Sunday, January 27, 2008

Orbs - Angels or A Load of Balls?

It wasn't until recently that photos with strange looking balls of light became a hot topic of discussion among some of my friends. According to them, these orbs are apparently angels sent from heaven to look after us. They claim that orbs can be easily seen around holy anointed people, and are especially prominent during times of worship or deep prayer...

Or around yours truly... =)

When I first heard about it, my initial reaction was pure skepticism. It wasn't something that I've noticed before, and even if I did, I would never have thought it had anything to do with angels. These are the kind of orbs that people would usually associate with those shown on paranormal documentaries of spooky cemeteries and haunted homes.

And admit it, when you first saw my photo, it wasn't the thought of why I was taking a photo of myself wearing a Mexican hat indoors that first crossed your mind. It was those strange looking balls that were seemingly floating around me.

As a Christian, it was never about the things that I could see that increased my faith. It was the things I couldn't see, like the love, kindness, peace and joy of the Lord that makes my life so worth living. But as a man of science, I can't help but be aware of the underlying principles of the everyday phenomena.

Take the case of a rainbow... How can a small drop of water create such a magnificent sight in the sky? Thanks to science, we've now come to understand that the white warm glow of sunlight is actually made up of a wide range of colours. A rainbow basically forms when sunlight gets separated out into its different colours when it passes through a rain drop. This is a perfect example where a complex phenomenon has a very simple and elegant explanation.

How about orbs then?

Orbs are simply the distorted out-of-focus images of tiny particles being caught in the flash zone of the camera. When a photo is taken, the camera automatically focuses its lenses to capture the distant object. If dust particles are present in the air, they are usually too small to be seen by the camera's photo sensors. However, if they are really close to the lens, they can produce a distorted circular image on the resulting photo. This effect is similar to that caused by dust on your glasses when you're out in the sun.

To prove my theory, I carried out a simple experiment with my Olympus digital camera. The next 3 shots were taken with the camera mounted on a tripod during the afternoon. The 1st shot was a control shot, the 2nd was taken just after I ruffled my hair and the 3rd was taken right after beating 2 pillows together like a madman.

Control Shot

Ruffled Hair

Beating 2 Pillows

I don't know about you, but this experiment proves to me that orbs can be caused by dust particles in the air. It also proves that I really need to wash my pillows and switch to an anti-dandruff shampoo.

So why don't we see this effect in the more expensive professional SLR cameras then? Most compact digital cameras have the flash unit located just right next to the lens. While this may help in taking photos at dimly lit areas, it has a profound effect on the dust particles near the lens.

The flash overwhelmingly illuminates the surrounding dust particles near the lens at about 10 times the brightness of the Sun, and this can be easily captured by the photo sensors in the camera. Professional photographers use SLR cameras with sophisticated lenses and dust covers to overcome this problem. Furthermore, their flash units are quite a distance away from the lens opening, so the dust particles around the lens aren't as brightly illuminated as compared to the compact cameras.

This is the simple and elegant scientific explanation. But how about from a Christian perspective?

Orbs are no doubt a fascinating sight to a believer, especially when captured during moments of worship and prayer. Sometimes preachers use this as evidence of God's support of their ministry. And sometimes the presence of orbs brings a source of hope to those who see photos of their loved ones surrounded by them.

But the fact is, orbs do not pass the 3 rules of discernment.

Firstly, it does not glorify Jesus Christ. It turns the supernatural into something paranormal and mystifying. Orbs reduces the glorious nature of God and His angels into something that only a digital camera can see, but something His own creation cannot. It says nothing about Jesus but boasts about our ability to finally see into the spiritual realm with a man-made device.

