Spirit Basics 101
"Millions of spiritual creatures walk the Earth, Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep . . . What if earth and heaven be to each other like, More than on earth is thought?" --Milton
Popular Culture and Spirit Basics
Popular culture's attention to spirits and the spirit world has largely remained merely as a curiosity or as an article of sensationalism. But spirits and the spirit world are not to be reckoned as a mere parlor game of pranks, slight of hand, and so on, much in the way that Harry Houdini attempted to debunk spirit communication during the early 1900s. Pop culture has a very poor understanding of spirit basics, mainly because a large portion of this culture sees spirits and a spirit world as either items of religious heresy or else as out-and-out fraud.
This website is obligated to popular culture's education on spirit basics while providing a window through which to view a deeper picture and meaning of spirits and the spirit world. The highest and most pure understanding of spirit basics pivots on God and Christ, the source of the holy spirits, and not on modern Christianity, the source of man-made theologies and narratives. Popular culture has not yet caught up with this purest understanding of spirit basics. The Allan Kardec books of the mid 1800s, The Spirits' Book and The Book on Mediums, might serve as starting points. A more recent popular work appears in the Complete Idiot's Guide series of books, Rita S. Berkowitz and Deborah S. Romaine, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Communicating with Spirits (New York, NY: Alpha Books, 2003). But Christ's Christianity can be found in only one book of the twentieth century, Johannes Greber, Communication with the Spirit World (see Home page). It is from here and from the Bible that "Spirit Basics 101" derives its impetus.
Theological ideas about spirits (and much else) are a "jungle of words."
"Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true" --Francis Bacon (1561-1626).
Complete the sentence: "The Bible is _________________________." This is a trick. There is no such thing as "the" Bible. If you complete this sentence, then you will have told a lie. The lie is built into the sentence itself, in a similar way to the trick question, "Do you still beat your wife?"
Do you mean the Authorized King James version? How can one Bible be 100% literal and yet there be talk about various versions of it? Different versions are actually different translations that support different theologies. For instance, in Romans 9:5 in the New International Version (NIV), Christ is called "God," but in the New American Bible (NAB) version of this same verse, Christ is not God, all because of the difference between a comma in the NIV and a period in the NAB. But there was no punctuation in first-century Koine Greek.
If we are to make any claim about "the" Bible, then we must at least specify which Bible we are talking about and which translation to which the claim applies.
Some people might respond by saying that yes, the translations do vary a bit here and there, but "the" Bible is inerrant, that is, 100% without error of any kind in the original manuscripts. Very well, BUT there are no original manuscripts. Therefore, this approach for attempting authentication is without merit.
Titles, Words, and Meanings
The titles "Lord," "God," "Son of God," and "King of the Jews" were assumed by quite a few people in antiquity. Moses was called "God" in Exodus 4:17 ('elohim in Hebrew). The titles "Lord" and "God" were assumed by Roman Caesars. The title "Son of God" was used of Roman rulers as well. Emperor Titus Flavius assumed the title "King of the Jews." There were other alleged prophets named "Jesus" during the first century. The identity of Jesus as "God" in John 1:1 and John 20:28 does not mean that he was in fact God Almighty. It was simply used to indicate the divine status of Jesus' mission and to identify him as the one to whom Christians revered as their "Lord." In John 10:34-36, Jesus is reported to have quoted from Psalm 82:6 in order to defend himself against the charge of blasphemy by using the title "son of God" for himself: "Is it not written in your law, 'I say that you are gods?' . . . . so why do you accuse me of blasphemy if I say that I am a son of God?" His point was that "god" had been used in the past for human beings and this usage of "god" for humans even appears in the Psalms, in "the law."
Humans are "gods", that is, humans are "spirits." The manifestation of Samuel's spirit form in 1 Samuel 28 is called by the Hebrew word, "elohim" or "god." Synonyms for "spirit" are the following: ghost, apparition, phantom, angel, spook, god, demon, devil, etcetera. The word "angel" means "agent." The word "agent" does not tell us what kind of being or entity the agent is. Other words have the same property such as "mother," "worker," "relative," and others. They aren't necessarily even the same species. If the angel is from heaven it is an agent, but it is a spirit agent: ". . . angels are ministering spirits . . ." (Hebrews 1:14).
