On Earth as in Heaven

I’ve been writing and teaching a lot recently about miracles and the supernatural. Specifically, I’ve been considering how our deeply held but rarely examined set of assumptions about reality (our worldview) influences how we think about miracles, nature, and the supernatural.

In the modern West, we use the word “nature” to refer to the material universe that operates by cause and effect, independently of spiritual influence. We use the term “supernatural” to describe what is spiritual/ immaterial, from beyond the natural world. If we hold to these two assumptions, then a miracle occurs when the supernatural invades the natural. This way of seeing things can have great influence upon how we read and understand key scriptures.

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10, ESV)

If we read the above verse through the filter of our modern Western assumptions, we might understand “on earth as it is in heaven” as the supernatural triumphing over the natural. But what would happen if we adjusted our filter according to the following passages of scripture?

“By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” (Hebrews 11:3, ESV)

“But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Hebrews 1:2–3, ESV)

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:1–3, ESV)

“Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” (1 Corinthians 8:6, ESV)

“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” (Colossians 1:16, ESV)

From these verses it becomes clear that the material universe originates from and is sustained by the Word. The natural originates from and is sustained by the supernatural. The natural is, in its essence, supernatural. The visible is made from the invisible. When we view Creation through this set of lenses, the distinction between natural and supernatural begins to get pretty obscure. Heaven and Earth are both created realities. They were nothing. Now they are something because God spoke. Heaven and Earth are both supernatural. They are both ordered. They both operate by laws God has set in motion.

It is therefore insufficient to think of a miracle, that moment when Heaven invades Earth, as an expression of the supernatural triumphing over the natural, for the natural is itself supernatural. It is likewise incorrect to think of those aspects of our existence that are not obviously miraculous, our day to day material, cause & effect existence, as being merely natural. The material world itself originates from and is currently being sustained by God’s living and active Word.

I believe it is the modern Western view of things that works to limit many believers from experiencing the miraculous life promised and modeled within scripture. By relegating the spiritual to a reality disconnected from our material existence, and thereby defining the miraculous as a divine interruption of the norm, we position ourselves to only experience the miraculous abnormally. If, instead of seeing spiritual reality as a distant and disconnected reality that must interrupt the way our world normally works in order to produce the miraculous, we were to see the spiritual reality of God’s Word as the source and sustenance of every aspect of every moment of our existence, we would begin to see the supernatural in all things and, at the same time, begin to redefine the miraculous altogether.

Instead of defining a miracle as God working “here” from “out there” in a manner that violates the natural cause and effect processes that are actually His design, we begin to see a miracle as the supernatural work of a supernatural God within His supernatural material creation to accomplish His purpose. Heaven is working within earth to restore God’s original design. Everything is spiritual (heaven & earth). Some things are also material (earth). Some things are doing fine (heaven). Some things are broken and fallen (earth). God is at work redemptively within fallen material Creation to restore and heal; as a result, His will finds full expression on earth like it’s already expressed in heaven.

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About the author
Alan Smith
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Alan Smith and his wife Nancy are the Senior Pastors of Catch the Fire DFW, a new church in the Dallas/Fort Worth area launching Spring 2014. They married in 1994 and have three brilliant and beautiful children. Alan formerly served as Pastor of Freedom Ministry at Gateway Church in Southlake, TX. He enjoys the Dallas Cowboys, good books, writing, speaking, jazz, live music, traveling, coffee, and time with close friends. Not necessarily in that order. http://www.catchthefiredfw.com

8 Comments

Elisa Haake

2011-09-17 11:54:03 Reply

Love this! Totally true! Glad to have my mindset shifted back to what it was originally suppose to be! Thanks Alan for the encouragement and freedom you bring through your words!

E

Gelson

2011-09-17 23:01:27 Reply

Great text, Alan. It makes me think of quarks and galaxies. Everything is super+natural.

Boyd Bassham

2011-09-24 17:12:34 Reply

Alan, this is great truth. It will take a while to proccess, but I love it.

Thanks

Rhonda

2011-09-25 22:28:44 Reply

As always, good stuff and quite thought provoking. It also shows me why some of us in the Body were made to be little toes. Your brain + my head = explosion! :-) Keep it up. I need to be stretched. Thanks, Alan!

Jay

2011-10-09 09:24:24 Reply

Alan – Myself and several others from our Gateway small group have begun seriously discussing miracles – healing, casting out spirits, etc. Wondering if what we define as the “normal Christian life” in America is really completely abnormal when compared against the life Jesus said we would live.

As I’ve been reading the Gospels again (and through different lenses), it seems like the disciples had a “read / see / do” approach to miracles. They had “read” about them in the Torah, but not experienced them. Jesus came along and allowed them to “see” healing in action. Then Jesus sent them to “do”.

Is there an avenue you would suggest for us to walk closer to people who are “doing” so we could “see”?

    Alan Smith

    2011-10-11 22:02:18 Reply

    Love that you had a chance to check out our Healing Room on Monday.

Anna Foley

2011-11-07 09:53:36 Reply

Thank you for speaking to Trinity Church last weekend.We were blessed!

Steve New

2012-01-26 17:41:51 Reply

Alan,

It can also be said ” in Earth as it is on Heaven “. They are one in the same. I know how and why Jesus said it this way. Heaven is here. He was as fully human as you and I, unlike you and I however. In His human experience He operated in His Heavenly experience, unlike us. Even though He came to show us how to live in both (we didn’t listen, but a few did). We need not wait for Heaven, it is here. Did He not tell us that? Alan, I have seen, this is where our Father is taking us, back to the Garden. It is here and it is now. Eternal life is here and it is now. Very few will understand you if you tell them what you know to be true. That tuning fork is beginning to resinate with some. The brick and mortar church can not continue to sell a heaven that exists in the future (if we are good boys and girls). That is the greatest lie ever told. Our enemy says that is the greatest asset I have, letting them believe that. That takes their eyes off just enough to let them believe the nonsense. He trembles at the thought of us figuring out who we really are. It’s not a form or a signed card, it is a “Death Surrender” and I mean a death surrender, where the Spirit overtakes the flesh. It does happen. I KNOW! Heaven is here. The goal is not a heaven in the future, the goal is on Earth as it is in Heaven. You see our transportation to eternity is and always has been here. It sits out there on the runway (cloaked) waiting to take off. All we have to do is get on and when we do, it takes off and does a loop de loop and brings us right back to where we took off. We deboard and realize we were in Heaven all along.

You and I still need to have that lunch or spend some time together.

Your brother in Christ,

Steve New
817-614-8599

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