Within our theistic framework, all physical processes are the successive products
of prior spiritual and psychical processes. Just from the direction of this causation,
we might expect very many parapsychological phenomena to occur and even many events
that appear to be miraculous. However, unambiguously parapsychological results appear
to be rare, and successful parapsychological experiments seem to be getting rarer.
Why is this?
The main reason is that, despite causation proceeding from the mental to the
physical, it is certainly not the case that thereby we ‘create our own reality’
(as many have speculated and believed). Rather, there is a physical level of fixed
and actual events that act to select, constrain, and retain our mental and spiritual
processes, as I have argued. Therefore, in normal life, there are few parapsychological
phenomena and even fewer events which could be considered miraculous. Instead of
our minds creating our reality, it is clear that it is our external reality which
is essential in constraining our minds to operate only within the boundaries of
our own bodies. According to theistic science, our spiritual life is only possible
if we have a spiritual container (soul) for the spiritual life we receive from God.
Our spirituality is not automatically spread out across the whole universe, or across
all times, or at ‘all frequencies’. It is closely connected to the functions we
perform with our bodies in the world.
The main times that parapsychological events seem to occur is in periods of strong
feelings and emotions such as stress from grief, exuberance, accident, injury, or
sickness. Brain death also produces such occurrences, called near-death experiences.
In these and in other cases, there seems to be a spontaneous spilling over from
the normal containers of mental and spiritual life. Then the reasons listed in Section
25.4 no longer apply so strictly, and our consciousness
can extend to people, events, and or actions outside the limits of our skin.27.5Such
cases of strong feelings and emotions tend to be spontaneous and difficult to reproduce
in laboratory settings. In fact, the sheer numbers of spontaneous cases showing
external connections of consciousness are overwhelming whenever these are diligently
investigated. They used to be collected more reliably in the early days of psychical
research. Now, with more public skepticism, many people keep their experiences to
themselves. Near-death experiences appear to be more acceptable currently, though
perhaps not in all scientific circles.
We should also consider the possibility advocated by
Swedenborg (1947), that miracles and other effectuating
events are deliberately kept from our view so as not to force rational thought to
conclusions it cannot assimilate. This would be quite possible even in our ‘scientific
era’, since such things are under the management of God. Miracles may still occur
in interior degrees, out of view, but ‘external miracles’ might perhaps only now
occur when they can be interpreted in many ways. It seems to be the story of parapsychology:
quests for definitive and forceful demonstrations make the phenomena retreat. Instead
we may be supposed to freely and rationally understand the operations of God, spirituality
and mentality in the world. I therefore leave open the question of whether reliable
parapsychological experiments will ever become commonplace.