Hearing and Seeing

I was leading a lady through the Steps to Freedom when she suddenly reacted in fear. I asked her what she was hearing or seeing in her mind. She said, “You mean you don’t see him there.” “Who,” I asked. She said, “My father, standing right there!” I didn’t bother to look where she was pointing, because I know I wouldn’t see anything. There are people seeing and hearing things that another person, who is present at the same time, doesn’t see or hear anything. How do we explain that?

In the natural realm, we have five senses. To hear something there must be a source for the sound, such as a shout from another person or a door closing. The sound is a compression and rarefaction of air molecules. It travels through the medium of air at the speed of sound from the sound source to our ear drums. A signal is sent from the ear drum to the brain. Astronauts cannot speak to one another in outer space, since sound needs the medium of air in order to travel.

In order for us to see anything, there must be a light source, such as the sun or a light bulb. Traveling at the speed of light, light rays reflect off a material object back to our optic nerve, which sends a signal to our brains. Light rays can only be reflected off of material objects. So what are these people seeing and hearing? The apostle Paul would answer, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood [material], but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil [non-material] in heavenly places” (Eph. 12). This is not a physical battle discernible by our five senses, it is a spiritual battle for our minds. The battle is not external, it is internal. You don’t win this battle with anti-psychotic medications. The answer is the armor of God. The purpose for armor is to stop penetration.

A frightened child comes into your room and says, “Mommy, there is something in my room!” Most parents would go back to the room and say, “Honey, I looked under your bed and in the closet. There is nothing here, go back to sleep.” You’re an adult, and if you saw something in your room, would you go back to sleep? What that child saw or heard was real, even though you couldn’t verify it through your natural senses. The skeptic might respond, “It was just a nightmare.” I’ll say more about that next week.

Dr. Neil

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