If one wishes to be led into an amazing fantasy of one kind and another, simply enter "life in the spirit realm" into one of the major search engine windows and choose from the thousands of responses that appear. There are those which are obviously without any basis other than fantasy. Some others seem to make some sense and have merit. Yet, there is no proof of any substance. Many are highly interesting and may even take you into its group of followers if you aren't careful.
Our article is to be focused upon the source of the spirit realm, whose Master is God Himself. The only true source of this information is the Holy Bible. The subject itself is fascinating and extremely difficult to perceive. This writer does not profess to be able even nearly to apprehend the realm. But the Bible makes numerous statements which give minute glimpses into this wonder. It is these clues which we shall attempt to examine.
We may start with the early interactions between God and man. Before God created the universe, there existed no physical matter. The first two verses in the Bible tell us that:
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." (Genesis 1:1-2 NKJV)
The word 'created' is not the same as 'built'. He created the matter necessary for a physical universe. It was not even in the shape of the earth and other bodies of the universe. It was without form and void. He created the physical materials from nothing and then proceeded to construct the universe from that material. This only tells us that prior to this creation, all beings were spirit. Indestructible and absolutely non-physical.
In God's dealing with Adam and Eve, the newly created humans, the scriptures do not tell us if he appeared to them in some physical manifestation or simply spoke to them. Also the other early characters with which he dealt, however, we know that some of the instances were via dreams or visions. Dreams and visions engage only the psychic of man. Not his literal vision.
Beginning with Abraham, the Bible mentions God, or the Lord, appeared to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Solomon or Moses 14 times, usually without explanation as to how He appeared, except in a few instances, once as a man to Abraham, to Solomon in a dream, to Moses as a burning bush.
We also know that Jesus appeared to Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus as a bright shining light. (Acts 9:3-4)
These instances which have some explanations, make it very clear that in order to be seen, the visiting spirit had to be manifested as something of a physical nature.
These things should convince anyone that a spirit then, is not made of anything which reflects light that can be discerned by the physical eye. When a person dies, the spirit leaves the physical body. Has anyone ever seen a spirit leave the body? Of course not. The spirit is not something physical.
When God created the universe, He created it for a limited time. Only He knows the length of that time or the date that all physical matter will again be turned into nothing. Man has witnessed many spiritual acts. The miracles of Jesus were spiritual acts, not physical. The Holy Spirit sent to the apostles on the first Pentecost was strictly spirit, even though it was manifested in the form of a flame as it descended upon them. But it was spirit that entered into them and which controlled to an extent, their thoughts and activities.
Jesus' body, when crucified, was separated from the spirit. No one saw it leave and no one saw it return. But it did return and entered back into his injured body for the period of time until he ascended into heaven. We can rest assured that he then was permanently separated from his physical body since no flesh and blood can enter into heaven.
We have a plain and uncomplicated verse of scripture which tells us: "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24 KJV)
If we feel that we understand that God is a Spirit, a being which can be, and is, everywhere at the same time, has all power and all knowledge and wisdom, then we should be able to understand what we shall be when we enter into that realm. We won't have all knowledge and wisdom as does God, but we will not be restricted by space since spirits utilize no space. Since Jesus has been returned to heaven, he is also totally spirit, just as he was before his physical birth. And just as the Father is. And, therefore, here is how we can know what we shall be. Read the following:
"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." (1 John 3:2 KJV)
We know that Jesus is a Spirit and John says we shall be like him. I believe that to be truth. The apostle Peter warns us that all physical matter will be totally destroyed.
"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." (2 Peter 3:10 KJV)
It becomes very difficult for humans to conceive of existence with no physical substance. But to understand the spiritual realm, we must understand it has no physical matter, it occupies no space, and it truly is a mentality, but a powerful one, which can visualize other beings and communicate with other beings. It is entirely possible that these visions will appear just as if they were physical. And in fact, this may well be the way. Paul gives us a glimpse of his view of heaven when he was taken up to be indoctrinated by Jesus. Notice what he says (referring to himself).
"I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago--whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows--such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man--whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows--how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter." (2 Corinthians 12:2-4 NKJV)
Now notice some of the things here. He says he does not know if he was in the body or out of the body. It is obvious he was not in the body, for at least two reasons, He could see and hear those about him who were spirits, which physical humans cannot see…or hear. Plus we are told that flesh and blood cannot enter into heaven. That is not because it is simply banned from doing so, but because it is a completely different realm where physical matter is non-existent.
But one factor stands out. If Paul could not tell whether or not he was in the body, then it must have been that everything seemed the same as it would have in the body. This can possibly explain a lot of things. We, through the power and light of God, may be able to visualize spiritual beings just as if they were physical.
Now consider the above in light of two mysterious statements in Revelation
"The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light." (Revelation 21:23)
"There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever." (Revelation 22:5)
"... and so shall we ever be with the Lord." (1 Thessalonians 4:17)