The Trinity: A Triune God, Man, and Three Heavens.

Sets of threes are very prominent throughout The Bible. First and foremost is the Holy Trinity consisting of God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost). There is also a Satanic Trinity that appears in the book of Revelation. This is Satan, the False Prophet, and Antichrist. Furthermore, human beings are made up of a physical body, spirit, and soul.

Heaven is also a trinity. There is the first heaven, which is a physical sky/space. The second heaven might be a spirit realm where we go right after death, although an alternate explanation is that it is another physical realm located between the first (sky) and third (paradise) heavens. The third heaven is the one spoken of in the book of Revelation. This final heaven is where John saw the Throne of God and the New City—the New Jerusalem that will sit on the New Earth. It will have the pearly, jewel encrusted gates, streets of gold that are as clear as glass, and is where the Throne of God will rest eternally.

I am no expert on this subject, but I think that there are facets of my ongoing study in the paranormal that play interesting roles in my understanding of heaven—and the afterlife in general.

*****For the Skeptic******

This post is not for you. If you are in the least bit curious about the possibility of life after death, I hope you will keep an open mind. I will including scientific, Christian, and supernatural concepts throughout. Someone who is not religious will find this entire topic to be superstitious. If you are closed-minded, please discontinue reading right now.

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THE FIRST HEAVEN: THE ATMOSPHERE

When The Bible says “God created the heaven and the earth”, the author of Genesis was describing our physical universe. Merging science and Christianity, one could think of Genesis 1:1 as the “Big Bang” that put all existence into motion. Nothing physical existed, and then it did in an instant. In Genesis 1:6-8, God created the “firmament,” which begins with the invisible ring surrounding our planet that we know as the Earth’s atmosphere, and continues into infinite space.

THE SECOND HEAVEN: A SPIRITUAL REALM

There is a bit of a divide amongst Christians where the second and third heavens are concerned. Some theologians believe that the second heaven is, in fact, outer space. Others believe that the second heaven is a type of “intermediate” heaven that co-exists with us here on Earth. I am not sure which way I should lean, and here is why:

Through my investigation of the paranormal, I have come to a strong belief that we humans, are not alone on the Earth. There is something supernatural that exists around us, and is largely invisible to the naked eye. Some paranormal believers view this as the energy of our loved ones that cannot be fully eliminated from existence. Sometimes this energy travels into the universe, but sometimes it remains on Earth. I believe that this energy is not physical, but a spiritual phenomenon. I fully believe that we are at any given moment surrounded by angels, demons, and loved ones (who are not trying to communicate with us, by the way).

Science is coming to similar conclusions about the possibilities of at least one co-existing extra-dimension. Super String Theory and the concept of the Multiverse are becoming more realistic as empirical data is being tested by modern and postmodern physicists. According this article, physics is in the process of uncovering 1. Infinite universes, 2. Bubble universes, 3. Parallel universes, 4. Daughter universes, and 5. Mathematical universes.

Furthermore, The Bible has some great passages about the sudden appearance of angelic figures. These beings are not seen descending from the sky, but they just materialize as an army of God (2 Kings 6:17), in a fiery furnace (Daniel 3: 24-25), as a host of messengers to shepherds (Luke 2:13), and as God’s messenger to Mary (Luke 1:26-38).

I believe this view to also be consistent with so many stories told of a dying person speaking to people whom the rest of us cannot see just before passing on. As their physical bodies die, their spiritual, or heavenly, bodies cross over. It is an immediate occurrence, and it may be as simple as passing through a veil.

The great theologian Randy Alcorn describes this process akin to travelling from Miami to Santa Barbara, but there is a layover in Dallas. The intermediate heaven would be this temporary stop in Texas. However, the final destination for Christians is yet to come.

I am fairly sure that this spiritual realm exists. However, whether it is actually the proposed second or “intermediate” heaven is up for debate.

THE SECOND HEAVEN: A PHYSICAL REALM

The counterargument, which is actually a very compelling one, is that the second heaven is physical space where the sun and stars are found.