Secondly, it does not increase or edify one's faith. To believe in orbs actually destroys the roots of faith. Our faith should be rooted firmly in the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, that by His perfect sacrifice, our sins are now forgiven; and that by His resurrection, we can now lead an everlasting life with our Father in heaven. Our faith should not be based on something that appears randomly in dusty places. In some cases, the presence of orbs can even promote fear because it can now be used as a spiritual yardstick to judge if someone is praying enough or worshipping properly. I know this is ridiculous, but a dusty unkempt church building could very well appear to be more "holy" than a clean and tidy one.

Finally, it is not biblical. There is no verse in the bible that comes even close to suggest that orbs are angelic beings. Some dare to quote from the Book of Ezekiel and claim that the orbs are actually the wheels of the four living creatures. I wonder why have they chosen to focus on Ezekiel 1:16 which describes the wheels that sparkled like chrysolite but totally ignored Ezekiel 1:13 which tells of the fire that moved back and forth among the creatures, which was bright, and had lightning flashing out of it.

Surely the lightning and bright fire should be more noticeable than the sparkle? o_O

I didn't write this article to embarrass my friends or insult their spiritual discernment. If I have, I am truly sorry. I don't deny that God and His angels can use orbs as a means to manifest themselves, but there is a point where being too spiritual actually becomes silly.

My aim is for this article to create awareness on the deception currently plaguing the Church and hopefully this will help others discover the error of their ways. As a Christian myself, I believe that my friends will do the same for me if my spiritual walk is in error.

Bless you my friends, and may this passage from 1st Timothy edify you and keep you in Shalom peace always.

1 Timothy 4:1-16
1The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons...

6If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. 7Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly...

9This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance 10(and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe. 11Command and teach these things. 12Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity...

16Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

37 comments:

mizzao said...

Hey! This is really cool! I started taking pictures at a church retreat today and wondered what this is about. It's amazing that you just wrote this today. Anyway, perhaps you can send this to some of the online websites that talk about angel orbs, and show them that they're barking up the wrong tree.

Andy said...

Thanks mizzao! =)

It's amazing too that you managed to find my blog out of the thousands already out there =)

Keep in touch and may the good Lord bless you and keep you in shalom peace always!

Jessica said...

hmmm, what r your thoughts on this pic - there's a huge circle of light around the person leading prayer..
http://bp2.blogger.com/_-UZXAbFzfKs/SC2wI5EQpQI/AAAAAAAAAHM/6x_iyRkKaPs/s1600-h/Nepal,+March+08+183.jpg

Phil Walker said...

this is great - clears a lot of confusion for people. Although there might be supernatural images we shouldn't go pointing at every 'orb' saying 'LOOK' 'AN ANGEL!' ... it distracts us from the heart which is what we should be focused on making sure our hearts are completely surrendered for God!

thanks

Anonymous said...

Point 1 I have seen orbs directly not on a camera or picture
Point two I don't think these are angels but other spirits like ourselves. Years ago when I was doing a lot of meditation I would leave my body and one time on my return I was inflated inside my body like I was a baloon. This sphere movement seems to be the most efficient form for doing so.tom

karl said...

probably a better scientific analysis can be found at www.oltiv.org

Anonymous said...

I am so happy that you wrote this blog. I am a semi-professional photographer and understand the "bokeh" effect quite well and use it often in my images. It gets to be pretty silly and rather immature to see people playing the mystical ghost/angel hunter for something that is as common as dirty pillows :) Faith is a much deeper and tranquil sea then the choppy waters of sensationalism.
In regards to the link that Jessica had sent with that picture: yes that too is a particle of dust that you see. In fact I would be shocked not to see some sort of 'orb' in that room due to the intensity of the sunlight coming in from the bottom of the shot. In other words, somebody needs to give that cleaning lady a raise! Now go wash your pillows! :)

Anonymous said...

...oh and one more note to Jess. That's not the only 'orb' in that room. If you look closely you can see little ones all around the kids near where the light is coming in.

Anonymous said...

