Site icon D. Patrick Collins

Hearing Voices

Hearing from God, I would argue (and probably have argued), is the backbone of the Christian life. Not only is the fact that we are able to hear and follow the voice of Jesus a squarely Biblical idea (John 10:27, 1 Corinthians 2:16, 1 John 2:27), the Christian life does not actually work without it. Without God personally speaking to us, we are not able to follow Him. And without following Him, we are left following a Book and the dictates of the religious community in which we live. The problem is: The Book points to Him, and in Him alone do we find eternal life (John 5:39).

Still, we moderns often have difficulty with the whole idea of hearing from God. Hearing from God sounds like hearing voices, and hearing voices is delusional — and nowadays, dangerous. If someone thinks they are hearing from God, there is no telling what they might do to act upon what they are hearing. This is the basic sentiment.

The other difficulty we have (and this applies to believers) is knowing the difference between what God is saying and what we are saying. That is, if I have a thought, how can I know whether it is God or just myself? Or if I have a dream, was it God talking to me or just my imagination? The proverbial, “Maybe it was just the pizza I ate before bedtime” argument surfaces regularly. For this reason, many retreat to the safe regions of just hearing from their peers. It becomes easier to follow others than follow Jesus.

All of this, however, rests on a presupposition that the human mind is first of all not capable of hearing from God and secondly that in its default state it is not, in fact, hearing things all the time. We have been led to believe that the human mind is the product of millions of years of random molecular interaction in a purely physical world. The natural conclusion to that belief (among other things) is that the mind is self-contained: That the thoughts it thinks are its own. We assume, therefore, that hearing from God is something foreign to it.

But is this necessarily true? The simple answer is no. More importantly, whether we believe it is true or not will depend entirely upon how we see the world. If we see the world and purely physical and our minds no more than a physical reality and self-contained, we will believe it to be true. (But we must, by necessity, also believe our minds are illusions and life is meaningless as well.) But if we see the world as more than physical, and our minds dwelling in the non-physical, then hearing and being influenced by the non-physical world is not only natural but inevitable.

My personal belief is that we need to hear from God more than ever. It is important to point out that more atrocities were committed by those who did not believe in God than those who did in the twentieth century. So what we must fear is not God but ourselves. Paraphrasing C.S. Lewis, the worst devil is the one we do not believe exists.

Photo by JR Korpa on Unsplash

Exit mobile version