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Bible1 Corinthians

Lorin Friesen, November 2016

I recently asked a Bible translator which part of the New Testament he found most difficult to translate, and he answered that it was Paul’s letters to the Corinthians. The book of 1 Corinthians appears at first glance to be a collection of unrelated topics in which Paul is jumping from one subject to another. And it also contains a number of passages regarding the status of women which are usually regarded today is either quaint or prejudiced.

Passages such as these tend to be approached in one of two ways. The conservative interprets the text literally, while the liberal ignores the text as culturally outdated. Conservatives who apply the text literally often seem to do so in a legalistic manner that violates the spirit of the text, especially when applying the text means going against the norms of society. But liberals who ignore the text also violate the underlying spirit, because they are being guided by the spirit of current society to ignore the biblical text.

This essay will examine the book of 1 Corinthians using a third way, which is a cognitive perspective. A cognitive perspective is not purely literal because it goes beyond physical behavior to what is happening within the mind. But a cognitive perspective is also not purely symbolic because it recognizes that there is a strong connection between the way a person thinks and the way a person acts. A cognitive perspective is independent of culture because it is based upon the structure of the mind, which is the same for people in all cultures at all times. But a cognitive perspective does not ignore culture, because people of different cultures program the mind in different ways. Finally, a cognitive perspective tends to be humble rather than abrasive because it submits to unchanging principles of how the mind works rather than trying to proclaim standards of morality.

As usual, I will be quoting from the NASB. I have been using this version because I have found it to be faithful to the original Greek. However, I am disappointed with the NASB translation of 1 Corinthians, because in many cases it seems to be editorializing the original Greek rather than translating it faithfully. When the NASB adds explanatory words to the original Greek, it places these extra words in italics. And when the NASB translation does not match the original Greek, the literal meaning is usually mentioned in a footnote. This helps when one is attempting to analyze the text, but I still found in many cases when writing this essay that the theory of mental symmetry fits more closely with 1 Corinthians when one looks at the meanings of the words in the original Greek rather than reading the English NASB text. When looking at the original Greek, I will be using the Greek text and word definitions found at www.biblehub.com.

I try to keep my essays as simple as possible. However, Paul deals with a number of advanced cognitive topics in 1 Corinthians. Therefore, this essay will have to go beyond the basics in order to adequately analyze the biblical text. Almost all of the topics contained in this essay have already been discussed in previous essays, and I will provide links to other essays for those who want to read further. I am not sure if Paul himself understood all the implications of what he was writing, and the commentaries do not seem to understand the implications of what Paul was writing. However, it is quite apparent that Someone with a deep understanding of the mind was guiding Paul as he wrote this letter.

One final point before we begin. This essay will use abstract rational language to explain the biblical text. Just because I am using cognitive analysis guided by a rational theory, please do not conclude that abstract thought is sufficient. Paul makes it very clear in 1 Corinthians that rational understanding has to be combined with personal application, and I have found this to be a general principle. Therefore, when Paul talks about his personal life, then I will also be mentioning some of my personal experiences.

Summary

The book of 1 Corinthians makes sense as a single, connected, historical sequence, and this sequence is similar to the sequence found in the book of Revelation. Because this essay is quite long, I have included a summary that can be used as a table of contents to jump to various sections of the essay.

  • 1:10-31 Natural understanding versus a message of rebirth

  • 2:1-14 Preaching a message of rebirth

  • 3:1-23 Building upon the foundation of incarnation

  • 4:1-21 The experience of building upon incarnation

  • 5:1-13 Conservatism versus personal transformation

  • 6:1-8 Extending incarnation in abstract thought

  • 6:9-11 Becoming qualified to live under incarnation

  • 6:12-20 Extending incarnation in concrete thought

  • 7:1-7 Integrating male and female thought

  • 7:8-16 Extending incarnation to all of society

  • 7:17-24 Transforming institutions of society

  • 7:25-31 Transitioning to a new society

  • 7:32-40 Institution versus organism

  • 8:1-13 Following incarnation in the midst of cultural idols

  • 9:1-27 Being an apostle in an incarnational economy

  • 10:1-13 The temptations experienced when living under incarnation

  • 10:14-31 Moving forward under incarnation

  • 11:1-16 Female thought and incarnation

  • 11:17-34 Male thought and incarnation

  • 12:1-7 Spiritual gifts

  • 12:8-11 Gifts of Jesus Christ

  • 12:12-27 Cognitive Styles and the Holy Spirit

  • 12:28-30 Administration and God the Father

  • 13:1-7 Love as a higher way of sowing to the spirit

  • 13:8-13 Reaping eternal life from the spirit

  • 14:1-19 Pursuing, applying, and evaluating abstract theory

  • 14:20-33 Using abstract theory to promote personal growth

  • 14:34-40 Female thought and abstract theory

  • 15:1-19 The sequence of incarnation being resurrected

  • 15:20-34 Transforming incarnation through Teacher theory

  • 15:35-49 Seed bodies versus resurrection bodies

  • 15:50-58 New heavens and earth as a paradigm shift

1:10-17 MMNs are Inadequate

Paul begins by calling for unity: “Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1:10). When people call for unity, this is usually an emotional appeal based upon common culture or feelings of love. Paul’s call for unity is based on something quite different.

First, it is based upon a name in Teacher thought rather than upon a culture or person within Mercy thought. The mind represents people and cultures as Mercy mental networks (MMNs) within Mercy thought. (The concept of mental networks is explained in another essay. In brief, a mental network is a collection of emotional memories that combine to function as a unit. When some memory within a mental network is triggered, then the entire mental network will become activated and it will then exert emotional pressure upon the mind to conform to the structure of the mental network.) A name, in contrast, is a verbal label given to a person in Teacher thought that describes the skill or character of a person. For instance, if I have problems with my teeth, I could go to Fred the dentist, or I could go to Fred the dentist. Focusing upon Fred brings to mind MMNs of personal identity and status, while focusing upon the dentist brings to mind TMNs of skill and understanding. Paul is appealing to the TMN of a name and not to an MMN of personal experience and status.

Second, it is based upon the name of ‘our Lord Jesus Christ’. ‘Our’ tells us that this name is relevant for an entire group and not just for some individuals within a group. ‘Lord’ indicates that this name is not just being talked about but is also being followed and obeyed. An incarnation is both God and man. This essay will be assuming that the term Jesus refers to the human side of incarnation, as portrayed in the Gospels, and that the term Christ refers to the divine side of incarnation. (The word Christ is a title that means ‘anointed one’ or Messiah.) This distinction between Jesus-as-man and Jesus-as-God figures prominently in the book of Revelation, and will also be discussed extensively in this essay on 1 Corinthians.

Third, Paul is making a rational appeal. He does not call for common experiences but rather for verbal unity. In the original Greek, Paul, calls for them to all ‘speak the same thing’. He also wants mental unity, where people have the same ‘mind or reasoning faculty’. And he wants people to have similar opinions and judgments. This is quite different than the typical call for unity which appeals to the emotions.

Finally, Paul is not calling for unison but rather for integration. On the one hand, people should avoid division and dissension. But on the other hand, they should not be identical, but rather ‘fit together’.

One might think that I am reading a lot into a single sentence, but we will find these various points repeated throughout the rest of the book of 1 Corinthians.

Paul then describes what people should not be like: “I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, ‘I am of Paul,’ and ‘I of Apollos,’ and ‘I of Cephas,’ and ‘I of Christ.’” (1:11-12). Notice that the focus is not upon names in Teacher thought, but rather upon experts with emotional status in Mercy thought. People are not saying that they follow the name of Paul or the name of Apollos, but rather that they are of Paul or of Apollos, and this is leading to ‘quarreling or strife’.

Examining this cognitively, When Perceiver truth is based in MMNs of personal status, then facts that come from a good source will be labeled as true, while facts that come from a bad source will be labeled as false. This leads naturally to conflict because each group will claim that it is following the legitimate source of truth. In Paul’s day, the various church fathers were regarded as sources of truth. Similarly, each Christian denomination used to regard itself as the legitimate source of gospel truth. Conflict between denominations has become less of a problem, and the primary conflict is now between different holy books. For instance, is the Bible true or is the Quran the legitimate source of truth?

A cognitive perspective concludes that the attitude itself of basing truth in MMNs of personal authority is fundamentally flawed. Even if one’s holy book does contain accurate truth, one is still believing the right thing for the wrong reason. This principle applies to religious fundamentalism, but it also applies to the secular attitude of regarding certain political leaders or media spokesmen as sources of truth, as well as the academic tendency to view certain respected scientists as sources of truth. Whenever one starts learning about some subject, then it is natural to begin by learning from respected sources of truth. But if one remains at this level, then this will lead inevitably to conflict.

Paul shows the inadequacy of basing truth in personal authority by asking three questions: “Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1:13).

The first question addresses the unity of incarnation. Jesus Christ is both Jesus the man and Christ the God. Mercy thought thinks in terms of people and personal importance, while Teacher thought looks for order-within-complexity. A concept of God emerges within the mind when Teacher thought comes up with a general theory that includes personal identity. A Mercy perspective will view Jesus Christ as an important person within Mercy thought, while a Teacher perspective will view Jesus Christ as a universal person within Teacher thought. (These two perspectives are compared in this video.) Paul is saying here that Jesus Christ is a universal person who cannot be divided into warring factions.

Clarifying, the concept of Jesus as God cannot be divided into fighting factions, but it can be subdivided into more specific aspects. It is important to make this distinction because a Mercy perspective will divide Jesus into warring factions, while a mystical perspective will describe the universality of Jesus Christ in vague, general terms, and will insist that it is not possible to add any specific details to this general description.

The second question looks at salvation and rebirth. Anyone who is a legitimate source of religious truth can only become that way by experiencing some sort of cognitive rebirth. Paul describes this principle later on in 1 Corinthians. When one thinks in terms of personal status, then it is easy to focus on the life and example of the visible expert while ignoring the original life and rebirth of Jesus the incarnation. A Teacher perspective, in contrast, will recognize that rebirth is not just a specific event carried out by Jesus the man in Mercy thought but also a universal principle that expresses the nature of Jesus the God in Teacher thought. Therefore, even if some religious expert, such as Paul, becomes an expert through some form of personal rebirth, this is still a specific example of the general principle of rebirth established by Jesus Christ the God/man.

The third question addresses the Teacher concept of name. Teacher thought thinks in terms of words and uses verbal labels or names to represent people, such as butcher, doctor, or apostle. Baptism represents personal rebirth, in which MMNs of personal identity are taken apart and reassembled. The mind must build itself around some set of core mental networks. Therefore, it is only possible for MMNs of personal identity to fall apart if the mind becomes built around the TMN of some general understanding. Using religious language, baptism is always in someone’s name. If one builds one’s mind upon an inadequate Teacher understanding, then the resulting rebirth will also be inadequate. A mind that looks for sources of truth will naturally experience rebirth that is incomplete because it will become reborn in the name of some religious expert and not in the name of Jesus the God/man. Even if such a baptism verbally states that it is ‘in the name of Jesus’, the word ‘Jesus’ will acquire its meaning from various exalted sources of religious truth.

Paul summarizes in verse 17 that he does not want to detract from the fundamental message of the rebirth of Jesus Christ the God/man, either by acting as a source of personal salvation or by acting as a source of truth: “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void” (1:17).

Wisdom of God (1:18-1:31)

The previous section stated that one should not focus upon religious experts in Mercy thought. In this section, Paul describes inadequate methods of being guided by words in Teacher thought. This passage is often used as a proof text to show that one should not use rational thought to analyze Christianity, but instead merely preach the words of the Bible, which will then have a magical effect upon the listener. This interpretation usually centers upon verse 27, which says that “God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe”. But those who quote this verse invariably neglect to mention that Paul says in the next section that “we do speak wisdom among those who are mature” (2:6).

