I spent a good deal of time last night talking to my wife about spirituality. We were discussing our plans for 2014 and how we can bring more glory to God in our rapidly changing lives. This led to a conversation about why we have always been spiritual people. If you consider yourself spiritual, maybe these thoughts will help articulate how you feel. If you don’t feel like you are spiritual, I would love to hear your opinion on the matter.
Consider a parable for a moment:
A man and his blind friend are sitting in a cafe across from an art gallery, enjoying conversation over a couple of lattes. The sighted man, upon noticing a particularly beautiful piece of art in the window across the way, attempts to explain the beauty to his friend. He explains the shapes, to which his friend nods approval. However, when he begins to describe the colours, the blind friend stops him.
“Colour does not exist.”
The man is dumbfounded. He knows there are colours, he can see them. He tries to explain the concept to the blind man.
“Oh, I’ve heard of colour before, I just don’t buy it. There isn’t really any reason to believe in colour.
The man tries to explain how beautiful colour is.
“It doesn’t sound that beautiful to me. If it really exists, why haven’t I experienced it?”
Try as the man might, he cannot convince his friend of the existence of colour.
“I get that you believe in colour. I also know other blind people who believe in colour. But without proof, why should I believe?”
That question haunts my thoughts all the time.
What if some of us are born with a greater sense of the divine? What if some people can see God’s brushstrokes across the canvas of Creation? For these people, it seems almost silly to think that this world is all there is because they can “see” another world that exists just beyond our grasp.
I’m not the only person to think this way. My theological predecessors referred to this “spiritual sight” as the sensus divinitatis. They believed that humankind was created with the ability to be aware of God, but many lost this ability due to our fallen nature. Some see the divine unclearly, creating belief systems that get some things right and others wrong. Some lose the ability to see God at all.
I wonder why. Why can I see God everywhere? Why is it so clear to me that there is a grand, divine Creator, yet others cannot see this Creator at all? Is my sensus divinitatis more attuned than some of my friends?
If this is true, perhaps it is one of the reasons I love fantasy so dearly. I look around at this world and know that this is not all there is. I easily believed in magic as a child, because a world without magic made no sense at all. Of course there is something that is unseeable, untouchable, yet affects our world in powerful ways. The world makes more sense with courageous heroes, terrible dragons, and mystical wizards. Even if God has commanded us not to make use of sorcery and divination ourselves, I still don’t think that everything is explainable by empirical methodology.
If the sensus divinitatis theory is correct, then I am saddened that there are people who are blind to the beauty of God. This world, even with all its beauty and wonder, pales in comparison to the world beyond.
If the theory is wrong, then why have humans been such spiritually minded beings for so long?
I realize this post leaves more questions than answers, but it’s the place I find myself in now, contemplating the spiritual. Please chime in with your thoughts.