Since the Enlightenment, there has been a tendency in the West to view the world through materialist spectacles. The rarity of (recorded) miracles preserves the concept: if they were everyday occurrences, they would not be miraculous. It was not always so. The Eden story in Genesis 1 to 3 presents humans living on the “cosmic mountain”, mingling with supernatural beings. Eve’s conversation with the Serpent is presented as a normal event because the cosmic mountain is the seat of God’s Council on earth: the conversations John the Revelator has with the angels in God’s heavenly throne-room are analogous.

The Fall leads to exile of humans from the cosmic mountain. Instead of extended sacred space to cover the whole earth, divine space must be carefully protected by ritual purity laws at a site of God’s choosing. Jerusalem eventually becomes the new cosmic mountain and the decoration of the Temple, especially in Ezekiel’s vision, evokes the Garden. The appearance of divine beings is now much rarer: humans do not freely mingle with them.

The coming of Jesus changes this state of affairs. As God incarnate, His body is a Temple, and He moves freely among the people. Rather than being separated from Him by priests and ritual purity laws, they can touch Him. Instead of destroying the sacred space, as would happen with defilement of the Jerusalem Temple, His holiness makes them clean. This is God doing a new thing. The coming of Jesus represents a beginning to the restoration of Eden. Upon His resurrection, He gives His Spirit to His followers, and they become individually and corporately a temple of God: moveable Edens with a mission to extend Jesus’ ministry to the world till it returns to Jerusalem and Israel when the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

This restoration is accompanied by an increase in supernatural events, as explained by the Apostle Peter in his commentary on the prophet Joel in Acts 2. God is showing signs and wonders on the earth as a witness to the truth of Jesus’ claims and as an expression of what His Kingdom is like. In a world run by God, rather than Satan or sinful man, there is life and health and happiness.

But the enemy also can perform signs and wonders. He is no match for God, but his trickery can affect the unwary, especially those not loyal to YHWH. The spread of false religions and cults since the coming of Christ is testimony to the rebellion of both spirits and men. The Apostle Paul tells us that these false signs will intensify close to the return of Christ, when they accompany the revelation of the Man of Sin, who will sit in the Temple of God and usurp God’s place.

It is only after the return of Christ and the destruction of evil that we see the two worlds fully recombined in a new Eden that covers the earth. The wicked are confined to the lake of everlasting fire, and the righteous live in glorious resurrection bodies, living with YHWH, unhurt by elements of the supernatural and natural order.