Question:I remember reading in the Bible that "the spirit world is more real than the physical world." I have tried to find it again and cannot. Do you know what the reference for this is?
I recall reading a short book by C.S. Lewis that had this idea as its theme. I also remember that there were several ideas in that book which were simply not biblically correct. I also know that among the New Age religions this concept is a popular idea. But none of these sources would establish truth.
One of the ways the word "shadow" is used in the Bible is to describe something that temporary or transitory. The shadow gives you a rough idea of what the reality is like, but it is not the reality. It is some times described as a type and antitype. If you have ever seen an old typewriter, you would understand it imagery. The keys in a typewriter would swing a metal die of a letter at an inked ribbon and paper. The impact would transfer some ink to the paper in the form of the metal die. The image formed is called the type and the metal die holds the antitype.
Thus when describing the Old Testament and its system, it is referred to as a shadow of the reality of the New Testament. "So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ" (Colossians 2:16-17). Each of these items: food and drink, festivals, new moon, and sabbaths, represented things found in the New Testament but are not the reality. A good example is the incense offered on the altar. We are told that the incense represents the prayers of godly people (Revelation 8:4).
This is why it was important for those under the Old Law to do exactly as God instructed. They did not always understand what various parts of what they did represented, but it was important to establish the example which was then explained later. "For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, "See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain"" (Hebrews 8:4-5). "For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect" (Hebrews 10:1).
It isn't difficult to extend the concept and realize that the things we do now are actually a shadow of heaven. Again, it becomes important that we follow the pattern given, even if we don't fully understand what it represents. "But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered" (Romans 6:17). The word "form" is the one for a pattern to be followed.
In the same way, this life is referred to a shadow. It is only temporary and fleeting.
"Surely every man walks about like a shadow; Surely they busy themselves in vain; He heaps up riches, And does not know who will gather them" (Psalm 39:6).
"My days are like a shadow that lengthens, And I wither away like grass" (Psalm 102:11).
"I am gone like a shadow when it lengthens; I am shaken off like a locust" (Psalm 109:23).
"For who knows what is good for man in life, all the days of his vain life which he passes like a shadow? Who can tell a man what will happen after him under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 6:12).
"But it will not be well with the wicked; nor will he prolong his days, which are as a shadow, because he does not fear before God" (Ecclesiastes 8:13).
If this life is like a shadow, then the conclusion is that the next life is the reality.