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Many behave with unrecognized shallowness and irreverence, lacking respect for our Creator. But what about those who have glimpsed the majesty of God? How have they reacted?

Seeing God: Close Encounters of the Divine Kind by Jasper Burns - Paperback | KSA | Souq

Scripture shows that their response has nearly always been one of profound humility. The patriarch Job, for example, became acutely aware of his own profound lack of understanding when God revealed to him some aspects of the magnificence of His creation Job And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look on God.

And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said to him, What said my Lord to his servant? In vision Isaiah saw the Lord sitting on His throne amid the angelic host Isaiah Isaiah 1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the LORD sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. How is it worth it? Roy has no abducted child to pursue, he only has this vision — who would care, who would know if he just gave up pursuing it?

His protagonists, Roy and Lacombe, attack the problem of the divine from the artistic and scientific angles respectively — and what is the art of motion pictures but a wedding of art and science? Who is Steven Spielberg if not the wedding of Art and Science? Who else has made such a career for himself from of producing such profoundly emotional experiences out of the most carefully planned, calculated, scientifically calibrated work?

Secrets of seeing God: The long, strange history of divine revelation

Still not convinced of the God metaphor yet? When Roy has finished his masterpiece and is arguing on the phone with Ronnie, a commercial for Budweiser appears on the TV. Roy, true to his nature, still doubts his vision. He looks out his window and sees the harmless activity of everyday suburbia and again feels stupid. Magnum PI.

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A Viet Nam vet, incidentally. And, in a way, government oppression of the Koreans. So, nevermind. Crud, I should have done research, but I rented the Special Edition. I finally rented it a few months back but I guess I should have picked up the original. If anything, I was rooting for the kid to go see the aliens and have an adventure.

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I believe this scene is the reason I love the movie so much to this day. I was 9 when I saw it, and as a parent it might be terrifying, but as a kid, we can sense the fearlessness of Barry and that the mom is just not letting him go play. It was a strange feeling though I remember it well. I felt sorry for the mom, not the kid. She was spellbound and riveted, but not afraid.

So, if there was anything scary about this film, it would have scared her. Their judges were dealt with in the same way. Their business is a business of emotion, not reason. The aliens win again! Maybe you should ask your solicitors to send them a sharply worded letter.

It would explain a lot. The epiphany Lewis experienced was religious in nature, but it is also possible to have a moral or scientific epiphany. Indeed, the realization that one has fallen in love—or out of love, for that matter—would count as an emotional epiphany. In the other religious aha moments I have described, something seemingly supernatural transpires: a divine being reveals itself, thereby revealing an important religious truth to a person.

It is therefore fitting to reserve the term revelation for such events. Although the revelations I have described above took place when people were awake, they can also take place when a person is asleep. This angel explained to him how it was that Mary, although a virgin, could be pregnant: she was carrying the child of the Holy Spirit. Joseph took this dream seriously. Mohammed, founder of Islam, also experienced a dream revelation. Every year, Mohammed would go up Mount Hira to pray in seclusion during the month of Ramadan.

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During one of these retreats, when he was about forty years old, the angel Gabriel came to him while he lay sleeping. Gabriel carried a coverlet of brocade on which words were written. He commanded Mohammed to read it, and after experiencing both confusion and distress, Mohammed succeeded in doing so.

The words in question later became a verse in the Quran. If this dream had been the only revelation Mohammed experienced, it is unlikely that he would have succeeded in founding a new religion. Others would have likely dismissed this story as nothing more than a strange dream.

But this dream revelation turned out to be only the prelude to a grander revelation. Mohammed woke from his sleep and, thinking he was somehow possessed, started climbing Hira with the object of throwing himself from the mountain. During his ascent, however, he had a vision.

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Turning his eyes toward the heavens, he saw a man apparently floating in mid-air. No matter which way Mohammed directed his vision, the man stayed before him. The man announced that he was Gabriel and that Mohammed had been chosen as the apostle of God. Waking revelations like this one carry far more weight, both among those who experience them and those who are told of them, than dream revelations. Among waking revelations, we can distinguish between those that are sensory and those that are mental.

In a mental revelation, we involuntarily see or hear something in our mind. But if, without willing it, I see a mental image of Jesus and if I am powerless to make that image go away, I might conclude that I have experienced a religious revelation that was mental rather than sensory. This does not seem to have been the case with the revelations he subsequently had in which Allah dictated the Quran to him. The voice Mohammed heard in those revelations appears to have been in his mind. In saying this, I am not denying the possibility that the voice had a divine origin; I am simply pointing out that other people who were present when he heard the voice heard nothing.

In a religious revelation, a divine being reveals himself to a human being. I had assumed that such events were rare. Then I found out about evangelical Christians who believe that God routinely reveals himself to them. The revelations in question are mental rather than sensory, and they consist not in mentally seeing or hearing God but in simply having a thought. Allow me to explain. People pray for any number of reasons. Some pray in an attempt to affect events: they might pray for world peace, pray that an ill friend recovers, or pray that they win the lottery. Some pray to offer thanks.

Some pray for help in dealing with a difficult situation; they might pray, for example, for strength to resist temptation. There are also prayers in which people ask for divine guidance in making a decision. The decision in question might be whether to marry someone, whether to have children, or whether to join a certain religion. The decision might also be something mundane, such as whether to paint a table or wear a certain outfit. God can, of course, give us guidance by causing us to hear his voice, either with our ears or in our mind. According to some evangelicals, though, God can also guide us simply by causing us to have a thought.

As a result of having it, we will know what we should do. And thanks to our belief that God is responsible for this thought, we will have a high degree of confidence that we have made the right decision.


This belief, however, raises obvious questions. The source of these thoughts is our unconscious mind. And even if we are confident that thoughts were planted in us by a supernatural source, how can we be certain the source is God rather than, say, Satan? To be sure, those in the evangelical community admit that it is possible for us to mistakenly attribute our thoughts to God. They learn that this is a skill they should master.

It would be difficult for someone to establish a new religion solely on the basis of mental revelations. Although the person who experienced them might be supremely confident about his interpretation of these revelations, other people would likely be skeptical. They would assume that he, not God, was responsible for the images, voices, or thoughts he had. Let us, therefore, take a closer look at sensory revelations.

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We have examined sensory revelations in which people see or hear a divine being, but what about the other senses? We can certainly imagine them being involved. It had an aroma more intoxicating than the finest perfume, and when I kissed that hand, it tasted sweeter than honey. It is not clear why this should be the case. Although it is quite unusual for a person experiencing a revelation to feel a divine being externally —for example, by touching it with his fingertips—it is not at all unusual for a revelation to consist of feeling the presence of a divine being internally.

This is what happened to David Brainerd: he felt joy.