Updated: May 15
Have you ever had a supernatural encounter?
Seen a ghost, spirit, angel, demon, or some other unexplained episode?
In one study 60% said they did. A similar study said 18% claimed this. Masses in every nation and century have said the same thing.
Including me. Here's my story.
It was just another day in Las Vegas, Nevada. I was six, in Kindergarten, dressed up and ready to go to school. All I needed was to get my lunch together, so I was in the kitchen putting snacks in a paper bag.
Then I looked to my right into our living room and saw something that permanently branded itself into me. Something that haunted me for years.
It was a very tall, dark, human-like figure with red eyes treading its way from the back wall in a slow, jogging-like motion, with its head facing my direction and its blank, fiery eyes focused on me. I felt a panic that seemed to paralyze me.
Yet I couldn’t look away.
One of the most bizarre details that still stands out to me was the general way it looked.
There was nothing light-colored on it, except its eyes. It was dark. But it wasn’t just like a blank canvas of blackness. It almost looked like it was wearing loose clothing, like a dark multi-layered robe that was flowing around as it swayed about.
Here's the other thing.
Have you ever seen asphalt in the summer? Or looked above a flame on a grill or fire?
The air over the heat looks wavy, almost like looking through flowing water. That’s how it looked, creating a uniform effect of waviness over the uniform darkness.
It sounds like something out of Spawn comic book or “The Ghostbusters”, but it was real for me.
As I stared at it—no doubt with huge terror-filled eyes and a gaping mouth, it continued to slowly creep its way across the living room until the kitchen wall blocked my view.
Where did it go?!
I ran to the opposite side of the kitchen where there was an opening to the other side of the living room. And there it was. Immediately in front of me, no more than a couple feet away, standing over me like a towering nightmare.
It looked down at me as I stared back. Then it turned to continue its trek until it moved out of my sight. I raced around the kitchen to look down the hallway it seemed to go down, but there was nothing.
It vanished like a vapor. And I never saw it again.
It may sound unbelievable or made up, but it had a profound effect in my early life. I spent a lot of time scared of being inside buildings alone or in dark rooms.
When I became close friends with somebody as a kid, as we naturally swapped stories, unraveling our lives for one another, I would eventually tell them this one.
To prove that I wasn’t lying, I would put their hand on my thumping chest so they could feel my racing heart as evidence of my authentic fear. It was proof—as much as I could conjure—that what happened to me was real.
What was it?
That all depends on who you ask, but the answers fall into two main categories: natural and supernatural.
Some people say it was my imagination manifesting my own negative experiences, some unexplained physical phenomena (like electromagnetic fields), or that it was a stress-induced hallucination.
This is the natural response. Others say it was something from the supernatural realm, like a ghost, spirit, demon, or UFO (which I put in the same category).
As many of you know, these encounters are not uncommon.
The figure I saw is popular enough to have a name: the shadow people, that millions claimed to see in a variety of shapes—sometimes wearing a hat, or without a robe, with yellow eyes, or no eyes, but they share many of the same features:
A dark, tall, alarming humanoid
Appears out of nowhere
Visible for a moment
Invokes intense dread
Disappears into nowhere
Is this mass hysteria, or something else? Science, of course, has told people that it’s something natural like a hallucination. But that could change.
What if science verified these encounters as supernatural realities?
The Bible has long had surprising things to say about this topic, but now science does too.
After looking into one particular field of science, then comparing it with the Biblical data, we may have a new way of looking at:
The location of heaven
The habitat of spiritual beings
What ghosts and UFOs (if real) might be
How miracles are possible
What the afterlife is like
This could change how Christians see science, how science sees the supernatural, and how all of us see the world.
It’s function in this article is to start a discussion that leads into a peculiar theology.
Christianity and Physics
It’s wrong how science and Christianity got divorced, then both ordered restraining orders against each other, because historically, they were happily married.
After all, isn’t the world science examines the same world that the Bible says reveals the beauty of the Creator (see Romans 1:18 and Psalm 19)?
Now, too many Christians are suspicious that science is the enemy of Biblical truth, while too many scientists see Christians as enemies of scientific progress.
Many early scientists had Biblical perspectives though.
In fact, it was this supernatural perspective that drove their science:
Hildegard of Bingen (she helped found scientific natural history)
And countless others
These scientists were compelled to probe deeply into the nature of our universe because of their Biblical cues (to various degrees).
The deeper they probed, the more hidden beauty they discovered, like finding easter eggs planted by our Creator.
They deduced that if the universe was designed by a benevolent divinity, making it like a watch made just for us, then, like a watch, its gears could be dissected to reveal hidden layers of design—just for us.
Nature is like God’s technology, and scientists are appointed (by their curiosity and personalities) to dissect it and unearth its buried beauty—for us all.