Paul begins by talking about transformation: “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1:18). Growing up in a human body will naturally teach a person that 1) the physical body eventually decays and dies, 2) the mind of a child is innocent and becomes corrupted by living in the real world. This will lead to a general theory of ‘perishing’, which will then turn into a TMN (Teacher mental network), causing people to actually feel good when they talk about growing old and dying. That is because the Teacher emotion of understanding ‘the natural order of things’ is different than the Mercy emotion of experiencing growing old. In addition, the Facilitator filter will naturally cause a person to reject anything that is inconsistent with a theory of ‘perishing’ as stupid or foolish. Saying this more simply, it will be obvious to everyone that it is natural to grow old and die.

I have mentioned that a concept of God emerges when a sufficiently general theory applies to personal identity. A concept of God will also naturally turn into a TMN that uses emotional pressure to impose its structure upon the mind. The mind cannot exist without a set of core mental networks. Therefore, the only way to escape an existing set of core mental networks is by mentally constructing an alternative set of core mental networks. Building one’s mind upon the TMN of a concept of God makes it possible for a person to allow childish MMNs to fall apart and be put back together by the TMN of a concept of God. Using the language of Paul, the ‘word of the cross’ is ‘the power of God’ to those ‘who are being saved’.

Summarizing, Paul is contrasting two concepts of God in Teacher thought. The first is an implicit concept of God based in the ‘natural order of living existence’. This implicit concept of God is to be distinguished from a general understanding of the natural laws of physics and science. Understanding the laws of physical nature does not lead to a concept of God because the laws of physics do not apply directly to personal identity. In contrast, the ‘natural order’ of ‘being born, maturing, growing old, and dying’ will lead to an implicit concept of God because it is a general understanding that applies to people. This implicit concept of God will emotionally reinforce the status quo of ‘perishing’. The second is an explicit concept of God based in a message of personal transformation. Because this concept of God goes beyond the status quo, it will exert emotional pressure on a person to become transformed from the status quo.

Continuing, Paul says “For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside’” (1:18). The word for wisdom is sophia, from which we get philosophy. If one examines the history of philosophy, one observes that it has largely self-destructed. The average philosopher today does not love wisdom, but rather is adept at dismantling systems of belief and cataloging how philosophers of the past used to love wisdom. Similarly, ‘intelligence that comes from correlating facts’ will find itself frustrated, because it will continually discover that the average person is driven by feelings and not by facts.

Paul asks further, “Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1:20). Paul refers to three kinds of earthly wisdom: the wise man, the scribe, and the debater. The modern equivalent would be philosophy, theology, and apologetics. The philosopher searches for wisdom, the theologian analyzes the written text, and the apologist debates truth. I have encountered these three forms of thought in my research and while each of them is useful, I have also observed that they are inadequate when it comes to understanding either the nature of God, or the message of personal transformation. In the words of Paul, ‘God made foolish the wisdom of the world’.

Looking at this more closely, philosophy is inadequate because it uses rigorous logic to analyze universal questions. Rigorous logic is appropriate when one is analyzing some limited field, but it breaks down when analyzing larger questions of personal identity, motivation, and universal existence. Similarly, analyzing the biblical written text is important, but it is more important to apply the biblical text, because the way that one acts will naturally affect the way that one thinks. And debating truth can be useful for clarifying understanding, but the ultimate goal is not to talk accurately about the message of salvation but rather to apply the message of salvation in order to experience the personal benefits of salvation.

Summarizing, a person will not come up with a message of personal transformation by using methods of thought that naturally emerge. Instead, a message of salvation must be taught and applied. This means that a person must hear the message of transformation from an outside source and then act as if this message is true: “God was well pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (1:21).

Paul then describes how the typical religious or secular person responds to a message of personal salvation: “Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom” (1:22). The religious mind believes that truth is based in MMNs of experience and personal status. For instance, ‘the Bible is true because it was written by God, and God is an important person’ or ‘I am a Christian because I had an emotional encounter with Jesus’. This type of mindset will look for a sign, some kind of emotional experience in which to base Perceiver belief. The secular mind, in contrast, looks for thinking that is sufficiently rigorous.

Both mindsets will naturally reject a message of rebirth: “We preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness” (1:23). I suggest that a distinction can be made between preaching that Jesus is crucified and preaching that Christ is crucified. A mindset that bases truth in MMNs of personal importance will naturally feel that the MMN that represents the source of truth is far more important than any MMNs that represent personal identity, leading to the conclusion that I should deny myself for my source of truth. Thus, the story of Jesus the man being crucified will be naturally accepted as the ultimate illustration of religious self-denial. But a message about Christ being crucified turns the specific death of Jesus the man into a universal principle of rebirth. This threatens the underlying foundation for religious belief, because it means dying to the method of blind faith. Merely believing in rebirth is not enough. Instead, the reason why one believes in rebirth must itself become reborn. And that is a stumbling block. The fundamentalist is willing to deny self for God, but is not willing to deny the mindset of fundamentalism, which is based in the worship of selves.

The secular mindset finds a universal message of rebirth foolishness because it violates principles of embodiment and empirical evidence. Embodiment says that mental content is ultimately based in input from the physical body, while rebirth says that one should build one’s mind upon a foundation that is independent of the physical body. Similarly, empirical evidence demands that all facts ultimately be based in physical reality, while rebirth says that facts must ultimately be based in a foundation that is independent of physical reality. A secular mindset is willing to teach some rebirth and some personal transformation but it cannot accept total rebirth. It is willing to play with the idea that there is more than reality, but it is not willing to build its mind upon the principle that there is more than reality. That will be rejected as foolishness.

One cannot decide to build one’s mind upon such an unseen foundation. Instead, one must be attracted by the TMN of a concept of God. Because Teacher thought works with words, this attraction will be experienced as a ‘calling’: “but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1:24). One will find that the TMN of a mental concept of God is more powerful than MMNs of personal authority, and one will discover that the TMN of an understanding of God makes more sense than rational thinking that is based purely in physical reality. In the words of Paul, “the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1:25). This is a universal principle that transcends the division between religious and secular thought; it applies to ‘both Jews and Greeks’.

Paul observes that God tends to choose those who do not build their intelligence upon physical reality, as well as those who lack personal status: “Consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble” (1:26). Paul concludes that God chooses that which lacks personal status and that which is not based upon physical reality: “The base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are” (1:28). This is a key principle that needs to be repeated, because Paul will be building upon this principle. In simple terms, God does not build upon important people or upon physical experiences. Instead, God builds upon that which is not regard as important and that which cannot be seen in order to replace existing reality.

The NASB says that this is “so that no man may boast before God”, but the NASB also explains that the word translated ‘man’ is literally flesh. As we shall see later, the flesh is the part of the human mind that interacts with physical reality. Paul is saying that God has constructed things in such a way that a mindset that is based upon concrete physical reality cannot ‘hold its head high’ before God.

When one has a concept of incarnation that is sufficiently general—a concept of Christ Jesus and not just of Jesus, then this can reach down from a concept of God in Teacher thought to transform personal identity in Mercy thought. In the words of Paul, “by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption” (1:30). There is ‘wisdom from God’ because combining Teacher theory with Contributor incarnation (a mental concept of incarnation forms as the two sides of Contributor thought become integrated) leads to a rational concept of God. There is righteousness because Server actions are being guided by the TMN of a concept of God (Server actions become connected with Teacher words when the two sides of Contributor thought become integrated), there is sanctification because personal identity is becoming connected to the TMN of a concept of God rather than to MMNs of culture and personal authority, and there is redemption because the MMNs of childish identity are becoming transformed by the TMN of a concept of God.

A mindset of religious self-denial feels that self should always be denied. But Paul does not stop by saying that one cannot boast in the flesh. Instead, he finishes by saying “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord” (1:31). The word translated boast does not mean personal arrogance, but rather ‘holding one’s head up high’ and ‘living with God-given confidence’. Paul is not teaching worm theology, but rather saying that self-confidence should be based in a mind submitted to a concept of God and not in a mindset that is based in physical reality.

Going Beyond the Seen 2:1-9

If the message of Christianity extends beyond intelligent words to personal salvation, then any person who is proclaiming this message must also go beyond merely speaking intelligent words. This explains why Paul was determined to apply his own message: “When I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (2:1-2). The word translated superiority means ‘superiority, preeminence, excellence, or authority’. In other words, Paul did not talk like an expert possessing great status in Mercy thought, and he also did not use the rigorous logic of wisdom. Instead, he spoke the testimony of God—universal principles that he had personally learned in the school of life. And his goal was to build a universal concept of incarnation combined with a message of re-birth.

Paul did not just apply his own message verbally, but also personally. Similarly, I have found that when I try to apply the knowledge that I learn, this application usually occurs in two stages. First, I choose consciously to apply the principle in some personal situation. I often assume that this first stage is enough, but I inevitably find that it is followed by a second stage of finding myself in a situation where the principle hits me personally. In the first stage, I choose to change my behavior, while in the second stage, I become personally changed. Paul describes this attitude of weakness: “I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling” (2:3). The trembling is literally a ‘trembling or shaking caused by great fear’, which means that Paul actually refers twice to fear. Fear and trembling imply that personal identity is being threatened by something larger than self that has the power to damage self. For instance, even though I am an electrical engineer, I approach high voltages with fear and trembling, because I know that high-voltage electricity has the power to injure or kill me. Similarly, when one truly acquires a general understanding in Teacher thought of the character of God, then one approaches theology and preaching with fear and trembling, because one knows how easy it is to become arrogant or self-deceived. (Notice that this paragraph is actually talking about the three stages of personal transformation: 1) personal honesty, 2) righteousness and application, 3) personal rebirth.)

For instance, one would think that it is obvious that a message that describes people applies both to the people listening to this message and to the person preaching this message, but I keep encountering systems of thought that fall apart when applied to the researchers themselves, because those who preach theories about people forget that they also are people to whom their theories apply.

Instead, Paul focuses upon applying the message “in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God” (2:4). An empirical mindset is based upon evidence that comes from the physical world, while the Spirit is an invisible concept that forms as a result of Teacher understanding. Blind faith bases its truth in MMNs of personal status while the power of God is based in the TMN of a concept of God. Using an analogy, electricity has great power to injure people, but also has great power to transform human existence. Similarly, the TMN of a concept of God will only have internal power to transform MMNs of personal identity to the extent that it has the power to hurt personal identity. A concept of God that never makes me feel bad is incapable of transforming me. Saying this another way, the Teacher mental network of a concept of God can only change Mercy mental networks of identity if the mental network that represents God is more powerful than the mental networks that represent identity. C. S. Lewis conveyed this concept well in the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: “‘Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.’ ‘Ooh’ said Susan. ‘I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion’…‘Safe?’ said Mr Beaver …‘Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.’”

Paul mentioned earlier that the message of rebirth will seem like foolishness to those who follow human wisdom. However, the message of rebirth is a rational verbal message for those who are mentally whole: “We do speak wisdom among those who are mature” (2:6). The word for mature is ‘teleios’, which means complete in all of its parts. Using the language of mental symmetry, if one pursues the goal of having all parts of the mind functioning together in harmony, then both Christian theology and the Christian path of personal transformation will make sense. (This is described in detail in the book Natural Cognitive Theology).

The message of rebirth is based in eternal principles, while earthly wisdom is guided by the temporary nature of human physical existence: It is “a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away” (2:6). Paul will describe the passing away of this age in more detail later on. The goal of the message of rebirth is to bring personal benefits. It is a “wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory” (2:7). Those who have personal status within present society will not understand a message of rebirth, because they are climbing the wrong ladder of success. As Paul says, it is a “wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood” (2:8).

Instead, those who have personal status will naturally suppress a message of rebirth, and this rejection will force those who preach a message of rebirth to go through personal rebirth. The wisdom of God is a “wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (2:8).

