Is there a spiritual dimension — or dimensions — to space?
That’s asked for a number of reasons.
First, the sky played a role at various times in Scripture, including (with the star) at Bethlehem. At many junctures in history, comets and stars and planets, the sun, have been considered as augurs.
There are also recent reasons.
One is that, on occasion, those who have had near-death experiences describe a high-speed journey through what appeared to be outer space, whizzing by stars and galaxies, instead of journeying to a light through that famous “tunnel.” Jesus, in reference to the afterlife, spoke of the “outer darkness.” (Actually, as they supposedly sped upwards, sometimes toward “cities of light,” space seemed to form a funnel around them.)
One such famous experiencer, Dr. Howard Storm of Kentucky, about whom a major movie is planned, once said that during his brush with death he was told the universe is “teeming with life.”
You can take that — discern that — as you will. We have no idea about living forms elsewhere, though the Vatican astronomer, Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, repeatedly has expressed an open view toward the possibility, reassuring the faithful that existence of life elsewhere would change nothing in Catholic theology.
Then there are those who have journeyed up and out there via normal, physical means — astronauts and cosmonauts.
And, yes, they have reported unusual experiences. Strange lights. Ghost-like images. Whispers.
A number who walked on the moon, or even simply orbited, have spoken about their expeditions as ending up to be more spiritual than cosmological. Something happens to the spirit out there, they say, especially when they see the earth rise above the horizon of the lunar landscape, or as they swept over entire continents, gawking at a gorgeous planet with no borders and astonishing hues.
Perhaps most vocal was Dr. Edgar Mitchell, who walked on the moon February 6, 1971, during the Apollo 14 mission and later described an elevated consciousness, sort of an epiphany, ecstasy, or metanoia. (He related it to the “samadhi” of Eastern belief). When Dr. Mitchell, who died last year, returned to earth, so powerful was the experience that he dedicated the rest of his life to studying spiritual frontiers (through his Institute of Noetic Sciences in Sonoma, California — unfortunately, integrating psychic phenomena in that search; see video below).
In Plato’s Phaedo, Socrates said that if you could see the Earth from space, you would recognize “that is the real heaven and the real light and the real earth.”
As Pravda reported in 2011, “UFOs, angels and other supernatural phenomena, which people may encounter in their lives, can only be a result of hallucinations, NASA specialists said. However, stories about such encounters, told by pilots, cosmonauts and astronauts, become classified immediately.”
As the Soviet newspaper recounted, in 1985, six crew members on board the Soviet Salyut-7 space station (Leonid Kizim, Oleg Atkov, Vladimir Solovyov, Svetlana Savitskaya, Igor Volk and Vladimir Jannibekov), claimed to have seen angels. Added the newspaper: “It was said that U.S. astronauts on board NASA’s space shuttles also encountered angel-like creatures.”
There are also those strange sounds — soft, ghost-like voices that have been reported by cosmonauts. Are they simply the result of mental fatigue, perhaps low oxygen (anoxia) or sleep deprivation?
“They were aboard a Soviet spacecraft, flying over the southern hemisphere, when the ‘whisper’ came to them,” recounted a magazine. One claimed to have heard the words, “You arrived here too early, and you did it in a wrong fashion. Trust me, for I am your ancestor on the maternal side. Do you remember, she told you; back when you were a child, about your great-grandfather, who had founded the D-s factory in the Urals? Sonny, you should not be here, go back to earth, do not violate the Laws of the Creator…Sonny, you must return, return, return…” (Supposedly the “whisper” then told the cosmonaut a very private story, knowledge that only a family member could known; it concerned the cosmonaut’s great-grandfather.)
For our mulling over. We’ll keep an open if discerning mind.
Infinitely large; an infinite testimony to God; we’ll have eternity to explore it.
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