Of special note is the most prestigious scientific brain to come out of the Scientific Revolution.
Isaac Newton was brilliantly amazing and amazingly brilliant. Consider that he:
Built the first decent telescope
Lived in the 17th century
Wrote about Christ’s return
Was a physicist and a mathematician
Was an astronomer and a theologian
Was the first to calculate the speed of sound
Radically advanced our understanding of light and gravity
Practically created classical physics and calculus
Dominated the realm of physics until Einstein
And he was a Christian
Newton peeled back layers of reality, uncovering the secrets of light, math, gravity, sound, and stars.
The more layers he penetrated into, the more easter eggs he found.
When Einstein arrived, he was convinced that Newton left some rocks unturned, so he also devoted himself to digging back further layers of light and gravity.
He was obsessed with the idea of light, but he also had a peculiar habit of conducting thought experiments, such as the idea of racing a beam of light.
Who does this?
One time he was riding in a boxcar staring out the window at a clock tower, and he imagined what it would be like if the boxcar traveled away from the clock at the speed of light.
The clock would appear to be frozen in time, he concluded, because the light beams from it wouldn’t be able to catch up to the boxcar.
This ultimately resulted in the theory of relativity, which, to simplify for our purposes, insists that space and time are the same physical material, which warps according to the amount of mass, or gravity, affecting it.
Time and space are a physical fabric? That’s revolutionary. It also meant that time could be bent and warped by gravity.
Another layer of glory!
Einstein’s physics expanded and altered the image of the universe suggested by Newtonian physics, exposing more majesty tucked inside light and gravity that was there all along.
This led future physicists to discover even more, showing that Einstein was just scratching the surface.
Soon, Einstein’s theories would not only be proven true, but they would themselves be expanded by the next movement in physics, unearthing what is literally unimaginable glory.
The Magical World of Quantum Mechanics
Now that the Scientific revolution has set physics into motion (punny), scientists of all worldviews (even ones without a Creator-God) have been drawn to the glimmering glory of the Creator's project.
They may ignore the person behind it, but they can’t resist its charm or deny its god-like excellence, and they may deny their Creator, but he still uses them to show the world his masterpieces—for us all to enjoy.
This is no-less true about the advancements in physics, leading to quantum physics, which may have found physical validation for an ancient perspective that’s assumed throughout the Bible.
As physics describes the movement of matter (now you get the pun), so quantum physics focuses on the movement of subatomic matter.
This is in the quantum field, and it’s more than a theory. Much of modern technology depends on it. It’s so accurate that it’s like “predicting the distance between New York and Los Angeles to the width of a hair”, said physicist Richard Feynman.
The quantum realm deals with the smallest matter we know of.
All matter is composed of chemicals.
And these are made up of molecules.
Which are made up of atoms.
Which are made up of neutrons, protons, and electrons.
This is the quantum field.
The parts inside these particles—quarks—are really small, like two-thousand times smaller than a proton, which is already pretty small.
But there are wildly more freakish surprises hidden for us in the quantum layer, and they may validate several thousand-year-old perspectives—perspectives, mind you, that the previous age of physics "proved" wrong.
First, the particles in this realm work outside the laws of (our) physics.
Particles in the quantum layer:
Exist as possibilities and certainties
Are particles and waves
Can be in multiple places at once
Can be without a location at all
Are affected by being observed
Can be identical with particles at a distance
From our brain cells to binary star systems, all matter in the universe is made of this, which is more than finding an easter egg.
It’s more like finding out that we’ve been inside an easter egg all along. It's worldview-altering.
Notice how these particles break the rules. They don’t have a specific location, so they're like a collection of probable and potential locations, that is, until they’re observed—this functions unlike anything in the known universe.
If regular physics operate like the rules of a computer program, then quantum physics is like the rules of a dream: subjective, random, and hard to predict.
Quantum mechanics seem to obey no laws, which just means they obey laws outside our reach (and our realm!).
The implications of these discoveries resulted in a theory that has physicist convinced that there may be a hidden world overlapping with our world—which is precisely how the Hebrews and early Christians saw things.
And there are plenty more similarities between these two perspectives that we'll get to.
Extra Dimensions Discovered
The quantum realm has challenged scientists' understanding of physics, including Einstein's.
It demanded new theories for how the universe works that can explain relativity (how gravity works), but also account for the strange behavior in the quantum realm, not to mention the behavior of electromagnetism and black holes.
One of these solutions leads to extra dimensions.
We’re familiar with the four dimensions we live in:
But the most cutting-edge physicists claim that the latest math and research point to “a different number of dimensions of space from what we see around us”, says physicist Sean Carroll.
This is through a cluster of theories called string theory.
While some versions of string theory point to multiverses or microscopic dimensions curled up inside subatomic particles, others predict extra, higher dimensions—the kind that could hide a whole other world alongside our own, possibly with unidentified species within it.