In the New Testament, "spiritual body" literally means the body of a spirit. Thus, spirits have bodies. Synonyms for "spiritual body" are the following: celestial body, glorified body, resurrection body, etheric body, light body, astral body. But not "heavenly body," for that is a star, or planet, or comet, but not the body of a spirit. There is no evidence that spirits are shapeless, formless, bodiless, minds floating around in a white, glowing, nebulous vapor. Spirit bodies are necessarily composed of matter in a different state, i.e., in a different phase, or better, in a different "quantum level." Spirit bodies are real and solid to them in their dimension of space-time (quantum level) but not visible (tangible, perceptible) to us.
Spirits have all of the same senses as we have. Spirits have the same external and internal body parts that we have; the physical body is grown over the spirit body as a building is constructed over a blueprint. Spirits are male and female. Gender exists. Mother Mary is still female. Jesus is still male. Nobody has been neutered. Answer, then, this question: "Where do baby angels come from?"
Spirits do not know everything. They even might "know no thing" as we see in Ecclesiastes, "the dead know nothing," i.e., the spirits "divorced" from God. Even undescended spirit (= angels) are not omniscient, for even God cannot always rely on them (Job 4:18; 15:14). Animals are spirits, too, as is implied in Ecclesiastes 3:19-21. God is a spirit (Isaiah 31:3 and John 4:24). Christ is a spirit (1 Corinthians 15:45). All of the angels are spirits. You are a spirit (Psalm 82:6; John 10:35).
What does a spirit look like? Answer: Look in the mirror. The biblical description of angels (spirits) can be summarized as follows: they are not perfect, not all-knowing, not all-powerful, have senses and sense organs, have arms, legs, and bodies, have gender, have NO wings (statues might have wings and so might visions of angelic beings as we see of the seraphim and cherubim in Isaiah 6), described as "men," genetically the same as us for in the Old Testament, "sons of God" had children by human women, and they have all of the appropriate internal organs for digestion and elimination. The term "spirit" is never used in first-century Greek to mean a mood, attitude, emotion or disposition. It always referred to an entity. Therefore, watch out for current misleading idioms such as: "in a spirit of love," "a high-spirited horse," "we're in good spirits tonight," "the spirit of the season," and so on.
The relationship between a spirit and its physical body within which it is housed (as long as the spirit is a human being) is found in the word "incarnation." Carne means "flesh" or "meat," reference "carne asada" or "chili con carne." So "in-carnate" mean "in flesh." Humans are in-carnate(d) spirits by definition of the word. This opens up the obvious question of re-in-carnation or "in flesh again." It is common knowledge that early Christians believed in and taught reincarnation. The church father Origen taught a version of it, but this teaching was condemned in 553 A.D. at the Second Council of Constantinople. During incarnation, i.e., the physical life of a human being, the spirit body is imbedded in the physical body. Once the spirit body separates from the physical body, then this is called "physically dead," or better deceased. When "the" Bible says "dead," it usually does NOT mean deceased. "Dead" in "the" Bible usually means "divorced from God" or "cut off" from God. We see that one can be physically alive yet still be called "dead" in 1 Timothy 5:6. The author of this kind of death is "the devil" (Hebrews 2:14). The spirit never ceases to exist. The situation (and space-time dimension) that spirits find themselves in after decease is one that matches the nature of that spirit, its thoughts, attitudes, and deeds. A spirit housed (incarnated) within a physical body can go out of the body and return provided that the energy connection (the "silver cord" mentioned in Ecclesiastes 12:6) is unbroken. If broken, the separation is permanent, i.e., the person is deceased). This is called an OBE (out-of-body experience). If the spirit leaves the body (that is, the person has an OBE), then the body still shows its vital signs as the power flow is weakened but not zero. An OBE is recorded in the life of Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:1-4. The OBE can also be described in the New Testament as being "in the spirit" or literally, as John speaks of himself in Revelation, "I became in spirit," or "I entered into the spirit world." English words with Latin and Greek derivatives express these ideas nicely: ex-spire = the spirit goes out (in an OBE or physical death); in-spire = the spirit comes in; ek-stasis = outside of one's self and is the origin of our word "ecstasy."
The word "inspire" is often used very loosely. It can mean simply that the thoughts were influenced or directed by a spirit. A person need not be out of body of this to occur. A trance state is achieved when minimal influence or control by our own spirit ensues if another spirit controls the body. This spirit control is described in two ways: 1) "possession" if the spirit is evil; and 2) "filled with the holy spirit" if spirit is "holy" (that is, dedicated to God, or, in the service of God and His good spirits). A spirit can simply overwhelm the person, take control, if there is sufficient energy available and if the situation warrants it, but this seems to be quite rare.