This is typically viewed as a reference to the rejection and crucifixion of Jesus by Roman and Jewish authorities, and that is how Jesus-the-man experienced rebirth. However, we have just seen that it is important to go beyond thinking about important people and physical events, and we have also seen that specific events—especially in the life of Jesus—turn into universal principles when Jesus the man becomes reborn as Jesus Christ the God/man. Thus, I suggest that a general principle is being described here. Whenever someone is guided by Teacher understanding to preach a message of rebirth, this message will naturally be rejected by those who hold to the status quo. And this rejection of the message will force the person who is preaching a message of rebirth to stop talking and go personally through the process of rebirth. This is a significant general principle, so please reread it if it did not make sense.

There is an interesting modern twist to the next verse that illustrates the general principle of experts misunderstanding a message of rebirth. The NASB says that “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love him” (2:9).

Compare this with the NIV translation: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” (2:9). The word that the NASB translates heart and the NIV translates mind is ‘kardia’ in the original Greek, which means heart. Thus, the NIV is actually a mistranslation that conveys a completely different message.

The original Greek says that the purpose of God transcends visual images that can be seen, words that can be heard, and MMNs of personal identity within Mercy thought. In other words, it does not come from physical evidence and is not based in MMNs of personal status. Instead, the purpose of God becomes apparent as one becomes emotionally attached to the TMN of a concept of God, which is consistent with what this essay has been saying. In contrast, the NIV conveys the impression that human intelligence is incapable of comprehending the work of God. I mentioned earlier that 1 Corinthians 1:27 is often used as a proof text to show that one should not use rational thought to analyze Christianity. The NIV literally mistranslates the original text to back up this misconception. Ironically, this mistranslation illustrates Paul’s statement that the message of rebirth is ‘a wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood’.

Spiritual Wisdom 2:10-16

Paul explains how one grasps something that transcends the status quo: “For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God” (2:10). In other words, the spirit makes it possible to go beyond surface appearance and status quo.

This section is traditionally used to prove that one should follow the Holy Spirit instead of rational thought. But Paul is not saying that spirit is irrational but rather that it goes beyond appearance. This is an important distinction because most religious systems are ultimately driven by a mystical concept of God that ‘transcends’ rational thought. Therefore, we will compare what the Bible says about God and spirit with what mysticism claims.

Looking at this further, Jesus says in John 16 that the Holy Spirit does not contradict the message of incarnation but rather expands upon the message of God revealed through incarnation: “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you” (John 16:12-15).

Paul contrasts the spirit of the world with the Spirit of God, and says that the Spirit of God makes it possible to know what ‘God has prepared for those who love him’: “Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God” (2:11-12).

The distinction between these two spirits is discussed in other essays. In brief, anything that is sufficiently universal will be regarded as divine. A concept of God emerges when Teacher thought forms a sufficiently general theory that applies to personal identity, and this theory can turn into a TMN. Finite people, in contrast, are represented as MMNs within Mercy thought based in collections of emotional experiences. A concept of divine spirit emerges when all of the specific MMNs within Mercy thought come together to form a universal image. A concept of divine spirit can be formed in one of two ways: First, a spirit of this world forms as one grasps the web of interactions that connect the various people and institutions of society. This means that a spirit of this world is a worldview based upon the status quo, an intuitive grasp of how existing societies and people behave and interact. (This is different than, but related to, the implicit understanding in Teacher thought of the ‘natural order of life’ discussed earlier.) Second, a Spirit of God forms indirectly as Teacher understanding leads to the formation of Platonic forms; that is why it is called a Spirit of God. Teacher thought forms general theories by looking for the idealized essence of situations. This Teacher understanding leads indirectly to imaginary images of the idealized essences of situations within Mercy thought, which we call Platonic forms. A concept of God emerges when general theories within Teacher thought are combined to form a universal theory. This also causes Platonic forms to combine within Mercy thought, resulting in what Plato called the form of the Good. (Paul talks about ‘combining spiritual with spiritual’ in verse 13.) Because the form of the Good ties many experiences together, it will be viewed as divine spirit. But because this concept of divine spirit is shaped and integrated by Teacher understanding, it will be a Spirit of God. A Spirit of God goes beyond the status quo because it is not based directly in reality but rather in Platonic forms, which are more perfect and ideal than reality. And because a Holy Spirit is integrated by understanding and not by the web of existing social interaction, it goes beyond a grasp of the status quo to an image of how the elements of life could work if they were put together in a more ideal manner.

Mysticism says that words cannot be used to talk about God or mystical experience. That is because mysticism forms a universal Teacher theory by using overgeneralization, which ignores all specific facts, including words and their meanings. In contrast, it is possible to use words to talk about the Holy Spirit, because a concept of the Holy Spirit is based in rational Teacher understanding. However, because one is talking about idealized situations that go beyond the status quo, one will not use words based in human wisdom. As Paul says: “which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words” (2:13).

Mysticism says that the spirit of God cannot be understood, and that it is impossible—and will always be impossible—for finite humans to understand the Spirit of God. Paul, in contrast, says that the Spirit of God cannot be understood by those who do not think in spiritual terms: “A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (2:14). Mysticism says that spirituality transcends all rational analysis. Paul, in contrast, says that spirituality makes it possible to practice rational analysis more extensively, including areas where others are not capable of thinking rationally: “He who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one” (2:15). The word translated ‘appraised’ is anakrino, which means ‘the process of careful study, evaluation and judgment’.

Paul concludes with the following statement: “For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (2:16). This verse makes sense if one looks at the original Greek and understands how the mind functions. A more literal translation would be “Who has personal experience of the thinking of the Lord? Who will tell him how to put things together? But we have the thinking of Christ.” Using cognitive language, a concept of God is based in Teacher thought, and Teacher thought forms general theories by putting things together. One cannot use personal knowledge based in Mercy experiences to tell Teacher thought how to form general theories. But finite humans can interact with Teacher thought through incarnation because the thinking of Christ (Jesus as God) is capable of interacting with Teacher thought.

This discussion about God and spirit may seem somewhat theoretical, so an example is probably appropriate. 100 years ago, no one talked about cell phones, no one could see a cell phone, and the idea of a cell phone was not part of culture. But gaining a Teacher understanding of the universal laws of nature made it possible to come up with the concept of a cell phone. (The cell phone was actually inspired by the science fiction of Star Trek. Science fiction tries to go beyond normal fiction by allowing imagination to be guided by scientific laws of nature.)

Cell phones now exist. Therefore, it is possible to think about cell phones in one of two ways. A spirit of the world views a cell phone as an aspect of existing culture. This leads to thinking guided by the status quo: What cell phones are available, and how does one cell phone compare with another? The thinking of such consumers can be influenced by appearance and personal authority. Thus, the emphasis will be upon designing cell phones that look good and marketing these cell phones with ads that feature well-known people.

In contrast, a spirit of God (as expressed in the universal laws of nature) will go beyond the status quo to discuss what cell phones could do and what they will do, using technical language that the average person on the street cannot comprehend.

Milk and Flesh 3:1-15

Mysticism often views the intuitive thinking of the child as an example to emulate, because the childish mind has not yet become ‘contaminated’ by rational thought with its categorizing and analyzing. Paul, on the other hand, equates childish thought with the flesh, and says that spiritual thought goes beyond childish thinking: “I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it” (3:1-2). Milk can be swallowed whole, while solid food has to be cut into pieces and chewed before swallowing. Paul complains that his audience is unable to chew on what he says. Mysticism, in contrast, requires thinking that swallows whole without chewing, because ‘chewing’ subdivides the whole into more specific parts, and mysticism stops working when sweeping statements are subdivided into specific parts. Mysticism can coexist with the subdivisions of rational thought if mysticism is regarded as going beyond rational thought. In contrast, Paul describes thinking which cannot chew as ‘infants in Christ’, which is an accurate statement, because a mental concept of incarnation is based in technical thought, which by its very nature classifies and subdivides.

For instance, reformed Christian theology teaches the doctrine of covenant, which is an important scriptural concept. However, reformed theology teaches that God’s plan of redemption is governed by a single eternal divine covenant that cannot be subdivided into different dispensations. Whenever reformed theologians have ‘chewed’ on the doctrine of covenant in order to add details, such as Old Testament versus New Testament, or grace versus works, then the mindset of mysticism has driven them to downplay these details and insist that there is only a single eternal vague divine covenant.

Paul adds that fleshly thinking is based in MMNs of personal status: “For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? For when one says, ‘I am of Paul,’ and another, ‘I am of Apollos,’ are you not mere men?” (3:3)

Paul explains that what really matters is growth, and that people are only important to the extent that they enable and assist growth. And growth is guided by God: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth” (3:6-7). A concept of God transcends MMNs of human authority and ties them together: “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building” (3:9).

Saying this more bluntly, those who discuss the Bible by merely quoting religious experts, such as church fathers and famous theologians, have not acquired the ability to analyze biblical content, but are still functioning at the level of childish thought. Religious experts are only significant to the extent that they assist the process of personal growth, and both religious experts and the process of personal growth are ultimately guided by the general Teacher understanding of a concept of God.

Paul goes further. Experts are not the ultimate sources of truth. Instead, one must begin by building upon the foundation of incarnation: “For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (3:11). This is traditionally interpreted by evangelical Christians as ‘asking Jesus in your heart’, and this is an aspect of building upon the foundation of incarnation. But notice that Paul uses the full title of Jesus Christ, which implies that one is going beyond Jesus-the-man. This is an important distinction, because many Christians have a ‘personal relationship’ with the invisible person of Jesus-the-man while at the same time building most of their life upon foundations that contradict incarnation as a universal principle.

A foundation is the starting point, but it is not the entire building. The starting point is Jesus Christ the God/man, but one then builds upon this foundation. Using another biblical analogy, Jesus Christ is the head of the church, but the head is not the entire body. Revelation 5-9 appears to describe the type of society that emerges when people start with the concept of incarnation but then do not build further. (This is discussed in a two-part video.)

One can see these two stages in Paul’s phrase ‘I planted and Apollos watered’ (3:6). The word Apollos means ‘of Apollo’, and Apollo was the Greek God of truth and prophecy, healing, the sun and light, and music. Paul took what was then the Jewish sect of Christianity and transformed it into a religion for Gentiles based in theology. Using modern language, Paul reformulated religious fundamentalist belief into a general rational theory that could be understood by secular thought. Once religious belief has been transplanted into secular soil, it is then possible to water this belief using secular concepts of truth, prophecy, healing, sun, light, and music. Paul explicitly states that he is laying a foundation upon which others are building: “According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it” (3:10). (The word ‘master builder or architect’ only occurs once in the Bible.)

Notice exactly what Paul is saying. As an apostle, he is laying a foundation upon which others are building, and Paul will later describe the personal cost of being an apostle. However, Paul emphasizes that he is not building the foundation, because ‘no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ’. This distinction can be seen in physics. Laying the foundation is like discovering a new law of physics, while laying a foundation is like finding a new way to describe a law of physics that has already been discovered. For instance, Snell discovered the law of refraction, which describes how a ray of light bends as it travels from one medium to another. This is what causes a straw to look bent when it is inserted in a cup of water. Fermat discovered that Snell’s law could be stated in a different way: light travels one point to another following a path that takes the least amount of time.

The childish mindset views experts as the ultimate source of truth, while Paul says that the words and actions of experts will themselves be judged: “Each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work” (3:13). Notice that the focus is not upon doctrinal purity, rigorous logic, or following the right expert. Instead, the testing is by fire, which implies some sort of emotional stress. Using cognitive language, the core mental networks that drive a person become evident when a person continues to receive input that is uncomfortable. That is when a person discovers what he really loves and hates. The standard is integrity, which is revealed by observing what remains solid under pressure: “The fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which is built on it remains, he will receive a reward” (3:15). Paul talks about building “with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw” (3:12). When fire is applied to gold or silver, then they become more pure, while applying fire to wood, hay, or straw burns them up.