Two years ago, I used to think of those orbs as annoying until I used the same camera during worship service recently. Only larger pinkish-golden orbs were showing up alongside the translucent smaller orbs. Then we experimented with different cameras. Again, the same results. Through the digital camera, I saw a translucent shaft of light from the ceiling to the floor over my pastor....no matter where I moved in the sanctuary. Couldn't catch it on camera though. Then a teen took pictures today and saw the same shaft of light I witnessed, only on a different member....there was no light source directly above her. I don't discount your theory neither do I discount the supernatural realm when it comes to God. I've also witnessed flashes of light when in prayer...coming out from my pitch black backyard. I used to think it was just my imagination it happened again when I had a roommate. We were in a deep discussion of Jesus and the miracles we were encountering as we ministered that week. A streak of bright, white light shot through the curtains from the side of the house, shooting in between us...again it was pitch black. A side note, prior to my first snapshot of orbs, none showed up on my digital photos. P/S-I've lived overseas and the supernatural realm is as real as the natural realm that's why this is of no surprise to me.

Anonymous said...

OK I read your COmment on Orbs. I agree with your review.
And find your points well taking into consideration.

My wife and I have walked in the Supernatural realm of the Lords out pourings for several years.

I belive that many people are so thristy and hungry for the things of God that they will grab the first thing they see and it will make thme sick.

Hoever I have also experinced some trylu devine things that if they had not occured to me I would not belive.

Recently I have captured on film and digital these orbs. And amazingly they do have the faces mentioned in the book of Ezekiel. You can actually see th lion or the eagel or the face of a man or the Ox. SO what do we do with that?

Lets not throw the baby out with the bath water. When there is the supernatural involved the enemy will always produce a conterfit.

PLease feel free to contact me and I would be happy to share these photos with you.
jean-marc.katzeff@floridamoves.com

Anonymous said...

Hi from Norway,

I was shocked to find orbs on a photo I took from my front porch. They were all over the area, from several meters from the house to half a kilometer away, large and small, in the air, on the snow, in bushes--all over. Also, something like large white birds were in the air--and we have nothing like that at 69 degrees N. latitude. I am a Christian and I believe the Lord has His angels stationed in my area, for reasons only He knows. I can therefore not buy your particle theory. A flash does not make an impact on distances 500 meters away on a January afternoon just after the polar night, and it wasn't snowing either!

Viio said...

Hi, thanks for doing those control shots. Just what I was hoping for. I've heard a lot about the "angel orbs" and some people proclaiming quite fervently that they are true, but I was looking for a more scientific explaination. I am a spirit-filled Christian, but my brain is not disengaged ;)

Thanks a lot.
Paul.

Franki said...

Thank you for this. I just noticed orbs in a picture I took. I prayed for discernment and came across many sites before yours, and all were "debunked" by reading why they believed they were angels and flaws in their doctrine and belief system. After that, I found your website which perfectly explained what I thought to be happening.

SJ said...

I think that some orbs may be dust but some are definately NOT.

Some orbs appear as very bright bright lights, almost like fire and you cannot say that is dust.

My mom has actually seen these orbs in person (as well as many others)

I believe they are either angels or demons

Garry B said...

I have been taking pictures in our church service, orbs appear after we have been in worship for a few minutes, it seems that every week the orbs are more intense. What are they, I do not know for sure, but they point to our God, praise Jesus!!

Anonymous said...

hi all. what do you think about these?

http://www.maxgreinerart.com/AngelOrbs.html

-sc-

Anonymous said...

hi all.. what do you think about these on below site? thanks

http://www.maxgreinerart.com/AngelOrbs.html

Anonymous said...

ok.... performed this experinment.... nothing.... ok then how do you explain this, in places with little dust, takin with diffrent cameras, at diffrent times and diffrent places where all of these things show up?? so it's complete coinsidence that these aremost scene in Churches and by Christians??? Then there's the fact that i've seen these orbs without a camera or video tape...

Tim said...