First of all, there are many passages in the New Testament where Jesus Christ is sitting or standing at the right hand of the Father (Acts 7:56 is my personal favorite). If this is the case, then these verses HAVE to be referring to the third heaven.

Another idea put forth by theologians is the concept that we when we are IN Christ, we are a part of him, and he is a part of us. The best example is in Mark 10:8 which talks about a man becoming one flesh with his wife through the consummation of marriage. As the Bride of Christ, we become “one flesh” with Jesus.

A part of us, a spiritual part of us, is forever linked to Jesus Christ in heaven. If Christ is located in the third heaven, then we must also be there. One theory is that while our physical body is here on earth, a part of our soul enters heaven. We occupy both planes at once.

Consider Luke 15:10, where Christians in heaven are rejoicing in the “presence of the angels of God” whenever someone becomes a new Christian. Some would say this is because those in heaven are watching what happens on Earth and are aware whenever someone new gets saved. However, given this dual existence theory, those in heaven may be completely ignoring the happenings on our planet, and they would know of a new convert because there would now be a new Christian soul who popped up in heaven with them.

This view of the second heaven also makes sense to me. Many of the verses used to justify heaven as a spiritual realm may be misinterpretations of the third heaven or an entirely different dimension.

It is up to you which version of second heaven you choose to believe in, but I must say that having three physical heavens seems a little bit more consistent with the first chapter of Genesis.

THE THIRD HEAVEN: THE THRONE OF GOD

I believe this heaven to be a physical place that exists above or outside of the known universe. The third heaven does, indeed, hover above the Earth somewhere. This is consistent with the ascension of Christ (Acts 1:9-11) and the return of Christ (Revelation 1:7; Matthew 24:27; 1 Thess. 4:16-17), as a place that is located above the clouds. If we were talking about the intermediate heaven, why would there need to be an ascension at all? I believe that Jesus Christ and angels can travel between the second and third heavens.

The book of Revelation gives a great description of the third heaven, including the streets of gold and throne of God. The throne room is not found in the second heaven. Remember that Satan also was able to approach the throne of God in order to gain permission to test Job. Satan is an angel, and is also the king of the Earth. Thus he can not only occupy the spiritual realm behind the veil around us, but can travel to the third heaven.

The description of the “dead in Christ” rising and meeting those who are yet alive in the clouds in the air is also indicative of the spatial relationship between the second and third heavens. In other words, the dead are in the second heaven around Earth, and will rise up to the third heaven in order to enjoy the marriage supper of the Lamb and return with Christ to destroy his remaining enemies on Earth.

The final act of Revelation is the remaking of the physical Earth (a “New Earth”) and the New Jerusalem (with physical dimensions) that DESCENDS to its final resting place. It does not materialize or appear, but physically descends from the third heaven.

In order to occupy the new, physical, heaven on Earth, we also need new, physical bodies. Thus, the concept of the “glorified body” comes into reality. Philippians 3:21 describes that our current bodies are “vile”, but will “be fashioned like unto [Jesus’] glorious body.”

This all makes sense with the concept of the trinity that is paramount to understanding Christianity. Feel free to disagree. If you have a different, but relevant point of view, I would love to hear it.

The Power of the Image

The image is an intriguing construction. Not only visible, an image can also be produced through sound and touch. We can even close our eyes and create an image that is unique to our imaginations. There are natural images, such as forests or mountains. There are also socially constructed images, which are pretty much anything else.

Religions have a long relationship with images. Christianity is represented by a cross. The crescent moon symbolizes Islam. Jews are recognized through their association with the six pointed Star of David. Even when a group does not directly worship the image itself, the representation gives the image power beyond that of its inherent worth.

Photographs are believed by some native cultures that a piece of the human soul is transferred whenever a picture is taken. The way in which we cry over the image of a loved one during a period of longing or a painful reminder like the holidays makes me wonder if there is not a bit of truth to the superstition. When a relationship ends, many people tear or burn photographs of their ex-loved one. It is as if we believe that harming an image somehow harms the person depicted.