Saying this another way, what really matters is not how much a person knows or believes, but rather how much a person knows or believes under pressure. Using the language of mental symmetry, all Perceiver facts and Server sequences have a label of confidence, which indicates the emotional pressure that can be handled by that fact or sequence without crumbling. For instance, I may know how to play a piece of music perfectly in private but fall apart when playing in front of an audience.

Paul emphasizes the relationship between knowledge and personal identity. One does not just build upon a foundation of incarnation, one is also saved personally by this foundation. One does not just build solid material upon this foundation, one receives a personal reward for the solid material that one has built and suffers personal loss if this material lacks integrity: “If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire” (3:14-15).

Temple of God 3:16-23

Paul then goes further by saying that there is a deep connection between personal identity, integrity, and a concept of God: “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are” (3:16-17). The word translated ‘destroy’ means to waste away, corrupt, or deteriorate.

Using the language of mental symmetry, the goal is to achieve mental wholeness in which all parts of the mind work together in harmony. However, what normally happens is mental corruption, because a person will focus on using some parts of the mind in a way that shuts down or damages other parts of the mind. For instance, one may pursue Mercy feelings in a way that shuts down Perceiver facts, pursue Contributor-controlled technical thought in an objective manner that shuts down Mercy thought, or seek Exhorter excitement by filling the mind with emotional experiences that Mercy thought finds damaging.

This mental corruption will also affect one’s concept of God. If one pursues mental wholeness, then the concept of God that emerges is that of a Christian Trinity. Using Christian language, the mind is made to be a temple of God. But if one pursues a lifestyle of corruption, then this will lead to a twisted concept of God, this twisted concept will turn into mental networks, and these mental networks of a twisted concept of God will impose corruption upon the mind. Saying this more simply, one will inevitably end up worshiping and serving the concept of God that one creates. If this is a God of corruption, then one will worship and serve a God of corruption.

The end result is self-deception. How can one test if one is deceiving oneself? If one is guided by a mindset that works well in the current age of personal status and physical matter, then this is a good sign that one’s mindset is inadequate and needs to be questioned. That is because building one’s mind upon personal status and physical matter leads to a twisted concept of God. In the words of Paul, “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise. The wisdom of this world is foolishness before God” (3:18).

Saying this another way, the crafty person will be caught by his own craftiness, because twisted thinking will create a mental concept of God that traps a person within this twisted thinking: “For it is written, ‘he is the one who catches the wise in their craftiness’” (3:19).

Going further, “The Lord knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are useless” (3:20). More literally, the calculated reasoning of the wise philosopher is unproductive. Paul does not say that it is wrong, but rather that it leads nowhere. The reason that it leads nowhere is because rigorous logic always applies only to some limited area of thought or existence. For instance, the rules of football apply to a game of football played on a football playing field, but they cannot be extended to all of life, because life is more than just a game of football. The rules of football are appropriate when one is playing a game of football, but if one tries to apply the rules of football to the rest of life, one will find that this leads nowhere.

In conclusion, one should not build upon MMNs of personal status. But one should build in a manner that includes personal identity: “So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you” (3:21-22). This involves personal identity but it is not based upon personal identity but rather is based upon incarnation, and incarnation is based upon a concept of God: “You belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God” (3:23).

Extending Incarnation

Paul describes in chapter 4 what it means to be genuine religious experts. They are “servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” (4:1). Mysticism regards God as a mystery that will always remain a mystery. Paul describes more clearly what it means to be a steward of the mystery of God in the book of Colossians. We will examine this passage because it ties in nicely with what Paul is saying in 1 Corinthians 4: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions. Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me” (Col. 1:24-29).

Paul talked about building on the foundation of incarnation. We see in Colossians that this involves suffering on behalf of others and that this suffering ‘fills up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions’. On the one hand, one is adding to the atoning work of incarnation in a meaningful manner. But on the other hand, the original atonement of Jesus Christ the incarnation remains fundamental because Christ is the head of the church and one is adding to the sufferings as part of the body of the church. Notice also that Paul uses the word Christ in this passage and not Jesus, telling us that his emphasis is upon incarnation as a universal principle. If the specific atonement of Jesus-the-man in first century Judea is to be expanded to become a universal principle of atonement in Jesus Christ the God/man, then this expansion can only occur if other individuals, such as Paul, view atonement as a universal principle to be applied. After all, we have just seen that one cannot separate the Christian message from the character of the person who is preaching this message. Therefore, one cannot just preach the message that Jesus is more than just a man who died in Jerusalem. Instead, one must also embody this message; it must become an essential aspect of one’s personal identity. Similarly, this is not just a theoretical message that is being preached and believed, but it is being shared in order to bring personal benefits to the listener.

Paul then describes the nature of this message. It was a mystery but has now been revealed to those who follow God. The mystery is ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory’. In other words, it involves an internal concept of incarnation as God, accompanied by the concept that this internal understanding will be expressed externally (glory is the external manifestation of something internal). The ministry is spread by the ‘preaching of the word of God’, which means that one is using words to convey a general understanding. It extends beyond the religious Jews to the secular Gentiles. And it uses rational instruction to lead people to the goal of being ‘complete in Christ’, which means mental wholeness guided by a concept of incarnation as God.

By now the discussion has probably become too theoretical. Therefore, I would like to provide two examples. The first example is the inventor who uses technology to come up with a new laborsaving device. Science illustrates incarnation at a deep level. In the same way that Jesus was the Word of God made flesh, so science integrates the universal words of mathematics with the flesh of natural processes. (This is not just a hand-waving similarity, but is an extensive similarity that is discussed in detail in other essays, as well as in the book Natural Cognitive Theology.) Before the discovery of science, this relationship was a mystery, but it became unveiled during the scientific revolution. One learns about science by using mathematical equations. Math is composed of words and symbols that convey general Teacher theories. An inventor takes the incarnation of math/science and extends it to some new area of application. This extension increases the universality of incarnation. Inventing is not a straightforward process, and an inventor endures hardship so that others can benefit. Summarizing, the goal of inventing is to create a society that expresses the invisible laws of nature in a manner that benefits mankind.

The second example is mental symmetry. The theory of mental symmetry began with the list of seven spiritual gifts mentioned in Romans 12. Right before giving this list of seven gifts, Paul says that “just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others” (Rom. 12:4-5). In other words, Paul explicitly says that Romans 12 spiritual gifts describe the body of Christ. And Paul said in Colossians that he is adding to the sufferings of Jesus as part of the body of Christ.

Looking at this cognitively, I discovered that Romans 12 spiritual gifts are not just a description of cognitive styles, but form the starting point for a general meta-theory of human intelligence. And one of the key features of this meta-theory is that it translates the concept of Jesus-the-man into a universal concept of incarnation. Building the theory of mental symmetry has not been easy, but instead has involved a lifetime of being marginalized and ostracized. And the goal of mental symmetry is not just to come up with a theory of how the mind works, but rather to help people reach mental wholeness in order to produce a better society. Finally, I keep rediscovering that one can only do research on the mind if one personally applies what one knows. In other words, what Paul says in Colossians 4 and Romans 12 is not just religious poetry, but rather an accurate description of deep cognitive principles.

Servants of Christ 4:1-7

Let us return now to 1 Corinthians 4. When one does research on the mind, then one must avoid self-deception. Similarly, Paul says that “it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy” (4:2). How can one avoid deceiving oneself? One cannot build upon the opinions of society, because one is attempting to go beyond the status quo, and anyone who violates the status quo will automatically receive disapproval. That is because the status quo is enforced by mental networks of culture, and a mental network responds negatively whenever it encounters inconsistent input. In the words of Paul, “To me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court” (4:3). But one also cannot trust one’s own mental networks of reasonableness and appropriateness: “In fact, I do not even examine myself” (4:3).

This does not mean that one continues stubbornly without error-checking. Instead, the ultimate error-checking is provided by the Teacher understanding of a concept of God: “I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord” (4:4). And if one’s concept of God really is based in a Teacher understanding of how things work, then this Teacher understanding will eventually become apparent, and the unveiling of this Teacher understanding will reveal peoples’ core mental networks. This waiting is not easy to do, because the natural tendency is to preach truth at others rather than waiting for it to be revealed at the appropriate time. Using the language of Paul, “Wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God” (4:5).

Paul adds that this is a general principle that applies to all interpersonal relationships and not just to the relationship between him and his readers: “These things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other” (4:6).

Using language of mental symmetry, it appears that God guides people and societies by examining and manipulating core mental networks. Words are easy to say and they are also easy to evaluate, but a person is not ultimately motivated by words. Instead, what drives a person is not words but rather core mental networks. Core mental networks are not usually apparent but rather become revealed in times of stress. The ultimate revealing of core mental networks will occur when a person comes face-to-face with the character of God, and a person’s core mental networks will either drive that individual to instinctively come towards God or run away from God.

Goal of a Steward 4:8-21

Paul then describes the relationship between the inventor and the consumer. (The three stages of consumer, hacker, and inventor are described in Natural Cognitive Theology.) He says to his audience that “you are already filled, you have already become rich, you have become kings without us” (4:6). Similarly, technology allows the modern consumer to live a life of luxury and reign as kings over the natural world. An inventor does not just create new gadgets in order to benefit others, but so that he too can enjoy the benefits of his invention. Likewise, Paul says that “I wish that you had become kings that we also might reign with you” (4:8).

Paul continues, “For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men” (4:9). These are strong words, but I suggest that one can make sense of them by comparing the consumer with the inventor. The consumer lives within the concrete world of human activity. The inventor, in contrast, struggles to make breakthroughs, and inhabits both the human realm of technology and the abstract realm of research. Both the apostle and the inventor are trying to build upon the foundation of incarnation. But the inventor is merely coming up with new gadgets guided by an understanding of how the character of incarnation is indirectly revealed in the structure of the universe, while the apostle is paying a deep personal price in order to build upon the foundation of personal salvation laid by incarnation. The inventor has to deal with the objective abstract world of science and technology. The apostle, in contrast, has to deal with the personal abstract realm of angels. (The correspondence between abstract thought and the angelic realm is discussed in other essays, as well as later on in this essay).

A mental network will take ‘ownership’ of any thought or activity that it motivates. Human activity is naturally motivated by MMNs of identity and culture. If one wishes to be motivated by God, then one must choose to be guided by the TMN of a concept of God without being guided by MMNs of personal status. Stated simply, one must follow God rather than men. The average consumer of salvation does not have to follow these higher standards but rather can enjoy the benefits of being a consumer while being guided by existing MMNs of culture.

Paul states this contrast quite blatantly. “We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor. To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless” (4:10-11).

When one receives such mistreatment as an inventor—or apostle, one must always view it as an opportunity to be guided by higher motives: “When we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; when we are slandered, we try to conciliate” (4:12,13). If one responds in a positive fashion, then one will experience positive benefits of increased understanding and transformed character. But if one responds with bitterness, then one will become emotionally trapped and be unable to go further.

Summarizing, the consumer experiences the benefits of technology, while the inventor has to understand science in order to develop technology as well as go through the struggle of developing a product. The apostle experiences a similar—but much more personal—version of what the inventor endures.

Paul has emphasized that a message of rebirth cannot be separated from personal identity; in order to preach rebirth, one must also experience rebirth. As a result, Paul can reinforce his verbal message by telling others to copy his personal example. “For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me” (4:15,16). Notice that Paul describes himself as a father and not just a tutor. A tutor teaches a message, while a father combines a message with personal involvement. Notice also the contrast between Christ and Christ Jesus. A tutor shares the universal message of Christ the incarnation, while a father combines the universal message of Christ with the personal involvement of Jesus.

