Spiritual and Mental Logic: Part 1
Apr 22, 2006
Within each of us are two centers of thinking. In the Bible they are referred to as the spirit and the soul. The thinking center of the spirit is called the heart. The thinking center of the soul is called the mind.
We are primarily familiar with the thought process of the soul's mind. It was created to provide self-awareness and calls itself "I am." Thus, it is introspective by nature and is susceptible to pride. When it does not understand the logic of the spirit, it can easily stage a coup and take over the management of a person's life in order to maintain what it sees as orderly truth.
The soul's mind attempts to understand all things in life by their contrasts. In other words, it is dualistic. It does not understand white except when it contrasts it with black. It does not understand good without contrasting it with evil. It cannot understand long without short. The mind employs its logical ability to polarize its perceptions.
In our world of the kingdoms of men, the mind is the acknowledged master of the universe. But the mind was not created to be one's master, but only the servant of the spirit's heart. The spirit, along with its thinking center (the heart), is our point of divine contact. It has a logic of its own that is incomprehensible to the mind.
As long as the mind defers to the spirit, recognizing its subordinate role and purpose, it has a very good and useful function. The problem comes when the heart gives it signals (truth) that the mind cannot comprehend. The natural reaction of the mind is to think that it is being betrayed by the spirit. To the mind, irrationality is betrayal. It is then left with a choice, whether or not to defer to that which is beyond its capability to understand logically. If the mind's demand for order, structure, and logic is too strong, it will stage a revolt and usurp the authority of the spirit.
The Apostle Paul discusses some of these things in the first two chapters of his first letter to the Corinthian Church. He says in 1 Cor. 1:17 and 18,
"For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel; not with wisdom of words[Greek: logos, "logic"], lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that are dying [mortal] foolishness [moronic]; but unto us which are being saved, it is the power of God."
Paul is showing his readers the difference between the wisdom of mental logic and the logic of "the cross," which is the logic of the spirit. He admits in verse 21 that the spirit's logic is "foolishness" to the mind-dominated world--especially the Greek world, which worshipped the mind and considered it to be divine. Paul had lived in that culture long enough to know that the true gospel is spirit-based and not soul-based. Verse 23 says that "we preach Christ crucified, which, to the Jews is a stumblingblock, and to the Greeks foolishness."
The Greek word for foolishness is moros, from which we get our English word "moron." In other words, in the view of the intellectual, mind-dominated Greek philosopher, the cross is illogical, irrational, and just plain stupid. It makes no soulish sense for God to leave His glory, power, and comfort of heaven and be born of a virgin in a body that they considered to be "evil." Worse yet, why would an immortal God come to earth to die, not only a normal death from old age, but the tortuous death of the cross?
The gnostics could not understand it either, and so they attempted to rebuild Christ's honor by removing Him from the cross. They said He survived. Some said it was not really Him on the cross at all. They attempted to explain events rationally, and when the truth was irrational, their minds simply dismissed it and explained it rationally. Today the remnants of gnostic thinking is seen in The DaVinci Code, which claims that Jesus did not die, but lived and married Mary Magdalene, and had children who became the Merovingian line of Frankish kings in Europe.
To them the gospel that Paul preached was foolishness, and Paul says to them,
"Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weak thing of God is stronger than men. . . But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty." (1 Cor. 1:25, 27)
The logic of the cross is seen in the days of Moses in Exodus 15:23-25,
"And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore the name of it was called Marah [bitterness]. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, 'What shall we drink?' And he called to the Lord; and the Lord showed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet."
God tested Moses to show Israel that Moses was not mind-dominated. He listened to the voice of his heart through which God spoke to him by the logic of the cross. The bitter waters represent the bitterness in man that is caused by sin and death. The tree in question represented the cross, which was the solution to the problem. Though it made no mental sense to do this, Moses' mind was subject to the leading of the spirit when his heart told him to put a certain tree in the water. If we are led by the spirit, in which the Spirit of God dwells, we will live in and perceive a miraculous world.
An example from the prophets is found in the story of Elisha (1 Kings 6). He and the other prophet students went to the Jordan River to cut wood. One of them had borrowed an axe with an iron head--very valuable in those days. Unfortunately, the iron head flew off its handle, and it fell into the river. The man would have incurred a great debt and probably would have had to become a slave for a time to pay off the debt. But Elisha "cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim."
The wooden "stick" (tree) again represents the cross, which, when applied to the problem, restores the iron to its owner and cancels the debt. Thus, we see the logic of the cross manifested in both the law and the prophets. Not that it makes any sense to the mind. But as we learn to live by the heart, rather than the mind, we are opened up to a whole new world where the miraculous is a way of life.
By this, I do not mean to imply that GREAT miracles take place daily, for that implies that such miracles are aberrations. Rather, I am saying that the heart perceives the miraculous in all things, and therefore comes to be a way of life. Only occasionally do such miracles occur in such a way that they smack the soul's mind on the side of the head. Most miracles are quiet and unobtrusive.
The mind, however, tends to ignore reality in favor of a perception that it considers to be logical and orderly. Paul says in 1 Cor. 2:14, "But the soulish man does not perceive the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
If reality is cluttered, the inner "soulish man" (that is, the mind) will not see or remember the clutter. It will see what it wants to see. It demands structured orderliness and feels betrayed by anything beyond its capability. Christians are admonished to be led by the spirit within (in which is housed the Holy Spirit). Christians do not receive this spiritual perception the moment they are justified by faith (Passover). It comes through the learning process called sanctification--the function of Pentecost.
To be continued.
This is the first part of a series titled "Spiritual and Mental Logic." To view all parts, click the link below.