If speech in your native language (or "tongue") occurs as a spirit is speaking through you in a trance state, then the person is called a "prophet," the speech of the spirit is called "prophecy," and the spirit itself might be called "a spirit of prophecy." This is the picture we usually get of a prophet in Biblical times. If the hearers do not believe it is another spirit inhabiting the body, then the spirit may speak in a language unknown to the prophet "as a sign to the unbelievers" (1 Corinthians 14:20-26); that is, as a proof that it isn't the prophet's own spirit speaking. The English term "prophet" comes from the Greek translation of the Hebrew noun nabi as prophetes found in the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament known as the Septuagint. The Greek word prophetes is made up of the Greek preposition pro meaning "before," and the noun phetes meaning "speaker," from the verb phemi, "to speak." A prophet was not a "fore-teller" bur rather a "forth-teller," simply put, "one who speaks forth." A prophet's utterance was "prophecy." In a revelatory context, prophecy was believed to be an utterance spoken by a spirit through the prophet about the past, present, or the future. Prophecies could be predictions and sometimes these predictions were conditional predictions (see Jeremiah 26:3-6).
The word "spiritual" means "of or pertaining to spirit or spirits." It has nothing to do with devotion or commitment to a given church creed or regular church attendance. So, if one were called a "spiritual Christian" during the second century, these were Christians who communicated with the spirit world. Epigraphic evidence has shown that third-century Montanist Christians (those Christians who communicated with the spirit world via deep-trance speaking mediums such as Montanus; see this website) were called pneumatikos christianos, or "spiritual Christians." In 1 Corinthians, the "spiritual man" is one who communicates in some form or fashion with the spirit world.
Spirits are able to influence moods, emotions, and passions. This was known among Jews of the 4th century B.C. and Christians of the 1st century A.D. Spirits who were especially adept in certain virtues and vices were named after a virtue or vice in which that spirit excelled in influencing its human subject. We read of "a spirit of love," "a spirit of hate," "a spirit of envy," "a spirit of jealousy," "a spirit of the understanding of the Lord," etc. The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs are full of descriptions of these types of spirits acting on their human subjects. Later on during the Middle Ages, these phrases were depersonalized and used to express a feeling or an emotion that originated on the inside of the person. The original meaning of "a spirit" responsible for the feeling had been lost.
The easiest thing for spirits to do is influence moods, passions, and emotions. This requires the least energy. Emotions are the play things and the very tools of the lower spirits. We must be able to distinguish between emotions ("feelings") and thoughts. Emotions: anger, rage, romantic love, interest, sadness, etc.
Spirits can instill thoughts, dreams, concepts, specific words in humans. Both good spirits and evil spirits can do this. Unfortunately, we can rarely tell whether the thoughts are our own or not. Nearly always spirit impulses are mixed with our own thoughts in unknown proportions. Dreams were a form of spirit communication in the Old and New Testaments. Currently, dreams are thought to be something from the subconscious. There are several different schools of dream interpretation and they don't agree. Some say dreams are random firings inside the brain, meaning nothing.
Two sources of thought are believed to exist. Endogenic which is the conscious and unconscious; usually we think that this is the only source for thought. But the other is exogenic, outside of us, from either above (higher "holy" spirits) or from below (lower spirits) and ETs (UFOs).
Physical Effects of Spirits
A. Ouija boards. These can be used, but usually are used by Earth-bound spirits who might be evil or evil spirits from the abyss. Avoid Ouija boards. Note that King David used a similar device called the breastplate of judgment which was a collection of 12 specified stones with a letter that stood for each of the 12 tribes of Israel engraved on them. Instructions for its fabrication were divinely given in Exodus.
B. Joseph cast lots with a silver cup in Genesis 44:5, his "cup of divination."
C. The Ark of the Covenant. Specific detailed instructions were given in Exodus as to how to construct if and how to use it. Even the very materials to be used in the Ark and the Tent of Meeting were specified. This was an interdimensional communication device. "The Voice" came from a small cloudlet which formed above the Ark between the tips of the wings of the statues of the cherubim. The Israelites didn't always know who was speaking and simply assumed it was their God. Numerous other tribes and clans of Hebrews had copies of the Ark. Even some of the enemies of the Israelites built their own arks. We have no information as to whether they worked or not. Ancient Egyptians had built arks before the Hebrews left Egypt. The Hebrews had seen them while enslaved in Egypt before they escaped from slavery. How did they know how to build them, and did they really work?
D. Electronic means. Spirit messages recorded in Arizona, summer 1984. This refers to electronc voice production and instrumental transcommunication. George Meek's Spiricom device is a technical, electronic device used for instrumental transcommunication. You can see further on this at www.worlditc.org.
