Scripture & Logic: Mind of Christ vs Human Speculation 

Mind of Christ vs Human Speculation

1 Corinthians 2:1–16

 2 And I, when I* came to you, brothers, did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2 For I decided not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I came to you in weakness and in fear and with much trembling, 4 and my speech and my preaching were not with the persuasiveness of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and power, 5 in order that your faith would not be in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

6 Now we do speak wisdom among the mature, but wisdom not of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are perishing, 7 but we speak the hidden wisdom of God in a mystery, which God predestined before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew. For if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But just as it is written,

“Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,

and have not entered into the heart of man,

all that God has prepared for those who love him.”

10 For to us God has revealed them through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 11 For who among men knows the things of a man, except the spirit of the man that is in him? Thus also no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, in order that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 13 things which we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. 14 But the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 Now the spiritual person discerns all things, but he himself is judged by no one. 16 “For who has known the mind of the Lord; who has advised him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
(LEB)

 

Argument 1

In 1 Corinthians 2:4 Paul says that he makes a deductive argument (apodeixis) from Scripture so that the people’s faith is in God’s word and not man’s sophistry. Some might miss this because of the odd translation in the verse. The word is most English translations is, “demonstration” in the Spirit. It is incorrect to think this is about supernatural demonstrations by power of the Spirit as in healings and transportations. This word for demonstrate is philosophy jargon for a rational argument. It is not merely a variation of the word Aristotle made popular, but it is the same word. It is what one is taught in an English Comp class in college (as I was), where there is an Ethos, Pathos and Logos essay.  “A demonstration (apodeixis) is “a deduction that produces knowledge.””[1] Even when Paul says man is “without excuse” in Romans 1:20 the word has similar Greek variants in how Aristotle used “apodeixis,” in his original work explaining how a logos argument is a syllogism. Thus we learn that man is not able to give a sound syllogism. Or that, man is not able to give a deduction to produce the knowledge for why they suppress God’s knowledge. The necessary consequent from this is that, man is without excuses.

Paul is referring to the Logos type here. He is saying, by the power of the Spirit, he was able to make a rational/deductive argument from the doctrines of the Scriptures that the Corinthians could not refute. Paul made a deduction from Scripture that produced the knowledge of their salvation through Jesus Christ.  In addition, the Spirit with invincible power opened the minds of these Corinthians to understand and affirm this invincible argument. The result is that the Corinthians faith is not in speculative, flowery speech, but in a conclusion from God’s Word. The contrast is between human empty rhetoric versus the Christian philosophy that accurately and precisely describes the world as it truly is. The additional contrast is man’s weakness over his own soul, versus God’s effective power over man’s soul. God is he who cause light to shine out of darkness and to cause things that do not exist to exist.

Vincent has been helpful to me on this passage,

The sophists did not offer sound reasoning, but their arguments were fallacious and deceptive. Their philosophical discourses were based on dubious human speculation. Thus as Paul defends his apostleship, he writes, “I may not be a trained speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way” (2 Corinthians 11:6). The Christian faith is not based on speculative philosophy, but divine revelation, on knowledge taught by God…

Paul deliberately slips into philosophical terms in verse 4, asserting that his preaching was shown true, not by speculative and fallacious arguments, but by the “demonstration” of the Spirit. This is unlike the “manifestation” of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12:7. The word indicates a logical proof, as in philosophy and geometry, rather than the idea of exhibition.

… However, Vine then contrasts Paul’s speech against “philosophic arguments,” and this can be misleading. If “philosophy” is the “theory or logical analysis of the principles underlying conduct, thought, knowledge, and the nature of the universe,” then Christianity is certainly a philosophy. Scriptural teachings indeed produce a worldview, or “a comprehensive…philosophy or conception of the world and of human life.” Unless Vine means “sophistic” when he says “philosophic,” his contrast between Paul’s demonstrations and “philosophic” arguments is false. That is, Scripture indeed addresses “philosophic” issues, using sound “philosophic” arguments, but unlike human philosophy, these arguments are not fallacious or “sophistic.”[2]

 

Terms: I will use “human speculation,” rather than “human wisdom,” to make a clear distinction that the contrast is not in philosophy; rather, the contrast is between starting with divine revelation and deduction, verses, human starting points (i.e. speculations) and flowery irrational conclusions from them. The Scripture rejects empiricism and says knowledge only comes by revelation. Yet, empiricism and observations start with man for human speculations. To come up with a universal man must manufacture them from particular observations, which is inductive, and so is a fallacy.  This is superstitious. To find truth man uses the fallacy of affirming the consequent; this is again superstitious.

