Seeing in the Spirit and the Imagination
When we speak about our imagination, many of us think back to our childhood and the imaginary friends we had, the stories we made up, or the games we played to amuse ourselves. Children find it easy to engage the imaginary realm. As adults, we learn that society sees the imaginary realm as one of foolishness and make-believe. We’re told that the only adults who engage the imaginary realm are hopeless daydreamers and the mentally ill. The phrase, “It’s just your imagination,” is used to dismiss the inspired ideas that come from this part of the soul.
In Genesis 8:21 the Lord said, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” In this verse, the Lord identifies the location of the imagination. It resides in the “heart” of man. The Hebrew word leb, translated “heart” does not refer to the physical heart, but the inner man, or what we commonly call the soul. Some people take this comment from God to mean that the human imagination in incapable of anything but evil. They believe we must resist any influence that comes from our imagination. But there is another way in which this verse can be interpreted.
The imagination can create things of beauty as well as things that are hideous. It is capable of creating both the sublime and the profane—that which is good and that which is evil. Because we have free will, we are capable of choosing what we create in our imagination. The passage in question simply states that prior to the flood, people chose to exercise their free will for evil purposes. They preferred to entertain evil in their imagination rather than good. Free will allows us to choose either one.
Man is made in the image of God, who describes Himself as a Creator. We are most like God the Creator when we’re engaged in the act of creation ourselves. Because we are created in the image of God, we’ve been given similar creative abilities that serve His divine purposes. The imagination is the creative center of the soul. It’s the place where original creative ideas are formed, and where creative inspiration is received from outside sources, such as angels and the Holy Spirit. God created our imagination as a way to communicate His detailed plans and purposes for us. His will can be revealed through the visions and dreams we receive in our imagination.
When the Lord gave Noah instructions for building an ark, it seems likely that He may have revealed the dimensions of the ark, the materials to be used, and the process of constructing it through Noah’s imagination. When He gave Moses details about the construction of the tabernacle, He wanted it to be a replica of things in heaven. Since Moses had limited information to work with, it seems likely that God imparted the information he needed through his imagination. And when the artisans and craftsmen were asked to create ornamental items for the tabernacle, the details were probably given to them through their imaginations.
One problem that must be addressed is the fact that revelations from both heavenly and demonic beings are received the same way—through the imagination. In addition to the beautiful scenes we’re shown from heaven, the imagination stores the grotesque, the perverted, and the frightening images we’ve been exposed to over our lives. It is constantly being bombarded by the kingdom of darkness with unpleasant images intended to harass, intimidate, and enslave us. God wants to reveal things to us through our imagination, and the enemy wants to prevent us from receiving them. The goal of the enemy is to so pollute the flow of revelation we receive through our imagination that we’ll decide we don’t want to see anything at all. Because the imagination is part of the soul, and the soul is controlled by our will, we can willingly choose to do whatever we want with our imagination. Because much of the imagery in this part of the mind is painful, in order to avoid the pain associated with these images, some people have exercised their free will and chosen to completely shut down the flow of revelation that comes through their imagination. In an attempt to safeguard their soul from the enemy’s attacks, they have unknowingly blocked their ability to receive revelation from God. If these individuals were to exercise their free will and make the conscious choice to receive revelation again through their imagination, their “spiritual eyes” would again be opened and they would be able to see in the spirit. The solution is not to avoid receiving all of the imagery that comes through our imagination but to learn how to filter it by sanctifying our imagination for God’s purposes.
This is an excerpt from my book Seeing in the Spirit Made Simple.