E. Partial (incomplete) condensation or materialization . . . semi solid . . . wispy. 1. Throwing or moving objects, i.e., poltergeist stuff; 2. "direct voice" that comes from a cloudlet, as in the Tent of Meeting with Moses and Aaron in Exodus. The cloudlet glows faintly in the dark and resembles dim fire. Note "a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night"; and Moses and the burning bush that was not burned; 3. full ("complete") materialization of a body part and requires the control of a truly enormous amount of energy (E=mc2). Note the hand that appeared at a feast of King Belshazzar in the Old Testament whereby the hand wrote on the wall of wet plaster a message. In recent experiments of this type molds have been made of hands making very elaborate, interlocking shapes (Franek Kluski). These molds were photographed.
F. Full Materialization. Solid. Looks to all intents and purposes as another human being. Walks around and speaks, can be felt, etc. In the Old Testament we see this in the life of Abraham who ate with three spirits (the "three men"). Tobit walked with Raphael. In the New Testament, the phrase "angels unawares" denotes this. In our day, Raymond Moody, the famous researcher into the near-death experience, saw his dead aunt or grandmother walk in his office and have a conversation with him; she looked around 30 years of age. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross also described an experience with a "dead" relative who walked alongside her to her office and they sat and talked. Materializations are dangerous to touch during the process of materialization or dematerialization. This is the reason behind Jesus' statement in John 20:17. The full materialization of spirits around the Brazilian medium Carlos Carmine Mirabelli were recorded for posterity. During one event with Mirabelli, a deceased Catholic priest materialized, allowed doctors present to examine him and they pronounced him "a normal man in every respect." Then the materialized spirit said, "Now watch me as I disappear." He began to evaporate. A doctor touched him during the dematerialization process to see how it felt. Electrical shock threw him back several feet and knocked him unconscious. Compare this to Christ's appearance outside of the tomb on Easter morning, and his strange words spoken to Mary Magdalene become clear now: "Don't touch me!" There was good reason for this imperative. Mary Magdalene would have been electrocuted, possibly fatally if she had touched Him.
The Spirit World
The phrase "the spirit world" is an obvious singular in place of the plural. There are multiple dimensions of what are called the spirit world. These dimensions are inhabited by spirits. The lower spirit dimensions are the "hells" and the higher spiritual dimensions are the "heavens." The Earth inhabits a dimension found in the upper regions of the hells; it is a dimension where the physical world exists and spirits are born into physical bodies. Various names exist for these spiritual dimensions: planes, spheres, realms, quantum levels, heavens, hells, paradise, garden of Eden, kingdom of God, Sheol, the Pit, netherworld, Hades, Gehenna, etc.
The spirit world and the physical world are the same in many respects. The difference is that what is matter in the physical world is spirit in the spirit world. Imperfections exist in the physical world, such as rust. But not in the spiritual world. The physical world is a sort of cheap copy of the spirit world. Plato and other philosophers mused that the physical world was really an illusion and the "real" world was that of spirit. The physical world was but a mere shadow of the spirit world.
The spirit world is invisible to most people. Why? Spirits are said to exist in a space-time dimension whose "vibrations" are of a different rate than that of the physical world's. It is because of this rate of "vibration" that spirits remain invisible to us. Consider as an imperfect analogy for spirit "vibration" the propeller of an airplane. At stand still, the propeller can be seen and remains visible to all. But when the propellor begins to spin and its rotation becomes faster and faster, the rate of maximum spin at so many RPMs renders the blades of the propeller "invisible." The "rotation" rate of "invisibility" of the blades is akin to the "vibration" rate of the invisibility of spirits. But some, however, do claim to be able to see spirits or "dead people" walking around. Seeing spirits is called "clairvoyance," a Latin term meaning "clear seeing." To clairvoyants, spirits look just like human beings walking around. Clairvoyants can also see spirits of the lower spiritual worlds and this can be a frightening experience. Many of the mythological, half human, half animal creatures of the ancient world are not as fanciful as some think. Clairvoyants have seen spirits that are just as bizarre. The human spirits that clairvoyants see are usually "earthbound spirits." These are people who have died but have not yet "crossed over" into the light. These spirits are afraid of the judgment that awaits them in the light or they are intimidated by other spirits from crossing over into the light. Sometimes, these spirits are simply disoriented and don't know that they have died. Usually, these spirits have to be convinced of their passing out of body into spirit by being shown their funeral. This is done in the company of the earthbound spirit's spirit guide (see Mary Ann Winkowski, When Ghosts Speak: Understanding the World of Earthbound Spirits [New York/Boston: Grand Central Publishing, 2007]).