We interact with actors on television or film as if we have some sort of personal relationship with them. We can have no physical contact with the person, but we become emotional when they suffer. There is a connection with celebrities that defies all logic. We feel a sense of joy when our favorite athletes or teams win a championship, and we feel destroyed when they lose.

The written word was created by man and is the least effective form of communication, yet can be used to send news, information, or fire someone. When spoken, words take on another layer of reality. When we are face to face, our words, combined with gestures and vocal inflections, can inspire greatness or strip all hope from others. Words can stir armies to battle or call for retreat and surrender.

A song can make us cry. A film can bring us to fear. An image can be made alive, but only if we choose to give it that power.

When we interact with others, are we not seeking the power of an image through our actions? We wish to present a snapshot of success, intellectualism, or superiority. Our clothes, speech, haircut, hand movements, and topic of conversation are carefully crafted as the best representation of our “self”.

The “real” you may be somewhere inside, but the image is an external representation.

Of course, the “self” is complex. There are layers and layers of context and construction that make up who we are. There is no way that we can present this entire collection of data to another person, so we summarize through the type of music we listen to, or the films we watch. With all of our similarities, how can we possibly be so different?

The differences are details. Like a film genre, there can be great diversity within a group of similar creations. However, it is the overarching similarities that draw us in. One can debate the minutiae, but that never puts anyone at odds with the genre.

Yet this is the opposite of how we interact with one another in the social world. Human beings have been embarrassed, shamed, ostracized, and even killed for small differences when we consider the umbrella genre of humanity.

Images can blur and distort culture. We see exaggerated features put forth by news media, art, and film. We are socialized to believe that someone with a different skin pigmentation, religious belief, or genitalia are somehow less important. We divide based on the details.

As our ability to consume more images increases, this division also increases. The more alike we become, the more we look to our differences in order to separate from each other. As we become more equal, we become less equal.

Images are driving a wedge between us, and we are ignorant of their power. It might be a photograph, a Facebook post, a political speech, or a gathering of like-minded individuals, but the result is the same—division. We ignore the messages for the messengers. We ignore unity for divisiveness. We are further marginalizing ourselves through the quest of eliminating inequality. We no longer celebrate diversity, we microaggress against it.

We micromanage the solutions. We are shrinking our idea of society, and making ourselves small.

We need to change the images. We need new representations. Through wars and rumors of wars, new “civil rights” movements, and major economic shifts, the world is in a period of turmoil. Those who would divide and conquer us seek to remake the world in their image.

They seek perpetual destruction. Their image is one of violence and division. Their image is an evil one.

We need an image that promotes unity. An image of good. Something that truly represents us. An image that is more representative of a genre than differences in details.

My Thoughts on the FBN GOP Debate

My thoughts on the GOP debate on Fox Business.

**Disclaimer: I am a registered Independent, but I lean heavily Libertarian. I will more than likely vote for one of these people over any Democrat candidate.

Ted Cruz: I believe he won the debate. He was clear, concise, answered the questions, and did not come off as petty. Plus, I agree with all of his answers.

Rand Paul: Rand finally showed up to a debate. He is very good on the economy, and does not shy away from his clear differences with the others on the military and climate change. Although I disagree with him on some issues, knowing that he would not use the government as a weapon to enforce his personal beliefs is enough for me to endorse him regardless.

Marco Rubio: Another solid performance. Marco is consistently in my top three, and I could see myself voting for him. I was not wowed, but not at all disappointed.

Donald Trump: I would NEVER cast a vote for this man, but I believe he did well at this debate. I cannot back his tax plan and his immigration plan is unrealistic at best. He is actually pretty decent on foreign policy and great on veterans’ affairs. I just don’t trust him at all.

Carly Fiorina: She was a little bit more low-key. Her performance was in the middle for me. She was not great, but not terrible.

