Sometimes it can seem difficult to note connections between the normalness of what we teach and the transcendent God who made it. What does learning the real, material world have to do with knowing and loving a spiritual God? In The Pursuit of God, A.W. Tozer said:
“Our uncorrected thinking, influenced by the blindness of our natural hearts and the intrusive ubiquity of visible things, tends to draw a contrast between the spiritual and the real; but actually no such contrast exists. The antithesis lies elsewhere: between the real and the imaginary, between the spiritual and the material, between the temporal and the eternal; but between the spiritual and the real, never. The spiritual is real.” (33-34)
In truth, the real and the spiritual are not in conflict. As Jesus pointed out to the woman at the well in John 4, God is spirit. And He is the most real of all. He is the foundation of reality—the One on whom all else exists. In addition, He desires that our worship be in spirit and truth.
So why do we make this distinction? Why do we seem to think that “real” and “spiritual” are at odds?
Much of it may come down to pride. We can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell the physical. However, the spiritual is not accessible in the same ways. We seem to think that if we can’t measure it or manipulate it, then it must not be real. If must be imaginary. But spiritual and imaginary are different things. Christianity is clear that reality is not defined by us. But by the God who made us, and everything else. He is spiritual.
In light of this discussion, here are some questions that might help in getting biblical integration thinking started across a number of subjects:
- Math: What are numbers? What gives them reality? Does this connect to the way in which God gives creation reality?
- Science: What does it mean that humans are spiritual and physical? Which is more central to our identity?
- English: What does it mean for something to be imaginary? What is the difference between imaginary and spiritual?
- History: Do the rules of history allow for spiritual events (like miracles)? For example, is it responsible to believe that a dead man could come back to life after three days?
- Math: It might be hard to count things that you can’t see. (Maybe even turn off the lights and make this into a game.) But does the fact that you can’t see something mean that it isn’t there? How does this relate to God?
- Science: Why do we believe in things that we can’t see? Why do believe in the wind, even though we can’t see it? Can you see any similar reasons for believing in God?
- English: What is the difference between imagining something good and praying for something good? What separates the two?
- History: Did David see God with him when he battled Goliath? Did George Washington see God with him when he went to battle? Does that mean that God was not there? In the same way, you might not see God with you in your troubles, but He is there.