A Private Christian School Engaging Hearts and Minds

What is Real?

August 21, 2018


One of the most profound questions we can ask in life is, “What is real?”  Is reality merely physical matter? Are non-physical entities also real? And why is that important?

Perhaps most important sociologically, if other humans are nothing more than physical matter, then what inherent value do they have?  Why could we not just physically mistreat or harm others? After all, they would just be physical matter, so what’s the big deal? It would be like crushing a rock with a jackhammer; only physical matter would be destroyed.  So once again, on what basis could we honestly say that other humans should be treated as more valuable than other physical matter? (Obviously, our beliefs about reality impact not only ourselves but others too. Ideas have consequences, and they impact everyone's lives.)

In stark contrast to the previously mentioned undesirable scenario, if non-physical entities exist, then that presents the opportunity for humans to have a soul, which would automatically attribute inherent value to every person.  In addition, if non-physical entities exist, then that presents the possibility that God (a non-physical being) also exists. The good news is that it is VERY simple to explain how we know that non-physical entities do exist.

The included video provides two examples of how we know non-physical entities exist.  One of the examples provided is numbers. Numbers are non-physical entities. How do we measure physicality?  We use the five senses, weight, height, etc… If I apply those units of measurement to the number three, I quickly realize that the number three is non-physical.  I can hold up three fingers; however, that’s not “three”...they’re fingers. We have attributed the numerical concept of “three” to that amount of fingers. It’s a physical representation of a non-physical concept.  “3” is also not three. It’s an Arabic numeral that represents the numerical concept of three. I can’t smell three, I can’t taste three, I can’t even see three. I can only see physical representations of the numerical concept of three, such as “three” or “3."  Therefore, numbers are non-physical.

What’s most ironic about this entire blog post, is that every person reading it has actually demonstrated non-physical reality as he/she has read this post.  The beauty of language is that it conveys meaning. Meaning is non-physical. In this blog post, I have combined a series of letters and numbers into a particular arrangement to which we have attributed meaning.  The reader has then deciphered that meaning from this particular arrangement of letters and numbers, thus meaning was communicated. That meaning is non-physical. We cannot smell that meaning, we cannot see that meaning, we cannot taste that meaning.  Meaning is non-physical, but it is obviously very real; otherwise, you would not have understood this very sentence.

As Christians, we can be confident that in a world that is in some ways growing increasingly skeptical of the non-physical, acknowledging the existence of the non-physical in conjunction with the physical is the most logically consistent way to interpret reality.  Therefore, since non-physical entities exist, then God (a non-physical being) can also exist.

Mr. Pierce
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