Ben Carson: I believe he is a great and honorable man. I just do not think he has a command of ANY issue. He is behind the pack on the economy, foreign policy, and social issues. His idea of a dual minimum wage is awful, he was for gun control before he was against it, and he is obviously learning on the fly. He also comes very close to vanishing at the debates. That is not the mark of a great leader, especially in a field that has several.

Jeb Bush: He keeps showing why George W. passed him by and became president first. Jeb is bumbling, rambling, petty, and looks confused most of the time. He is as terrible a public speaker as W., but without the personality. His policies are antithetical to almost everything I believe in—he wants more government to fix government.

John Kasich: He would be a formidable Democrat candidate. His record in Ohio is sketchy—ask anyone who actually lives there. Moreover, he comes off like the grumpy uncle who complains about the “kids these days” at family functions. Like Jeb, he is a big government progressive who is only slightly to the right of Hillary and Obama.

The Postmodern World

I want us all to really think hard about this: There will be people voting in the next election who have no personal connection to America prior to George W. Bush. There is a massive voting bloc who were 3 years old when the World Trade Center went down. There are millions of eligible voters who are too young to have experienced a world without Islamic terrorism and gas prices less than $2.

The median age in our country is about 37 years old. About 20% of our population is 15 years old or younger. When politicians are crying “make America great again” or “take our country back”, almost one quarter of our country have never lived during the “great” American years. How can we possibly describe to them how good our nation could be?

I am almost median age myself. I cannot tell you what the Reagan years were like, even though I was born just a few months before he was elected President. I have no perspective of what it would have been like to live under Carter, Nixon, or Johnson. I can intellectually, but not personally, comprehend life in pre-Civil Rights America. No matter how many books I read, films I watch, or stories from my elders I hear, living in a segregated America is foreign to me.

Or is it?

We are facing a national, nay, global identity crisis. Lines are being drawn in the sand from every direction as we faction ourselves. Postmodern deconstruction of categories has caused intense fragmentation and sources of new categorical identification. This is great for the Marxist academics who have been awaiting the socialist revolution as they undermine American tradition from the publicly funded safety of our universities. It is not great for a huge segment of our populous who are farmers, mechanics, plumbers, electricians, roofers, janitors, salespeople, and small business owners.

As a lower-class academic who does not want to be entrenched in the university system, I see the fragmenting of American society, and I think it is a terrible thing.

Sociologists are on the forefront of exposing perceived “inequality” within and between different social groups. The problem is that while sociologists absolutely love to point out that people are different (amazing how such an obvious conclusion has such negative connotations here), they offer no solutions.

“Systemic” is a buzz word that should send chills up your spine if you like American traditions. Systemic racism, systemic sexism, systemic inequality, systemic oppression; all are false concepts created to bring our Constitutional Republic to its knees.

Students sit in college classrooms across the country having their minds filled with nonsense about micro-aggressions, oppression, and inequality. They get all worked up into an activist state. They want to challenge the system, because it is the system that is the root cause of all of our problems.

All churned up, these students—who are only given half knowledge of the world—exist the safe space of a college campus and bring their misinformed activism to the streets. Their only goal is to tear apart the existing. They do not think about any sort of replacement. When heads are on the pikes of revolution, what happens next?

The truth is that these sycophants do not care. They only want “hope and change”; an empty platitude that is open-ended and arbitrary. They just want something different. They want a world without offense. One without oppression. They want a world that has never, does not, and will never exist so long as life exists.

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. This is true for pigs, insects, apes, and humans. Even plants compete for resources. There will NEVER be equality on this Earth.

Even as we become more equal through the law, groups simply break apart and form new factions. Rather than an all-encompassing category of “black” Americans, intersectionality cedes new categories of black women, black men, black LGBT, poor blacks, rich blacks, Christian blacks, Muslim blacks, atheist blacks, college educated blacks, bi-racial blacks, multi-racial blacks, etc. Each new group seeks their own identity and protections. The more splintered the category, the more they can claim marginalization.

Moreover, these new intersectional groups seek to segregate themselves from “society”, because society is white, patriarchal, and heteronormative. Society wants assimilation. Society is the system.