A clairvoyant might also be able to hear the spirits speaking. This is known as "clairaudience," a Latin term meaning "clear hearing." Those with this ability attract spirits who want to communicate with loved ones on Earth to let them know that "everything is ok" and "you don't have to worry about me." Strong, godly clairvoyants can confirm that there are spiritual dimensions that exist just in the way that they are described in the Bibles. There are evil spirits who influence humans and there are holy spirits who influence humans. People who have had "hellish" near-death experiences also confirm the existence of evil spirits who back away from the person once he starts to invoke the name of Christ. (see Howard Storm, My Descent into Death [New York, NY: Random House, 2005]). Like attracts like, and the sympathies of a human being fall in with the sympathies of a spirit. If the person is godly, then he or she will attract holy spirits. If the person is bad, then or she will attract evil spirits. But everybody, regardless, is surrounded by spirits, whether you can see the spirits or not. And evil spirits can have their way with righteous people. It is up to the person to be aware of this and resist the subtle influences of evil spirits. Persons must also be aware that they can set an example for earthbound spirits who observe them on a day-to-day basis.
The hells are not burning with literal fire and brimstone. The hells are dark, cold, rancid spiritual dimensions full of rugged rocks, knotted trees, caves that serve as pits for the fallen spirits, and deep, deep recesses that seem to go down forever; the further you go, the darker it gets. The darkness has a life of its own. In the Old Testament these dimensions were given the names "Sheol," "the Pit," "the roots of the mountains," "the abyss," "the bottomless abyss," "the grave," "the dead," "the breakers," and "the barred city." This was the "land of forgetfulness" in the Old Testament because the spirits residing in these dimensions made up the fallen spirits from heaven. They have no memory of their previous existence in heaven or of their fall from heaven. That is why the inhabitants of Sheol are called "the dead who know nothing" in the Old Testament. They are "dead" not because they cease to exist or are unconscious. They are dead because they exist cut off from God.
The heavens are not full of angels floating around in white gowns playing harps and standing in choirs singing hymns for eternity. The heavens are made up of dimensions that are too spectacular to describe. What many people think is the highest heaven once they pass over into the Beyond is actually that spiritual plane known as "Paradise." It is here that Christ once came to upon His Death on the cross in order to recuperate and prepare for his victorious descent into hell along with Michael's legions and subdue his nemesis and one-time brother, Lucifer. Paradise looks like a perfect Earth with vibrant colors and hues that no human eye has seen, beautiful sounds, the wild animals are now tame, and there is peace. The Paradise plane is the first plane after the Earth plane that comes under the direct rule of Christ. Paradise is the "bottom rung" of the highest heavens. It is the portal from which purified spirits begin their ascent into the higher and highest heavens, beginning with the 10th sphere. Some spirits may stay in the Paradise spiritual dimension for a long time. Here they are educated about the Plan of Salvation and are taught correctly about God, Christ, and about their past existence as human beings on the Earth. The heavenly spirits are very tall and large. They burn as bright as the Sun and their features are too perfect to describe. Their facial features express pure harmony and beauty of perfection of form that a human mind is incapable of comprehending. Their radiance is love. Their light is love, and if a lower but good spirit (who is ascending) experiences this radiance from a heavenly spirit, it feels nothing but compassion, complete understanding, and concern for the spirit's well being. A spirit cannot enter the highest heaven unless he or she is perfect and purified. Saint Peter does not wait at the pearly gates with a key letting spirits into the highest heavens. Spirits arrive in the highest heavens through their own merit by walking the way paved for them by Christ's death, descent into hell, and his rising from there (resurrection from the dead). God is love and love is the rudder of a spirit's ascent back into the heavens. The beginning of wisdom is to love God. A spirit is placed in that spiritual dimension that is best suited for his or her disposition and attitude. It is not by force that the evil spirit is kept out of heaven. It is by the spirit's attitude that keeps him or her out of heaven. Once the attitude of a spirit becomes more refined, once the consciousness of a spirit begins to look Godward, once the intelligence of a spirit begins to strengthen, then it is capable of beginning an ascent into the heavens. The evil spirit cannot exist, by its very nature, in the higher heavens. For just as oil and water do not mix, so too an evil spirit cannot exist in the higher heavenly dimensions. Nature will not allow it. Just as the heavier substance of oil cannot mix with the lighter substance of water, so too the "lower vibrations" of a spirit in the hells cannot exist in the "higher vibrations" of the heavens.
Nature's Laws are God's Laws.