Physical First Reality

Introduction To Reality of The Physical First

Reporting for the Theological Mentor Program of the National Association of Christian Ministers

Michael Mooney, ministry practitioner


So far we have discovered the Psychical First Principle. Because it is one of our “principles,” we will be considering it through the rest of the program and hopefully the rest of our lives.   


In this week’s focus, we have two learning outcomes:

To be able to identify the Physical First Principle at work in the Bible, and
To know how to apply the principle to daily living



Reality is defined as a truthful existence.  For this reason, people who are hallucinating or experiencing delusions are not “living in reality.”  An easy way to remember this is to note the word "real" is in the word reality,  Therefore, reality is the real world. Notice that the entire foundation of reality is built on the concept of “truth.”  If there is no truth, there is no reality.


Verse to ponder: Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one goes to the Father except through me. (Joh 14:6 GW).
He [Truth] created all things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible. Whether they are kings or lords, rulers or powers- everything has been created through him [Truth] and for him [Truth]. He [Truth] existed before everything and holds everything together. (Col 1:16-17 GW).

Also note that Jesus is the “physical” manifestation of God.


There are at least two assumed realms of reality: Physical Reality and Spiritual Reality




Physical reality also exists in at least two forms: the world (or matter, trees, clay, water, skin, etc.) and the circumstances of that matter.  To the best of our understanding, physical reality began here:

In the beginning God created heaven and earth. (Gen 1:1 GW).
Also, to the best of our understanding, this too is where time was formed –“in the beginning…”  Therefore, we conclude that time is very attached to physical reality.

Here is an easy example:


Pretend you are standing in a room by yourself.  Everything that you can see around you is the physical world or matter.  On a table in front of you there is a handgun.  It also is matter.  Provided that you are not experiencing a hallucination, we have just identified physical reality.

A few moments pass (this is the element of time).

Suddenly, another person enters the room and forcefully grabs the handgun from the table.  With a desperate look in their eyes, they begin pointing the gun at you as their hands tremble to hold the weapon.  We have just identified the time sensitive circumstances of reality.


Therefore, in order for physical reality to exist, there must be at least two elements present: matter and a set of time sensitive circumstances surrounding that matter.




Spiritual reality is something very different.  In fact it is so different that some people deny that it exists at all.

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1Co 2:14 ESV).


Nevertheless, spiritual reality is understood to exist as the ultimate and defining authority of reality altogether –both physical and spiritual.  Spiritual reality is probably best described as the purest form of truth.  Spiritual reality is ultimate reality.


He [Truth] created all things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible. Whether they are kings or lords, rulers or powers- everything has been created through him [Truth] and for him [Truth]. He [Truth] existed before everything and holds everything together. (Col 1:16-17 GW).
This is probably why when Moses asked God who Hs was, “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’" (Exo 3:14 ESV).
This too is probably why Jesus said, "I can guarantee this truth: Before Abraham was ever born, I am" (Joh 8:58 GW).
Some may question the definition of spiritual reality as being truth, by arguing for the existence of demons and evil spirits.  They may say, “the father of lies is not truth…”  The problem with this argument is that it places emphasis on the wrong point.  The father of lies may never speak truth, but the fact that he is the father of lies, and that he exists, remains the truth.  It is the truth that defines him as a liar.  Also notice that the very effectiveness of lies are that they “could be true.”  Without this element, they hold no power, because no one would believe them!

Gen 3:1-5 GW
(1).  The snake was more clever than all the wild animals the LORD God had made. He asked the woman, "Did God really say, ‘You must never eat the fruit of any tree in the garden’?"
(2).  The woman answered the snake, "We’re allowed to eat the fruit from any tree in the garden
(3).  except the tree in the middle of the garden. God said, ‘You must never eat it or touch it. If you do, you will die!’"
(4).  "You certainly won’t die!" the snake told the woman.
(5).  "God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened. You’ll be like God, knowing good and evil."
Bringing These Ideas Together


God made humans as parts of both physical reality and spiritual reality.


And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground [physical], and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. [spiritual] (Gen 2:7 MKJV).

God made humans to exist in, experience, relate to, and understand reality by means of the physical.


 Romans 1:19-20.  Paul says:


First Sentence


What can be known about God is clear to them because he has made it clear to them.

Implications of this sentence:  God “clearly” has revealed Himself to humanity by means of the physical.


Second Sentence


From the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly observed in what he made.

Implications of this sentence:


The way in which God has “clearly” revealed Himself to humanity is through His creation of all that is physical.  In this way, He has made spiritual things observable that would otherwise be invisible.

These invisible attributes are made visible by shadow of the physical world.


Third Sentence


As a result, people have no excuse. (Rom 1:19-20 GW).

Implications of this sentence:  Apparently, Paul sees the creation of the physical as revelation enough to dismiss any excuse of unbelief in God.


Next passage in consideration of the above:


First Sentence


This is what Scripture says: ‘The first man, Adam, became a living being.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

Implications of this sentence:


At the creation of the physical, God also made humanity in physical form.


This physical creation (Adam) was animated to life by the breath of God.


In many ways, the physical earth was representative of God’s heavenly habitation (Gen 3:4 & Rev 22:2; Gen 2:10 & Rev 22:1).


Adam was representative of God within that habitation (Gen 1:26, 28; 3:22).


However, his actions of disobedience introduced sin to the physical world.  God then cursed the ground to disobey Adam’s dominion just has His creation (Adam) disobeyed God (Gen 3:16-20; Rom 8:19-24).


Also note that the devil needed the physical in order to introduce sin.  He used a serpent (Gen 3:1).


Also note that God cursed the serpent for being used as the devil’s vessel (Gen 3:14).


THEN, He used the serpent as a physical (observable) example of the curse that He placed between the kingdom of darkness and humanity –the physical (Gen 3:15).  This too serves as another parallel between Heaven and earth (Gen 3:15 & Rev 12:7)


Second Sentence

The spiritual does not come first, but the physical and then the spiritual” (1Co 15:45-46 GW).

Implications of this sentence:  God has chosen for us to know the physical before we may know the spiritual.


As Jesus answered Nicodemus, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? (Joh 3:12 ESV).
I mention this passage to demonstrate how Jesus points to the physical to relay the truth of the spiritual.



This is an individual assignment, and is not to be intended to be completed as a team.  However, it is intended to be posted within your team areas for further discussion and peer insights.


1)     Pray that the Holy Spirit will use the next day or two to show you insight.  As you go about your daily lives, living your daily routines in reality, keep your eyes open to notice how something physical demonstrates a spiritual truth.

For example, you may be in the yard and notice that it is difficult to grow pretty green grass, but weeds shoot up without any effort.  There is a spiritual message to be learned by this physical truth.

2)     Think of how your physical example can be told as a story in order to share the gospel with an unbeliever.  Write your story down and post it in your team area for discussion.

3)     Read the story of at least one other person, and post a response pointing out something that you found “insightful” about it.