Is this real? It appears so.
Is this really that hard to believe?
Humans have known about invisible forces since the first experience of wind and gravity, but it was the discovery of newer anomalies that lead to theories of hidden dimensions—like electricity, magnetism, radiation, microwaves, and x-rays.
Physical proof of extra dimensions is a bit tricky though, sort of like proof for supernatural phenomena (and this isn’t a coincidence as we’ll soon see).
But this isn’t bad. It’s expected.
Scientific evidence is based on empirical research: observations made by our five senses, which are, apart from special technology, restricted to the four dimensions we live in.
Nevertheless, many top physicists of the past century believe in higher dimensions, including Einstein, who “became one of the strongest champions of hidden spatial dimensions (Brian Greene, The Hidden Reality, pg. 101).
And the reasons physicists entertain the theory of ultra-dimensions is riveting.
First, the math points to it, which shouldn’t be underappreciated when we consider that black holes, atomic energy, and gravity all started out as mathematical theories.
Second, the theories used to explain the strange behavior of quantum particles, particularly string theory, also lead to this conclusion.
And if higher dimensions exist, so the argument goes, it makes sense out of quantum riddles.
Why quantum mechanics looks random and impossible
Why black holes emit radiation and atrophy
The existence of dark matter and other outer space mysteries
How gravity, electromagnetism, and quantum behavior coexist
There’s enough evidence to convince the most advanced physicists, so if you want more information, go to them.
But our trail turns here to go down the path of extra dimensions. Here, we will see what they are like, then (in the next article) compare them with the strange universe of the Bible.
This will serve as a launching pad into a new series about temple theology!
I am passionate about this Biblical theme, as it is the topic of my dissertation research. I believe it radically enhances a person's understanding of:
How to read the Bible
How to see the Bible
How to see Christianity
How to see the universe
And of course, how to see God's plan for the world through Jesus
There is unimaginable beauty hidden down this trail.
What Are Higher Dimensions Like?
It’s hard for us to imagine higher dimensions, sort of like a fish trying to imagine the water that surrounds it, or the concept of waterless air.
It's also similar to a two-dimensional being trying to imagine a three-dimensional world.
Actually, this is exactly how one 19th century author popularized the idea of higher dimensions. In his novel, Flatland, he tells about a 2-D being, a square, who lives in a 2-D world, like a computer screen.
This square makes contact with a 3-D being, a sphere, and each one tries to understand the other’s perspective in their peculiar dimension.
While the sphere could understand the flat world of the square, the Flatlanders just couldn’t grasp a 3-D universe.
Imagine that you were trying to explain what a sphere was to a 2-D being. What could you say?
Every time you mention a sphere, they picture a flat circle.
So, you try to put a ball in their dimension: you place it on the surface of their realm, and then you ask them, “What did you see?”
They say, “We see a small circle that appeared out of nowhere.”
Like the shadow people?
You push the ball into their dimension until it’s halfway in and ask them the same question. They reply, “We saw the circle get bigger and bigger.”
You remove the ball from their dimension, to which they say, “We saw the large circle get smaller until it miraculously disappeared into nowhere.” Like descriptions of supernatural encounters.
From the perspective of the square, the ball looked flat while it was in their dimension, but when the ball was lifted out of their dimension, it seemed to disappear, which looked supernatural or magical to them.
This thought experiment implies a few things:
It’s difficult for lower dimensional beings to imagine higher dimensions
Lower dimensional beings cannot interact with higher dimensions
Lower dimensional beings cannot see into higher dimensions
Higher dimensional beings can interact with lower dimensions
Higher dimensional beings can see into lower dimensions
Do you know what this means?
If this correlation is correct, and if there are higher dimensions, we won’t be able to easily imagine them, interact with them, or even see them—including any creatures living inside them.
But if there are beings in these higher dimensions, and if this really is how the cosmos are designed, they should be able to see into and interact with our dimension in mysterious ways.
When they do engage with our realm, it would appear contrary to the laws of physics as we experience them; it would appear unexplainable; it would appear magical or supernatural.
If true, the implications could be like an atomic bomb.
Why This Matters
It could give Christians and scientists a new way to think about:
And all supernatural claims
But there's something much more important than giving intellectual credence to Christianity (as if science is an ultimate, unchanging authority).
This isn't about proving the validity of the Bible with science, but about proving the validity of this higher dimensional theory in science, because of the inspired cosmology of the Bible.
In other words, what this series will explore is the Biblical evidence for temple theology in the Bible, its prominent influence on Jesus’s perspective, and its importance to Christianity.
And temple theology is built on the assumption that a higher dimension overlaps our own.
As the power hidden inside microscopic atoms can level a city, so the power of this connection, and all its implications, has great potential.