We avoid speculation by God’s revelation. We avoid superstitions by using deductions from God’s revelation.

(P) If your belief is based on an argument from God word, (Q) then your faith is in God’s wisdom and power.
(P) If your belief is based on an argument from God’s word, (Q) then your faith not is man’s wisdom.

Or to say it more concisely.

D.1. (P) If deduction from God’s word, (Q) then faith is in God’s wisdom
D.2. (P) Yes, there was a deduction from God’s word.
D.3. (Q) Thus, faith is in God’s wisdom.

&

E.1. (P) If deduction from God’s word, (~Q) then faith is not in human speculation.
E.2. (P) There was a deduction from God’s word.
E.3. (~Q) Thus, faith is not in human speculation.

 

Argument 2

“…none of the rulers of this age knew. For if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory…”

This is said more like an explanation, although one might be able to say it as an argument in regards to what the rulers did. The context are rulers who knew of Jesus and were involved with Him in some degree. The, not knowing Him, is about not knowing and believing He was God’s Son, the Lord of Glory.  The crucifying Jesus means directly causing it, or indirectly letting it happen.

  1. (~P) If a ruler did not know Jesus, (Q) then ruler crucified Jesus.
  2. (~P) This ruler did not know Jesus.
  3. (Q)Thus, this ruler crucified Jesus. [3]

 

Argument 3

The presupposition here is the biblical doctrine of man being made in God’s image. This largely consists in an invisible soul, to which only that invisible soul truly knows that soul. This soul is referring to the invisible system of propositions. Only God’s Spirit knows this invisible system of propositions, and the same is with man. (Obviously, since Jesus is the identical image of His Father’s Soul—with the exception with personal propositions of, “I am Jesus, who is the perfect image of my Father,” Jesus knows the Father and Jesus knows the Father in an exact precision.)  Only a man’s spirit fully knows the invisible system of propositions that make up this soul.

F.1. All those who knows things of God are the Spirit of God.
F.2. No man is the Spirit of God
F.3. Thus, no man knows the things of God.

Thanks be to God that we are not left here. Paul says the Spirit of God, has been given to us. Thus, if a man is to know God, then they must have God’s Spirit, who alone knows God. By the atonement of Jesus Christ, this immeasurable gift has already been purchased for God’s elected children. We are given an antecedent and a necessary consequent from it.  If we have God’s Spirit we know the things of God. In context of being saved and needing redemption, then the most important things to know from God are those things that revolve around us being reconciled to God and receiving form Him all the good benefits freely given us. If you have God’s Spirit, then spiritual things are known and understood. Once Spiritual things are understood, then the Spirit helps us to assent to these truths and receive the consequences of them. The opposite is for the reprobate.

H.1. If received the Spirit of God, then knows the things freely given by God.
H.2. Has as received the Spirit of God.
H.2. Thus, knows the freely given things by God.

Verse 14 makes a chain of necessary consequences about the natural man, similarly to Ephesians 4.

G.1. If merely a human, then no ability to discern spiritual things,
G.2. If no ability to discern spiritual things, then no ability to understand them.
G.3. If no ability to understand them, then no ability to accept them.
G.4. Thus, mere humans have no ability to accept spiritual things.

There is a quantifier given here. It deals with maturity. Paul tells that maturity is not measured in how much we debase ourselves in self-loathing statements and pain; rather, maturity is measured by the child of God who is able to know all and receive all the good things made available to them in Christ.