Im glad someone could finally provide an in-depth analysis on this. very well done and extremely helpful. I too am a christian who often deals with other christians who believe in these.
i face the struggle that when you discount these ideas, those people tend to shun you as 'not a true beleiver' or someone who is spiritually unaware. its extremely hard to point out to them that 1 tim verse about how demons come to deceive cos your basically labelling them and their whole churches methodology as demon worshippers.
but thanks, this was great.

Anonymous said...

I just set up my security system, a week ago, and started to notice it by coincidence. Although I have been very skeptical, I am now a believer.

I would not give this article as much credit as the final word. Yes, scientifically dust can create orbs, there is not doubt, but not all orbs are dust. I myself see them live on my TV screen everyday by night through my 4 security cameras set in my living room. These cameras have night vision.

I can make an hour video full of them passing by every 30 seconds on average all sizes, brightness and distance. Their movement has nothing to do with dust particles. They move very fast intelligently changing direction extremely fast. I see them coming out of doors or windows, but never passing walls. I can even talk to call them and they start showing around. And I am not saying there is paranormal activity in my place; it is a very normal home.

I want to issue a video on Youtube, but it seems like the 30 fps rate of my security system DVR does not play well; it looks like fast movements cut off. Sometimes, it does not even show the orbs as well as in real time. I will try to figure out how to solve this. Check my profile on Youtube under magfinla in a couple of months. But I believe this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlvaSQjDN6Y shows perfectly orbs and their behavior. That’s exactly the same I see on my system.

There is not way those particles are dust, especially their movements. They can go as fast as a flash or even suspend for seconds; can go from up down and vice versa, where there is absolutely no wind, and nothing being shaken. Stop being skeptical, you will see this issue proven in time. These are not dust particles.

Also, I have been in two Christian places praying vehemently during a retreat weekend, and felt like air gusts passing by me, when I look around to see if there is air conditioning vents close or on top of the ceiling near by, there were none. That was my first opening to believing something supernatural is in our world that the human eye cannot see.

Anonymous said...

I have an angel that communicates with me, and he makes a beautiful pink orb...yes, some orbs are just out-of focus dust particles caught in the flash zone of the camera. But I have seen orbs move with intelligent thought...fly towards something, stop, hover, then change directions. And the evil forces in this world want mankind to be doubtful..doubtful that man CAN communicate with angels, and stay more closely connected with God. I have a lot of pictures that prove orbs aren't just dust.
People forget that the bible is an incomplete document...its books were written 80-120 years after the death of Christ, and we rounded up from all over Europe...it passed through many hands from inception to completion. Not to say that the bible is irrelevant, actually just the contrary. But logic and the nature of man make it a certainty that there is stuff missing, stuff that those in power didn't want us to know. I think orbs may just be the easiest way for entities, like human spirits and angels, to manifest themselves.

ProChrish said...

Have you seen the new Star Trek? Dem angle orbs are ever where. There are angels in Hollywood. Praiseallujah.

yvonne said...

I am so excited to have read this!!! You have no idea how much this has been bugging me!! I actually thought the orbs were demonic spirits.. so I was freaked out every time I saw them in church photos--around people of God.... and especially around me!! lol. Thank u for being diligent!!

[Proverbs 25:2] It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter.

Anonymous said...

i tried the dust experiment... and sure enough "angels" appeared. all i ever heard was that these pics were angels. then i wondered how we knew they weren't demons???
my research led me to your site. i read what you said and agreed so i tried the experiment.
sad to find it's no more than dust. but glad to know the truth.
i still believe in the supernatural, but will let it manifest where i can see it with MY own eyes!
thanks

Anonymous said...

My husband took a picture of his
brother almost right after he died.He wanted to show it to me &
there was a very bright light over
him on the back wall.I still don't
know what to make of it.What I do
know is confusion is not from God.
I've studied the Bible for years &
this actually stupifies me.The Lord never leaves me hanging so I'll wait on Him.

Mike said...

Thank you so much for making things clear on this ! Am sure this will help a lot of misguided people.

