Viewpoint of Mark Cadwallader, Creation Moments Board Chairman
That evening he had a most blessed and wonderful experience!
Mathematician and scientist Blaise Pascal, who had been a child prodigy but was at the time poor and alone, wrote this report, quoted here in part:
“The year of grace 1654, Monday 23 November… From about half past 10 at night until half past midnight, FIRE. GOD of Abraham, GOD of Isaac, GOD of Jacob… Certitude. Certitude. Feeling. Joy. Peace. GOD of Jesus Christ. My God and your God. Forgetfulness of the world and of everything, except GOD… Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy. I have departed from him… Let me not be separated from him forever. This is eternal life, that they know you, the one true God, and the one that you sent, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ… Complete submission to Jesus Christ… Eternally in joy for a day’s exercise on the earth. May I not forget your words. Amen.”
Pascal is famous today for inventions like mechanical calculators, the hydraulic press and the syringe, and for treatises advancing geometry, probability theory, physics, logic, Christian theology and apologetics. In this case, no treatise could be composed – the experience was truly beyond words. But he wanted to preserve the memory of that two-hour personal encounter with his Maker and Redeemer, so he sewed the paper with his observations on the inside of his coat. It was discovered only after his death.
What the great intellect realized is that knowing God is more than thinking defined by language. There is experience – through faith and prayer and worship not limited by human capacity, understanding, or history. That’s because “God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).
And our spirit connects with body and soul (Hebrews 4:12). So there is available to us an experience of God and His Word which affects us holistically – body, soul and spirit. It reaches our spirit and generates emotion – “feeling, joy, peace”, as Pascal noted. Or, as the apostle Peter put it, “…joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8).
Human “experience”, we know now from the chemical workings of the human body, means that our flesh and blood are engaged also. “Experience” means the biochemical release of hormones – hormones connected with our emotions which are influenced by our thoughts, perceptions and attitudes. God’s Spirit influences these perceptions, and other spirits do as well. These others we need to be wary of and able to fend off with spiritual warfare and armor (Ephesians 6).
Consider for example, “the spirit of fear”, which, the Bible says, “God has not given us” (2 Timothy 1:7). Instead, the scripture goes on to say the Spirit given by God is one “of power and of love and of a sound mind”.
The spirit of fear releases biochemical hormones from the adrenal glands. They include the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Long-term continued fear and anxiety can lead to a hormonal drip and to frustration, feelings of powerlessness and anger, which keep the body keyed up. This is not healthy. The spirit of fear is a tool/agent of the devil. And it has a power over us if we allow it … or feed it.
Fear-mongering is a tactic of our spiritual adversary which we’ve discussed before in these letters, and it is something to be aware of in this present outbreak of coronavirus – the epidemic from China which has now spread throughout the world, causing a great deal of panic.
There are also biochemical hormones triggered by love, joy and peace – which would have been released during Pascal’s experience of encountering God. These include oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine – from various glands and organs in our bodies. It makes sense that as we abide in God’s love and relationship with Jesus Christ through prayer, worship and meditating on His Word, that we would have a hormonal drip of these feel-good hormones, enabling us to regularly experience these “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22).
The Bible says we are more than just material matter. Our minds and hearts go beyond biochemistry – but our biochemistry is stirred up by the experience of spiritual phenomena. God created us with flesh and blood and hormones which are activated as we learn to enjoy and obey and love and abide in him! We have been made/created to experience Him – His love, His joy and His peace in an unimaginably glorious way which will be fully realized in Glory! And if we submit to God in faith, He infuses us with His light and truth as well as the fruit of His Spirit.
We’ve discussed previously how material things resolve at their most fundamental level into space and energy/vibration. This seems to be the limits that science can take us to – and it is in a direction from the very material to the very immaterial, pointing toward a spiritual reality that is at the root of all things.
Spiritual life indeed infuses the written and living Word of God – “…in Him was life (zoe); and the life (zoe) was the light of men” (John 1:4). Spiritual life is in Christ, and He reaches out to us with Divine Radiance that infuses our spirits and revives and transforms us. Blaise Pascal called it FIRE – in his remark describing his encounter that night in 1654.
Our Marvelous Creator and Supernatural Personality reaches out to us in His wondrous reconciliation through Jesus Christ like the sun reaching us with its rays of sunshine. God’s wondrous energy and illumination for spiritual life seeks us out in an everlasting flow from the very essence of God. As Pascal discovered, theology is more than an idea that captures the mind, but it is the revelation of God which advances the mind beyond the thought to a higher reality through faith and worship of the living God.
As we approach that most blessed of all days – called Easter by some and Resurrection Day by others – we pray that you and your family experience the supernatural peace of God that comes from keeping our eyes on Jesus and telling others about the glorious gospel of Christ. “HE IS RISEN!” we joyfully proclaim! “HE IS RISEN INDEED!”
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