Paul can trust that Timothy will accurately convey his message because Timothy both knows and embodies the message: “For this reason I sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ” (4:17).

Paul finishes by reminding his readers that what really matters is not words but power: “For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power” (4:20).

Before we continue, let us summarize some general principles.

1) Paul is teaching a message of rebirth that goes beyond physical appearance and personal status.

2) Those who build upon physical appearance and personal status will naturally reject this message of rebirth.

3) A message of rebirth must be combined with the personal experience of rebirth.

4) Rejection of a message of rebirth will naturally force those who teach such a message to experience rebirth.

5) Incarnation is both God and man. Jesus as man went through specific experiences that illustrate the universal principles of Jesus Christ the God/man.

6) The specific example of Jesus the man becomes more general as followers of Jesus build upon the foundation of Jesus the incarnation.

7) If one wants to build upon the foundation of incarnation in a significant way, then one must be willing to pay a major personal price.

Male and Female Thought

Paul now turns from theory to practice, beginning with the example of someone having sexual relations with his father’s wife. The first four chapters have emphasized that one must go beyond specific people and physical actions to universal principles. This means that one must interpret ‘someone having his father’s wife’ as a universal principle and not just as a physical action involving specific persons.

Even if Paul himself was addressing a specific issue of incest in the Corinthian church, I suggest that there is still a more general meaning behind this specific example, placed there by the ultimate author. Saying this more generally, regarding the Bible as the Word of God does not mean placing it on a special shelf and handling it in a reverential manner with kid gloves. It also does not mean blindly quoting, following, and preaching these words as if they have magical power. Instead, regarding the Bible as the word of God means looking behind the specific authors, illustrations, and cultural references for a single underlying, coherent, rational message that describes universal principles which transcend time and culture. Believing that the Bible is the word of God is not displayed through religious rituals or accepted by blind faith, but rather can be tested by examining the Bible for an integrated coherent message.

Returning to 1 Corinthians 5, I suggest that one can find the cross-cultural universal message behind Paul’s example by interpreting male and female persons as male and female thought. In brief, male thought emphasizes Perceiver facts and Server sequences, while female thought emphasizes Teacher words and Mercy experiences. Saying this another way, the male mind naturally focuses upon information and skills, while the female mind emphasizes communication and personal experiences. (Gender and sexuality are discussed in more detail in another essay.) Going further, male thought emphasizes the logic and rigorous thinking of technical thought, which is based upon Perceiver facts and Server sequences. Similarly, female thought emphasizes mental networks, which are based upon emotional Mercy experiences and general Teacher theories. Male thought tends to specialize and be impersonal, while female thought is more attracted to interdisciplinary Teacher theories and social interaction. Gender differences interact with cognitive style. For instance, a male Mercy person is guided by gender to emphasize Perceiver facts, Server sequences, and technical thought, while guided by cognitive style to focus upon emotional Mercy experiences. This leads naturally to a mindset that works intuitively with technical gadgets, as illustrated by Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple computers.

When a society is locked into concrete thought with its physical objects and personal experts, then physical gender will have a major impact upon thought, to the extent that it becomes difficult to determine a person’s cognitive style, or even recognize the existence of cognitive styles. In such a society, Paul’s statements about gender would apply almost totally to men and women rather than to male and female thought. However, when a society develops abstract thought and teaches people to become individuals with internal worlds who think for themselves, then the relationship between male and female thought will become the dominant factor, which will be influenced by secondary elements including physical gender, education, culture, and cognitive style.

I know that it is currently politically incorrect to talk about differences between male and female thought, but the differences that I have mentioned can be backed up by psychological studies and confirmed by personal observation. Besides, if one rejects the words of Paul because they are politically incorrect, then I suggest that one is practicing the earthly wisdom that Paul warned against in the beginning of 1 Corinthians.

We have talked about a message about rebirth, but have not examined the nature of this message. In brief, rebirth starts with childish mental networks, builds rational thought, and then uses rational thought to rebuild mental networks. Using the language of male and female thought, it starts with isolated female thought, replaces this with male thought, and then leads to an internal marriage of male and female thought. This three stage process can be seen clearly in the development of a skill. The beginner expresses personal emotions in a manner that is crude and unsophisticated. The technician develops knowledge and skills of by practicing, but performs in a mechanical manner that lacks emotions. Finally, the expert is guided by a trained intuition that combines gut response with technical expertise. Restating this in the language of the consumer, the hacker, and the inventor, the consumer is guided by emotions that lack skill and knowledge. The hacker has skill and knowledge but tends to get lost in technical details. Finally, the inventor combines technical expertise with an emotional commitment to some goal that is being pursued or product that is being developed.

For instance, Elon Musk just announced his plans to colonize Mars, using enormous rockets that would carry 100 passengers on a three month trip to the red planet. Normally, such grandiose statements are made by those who lack technical knowledge and skill. However, Musk is already sending rockets into space and he just started testing the rocket engine that will power these enormous rockets. Thus, Musk is an example of the inventor, who combines the technical expertise of male thought with the personal vision and general thinking of female thought. The consumer, hacker, and inventor apply the message of rebirth to the physical realm of objects. Christianity extends this message of rebirth to include the personal, the supernatural, and the spiritual. That is because Jesus Christ the God/man is incarnation over all realms, including the physical, personal, supernatural, and spiritual. And this is not just a theological statement, but a universal principle with personal implications.

Conservatism 5:1-5

With this in mind, let us turn to 1 Corinthians 5. Paul opens the chapter by saying “It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife. You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst” (5:1,2).

If one interprets the statement in terms of male and female thought, then what emerges is something rather striking. In simple terms, the male thought of one generation is being integrated with the female thought of the previous generation. Saying this another way, the facts and skills of one generation are being married to the culture and understanding of the previous generation.

This defines the typical attitude of religious conservatism, which practices the skills and learns the knowledge of current society, while attempting to live personally within the mental networks of a bygone era. One sees this, for instance, in many American conservative Christian families. When one steps into such a home one leaves the modern age and enters a world populated by pioneers, pilgrim fathers, and 18th century preachers.

As Paul says, the ‘gentile’ secular world does not live in the past like this, but tries to create a culture and a worldview that fits current knowledge and professional skill. This culture may be inadequate, but at least it is appropriate. But instead of mourning the passing of the old culture, the conservative mindset clings to bygone culture in an arrogant manner, insisting not just that the old way is the best way, but often that the old way is the only godly way.

I know that some would reject this interpretation as totally mistaken, but I suggest that this is because we do not really believe that Jesus is God. We may say that we believe that Jesus is both man and God, and we may say that we believe that God created the universe, but we do not act as if Jesus Christ the incarnation has anything to do with science or technology. Thus, many Christians see modern science and technology as a nonreligious—or even anti-religious—influence that is preventing them from following Jesus the way people did in the past. Therefore, they cling metaphorically to their father’s wife, because they think that ‘she’ defines what it means to live as a Christian.

It is true that many scientists are stridently anti-religious, and it is also true that the rise of scientific thought has led to the questioning of traditional rules of morality. But Paul has just spent several chapters telling us that we should look beyond authority figures and physical experiences to general understanding. And if one examines the process by which science and technology emerged as well as the thinking that is used by science and technology, one concludes that it is a partial expression of following a path of rebirth guided by a concept of incarnation as both God and man.

The problem with science and technology is that this rebirth is limited to the physical realm. Our physical world has become reborn while people remain the same. Using the language of gender, only male thought has become reborn. If this sounds like a sexist statement, try using rational thought to analyze someone’s personal tastes, artistic preferences, cultural practices, or sexual orientations. It is taboo. In contrast, we complain vigorously whenever insufficient rational thought has been used to analyze our cars, cellphones, and other gadgets. For some reason, we think that it is natural to say ‘How dare you use rational thought to analyze my personal tastes!’ while at the same time saying, ‘How dare you release a new gadget without using enough rational thought to make sure it functions properly!’ When technology keeps improving while society and family keep decaying, it is natural to try to marry the male thought of today with the female thought of our parents.

There is nothing wrong with learning from past culture and holding on to what is good. Similarly, every wife learns from her mother. The problem lies in trying to preserve past culture as an entire entity without analyzing it in the light of current understanding. The solution is not to cling to the culture of one’s parents, but rather to extend the rebirth practiced by science and technology beyond the physical to include the personal, spiritual, and supernatural. After all, Paul has just finished telling us that a message of rebirth must be applied to one’s own person.

Paul describes how one should respond to such a situation: “I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present. In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (5:3-5).

Using cognitive language, one should not get personally enmeshed in such a culture. Instead one should evaluate it from a distance guided by the Platonic forms of spirit. (A Platonic form is an internal idealized image of reality.) Thus, one compares the culture of the past with the ideal culture. How does the past measure up when compared with the ideal? How perfect was North America in the 1950s? How ideal was existence under the Pilgrim fathers?

Paul mentions Jesus three times in this passage without mentioning the word Christ. This tells us that the focus is not upon abstract thought and universal doctrine but rather upon specific concrete experience. However, one is going beyond focusing merely upon the specific example of Jesus the man, because Paul talks about the name of our Lord Jesus, the power of our Lord Jesus, and the day of the Lord Jesus. In other words, one is examining specific concrete cultural experiences in the light of a larger picture.

Paul’s solution is to “deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (5:5). The word Satan means adversary. When people cling to the mental networks of past culture, then this will lead naturally to adversarial relationships, as people splinter into warring factions, each convinced that they are preserving the past in the purest form while condemning other groups as compromisers. The fundamentalist Baptists provide a good example of the splintering that is caused by an attitude of ‘we are more holy than they are’.

Eventually, this continual strife will prevent the past from being fully re-created, turning it into the imaginary ideal of a Platonic form. Saying this more simply, people may want to re-create, for instance, the New Testament church, but continual bickering over what it means to re-create a New Testament church will frustrate attempts to re-create the past, turning it into an ideal that is never fully realized. And being motivated by the internal image of an ideal church is a critical aspect of personal transformation.

Rationalization 5:6-8

Paul then turns from incest to leaven and Passover. This may seem like a complete change of topic, but remember that one has to go beyond physical appearance to look for general understanding. If one does so, one finds that Paul is still discussing the same topic.

Paul begins this section by saying “your boasting is not good” (5:6). Paul defined this boasting in verse 2 in which he talked about becoming arrogant about having one’s father’s wife. Thus, the boasting is about holding on to bygone culture.

Paul then uses leaven and Passover as an analogy: “Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed” (5:6,7). We know that this is an analogy because Paul defines what he means by leaven: “Let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (5:8).

Passover is the Jewish festival of redemption through death, because the angel of death passed over Jewish homes whose door posts were covered by the blood of a Lamb, while killing the firstborn of Egyptian families. In addition, Jesus’ death and resurrection occurred during Passover. Thus, the general topic is that of rebirth. Leaven introduces pockets of air within the bread, and one is supposed to eat unleavened bread during the time of Passover. Paul refers to these elements in his analogy because he tells us to ‘clean out the old leaven’ because ‘we are in fact unleavened’, and he says that ‘Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed’.

Looking at this cognitively, bread is a symbol of intellectual food, while air represents Teacher thought and Teacher words. (This symbolism is discussed in the video on the book of Revelation.) Thus, I suggest that leaven represents the fragments of Teacher theory that are introduced by MMNs of culture and identity—the pockets of air that are introduced by the living microorganisms within the bread. Using personal experiences to assist understanding is usually very useful, but it is disastrous when one is going through rebirth. Stated symbolically, one can eat leavened bread during most of the year, but during Passover one must eat unleavened bread.

