#388: Fingerprints: Supernatural Senses

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Reflections by the Pond
March 30, 2009

Supernatural Senses

"The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things."

Acts 17:24-25

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There is nothing in our world that God does not know, nothing about which He is unfamiliar, because there is nothing in our world that God did not create. Thus, since He created it, everything in our world bears His fingerprints.

In the early eighteenth century, Antonio Stradivari created stringed instruments of unsurpassed quality—violins, violas and cellos that are still considered the finest stringed instruments around. An accomplished musician, such as the renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman, can hear and feel the tonal quality of a Stradivarius without even checking for the name of the manufacturer printed inside. The exquisite instrument itself bears the fingerprint—in this case, the sound—of the master craftsman. Likewise, the spiritual person sees God all around him, because everything bears His mark—the fingerprint of the Creator.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

Romans 1:20

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What is a "spiritual" person? Is it just a Christian, an individual who has identified himself with the risen Lord Jesus? Or is it someone who communes with the invisible spirit-world, someone whose feet rarely touch down upon the gritty soil of terra firma (or, in the language of the seventies, a "space cadet")?

In this context, a spiritual person is one who has stepped beyond the barest essentials of Christendom—one who has embraced Kingdom living in the here and now, instead of deferring it until the hereafter. Every believer has the Spirit dwelling inside; every believer has been converted from a flesh-only being to a spirit/flesh being. But that involuntary implanting of the Holy Spirit at conversion does not ensure that the believer will then live a spiritual life. One can have the Spirit living within and still remain happily oblivious to the richness of life He offers.

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

Romans 8:11-14

The supernatural senses of the Holy Spirit are key to our ability to sense and identify God around us. Without the hearing of the Spirit we could not hear God's voice in the wind. Without the eyesight of the Spirit we could not see His creative hand in the world about us. Without the touch of the Spirit we could not feel the presence of God in our life. Without the voice of the Spirit we could not express our thanksgiving and praise.

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God—that is, God as represented by any member of the Tri-unity of the Godhead—is an active participant in our lives. To imagine that one meets God only during weekly, corporate worship is a little like imagining that one is only bound by one's marriage vows once a year during the anniversary celebration; the rest of the year one is free to disregard the commitment to, or even the presence of, the marital partner.

We are free to disregard the signs of Him, but we do so by our own choice—and at our own risk. God has spread Himself around so liberally that we have no excuse not to discover Him. He is in the breeze that cools us in the midst of summer heat. He is in the soft cooing of the baby, pleasant and content within its mother's arms. He is in the rhythmic lapping of small waves on the shore of the mountain lake, and the burbling song of the stream traveling over and around water-smoothed boulders. He is found in the shared intimacies of old friends over a weathered picket fence. He is found in the crushing, incessant noise of the city, as well as in the bucolic stillness of the country glen.

God is near us in every tragedy and joy, every sorrow and ecstasy. His life surrounds our own, holding us up, nurturing, coaxing, chastising and encouraging. He is there when we are aware of Him, and He is there when we are not.

More than just a reassuring comfort, His presence actually describes God to us. He has left His fingerprint on everything about us—not just so that we would know that He is there, but that we might come to understand who is there. It is God's nature, His personality, His very essence that is there for the possessing, and we will remain something less than what we could be, until we avail ourselves of that knowledge.

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As the soul does not live idly in the body, but gives motion and vigour to every member and part, so the Spirit of God cannot dwell in us without manifesting Himself by the outward effects.

John Calvin

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Open my ears, that I may hear
Voices of truth Thou sendest clear;
And while the wave-notes fall on my ear,
Everything false will disappear.

Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready, my God, Thy will to see;
Open my ears, illumine me,
Spirit divine!

Clara H. Scott