Science in Christian Perspective
Philip Marquart, M.D.
From: JASA 6 (June 1954): 20-21
Mrs. Piper was a simple New England woman but she could do impossible things. Prof. Win. James of Harvard investigated her case in 1885 and found that she had very little education. She would, go off into trances-trances which Prof. James thought were of an hypnotic nature, and then she could give out accurate information about relatives and even strangers who came in after she "went under". She could locate things that were lost, etc. Wni. James came to the conclusion that she was not doing these things by trickery, but that it was actually accomplished through the spirits of people long dead. Whenever Mrs. Piper went into a trance a "spirit control" would apparently take over. One of these controls called himself "Dr. Phinuit" a French physician, while another was called "George Pellew " who had recently died. Under his control, she recognized persons known by Pellew. She also translated some Greek, for Pellew knew Greek.
After many series of seances, the psychologists were
perplexed, for it was not just a trick. It was more than
mind reading and more than recalling the past. They
say that Mrs. Piper is still living at about 100 years of
Cases like this do occur. They occur among those who are the enemies of the Lord, mediums and witch doctors. Thus we know that Satanic spirits are able to peek into our minds to some extent, and to influence and obsess even the minds of Christians.
Mental telepathy is a live topic just now because of recent articles on the subject by Aldous Huxley (Life and Readers Digest) and interesting comment on the subject by C. E. M. Joad. Where do we stand as Christians on this matter? There are those conservative Christians who say we ought never to mention this subject because it is of the devil. We cannot agree. The psi function, as psychologists call it, must be a natural function: therefore created of God. Any created thing may be used of the devil, or of God, in accordance with our own human decisions and choices. The case of Mrs. Piper, above, may even be a case of "possession'.
Missionary A. W. Bailey came back to his thatched home from a long hot journey. As he was preparing a bath, he foolishly entered the bath room without a candle, and in his bare feet. Suddenly he realized that he placed his foot on the squirming body of a poisonous snake. He jumped for safety and fortunately for him the snake did not attempt to bite him. He wondered why. The following year while on furlough, (as A. W. Bailey recently told me personally) he encountered a lady in the state of Maine who told him why. On the very same calendar day as his encounter with the snake, at the very same hour, as rated by the proper time changes, this lady awakened from sleep with an urgent feeling that she should pray for Missionary Bailey. The Lord even gave her a waking vision of Bailey with his bare foot on a large snake.
Needless to say there is nothing Satanic about the E. S. P. (if so it be) involved in this account. In fact, it is supernatural Revelation (Deut. 29:29) from God.
The cases above have features about them which indicate that they are non-natural, whether it be the use of natural mechanism or not. The researchers of our psychologic world, such as Dr. Rhine of Duke University, are looking for a natural function of human nature when they postulate the psi function (which is studied by parapsychology). Here are some of the things they think they have found about it. it is so insignificant that it is only found by very careful statistical methods. It has no practical value. Rhine believes that the psi function does not vary inversely with the square of the distance involvedand therefore it is not a physical entity. This means that thought is not mere physical energy.
G. E. S. P.-the general function involving perception.P. T.-mental telepathy f roin another mind.
P. C.---clairvoyance, without mediating of other minds.Precognition-Looking into the Future.
However, we as Christians, would have certain questions to ask. When Jesus foretold His crucifixion was He using a natural precognition, or His own omniscience? When Jesus knew what was in man, was this natural P. T., or was it omniscience? When the 46th Psalm says, "He uttered His voice, the earth melted", is this psychokinesis, or is it omnipotence?
The article by Aldous Huxley includes several things that have no relationship to G. E. S. P. Some of these are some experiences of identical twins and people who look identical. Much time and space is wasted in considering the homing behavior and migratory trends of animals. There is no evidence that these matters have anything in common with the parapsychology of human beings. Moreover, the space devoted to hypnosis is perplexing. Hypnotism is not mysterious like E. S. P. We understand some of its basis in the matter of suggestion and its action over the medium of the autonomic nerves. Thus we know that blisters, like burns, may be raised on the subject's skin, j . ust by suggestion. But this has no relation to the psi function. Only God can search the heart (Jer. 14:9)Wheaton Illinois