Rebirth uses the TMN of a concept of God to rebuild MMNs of personal identity. Whenever mental networks come into contact with each other, then each will attempt to impose its structure upon the other. Thus, when the TMN of a concept of God comes into contact with MMNs of personal identity, then either personal identity will become reborn to be consistent with the concept of God, or else the concept of God will be reshaped to be consistent with personal identity. Stated more simply, either I will become conformed to the image of God, or I will develop a God in my own image. Leaven develops a God in my own image, because it allows MMNs of identity and culture to shape the TMN of understanding. During normal existence, this interplay between MMNs and TMNs is useful, but rebirth will only happen if MMNs of childish identity are not allowed to shape the TMN of a concept of God. Using secular language, one must not rationalize when rational thought comes into contact with subjective emotions. As Paul warns, ‘a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough’.

This interpretation matches Paul’s explicit description. Paul refers to leaven as ‘malice and wickedness’. The word malice comes from kakia, which means ‘inwardly foul or rotten’. Wickedness comes from poneria, which means ‘pain-ridden evil’. The first describes childish, immature MMNs, while the second refers to MMNs that are based in painful emotional experiences. Going the other way, Paul talks about the ‘unleavened bread of sincerity and truth’. Sincerity comes from eilikrineia, which literally means ‘judged in the light of the sun’, while truth comes from aletheia, which means ‘truth in the moral sphere’. The first describes being guided by the TMN of a general understanding—the light of the sun, while the second describes an attitude of personal honesty.

Sigmund Freud provides a good example of rebirth that is guided by the leaven of childish and painful MMNs. Freud was attempting to place psychology upon a scientific foundation. His goal was to be guided by the TMN of a rational general understanding of the mind. However, much of his theory was based upon intuition rooted in painful childish experiences. In the words of the linked essay, “It could be said with reasonable justification that his most fundamental theories were intuition-linked. The Oedipus Complex; the Dynamic Theory of the Unconscious; the Theory of Repression; the Sexual Etiology of the Psychoneuroses; the Diphasic Nature of Sex in Humans, and the Psychoanalytic Technique of Free Association.” Quoting further, “Interesting examples can be shown in other aspects of Freud’s writings where intuition surely was the link between fact and theory, because of the incredible, outlandish gap between them, which apparently precluded any kind of normal or sensible explanation, or direct clinical proof. For instance: the inveterate or compulsive gambler and masturbation; greed and anal eroticism; the irrepressible desire for knowledge and sexual curiosity; bed-wetting and ambition.” One can see that the intellectual bread which Freud ate during his Passover was full of the leaven of malice and wickedness. And Freud’s leaven did end up leavening the whole loaf, because the last book that Freud the Jew wrote was Moses and Monotheism, in which Freud attempted to re-interpret all of Judaism in the light of his personal theories of psychoanalysis.

One can now see how the illustration about leaven and Passover follows naturally from the example of incest. Having one’s father’s wife symbolizes clinging to the MMNs of a previous culture, while leaven and Passover describe what happens cognitively when one tries to go through rebirth while clinging to MMNs.

Separatism and Shunning 5:9-13

The next topic that Paul discusses is religious separation from the secular world. A mindset that is based in MMNs of culture and personal authority will naturally adopt an attitude of tribalism, which considers ‘us and our culture’ as good and ‘others and their culture’ as bad. When religious truth is based in MMNs of authority, then this tribalism will turn into feelings of religious superiority.

Turning now to what Paul says, “I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world” (5:9,10). The word translated associate means ‘to mingle together with, or keep company with’. Thus, Paul is talking about a form of association that extends beyond social contact or business exchange to friendship. The people that Paul describes are all being guided by MMNs in an inappropriate manner. The immoral person is being sexually immoral, which means physically interacting inappropriately with people. The covetous person is driven by MMNs of physical possessions. The swindler is a robber or extortioner, while the idolater is a worshiper of an image. In each case the mind is being guided by MMNs that are being imposed upon the mind by the external physical world. The immoral is guided by MMNs imposed by the physical body, the covetous by MMNs from physical objects, the swindler by MMNs imposed by physical force, and the idolater by MMNs based in physical images. Because the childish mind is naturally based upon MMNs acquired from one’s physical environment, one would have to leave the physical world in order to avoid this mindset. Paul says that one should not try to avoid such individuals when one encounters them in the secular world.

But Paul also says that one should avoid such individuals when they claim to be following the Christian message of rebirth: “I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one” (5:11). This list contains the same four categories mentioned earlier as well as the same Greek word for association. But Paul adds two more types of people to the list: A reviler uses insulting words to injure the reputation of another. This contradicts the message of rebirth, which uses words to transform personal identity, instead of using words to destroy personal identity. Finally, there is the drunkard. Drinking appears to release mental networks from the control of rational thought. This also contradicts the path of rebirth, which uses rational thought to transform mental networks.

Paul says that one should ‘not even eat with such a one’ (5:11), and this has been used to justify the practice of shunning, in which one does not eat meals with those whom the church has deemed to be worthy of punishment. But we know that Paul is not talking just about physical appearance, and Paul has just used unleavened bread as an analogy for following sincerity and truth rather than malice and wickedness. Thus, I suggest that Paul is expanding upon what it means to ‘celebrate the feast of Passover with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth’. Using cognitive language, one should not build a general Teacher understanding upon mental content that falls within these six categories (immoral, covetous...), because the end result will not be rational understanding but rather a rationalization of childish and immoral thinking.

Obviously, this would also extend to people who epitomize such forms of harmful thought. But even if one is only applying the text at this physical level, Paul does not say to stop buying goods from the store of a person who is being shunned (as many Mennonites have done in the past, and some still do), but rather to avoid friendship with such an individual. And if one concludes that not eating with such an individual means primarily not sharing a physical meal, then I suggest that one is interpreting the text at the level of milk and not solid food. Going further, I suggest that those who practice physical shunning are in danger of following the very thinking that is being warned against. For instance, my mother’s father was almost shunned by the local Mennonite church for sending his son into town to attend school. Cognitively speaking, preserving MMNs of Mennonite culture was more important to the church leadership than gaining the TMN of a rational education. That is an example of eating leavened bread during Passover.

Paul finishes by changing the focus of judging away from the mindset of tribalism: “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves” (5:12,13). Tribalism regards us as good and them as bad. Tribalism comes up with reasons why we are good and need to be excused, and why they are bad and need to be judged. Paul turns this upside down by telling people to stop judging them and start judging us. We need to apply truth to us. God will take care of them.

Looking at this more generally, if a small group of people follows the path of rebirth, then this example will reveal the character of God to the rest of the population, and they will be guided by the TMN of a concept of God to change, instead of being guided by MMNs of personal authority that we are attempting to impose on them. For instance, America has to some extent applied the message of rebirth, resulting in great freedom and prosperity, as epitomized by democracy and the American dream. America has tried to export its society in one of two primary ways. The first way is the method of armed force, which uses soldiers and guns to judge the mental networks of other nations. This method of ‘exporting democracy’ has proved to be both ineffective and costly. The second method is the method of example, which uses sincerity and truth to transform American society, leading to the example of the American dream, which is then viewed by the rest of the world as a universal Teacher theory of human progress to emulate. This second method of exporting democracy has succeeded in transforming most of the world.

Stated simply, don’t judge them, it won’t work. Judge ‘us’ and transform us, and that will reveal universal principles that others will want to apply in order to experience the same transformation.

The Rule of Law 6:1-11

The next section expands upon this principle of who should be judging whom: “Does any of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world?” (6:1,2). In simple terms, if Christianity is the source of morality, then Christian rules of morality should apply to all of existence, and one should not go to non-Christian law courts for moral judgments. If the entire world will eventually be judged by Christian standards, then it should already be possible to use Christian principles to evaluate secular issues of law. In the words of Paul, “If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts?” (6:2). Going further, does it make sense for Christians to go to secular courts in order to seek judgments from those who do not know Christian principles? “If you have law courts dealing with matters of his life, do you appoint them as judges who are no account of the church?” (6:4). Finally, the very fact that Christians are taking each other to court is itself a sign of moral failure, because it indicates a childish mindset that is ruled by MMNs. In Paul’s words, “I say this to your shame” (6:5).

I suggest that Paul is describing another situation that naturally arises when one has an inadequate concept of Jesus Christ the God/man. A concept of incarnation by its very nature involves moral law. One can explain this cognitively because of the way that a concept of incarnation forms within the mind. But one can also see this by looking at the example of Jesus. The name Jesus means salvation. One does not need to be saved if there are no moral standards. Going further, the central event of the Gospels is the death and resurrection of Jesus, and Christianity claims that the death of Jesus has major moral implications. If one has a concept of incarnation that is limited to Jesus-the-man, then one’s concept of moral law and personal salvation will also be limited to some religious subculture. Therefore, one will think it natural to go to secular courts to resolve legal issues. But if Jesus Christ really is God, then the moral law of Jesus is a universal law that applies to all realms of existence. However, it is not enough to merely state this as a verbal doctrine. Instead one must act as if this is true. When one encounters a moral problem in the secular world, will one go to secular courts, or will one act as if Jesus is a universal incarnation whose moral rule extends to this secular situation?

For instance, the local Christian University is currently embroiled in a series of court cases, because most secular Canadian lawyers think that a university has no right to set up a school of law if it makes students sign a commitment not to practice homosexuality. The underlying assumption is that secular thought determines the standards for law as well as the standards for setting up a school of Law. But if the Christian God really is the ultimate source of law and morality, as Christians claim, then why does a Christian school need to set up a secular school of Law? And why do Christians feel the need to turn to secular courts to resolve legal issues? If the Christian God really is the ultimate source of morality, then non-Christians should be turning to Christian courts for justice. And I am not just making an idealistic statement that could never apply in real life, because Mennonites have struggled for centuries with the whole concept of legal justice, and Mennonites have set up University programs that teach alternative methods of resolving legal problems. I am not suggesting that the legal system should be replaced by Mennonite principles of reconciliation, because Anabaptist thinking tends to have its own problems. However, Anabaptists are at least attempting to apply what Paul says in 1 Corinthians without automatically assuming that secular thought is the legitimate source of moral law. The underlying problem, I suggest, is that we do not really understand what it means for Jesus Christ to be God and we do not really believe that there is any personal benefit to submitting to the rule of Jesus Christ as God. But if God's moral law really describes inescapable cognitive principles of personal sowing and reaping, then ignoring these laws makes as much sense as ignoring the law of gravity by jumping off a bridge. And setting up a school of Law that ignores these principles makes as much sense as teaching people to ignore the law of gravity. As long as Western society was guided implicitly by Christian principles, it was possible to ignore this problem. But now that Western society is becoming blatantly post-Christian, Christians once again will have to explicitly choose what it means in practice to follow the moral law of Jesus. I am not suggesting that it is wrong for TWU to set up a school of Law. Rather, I am pointing out to that TWU is attempting to win a battle within a general context of Christianity having lost the war. In contrast, I am trying to win the war by constructing a rational understanding of Jesus Christ as God.

We saw earlier that humans extend the realm of Jesus’ incarnation by building upon the foundation established by incarnation. Similarly, one extends the realm of Jesus’ moral rule by turning to those who are following the path of personal transformation for legal help. As Paul asks, “Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man will be able to decide between his brethren?” (6:5).

We looked at Paul’s example of Christians taking each other to court, and Paul’s statements are significant when interpreted literally. However, I suggest that there is also a cognitive principle involved. In order to understand this cognitive principle, we will take a few paragraphs to look at the concept of righteousness. Whenever a mental network is triggered, then it will use emotional pressure to impose its structure upon the mind. The TMN of a concept of God will also attempt to impose itself upon the mind, motivating a person to think and act in a way that is consistent with one’s concept of God. Righteousness describes action that is emotionally guided by the TMN of a concept of God.

