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“Ask a Priest: Does Christianity Believe in a ‘Third Eye’?”
Q: In Christianity is there a reference to a “third eye” or “mind’s eye”? Some physical region of a person’s body that connects to the divine? Also, did God create angels first, then humans? When humans die, do they become angels or something different? And when humans die, do they become kind of apathetic? I would think an eternity without further fear of death or anything that requires our attention we might lose passion and focus after a while. – J.
Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC
A: Wikipedia defines the third eye (also called the mind’s eye) as “a mystical and esoteric concept of a speculative invisible eye which provides perception beyond ordinary sight.”
A dictionary definition describes it as “the locus of occult power and wisdom in the forehead of a deity, especially the god Shiva.”
Christianity doesn’t accept the notion of a locus (or place) of a “third eye” in the senses listed above.
When we do think of something that “provides perception beyond ordinary sight,” we generally call that our power of intellect.
Our intellects allow us to abstract universal ideas from concrete things.
For instance, you see a small, furry creature with four legs and a tail and whiskers. You see another similar creature and then another. Asked what these three creatures are, you answer, “Cats.”
Each is a distinct creature, yet in your mind you see a similarity in all three: felinity, or “cat-ness.” Your intellect allows you to draw this idea of “cat” from the three creatures you see.
On the moral level, too, we as Christian recognize something else that enables us to perceive “beyond ordinary sight.” This includes three interrelated gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding and knowledge.
Wisdom gives us a certain divine penetration of Christian truth and the ability to judge and direct human affairs according to divine truth.
Understanding is penetrating insight into the heart of things, especially those higher truths that are necessary for our eternal salvation.
Knowledge is the ability to judge correctly about matters of faith and right action.
As for the angels: God apparently created them first. In fact, the devil is a fallen angel, and he subsequently tempted man.
When we die our soul goes to the particular judgment. We learn our fate: heaven, purgatory for a while (and then heaven), or hell. At that time we are sort of like angels, in the sense that we are spirits without bodies. But at the end the world we will be reunited with our bodies.
Don’t worry about being bored if you make it to heaven. In comparison with the adventure of eternal life in perfect communion with God, even the most exciting earthly adventures are mere fire crackers beside a volcano.
For more reading see Peter Kreeft’s posting at https://legatus.org/what-are-the-four-last-things/. You also might enjoy our Fire of Mercy: A Retreat Guide on All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.
I hope this gives you something to look forward to.
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Dear F. McIlmail:
Thank you so much your explanations. I love to receive your e-mails because you not only do great job explaining, but you offer extra links to research further. Thank you so much for you vocation and this great ministry. Please keep us in your prayers, you certainly are in mine. God bless!