The Bible and the Paranormal
A New Perspective
Witches, wizards, sorcery, evil and unclean spirits, devils, ghosts, demonic possession and exorcisms, conjuring up and raising the dead, divination, trances, astrology, oracles, enchantments, supernatural healing, super-human strength, giants, dragons, and unicorns are but a few of the many instances of paranormal phenomena found in the Bible. Some of the lesser known anomalies in scripture are: levitation, astral projection, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, telepathy, metamorphosis, glossolalia, behemoths, satyrs, cockatrices, flying fiery serpents, and gigantic and terrifying, fire-breathing, smoke-snorting, stone-hearted, indestructible, amphibious sea monsters.
This research work is intended to provide evidence that not all of these paranormal anomalies are properly understood or, are completely misrepresented, by the church and mainstream thought. There has long been a gulf between the church’s portrayal of these seemingly unnatural things and the beliefs of many others outside the sphere of dogmatic interpretation.
Levitation and Psychokinesis
Two events in scripture will change the perception of those who consider the Bible a radical religious work that labels all paranormal phenomena as pure evil. The first is a well-known “miracle” Jesus performed during a heavy storm. The scriptural narrative is quite adequate in portraying exactly what occurred:
♦ “And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matthew 14:23-31)
Walking on water is obviously conquering the downward pull of gravitational forces on the body, which is commonly known as levitation. The most important aspect of this event is the fact that Peter was able to levitate, as well, but failed, when struck with fear of the storm. If this was a power projected by Jesus, would it have failed when Peter was in such a precarious position, floating over a stormy sea? This is not likely because he actually had power over the storm itself, as can be seen in this event:
♦ “And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.” (Matthew 8:24-26)
So the question is, if not directly from the power of Jesus himself, how was Peter, not the incarnation of a god, able to do this? The key is found in two phrases occurring in both the scriptural references just cited, “O thou of little faith” and “O ye of little faith”. Jesus revealed the awesome meaning of this concept after another failure by his disciples, who were trying to exorcise a particularly vicious devil. His response not only speaks to the lack of faith issue, but gives an amazing biblical explanation to a great number of the anomalous human powers, which are well documented in human history. After Jesus completes the exorcism, the disciples ask why they failed:
♦ “Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” (Matthew 17:19-20)
The ability to move objects with just the power of the mind is known as psychokinesis. In perspective, a space one-inch square would be large enough to fit over 600 mustard seeds. And, the word “faith” has a very simple meaning; it is translated from the Greek word, pistis, pronounced pis’-tis, meaning; persuasion. It comes from the word peitho, pronounced pi’-tho, meaning; to convince. Therefore, this statement is saying that if you have even a speck of positive thinking about your ability to move objects with your mind, you can perform psychokinesis. And, by default, this would also apply to the feat of levitation previously covered.
Anomalous Human Powers Explained
The last phrase of Matthew 17:20 is something that the pulpit never addresses, and seems to have been completely missed by the uncounted millions who have read it; “and nothing shall be impossible unto you”. Jesus is speaking these words to students who are humans, not angels or people about to become divine beings, and he is clearly speaking in the present tense. He actually expreesses impatience that the disciples are not already positive enough about their powers to be completely proficient in their use, when he states: “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you?.” (Matthew 17:17).
There can be no question that Jesus is implying normal human beings have an inherent power, not just to levitate themselves and the largest physical objects on the planet, but they can accomplish anything they believe they can do. Is this not also saying, in effect, that humans can be “all-powerful”, an attribute believed by Christian doctrine to be reserved only for God? Or, could this be exactly what God meant, after Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree in Eden described as containing “the knowledge of good and evil”, when he said “Behold, the man is become as one of us”?
One can only imagine the incredible possibilities this concept presents. If anything is possible to anyone who has just a speck of faith, or persuasion, then this could easily explain several anomalous powers documented in human history. This includes several powers well known to paranormal researchers and familiar to society, as a whole, through books, movies, documentaries, and a wealth of internet sources. A few of these incredible human powers are actually documented in the Bible. We have already covered levitation and psychokenesis, and now we move to astral projection, otherwise known as “Out of Body Experience”, OBE.
