Phil 263: The Idea of God
December 5, 2014
Spiritual Dreams & Christianity
"Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream"
(Num. 12:6). Religion was the first field of dream analysis. According to Wendy Doniger and Kelly Bulkley, “the earliest writings we have on dreams are primarily texts on their religious and spiritual significance.” Since the very beginning of dream analysis, researchers have studied dreams from a religious perspective. People used to believe all dreams to be messages sent by gods, spirits, or demons. Nowadays we know better than to believe that every dream is spiritual in context, but we should still be able to identify a spiritual dream if we do experience one, and consider the religious significance of the dream when analyzing it. (4) Bryan Carraway, a graduate of Regent University with a master’s degree in Practical theology and a minister, believes that “dreams are the most overlooked forms of communication used by God.” He suggests that it is important to be aware of our dreams and this phenonmena. He also suggests that there are a number of reasons for God to come to us in a dream and these reasons are supported by Scripture. Carraway states that God comes to us in dreams to “warn global leaders of future events (Gen. 41:1-8), to provide revelation to His prophets Num (12:6), to warn us against certain decisions (Matt. 27:17-19), to reveal His divine destiny for our lives (Gen. 37:5-8), or to answer our recent petitions and prayers (I Kings 3:5-15).” (1). Basically, Carraway is not only proposing that God sends messages through dreams for all of these different reasons, but he is also suggesting that Scripture supports this claim so this form of communication with God has been happening for a very long time. According to Carraway, “dreaming is a natural physiological function that is common to every human being and is necessary for maintaining adequate mental and emotional health. If one is deprived of REM sleep (the sleep cycle at which dreaming occurs) for a substantial length of time the person can incur serious medical and mental complications.” Basically, dreaming is essential to the mental health of an individual, and is a completely natural human function, but he suggests that it is important to recognize that sometimes a divine power, in his religion “God”, uses this natural human function to connect with us in a supernatural way (1). It can be difficult to identify the difference between a natural dream and a spiritual because dreams are subjective, meaning each person can interpret them differently. Carraway suggests that spiritual dreams are different from natural dreams in the sense that “the images linger, the emotions are strongly affected, and we get this feeling that what we just experienced is a message from above; a message that needs explanation.” Carraway explains that there are three different types of spiritual dreams, in regards to Christianity. These three types are called the Warning Dream, the Confirmation Dream, and the Prophetic Dream (1). He describes the Warning Dream warns us about a future attack by an enemy. The dream could warn us about friends, spouses, or even children. Carraway suggests that we are given these dreams so we can pray for this enemy and God can intervene. An example of this kind of dream is depicted in Scripture, Gen. 20:3-7. Abimelech is warned not to sleep with Abrahams wife through a Warning Dream (1). Next, Carraway describes the Confirmation Dream. This type of spiritual dream would categorize the dreams that confirm what you already believe to be true about an individual or a specific situation. He continues, “this type of dream is used to give you the emotional impetus to act on what you already know to be true but have thus far been unresponsive towards.” Basically, God comes to you in this type