There is danger in this ideology. It has permeated the ranks of the elites like never before. As more of us go to college and face this subtle brainwashing, American idealism seems to be more of a fairy tale than history. We are seeing its effects as Frankenstein style mobs with pitchforks and torches frighten college Presidents to resign or Christian bakers to close their shops. Mobs are literally burning down buildings in our cities as “protests” that belong more in 18th century French era Revolution than 21st century America.

Our children will look to this time as the norm. Our “progressive” and “civilized” first world example of disloyalty, violence, and apathy will be our legacy. Mine is the first generation who cannot remember the fight against socialist revolutions of the last century, so we embrace the ideologies of Stalin and Hitler.

Just imagine how much history will be forgotten by the next generation. God help us.

Ten Rules for Improved Voting

Election season is upon us, and between the media distortions, public shaming of your beliefs, and peer pressure to vote the way your family and friends do, you may desperately be seeking advice on how to make a proper voting decision. Here is my guide to choosing the best candidate for you.

  1. Remember your principles: What are the issues that really matter to you? If the economy weighs more than social issues, look for a candidate who has great economic policy. If you put social or religious issues like abortion and gay marriage at the top of your principles, then find a candidate who is great on those issues, even if they may not be great on others. Know your principles, and DO NOT VIOLATE THEM with your vote.
  2. Remember that government officials are your REPRESENTATIVES: This means that you should choose someone who believes similarly to you, and will govern in a way that will not be a major violation of your own personal principles.
  3. Remember that there is no perfect candidate: Should you find disagreements with every candidate (which you probably will), do not be deterred in your support of them. This is where the application of the first point comes in handy. If you are not only 80% in agreement with a candidate, AND they feel the same issues are important as you do, then please give them your support (unless there is someone you agree with more, obviously).
  4. Remember that your vote is YOUR vote: Who cares who your friends and family vote for? You are looking for the person that represents YOU, not your family.
  5. Remember that “electability” is a false critique: When the lying media tells you that your candidate “cannot win”, ignore them. Stick to your principles and vote for the person who represents you, even if they are considered a loser.
  6. Remember that we are not a “two-party” nation: There are more options on the table than just having an R or D next to your name. Political parties are created to cater to a majority, and you may not agree with the majority. That is absolutely fine. Vote libertarian, green party, socialist, constitutional party; whichever contains the platform that you most associate with.
  7. Remember that identity politics is not a valid reason to vote for someone: The media would have you believe that someone’s skin color or genitalia is sufficient for your vote. That is the greatest lie ever told by the lying media. Not everyone who LOOKS like you THINKS like you. That is the worst kind of stereotyping, which is supposed to be a bad thing; except in politics where it is celebrated. Being a woman does not mean good policy. Good policy means good policy.
  8. Remember that the media will lie to you: They have an agenda, just like corporations, Wall Street, bankers, and the Tea Party. You must listen to the unedited words of the candidates, not a sound byte analyzed by “experts”. Your opinion matters more than theirs.
  9. Remember that character matters: Research the candidates, and see if they are consistent in their views. If someone proposing a flat tax while running for President was in favor of a 90% tax on the rich a year ago, beware! You should also look into their personal history. See which candidates have good relationships with family, and look into what their family believes. Association with like-minded people is important as is their interactions with opposition, as it gives us a glimpse of their character beyond mere words.
  10. Remember that public speaking is not as important as policy: Forget about debate performances, giving speeches, interviews, sweating too much, having to drink water, tone of voice, or other idiosyncrasies. Will the candidate follow your principles, will they waver, are they consistent, and do you trust them? Those are the factors that matter. I would gladly take substance over style all day long.

These are the measures that I use when I choose my candidate, and I think that these ten rules will allow you to make an informed decision that you will not regret in the future. If you sell out your principles for “electability”, and the candidate turns out to be a dud, it’s on you. If you vote principles and the candidate violates those principles, that is on them. If you do not do research on any candidate, do us all a favor and STAY AWAY FROM THE BALLOT BOX!

Happy election season!