Astral Projection and Telepathy
Amazingly, this power is described in crystal clear language by Paul in the course of an unrelated conversation:
♦ “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” (II Corinthians 12:2-4)
The concept of whether this person was actually physically in his body is so important that Paul repeats it twice. Whether he was, or not, it is clear that Paul believes this could have been an “out of the body” experience. This can only mean that Pual actually knew such a power could be accomplished by humans. And, within this scenario, which is never mentioned from the pulpit, is found evidence of telepathy hidden in the phrase “and heard unspeakable words”.
The word “heard” is translated from the Greek word, akouo, pronounced ak-oo’-o, meaning; to hear (in various senses), so is not restricted to the sense of hearing directly. The word “unspeakable” is translated from arrhetos, pronounced ar’-hray-tos, meaning; unsaid. The definition of telepathy in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is: communication from one mind to another by extrasensory means. If this man heard words that were unsaid or unspoken, it could be said that he received them “telepathically”. Of course, Christians themselves practice, and must believe in telepathy; at least between themselves and God, or how else could God hear prayer and be able to “spiritually” speak to them?
A Broad Range of Paranormal Descriptions
It would be a daunting task to detail all the specific instances in scripture that clearly fit the criteria to be classified as “paranormal”. Presented below are just a few of the more obvious instances that are easily recognizable as paranormal. Not included are the several descriptions of healing, mass feedings, or the many other powers exhibited by Jesus and his followers. In addition to those, we have to add this unknown factor to the equation; the ending to John’s description of the life of Jesus:
♦ “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” (John 21:25)
♦ Matthew 21:18 Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.
Although Jesus did not actually set the tree on fire, it is obvious that the most logical reason for the tree to “wither” so quickly was instant removal of the moisture from its cells. The remote application of extreme heat is the phenomenon known as pyrokinesis.
♦ Daniel 5:12 Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation.
♦ Job 4:14-17 Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up: It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying, Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?
♦ John 20:17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
Metamorphosis: 1 a : change of physical form, structure, or substance especially by supernatural means b:a striking alteration in appearance, character, or circumstances. (Merriam-Webster)
Compare Jesus’ appearance after the Ascension: Revelation 1:14-15 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
In mainstream understanding of the relation to the Bible, glossalia is the speaking of unknown tongues, and by is considered by skeptics to be fabricated or meaningless speech. This is another amazing human power ignored or distorted in the Christian religion, which is clearly described as the ability to spontaneously speak a “foreign”language, not an “unknown” language. It is, of course, presumed that to the persons with this ability, the foreign languages were “unknown” to the speakers prior to their communicating with it. The following verses show that speaking in “tongues” was not the “spiritual” experience portrayed by the pulpit:
♦ Acts 2:6-8 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?”
♦ 1 Corinthians 14:18-19 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.
♦ 1 Corinthians 14:27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret..
Transmute: to change or alter in form, appearance, or nature and especially to a higher form. (Merriam-Webster)
♦ Exodus 7:2-4 And the Lord said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. And the Lord said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand:
♦ Numbers 17:8 And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds.
♦ John 2:7-10 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.
♦ 2 Kings 6:15-17 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
♦ Numbers 22:31 Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face.
♦ Luke 4:29-30 And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he passing through the midst of them went his way,
Contacting the Dead
♦ 1 Samuel 28:7-8 Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor. And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee.
* It should be noted that Jesus and his apostles actually raised the dead.
Super Human Strength
♦ Judges 16:3 And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and went away with them, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron.
In the second part of this article, we will explore the reason why anomalies, which seem so acceptable in the Bible, are demonized by the Church and will provide an alternative view of the subject of the “occult” in scripture. We will also cover the amazing biblical bestiary, in a very unconventional way; Cryptozoology in the Bible.