You rock !!!

Ryan said...

I am a professional photographer and a spirit filled believer. What you have produced is very clear and concise truth. I would also like to add that colored "orbs" in the distance are a result the specific depth of field within a lens and this effect is referred to as bokeh. so it is possible to have orbs in front of a subject as well as orbs miles away in the distance.

This entire subject just baffles me at how easily individuals could be distracted bu such small events. These "orbs" what is their purpose? to just float around and manifest durring worship? this is out of character from the biblical role of angels. God is THE SAME, yesterday, TODAY, and FOREVER.

The greek word for Angel means Messenger. Historically angels have always been made manifest for a specific purpose at a specific time. When people in the Bible saw an angel (Who was typically manifest as a man or a creature beyond our scope of imagination), their typical response was to fall on their faces in fear and awe. Why would Gods angels manifest as something that closely resembles dust or effects that can be reproduced in a camera lens?

To me the clear evidence that these are not angels is the fact that they take the focus away from the Lord and worship of Him. Rather than love Him with all of our heart, soul and strength, our strength is now fully invested into capturing these events with a camera and blogging about them. We attach a "Glory to God" at the end and think everything is ok. but no message has been delivered, no change has been put into effect within our hearts and all it has really done was increase sales of Canons, Nikons & Olympus point and shoot cameras.

Theses types of things do nothing to further His kingdom and dominion over the earth, if anything it makes us believers appear uneducated, easily deceived, and unable to relate with the world and reason with them concerning the heart of God.

Andy said...

Hi all! I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who has shared their thoughts here!

I never knew that something I wrote 2 years ago could still be used to help people understand what "orbs" are actually all about =) Thank you Lord!

Sorry I've been missing for "a while", so I'm going to take this opportunity to start acknowledging a few of you guys!

@Mike: No brother, you... rock.

@Ryan: Thank you for your wise words! Spoken truly like a man after God's heart =) Bless!

@Yvonne: If in the future you're ever unsure of what's going on spiritually, trust that the Holy Spirit within will guide you out of confusion. I was, with the orbs issue, until the Lord challenged me to prove it wrong =) God bless you!

@ProChrish: Ermm... Live long & prosper?!? ^_^

@Tim: I suppose what's important is you continue loving them with a graceful heart. In the end, only yourself and God only truly knows if you are a true believer or not... So, they may be sincere, but they may also be sincerely wrong... Stay strong brother!

@Franki: Thanks Franki! Yes, sometimes I feel we do not pray for discernment enough... Good on you!

@Paul/Viio: Yes you're right about not letting our brains be disengaged... True faith does not mean blind faith... =)

@Security System Guy/Magfinla: I still haven't had the chance to see that orb footage you've captured on your security system. Any luck uploading to youtube?

@Phil Walker: Preach it brother! Preach it! =D

Mike said...

Never heard of the orb phenomena until last year when 3 of 20 photos taken in a holy church had an orb at about 2:00 to a three DIFFERENT religious statue. Not random positioning, always at 1:30-2:30 relative to a statue, one blueish, one clear, one shining and again at always at about 1:30-2:30. A year later 1 of 20 photos in the same church (yearly pilgrimage) had orbs, but this time I positioned the statue to the far left to see if an orb would follow it. THIS TIME THE PHOTO HAD AN ORB AT 2:00 TO TWO DIFFERENT STATUES, EACH SIZE WAS RELATIVE TO THE RELATED STATUE - One large and one much smaller. I'll call that the confirmation I hoped for. Jesus has been glorified with my ceaseless gratitude for His loving gift. I and others have been greatly edified by this clear message that the love of God is with us. Don't limit God using his own Word as if we understand every possible message it contains. Ezekiel 1:13 is a portion of the vision, as is the wheel description described as containing the spirit. Think further on the three rules of discernment. These photos if I could share them would convince anyone. Wisely you agree that God or an angel could 'use' the phenomena. That was my first thought, but now I'm leaning towards the orb's themselves are much more than that. In any case, a clear message has been sent. God Bless.

