The Incorporeal World and the Corporeal World
Lesson Objective: Understand that the spiritual world is a reality and stands in a subject relationship to the physical world.
Divine Principle Reading:
The universe was created after the pattern of a human being, who is in the image of God’s dual characteristics. Therefore, the structure of the universe and every entity in it resembles that of a human being, which consists most fundamentally of mind and body. Corresponding to the human mind and body, the universe consists of the incorporeal world and the corporeal world, both of which are real and substantial. The incorporeal world is so called because we cannot perceive it through our five physical senses. Yet we can perceive it through our five spiritual senses. Those who have had spiritual experiences testify that the incorporeal world appears as real as the world in which we live. The incorporeal and corporeal worlds together form the cosmos.
The incorporeal world, or spirit world, is in the position of subject partner, and the corporeal world, or physical world, is in the position of object partner. The latter is like a shadow of the former.(Heb. 8:5) When we shed our physical bodies after our life in the physical world, we enter the spirit world as spirits and live there for eternity.
Activity: The Reality of the Spiritual World
- As we learned earlier, God created the entire universe in resemblance of a human being with dual characteristics.
- The cosmos is made up of the spiritual world (subject partner) and the physical world (object partner).
- After our life in the physical world, we shed our physical bodies and live eternally as spiritual beings in the spiritual world.
- However, while we live on the earthly plane we are relating with both the spirit and physical world. We just have a hard time perceiving the spirit world because of the impact of The Fall.
2. Explain: It can be difficult to know what the spiritual world is because we can’t perceive it with our physical senses. Here are some clips from movies and TV shows that talk about the spiritual world:
- A spiritual reading the TV Show “Long Island Medium”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPRCYgHEMdc
- A clip from the movie “What Dreams May Come” about transitioning into the spiritual world: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdgGxgg91Tc
- A clip from the movie “Ghost” where Molly finally believes her husband’s spirit is present: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOPy4j79x-M
3. Read this quote from the Cheon Seong Gyeong about the spiritual world:
Heaven is a vast place. It is a world bigger and wider than this universe. But even though it is a world whose vastness is beyond description, if the people you love are somewhere in that world, no matter where, they appear instantly when you say you want to see them. And they know right away your frame of mind as you yearn for them. As soon as they arrive, they greet you, and knowing what is on your mind they say, “Thank you for thinking like this about me.
4. Read this excerpt from the book “Proof of Heaven” by Eben Alexander, a Harvard-trained neurosurgeon, in which he shares his near-death experience that convinced him of the afterlife.
In short, I devoted myself to science. Using the tools of modern medicine to help and to heal people, and to learn more about the workings of the human body and brain, was my life’s calling. I felt immeasurably lucky to have found it. More important, I had a beautiful wife and two lovely children, and while I was in many ways married to my work, I did not neglect my family, which I considered the other great blessing in my life. On many counts I was a very lucky man, and I knew it.
On November 10, 2008, however, at age fifty-four, my luck seemed to run out. I was struck by a rare illness and thrown into a coma for seven days. During that time, my entire neocortex — the outer surface of the brain, the part that makes us human — was shut down. Inoperative. In essence, absent. When your brain is absent, you are absent, too. As a neurosurgeon, I’d heard many stories over the years of people who had strange experiences, usually after suffering cardiac arrest: stories of traveling to mysterious, wonderful landscapes; of talking to dead relatives — even of meeting God Himself.
Wonderful stuff, no question. But all of it, in my opinion, was pure fantasy. What caused the otherworldly types of experiences that such people so often report? I didn’t claim to know, but I did know that they were brain-based. All of consciousness is. If you don’t have a working brain, you can’t be conscious.
This is because the brain is the machine that produces consciousness in the first place. When the machine breaks down, consciousness stops. As vastly complicated and mysterious as the actual mechanics of brain processes are, in essence the matter is as simple as that. Pull the plug and the TV goes dead. The show is over, no matter how much you might have been enjoying it.
Or so I would have told you before my own brain crashed.
During my coma my brain wasn’t working improperly — it wasn’t working at all. I now believe that this might have been what was responsible for the depth and intensity of the near-death experience (NDE) that I myself underwent during it. Many of the NDEs reported happen when a person’s heart has shut down for a while. In those cases, the neocortex is temporarily inactivated, but generally not too damaged, provided that the flow of oxygenated blood is restored through cardiopulmonary resuscitation or reactivation of cardiac function within four minutes or so. But in my case, the neocortex was out of the picture. I was encountering the reality of a world of consciousness that existed completely free of the limitations of my physical brain.
Mine was in some ways a perfect storm of near-death experiences. As a practicing neurosurgeon with decades of research and hands-on work in the operating room behind me, I was in a better-than- average position to judge not only the reality but also the implications of what happened to me.
Those implications are tremendous beyond description. My experience showed me that the death of the body and the brain are not the end of consciousness, that human experience continues beyond the grave. More important, it continues under the gaze of a God who loves and cares about each one of us and about where the universe itself and all the beings within it are ultimately going.
The place I went was real. Real in a way that makes the life we’re living here and now completely dreamlike by comparison. This doesn’t mean I don’t value the life I’m living now, however. In fact, I value it more than I ever did before. I do so because I now see it in its true context.
- What are some other things we know exist that we can’t see?
- For example: Infrared light, X rays, Air
- What is your understanding of the spiritual world?
Concluding Point: The spiritual world is a reality and is where we spend our entire existence. While we are living in our physical bodies, we are using both our physical and spirit bodies to relate with the physical and spiritual parts of creation and people. When we shed our physical bodies and live only in the spirit world, we change from using both our spirit and physical bodies to only using our spirit bodies.