A person who does not have a Teacher understanding of the character of God will not grasp the concept of righteousness. Righteousness is not salvation by works, in which one uses effort to behave in a certain manner. It is not self-denial, in which one suppresses MMNs of personal identity in order to focus upon the MMN of a concept of God. It is not moral duty, in which one tries to please God by avoiding situations that are morally evil. It is not goal-oriented behavior, in which one is motivated by the MMN of some personal reward or benefit. Instead, righteousness is action that is emotionally guided by an understanding of the character of God; one is emotionally driven to behave in a manner that is consistent with the way that God has constructed creation to behave. (Becoming righteous through sanctification is different than being declared righteous through justification. This distinction is discussed in another essay.)

We have seen that emotional experiences from the physical body will program the mind with childish MMNs, and that these MMNs will drive personal behavior. This describes the motivation of the immoral, covetous, swindler, and idolater mentioned in the previous chapter. But living within the natural world will also lead to TMNs of common sense based upon an understanding of how the physical world functions. Paul has mentioned in previous chapters that the message of rebirth goes beyond the common sense of the natural world. If one wishes to become righteous, then one must use the TMN of an understanding of God to reconcile internal conflict involving MMNs of identity and culture rather than being guided by TMNs of common sense.

I should emphasize that this does not mean following God in some irrational manner that violates common sense. Instead, it means choosing to pursue long-term character growth rather than shorter-term physical needs. For instance, will I choose the job that pays the best or the one that teaches me the most? How will I resolve internal conflict? Will I turn to mental networks of natural common sense, or will I turn to my understanding of the character of God. Common sense is not wrong, but it is limited to the physical realm, while an understanding of the character of God goes beyond concrete thought to include the abstract realm of words and theories (Paul says in verse 3 that ‘we will judge angels’, and the word angel means messenger, which implies a being who lives within a realm of words).

These principles are illustrated by the relationship between physics and common sense. Common sense comes from observation of the physical world, and common sense is a good guide for the normal experiences of life. However, many of the laws of physics run counter to common sense, and when one goes to the level of the microscopic, then common sense breaks down completely. The laws of physics describe the righteousness of the physical universe, because everything in the universe behaves in a manner that reflects universal laws. Common sense is limited because it is based in experiences of reality rather than being guided by an understanding of universal law. Many physical problems can be solved using common sense. But common sense can also be wrong. One must then let go of common sense and turn to the righteous judgments provided by the laws of nature. These laws do not just rule over physical objects but they also rule the ‘angelic’ realm of waves and energy. (It appears that the relationship between physical reality and angelic reality is like the relationship in physics between matter and energy.) Thus, when one is dealing with the physical realm, then Paul’s statements are already true.

One might ask why I keep coming up with examples from science. The reason is that science is the major area where humans have broken through to a concept of incarnation as both God and man. Christianity may proclaim the doctrine that Jesus Christ is both God and man, but it does not understand what this doctrine means. In fact, most theologians will explicitly state that incarnation is a mystery that must be accepted by blind faith. Science understands the nature of incarnation, but it does not realize that what it understands is an aspect of incarnation, because theologians keep insisting that incarnation is an incomprehensible mystery. That is because most theology is guided at the core by a mystical concept of God.

People who can Live under Incarnation 6:9-11

Paul then describes who will not inherit the kingdom of God: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived” (6:9). I suggest that this relates to Paul’s previous comment about being willing to be defrauded rather than pursue lawsuits. “It is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?” (6:7).

Why would one choose to be a loser? Why would one willingly be defrauded? The answer is not that being abused and oppressed is a requirement for being a Christian, but rather that one wants to achieve the higher goal of inheriting the kingdom of God. Following the path of lawsuits and common sense leads to a mindset of unrighteousness, and an unrighteous person cannot inherit the kingdom of God. In other words, one may win the battle in a lawsuit, but one will lose the war by being excluded from the kingdom of God. Paul warns that it is easy to be led astray (the word translated deceived means to be led astray).

Using science as an example, technology is a kingdom of God in the sense that the universal laws of nature are being applied in order to rule over the world. One can only become capable of using science to develop technology if one lets go of the thinking of common sense in order to be guided by the righteousness of the laws of physics. The ‘kingdom of God’ of technology is a partial kingdom that only involves the physical world. If one wants to experience the kingdom of God personally, then one must become a righteous person. That is why Paul talks about inheriting the kingdom of God. A wage is something I receive for performing a certain job, while an inheritance is something I receive for becoming a certain person.

Paul then gives a list of unrighteous people who will not inherit the kingdom of God. Six of these individuals are from the list mentioned in the previous chapter. But Paul adds four more kinds of people: adulterers, effeminate, homosexuals, and thieves. The word translated adulterer is moichos, which means ‘having sex with a married woman’, effeminate comes from malakos, which means ‘soft or effeminate’, homosexual comes from arsenokoites, which means male homosexuality, and thief comes from kleptes, which means ‘stealing by stealth in secret’.

I know that it has become politically taboo to make any sort of statements regarding sexual preference, but Paul emphasized in the first chapters that the message of rebirth will be regarded as foolishness by those who pursue natural wisdom. However, instead of looking at physical sexual preference, we will examine these labels in terms of male and female thought, because I suggest that what happens externally is largely a secondary expression of what happens within the mind.

I suggest that these four categories of thought will naturally emerge when science limits itself to studying the physical world in an objective manner.

First, intellectual theft is possible when ideas are separated from people. Because objective science separates knowledge from the people who are acquiring this knowledge, it is possible to steal knowledge from the people who have discovered this knowledge. However, we have seen that knowledge must be combined with personal transformation when one is pursuing a message of rebirth. For instance, when I begin doing research in cognitive styles, I was afraid that others might steal my research. This is no longer a concern, because I have realized that one can only continue to do research on the mind if one applies the knowledge that one has. In other words, someone who acquires knowledge without paying the personal price for this knowledge cannot inherit the kingdom of God.

Second, when science limits itself to the objective realm, then people will think that it is possible to apply scientific expertise to any situation, regardless of the local culture. But the mental networks of local culture are already ‘married’ to some system of knowledge and expertise. Recent attempts to export democracy to the Middle East provide an obvious example of this principle. Arab Mideast culture has its own ‘male’ mindset to which it is married, and this mindset can be seen in the character of the rulers and government of Middle East countries. One cannot come in with ‘male’ Western objective skills and knowledge and become intimate with the local culture, because that is mental adultery. Mideast culture may be married to an abusive ‘husband’, but what the West did recently in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria could accurately be described as cultural rape.

Third, when science limits itself to using male technical thought in the objective realm, then intellectual exchange will also be limited to the realm of male technical thought. When a community of thought excludes the female realm of mental networks, then all that is left is mental homosexuality, because male thought is having intimate relationships with male thought. There is nothing wrong with sharing ideas, or with cooperating on research projects, but when one becomes deeply emotionally attached to one’s technical research, and when interaction is primarily with other individuals who are also deeply emotionally attached to their technical research, then this will lead to relationships that go beyond mental cooperation to mental male homosexuality. I am not suggesting that academia is filled with closet homosexuals. Rather, I am pointing out that there is an implicit mindset that focuses upon male thought to the exclusion of female thought, and that in many academic disciplines, one must swim against the stream if one wishes to pursue mental wholeness.

Fourth, when science limits itself to the objective realm, then those who live within the subjective realm of mental networks will attempt to emulate the success of science by copying the methods of science. But applying scientific methodology to the subjective realm is not sufficient. Instead, one must learn how to think rationally in the presence of mental networks. However, science maintains its rationality by avoiding mental networks. Therefore, when subjective experience tries to use scientific methodology, the end result will tend to be a form of effeminate thought, one that tries to use masculine technical thought but is actually ruled by feminine mental networks.

This type of effeminate thinking is quite different than intuitive expertise. Expert intuition is a mental marriage of male technical thought with female mental networks. Technical thought provides the expertise while mental networks express this expertise in an intuitive manner. Effeminate thought, in contrast, adds a veneer of technical methodology to a collection of untrained mental networks. For instance, a recent study tried to replicate the results of 100 experiments published in high ranking psychology journals, and found that less than one half of the original findings could be repeated. In other words, these studies applied a veneer of statistical analysis to the personal biases of mental networks. If this describes the best research being done in psychology, one can imagine that the typical situation is probably much worse. Stated bluntly, it might often be appropriate to replace the adjective ‘soft’ in soft science with ‘effeminate’ because the word translated effeminate means soft or effeminate.

I am not suggesting that it is wrong to do research in the subjective. After all, that is what I am attempting to do. However, I am suggesting that applying rational thought to the objective is more than just bolting statistical analysis on to mental networks of culture and identity.

I know that these statements are politically incorrect, but if one’s research must be shaped by political correctness, then is that not an example of effeminate thought? And if this conclusion seems unwarranted, please consider the following quote from the Wikipedia article on the methodology of Women’s Studies: “Since the 1970s, scholars of women’s studies have taken post-modern approaches to understanding gender as it intersects with race, class, ethnicity, sexuality, religion, age, and (dis)ability to produce and maintain power structures within society. With this turn, there has been a focus on language, subjectivity, and social hegemony, and how the lives of subjects, however they identify, are constituted. At the core of these theories is the notion that however one identifies, gender, sex, and sexuality are not intrinsic, but are socially constructed.” In other words, the fundamental assumption is that all so-called truth is based in MMNs of culture and personal status. When one builds an entire academic discipline upon the core idea that all knowledge is based in MMNs, then this describes pure effeminate thought. This mindset is analyzed in an essay on Language and Power by Fairclough.

Returning to 1 Corinthians, Paul does not finish by condemning the people on this list. Instead, he says “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (6:11). In other words, a message of rebirth and salvation really is a message of rebirth and salvation, because one can be saved from inadequate thought and reborn internally as a whole person. But notice that salvation requires a Teacher understanding of what it means to submit to an incarnation that is both God and man (‘name of the Lord Jesus Christ’) as well as integrated Platonic forms that are based in a Teacher concept of God (‘Spirit of our God’). This extends far beyond verbal assenting to some set of Christian doctrines, or merely asking Jesus into your heart to be your friend.

The Kingdom of God 6:12-20

Paul has just talked about inheriting the kingdom of God. He will now describe what it means to start living in the kingdom of God. In the previous section, a concept of incarnation was being expanded in abstract thought by choosing to submit to the moral rule of incarnation rather than to the rule of secular thought and common sense. In this section a concept of incarnation is being expanded in concrete thought by applying incarnation.

Paul’s statements make sense if one understands how a concept of incarnation forms within the mind. I have tried to stay away from these technical details in this essay. (The essence of a concept of incarnation is explained in this video.)

In brief, the personal concrete side of incarnation thinks in terms of profit and loss, sowing and reaping, or investment and dividend. The name Jesus, which means salvation, implies a bottom-line thinking that takes a person from where they are to someplace better. Business with its bottom-line thinking is a partial illustration of the personal side of incarnation. Jesus describes the sowing and reaping of incarnation in Matthew 16: “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds” (Matt. 16:24-27). This is a message of salvation, because Jesus is talking about a person saving his life. But Jesus is also using the economic language of profit, loss, gain, and exchange. It is also a message of rebirth because a person must lose his life for Jesus’ sake in order to find it. And it is a message that extends beyond the physical realm because a person receives the reward when incarnation returns to earth with angels. Thus, Jesus is talking about the kind of message of rebirth that Paul describes in 1 Corinthians.

Jesus describes the message of rebirth using economic language. Similarly, Paul also uses economic language in 1 Corinthians 6: “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything” (6:12). Saying this more generally, when one lives within the kingdom of God as a concrete expression of incarnation, then one no longer thinks in terms of good and bad, or right and wrong. Instead one thinks in terms of profitability—not monetary profitability, but rather long-term personal well-being—for self and others.

One also makes sure that specific application is always an expression of internal content: “All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything” (6:12). For instance, when teaching math, it is important that a student understands how to solve problems by hand without merely pushing buttons on a calculator. If the student merely knows what buttons to press, then the calculator is the master of the student. A calculator should be the servant of a student and not the master.

