The Natural is Spiritual
The ancients were persuaded that the realm of the Spirit intersected with their day-to-day activities. It is easy to dismiss this as brazen superstition. But modern believers shouldn’t be too quick to reject this outlook.
People in the first century understood things that twenty-first century Christians do not readily comprehend.
Compared to today, the ancients’ view of the cosmos was more holistic. They were convinced the spiritual and the natural order were interrelated. For them, there wasn’t a large chasm between the seen and unseen realms.
This perspective is clear in this admonition from the apostle Paul: “It is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual” (1 Corinthians 15:46 ESV).
To Paul, what’s observed in the natural can foreshadow what is arising in the spirit realm. What’s visible enables believers to envision what’s invisible.
Sometimes one can detect what God is up to by simply observing what’s in front of you. A subtle pattern may be indicative of something more.
Some don’t agree with me. Drawing on Romans 13:14, they argue that a believer should “pay no mind to the flesh.” But, in this passage, “flesh” is not a synonym for the natural order. Paul is warning about sin’s corrupting influence, not the human form or other creational realities.
God never asked his sons and daughters to reject human embodiment or insights that come through the senses. Our tendency to ignore the natural order often has more to do with Gnosticism than biblical Christianity.
Scripture reveals that God wants us to see what’s in front of us and learn something of his ways. Spiritual truths can be rooted in creation and the subtleties of human interaction.
Remember the natural is spiritual.