the closing chapters of the book of Daniel. On the basis of Dan. 10:20, the preacher declared very emphatically that there is “a real spirit world” in which spiritual beings are at war with one another.

Should Christians really affirm the existence of a “spirit world”? Is such a concept even intelligible? Is it theologically justifiable?

In the case of this particular sermon, I found myself wondering whether such a literalistic interpretation of Dan. 10 rested on a basic misunderstanding of the apocalyptic genre. Do any of my apocalyptically-informed readers wish to comment?

3 Comments:

Ken said...

That depends how it is defined... but there's no question that the Bible affirms the existence of celestial beings besides God and Satan... and from a purely anecdotal standpoint (and I'm not talking about ghost stories but much more significant things), it seems a very real phenomenon. Many missionaries, in particular, often have an experience that confirms this in their minds.

Ken said...

I should clarify though that Dan 10 wouldn't be my first choice for a biblical passage in support of this.

eddie said...

As far as I can tell, the book that deals with this most exhaustively is Gregory Boyds, God at War. REading through some of the arguments in Satan and the Problem of Evil, where he summarises some of the earlier book, I had doubts whether he was appreciating the language used in the Psalms and Daniel. But its something I havnt really looked into.

I've done some reasearch into apocalyptic literature, but not enough to be of help.

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