Maturity is having the strength of soul, to not merely leave the pig pin and go ask forgiveness; but rather, by God’s Spirit, to have the power of mind to receive the signet ring, and receive the BEST robe, and receive the sandals from the Father, and then march into the house with joy, with your head held high, because you belong there like a son, like a prince (Luke 15:22-23).

Vincent has been helpful to me here:

As Paul said, “However, we do speak a message of wisdom among the mature…what God has prepared for those who love him…that we may understand what God has freely given us” (1 Corinthians 2:6, 9, 12). What is mature doctrine? It is not what we do for God, but what God does for us (1 John 4:10).

Jesus said that a person cannot be his disciple unless he first counts the cost, and then renounces everyone and everything to follow him (Luke 14:26-33). This is not the pinnacle of spiritual maturity, but it is the beginning. This is what spiritual infants do. We repent of our transgressions and reorient our lives on Jesus Christ. We become God-centered. We maintain this condition as we continue, but as we walk with God and mature in spirit, we come to the realization that God is not in fact served by human hands, as if he needs anyone (Acts 17:25). Even our service comes from him (2 Corinthians 3:5-6, Colossians 1:29). Although the gospel demands total commitment, since the beginning it is not about what we do for God, but what God does for us, in all areas of our lives, by Jesus Christ (Romans 8:31-32). We truly come to know him as the Father that Jesus talked about, the one who is greater than all (John 10:29), the one who supplies everything (Psalm 103:2-5, Matthew 7:32-33, Philippians 4:19).

Therefore, spiritual maturity must entail learning more about the benefits that God has given us in Christ, and then receiving and experiencing them (1 Corinthians 2:12). [4]

Paul is speaking to the Corinthians, who are abusing the abundance of spiritual gifts and playing favorites among leadership and who were allowing a man to sleep with this stepmother. In this context how does Paul describe maturity? Was it self-abasing, or self-sacrifice? Paul says that wisdom for the mature is having a soul able to understand and receive the unmeasurable goodies God is giving them. The issue of saying “I am of Paul, or I am of Apollos,”(in addition to being petty and argumentative) is that their desire for greatness and blessings was too small. Paul turns around and says the whole world, past present and future belong to you in Christ, (2 Corinthians 3). That is, Paul and Apollos are already yours; yet, so is the world, and so is the gifts of the Spirit. All the mighty promises of God are yours for the taking, by faith in Christ.

 

Who has known the mind of the Lord; Who has advised Him?”

Paul quotes this O.T. passage in Romans 11 to emphasis that man does not know the secret decrees of God. Yet, there is an exception to this. Paul in Romans 11 reveals what God’s secrete decrees are.  That is, God’s thoughts concerning how He predestined the future are God’s secret thoughts. The exception is if God chooses to reveal what He has decreed. God indeed has revealed them to the church in the Scripture. Jesus in John 15 tells the disciples that because they are His friends, He does not hold back what He knows.

Paul goes a step further in this passage to the Corinthians. We are told that the Spirit of God, who is God’s counselor, who gives God advice, is now in us!!! This is so much so that Paul categorically says,

We have the Mind of Christ.”

 

 

————-End Notes————-

[1] Smith, Robin, “Aristotle’s Logic”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2019 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), forthcoming URL = https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2019/entries/aristotle-logic/

[2] See Vincent Cheung. “Proof of the Spirit.” 2008. Found in, Commentary on 1 & 2 Thessalonian. Chapter, 1 Thessalonians 1:5b. Page 24-25.

[3] This propositional argument has 3 simple terms and so might work as a syllogism; however, it seems to me the emphasis is on the necessary consequence rather than a bear categorical statement.

This is a Figure 2 and an E.A.E. mood.  (See, Come Now Let us Reason, Norman L. Geisler and Ronald Brooks, 1990, pg. 45)

  1. No [ruler who knew Jesus] is [a ruler who crucified Jesus].
  2. All [ruler x] is [a ruler who crucified Jesus].
  3. Thus, no [ruler x] is a [ruler who knew Jesus].

[4] Vincent Cheung. “What is Mature Doctrine?” From, Fulcrum. 2017. Chapter 28. Pg 69.

 

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