Anonymous said...

Hello all, I have read a good bit about these orbs that have or have not been captured by any type camera. I was married for the first time at age fifty in 2007 and the strange thing is after we first came home from our wedding/honeymoon after a love making session I saw one of these things darting around over the bed just below the ceiling. I was not scared but curiously looking at this thing while it darted around and would stop and dart around again as my new wife called me by name and ask what is that again calling me by name and asking what is that. I did not say a word but pretended to be asleep because I did not want to alarm her and because I had no clue what it is. Four years later I was talking to a fellow and he said oh yeah, that is an orbs. Thus I started my reading on this thing. I still do not know what it was but it was not ball lightning, swamp gas or some type of electrical charge. It had a face. Good, bad or whatever we both saw it at the same time with our very own eyes. This is more than a camera angle or such. This thing had a face!!!!

Anonymous said...

This is so totally awesome. Steve O'Brien took a picture and later saw the orbs. He believes he was blessed by the light the same night. I love all of these orbs. To see Steve's picture, please go to angelsandorbs.com

Anonymous said...

my oldest daughter got married and in 1 pic of her dancing with her father there were 2 orbs just above her head and they r together and bright

Anonymous said...

Of all the things "orbs" could be, "dust" is only one of them. You didn't just invent the idea. Debunking dust orbs is simple. I once took a digital photo of my boy playing the drums at a youth group seminar and the photo reflected dozens of dust orbs. You seriously think you've broken ground on something that is age-old news.

Obviously, you have never witnessed an "orb" without your camera. An orb is an energy-generating ball of light, sometimes lop-sided, but has purpose and strategy and is often accompanied by other sensory manifestations. Our church recently bought a bigger building that used to be a unitarian center, and within days we were practicing on the worship team when one of these "orbs" floated in through the door during rehearsal, then changed into a smoky presence of a large, hooded, cloaked figure, then vanished.

DUST ORBS aren't the cause for all ORBS. Dude, do research!

Anonymous said...

I spoke recently at a conference. There were other speakers there as well. I was the only one that had these orb things in all the pictures taken. And yes, our hall is dusty, so why didn't the other photos turn out the same? I was very skeptical about this orb theory, but at the end of the day, God will manifest himself however he pleases and to whomever he pleases. What we must keep in mind is that we don't turn this into an obsession. Rather keep our eyse on God.

Anonymous said...

Its also important that we read what we have written and make sure we spell check our work.....
**eyse should be eyes!!
Thanks God for keeping me grounded :)

jasmin said...

Dust particals and orbs are similar, but different. If you look closely at most orbs, you can see a face in them. I didnt believe this until my Grandmother passed away, and I saw her orb show up in photographs on three seperate occasions:

1st was two days after she died and she appeared above my car, as I was taking my Dad home.

2nd. I saw her appear in a photograph that I took when I was coming home from visiting other family

3rd, I took two photographs in my house to see what might take place, and when I examined them, I saw the back of her head looking at a photograph of me and her when I took her on a vacation, just before she died, and the 2nd photo in this test, she turned around and looked directly at me, and I could clearly make out her face!

The bible even says that "Jesus appeared before the deciples in another form" after the resurrection, and Jesus and some of the other decilpes saw Moses and Elijah show up, to minister to them, and this was YEARS after they died.

Ambika Behl said...

relating to this statement of mine chech out my facebook account by the name gurujis raman raman .... I have uploaded many videos of angel orbs and fascinating occurrences taking place at my residence and these fire ball are also captured in the videos. pls do guide what is (Ezekiel 1:13 ) as I want to understand what is happening around me. regards Raman... 1:16 which describes the wheels that sparkled like chrysolite but totally ignored Ezekiel 1:13 which tells of the fire that moved back and forth among the creatures, which was bright, and had lightning flashing out of it.