Paul then compares objective existence with a personal mindset: “Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body” (6:13). This is an important distinction that reappears several times later on.

Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount add details to what Paul is saying: “You cannot serve God and wealth. For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about her life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?… Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ for the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:24-25, 31-33). Like Paul, Jesus is contrasting two value systems, one guided by a concept of God and the other by objective wealth. He then compares central needs with peripheral needs. Food is needed to stay alive, but life is more fundamental than food. Clothing is needed to cover the body, but the body is more fundamental than clothing. A secular (gentile) mindset pursues the peripheral aspects of food and clothing, while Jesus says that these will be naturally provided if one is guided by a Teacher understanding of God through righteousness.

Translating this into cognitive language, mental networks of life are more fundamental than the internal ‘food’ of learning and the internal ‘drink’ of experiences. Similarly, the ‘body’ of personal identity is more fundamental than the ‘clothing’ of culture. An objective mindset focuses upon learning and experiences while ignoring mental networks of life, and it seeks mental networks of culture rather than focusing upon mental networks of identity. However, if one becomes righteous by allowing Server actions to be guided by a Teacher understanding of God, and if one submits to the kingdom of God by allowing personal identity to become reborn within an internal environment of understanding, then all of these needs will be naturally met. Turning now to 1 Corinthians, Paul says that God will make food ‘of no effect’ (katargeo). Stated cognitively, when one follows a Teacher concept of God, then there are no longer any objective facts or impersonal experiences. Instead, one approaches everything with the attitude that personal identity needs to interact with a concept of God rather than allowing personal identity to be shaped by the environment. In the words of Paul, ‘the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body’.

Modern society provides a partial illustration. As this book fragment states, “Paradoxically, countries that are primarily agrarian in nature tend to be the most vulnerable to deficits of staple foods. Tanzania is one of them... Tanzania’s current food insecurity can be likened to the situation experienced in pre-industrial 18th-century Europe.” Getting enough physical food used to be a problem in Europe and is still a problem in countries such as Tanzania. But food is no longer a major issue in Western society. If we want food, we simply go down to the local grocery store and buy it, and we are always confident that there will be enough food. That is because we now live in a kingdom of technology governed by the righteousness of acting in ways that are consistent with the universal laws of nature. The goal of modern society is to use science and technology to free us from the demands and limitations of our physical bodies. We may occasionally try to run away from modern technology by embracing nature, but those who follow such a path find out quite quickly that nature is a cruel master. Thus, modern technological society is a literal illustration of this passage, but I suggest that there is also a deeper cognitive meaning, involving personal identity.

Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 6 that he is referring to a time of partial rebirth, when people are starting to live within the kingdom of God as an expression of incarnation: “Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?” (6:14,15). In other words, incarnation has been reborn, and this rebirth will extend to those who follow incarnation.

Paul then talks about prostitution. Paul’s statements make sense when interpreted literally, but as usual we will try to go beyond the surface meaning to look for the underlying principle. Prostitution figures prominently in Revelation 17, which talks about the whore of Babylon. In simple terms, a prostitute sells what is personal in order to acquire material wealth. In the extreme, a prostitute ‘gains the whole world and forfeits his soul’. This type of behavior occurs naturally when rational thought is limited to the objective realm, because business requires a sense of value, and value implies the ability to think rationally. Therefore, when rational thought is limited to the objective, then people will know how to calculate the value of objects but they will not know how to calculate the value of people and souls.

Putting this together, when one experiences rebirth and starts to apply the message of incarnation, then there will be a clash of values. Those who are following incarnation will pursue a value system that seeks to save people and build personal value, while those who follow normal business will be guided by a value system that encourages mental prostitution, in which one lets go of personal value in order to acquire material wealth.

With this in mind, let us now look at Paul’s words. “Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be!” (6:15). In other words, those who follow true value cannot become members of a system that pursues only peripheral value.

Continuing, “Do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For he says, ‘The two shall become one flesh’. But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with him” (6:16). I have mentioned that incarnation is both God and man. John describes this combination in the introduction to the book of John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… and the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father” (John 1:1,14). Teacher thought uses words to construct general theories, and a concept of God is based in a general theory in Teacher thought. Jesus the God is the aspect of incarnation that exists with God as the living word. Incarnation becomes Jesus the man when the living word becomes flesh and dwells with people. But the existence of Jesus-as-man is always an expression of Jesus-as-God. Jesus is described in John as the ‘glory of the Father’ and Jesus said numerous times in the Gospels that he only did what he saw the Father doing.

The same principle applies in 1 Corinthians because the message of rebirth is now becoming incarnate through the bodies of those who are ‘members of Christ’. These individuals are now faced with a choice. On the one hand, they can choose to become ‘one flesh’ with those who practice a business of mental prostitution. On the other hand, they can choose to become spiritually connected with incarnation by following true value.

So what does this exactly mean? Paul compares being joined to a prostitute with being joined to the Lord. The word translated join is kollao, which means ‘to bond, adhere to, or join to’. Thus, what appears to be described here is a business partnership. Doing business with someone, or working with someone on a contract basis is not ‘joining’. As for being an employee of a company, I suggest that one must continually evaluate one’s relationship, in order to avoid taking steps that result in becoming ‘joined with a prostitute’. (I personally have never joined a large company or labor organization. Looking back, it appears that this made it possible for me to do my research. For most people, though, such a radical step may not be required.) On the positive side, being of one spirit means having the same Platonic forms—the same set of fundamental values that lie behind the specific goals of economic activity. Thus, one joins oneself to incarnation not by pulling back from the world but rather by being guided by a value system that is based in the Platonic forms of the Holy Spirit.

Paul describes both the negative and positive side. On the negative side, he says “Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body” (6:18). Obviously, Paul’s words would apply to physical sex, because sex uses the physical body to impose strong MMNs upon the mind. However, I suggest that it also applies to anything that one does with one’s physical body with which one becomes intimately involved. For instance, we talk about people getting ‘married’ to some project or business. The combination of physical involvement and emotional attachment is a powerful one that must be treated carefully.

On the positive side, Paul says “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (6:19,20). Notice how the Teacher understanding of God is reflected in the Platonic forms of the Holy Spirit, which are then expressed in concrete form using one’s physical body. Notice also how economic thought is being extended to include personal identity: ‘You have been bought with a price’. This passage is often interpreted as a call for religious self-denial and full-time service to God. However, I suggest that this reflects an inadequate concept of incarnation. Paul does not talk about denying self but rather about glorifying God. One is not denying oneself in order to submit to the MMN of Jesus the man, but rather behaving in a manner that reflects the TMN of the character of God, made incarnate through Jesus the God/man. Saying this another way, one is not submitting to Jesus as a master, but rather submitting to Jesus Christ as a paradigm.

Personal Application 7:1-7

Chapter 7 contains several references to the relationship between men and women, which many now regard as either quaint or bigoted. However, I think that one can now safely conclude that Paul is talking about more than just physical men and women. Therefore, we will examine this chapter from the viewpoint of male thought and female thought. This does not mean that the text has no application to the relationship between men and women, because there is a major connection between thought and gender. But both physical men and physical women have minds (and brains) that are capable of combining male thought with female thought. A man may naturally emphasize male thought. However, he is not condemned to remaining only within male thought but is also capable of developing the ‘female’ side of his mind. Similarly, a woman is also capable of developing the ‘male’ side of her mind. The goal for everyone, both men and women, is to become mentally whole, which means developing both male and female thought and then mentally marrying them together. This is backed up by a study that compared various systems of male and female cognitive development and concluded that men may follow a different path of cognitive development than women, but both men and women end up with similar minds that combine rational thought with emotions.

Paul opens the chapter by saying, “Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband” (7:1,2). Immorality was discussed in the previous chapter, and comes from the Greek word porneia, which means promiscuity. This term is used several times in Revelation when talking about the whore of Babylon. The fundamental problem is that our physical bodies are capable of having sex even when our minds are not ready. In other words, there can be a mental relationship between male and female thought, and there can also be a physical relationship between male and female people. The physical relationship is always possible, while the mental relationship must be constructed. The physical relationship exists in order to teach us that the mental relationship is possible. But because the possibility for a physical relationship already exists, it is possible to have a physical relationship without a mental relationship. Saying this more bluntly, it is possible to have sex with strangers.

The problem actually goes one step further, because experiences with strong sensations from the physical body will impose mental networks upon Mercy thought. This is also necessary for developing the mind, because the childish mind must acquire its initial core mental networks from some outside source. The childish human mind acquires its initial set of core mental networks from the physical body. The result is a mind that functions, but also a mind that functions at a childish level. Thus, sexual promiscuity has two components. First, the physical body is capable of having sex even when there is no corresponding mental content. Second, the physical sensation of having sex will impose mental networks upon the mind, which means that having sex with multiple partners will impose fragmented content upon the mind. Thus, instead of being an expression of mental integration between male and female thought, promiscuous sex becomes a source of mental fragmentation.

Paul talks in 1 Corinthians 15 about the resurrection of the dead and compares a natural body with a spiritual body (15:44). We have seen that spirit refers to internal content within Mercy thought that is a reflection of Teacher understanding. Current physical bodies are capable of functioning without spiritual content. This makes promiscuity possible. A spiritual body would not be capable of promiscuity because a physical relationship between male and female bodies would always be combined with a spiritual relationship between male and female thought.

One can now understand what Paul is saying in the beginning of 1 Corinthians 7. He starts by saying that ‘it is good for a man not to touch a woman’. The word touch means to ‘modify or change by touching’. Saying this cognitively, physical sensation is being used to impose mental networks upon the mind. I spent several years teaching at an international school in Korea, and one of the topics that came up was the matter of touching students. In North America, the tendency is to avoid all physical contact between teachers and students, but I do not think that this is mentally healthy, because children need physical contact. However, it is important to avoid inappropriate physical contact. I suggest that one can distinguish between these two by using the concept of touching that modifies. Appropriate touch supports existing mental networks within the mind of a child, while inappropriate touch imposes new mental networks.

Paul says that ‘because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband’. Using cognitive language, because the physical body is capable of imposing mental networks upon the mind, it is important to behave in a manner that is consistent with the mental marriage of male and female thought. Interpreted physically, this leads to the concept of monogamy, and this is a valid interpretation. However, it is possible to be physically monogamous while being mentally promiscuous. Sex may be a prime example of using physical sensation to impose mental networks upon the mind, but there are many other ways of acquiring core mental networks through physical sensation—a practice known as idolatry.

In most general terms, I suggest that Paul is saying that the way to protect the mind from idolatry is by making sure that all mental networks are internally connected with rational content, and that all rational content expresses itself through mental networks. Going further, we saw in the previous chapter that physical activity is supposed to be an expression of incarnation, and we also saw that incarnation uses a form of economic thought applied to personal identity. Paul describes this in the next verse. “The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband” (7:3). The word translated duty describes a ‘debt or obligation’. In other words, being married does not just mean living together within the same house. Instead, each partner must provide what the other needs, and each must respond to the debt of having their needs provided by providing the needs of the other. Saying this another way, marriage cannot involve dominance and submission, with one partner providing everything for the other partner. Instead, it requires an attitude of mutual interdependence.

Paul adds that “the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does” (7:4). The underlying problem is that male and female bodies are capable of copulating even when male and female thought is not integrated. The ultimate goal is for male thought to become integrated with female thought. A mindset of internal integration will be extended to the physical body if one partner has mental authority over the physical body of the other. Applying this literally, this suggests that one should avoid using excuses such as ‘Not tonight dear, I have a headache’. However, I suggest that there is also a more general principle, which is that each partner should have the authority to guide the physical activity of the other. One might think that such an arrangement would lead to abuse because she might stop him from watching football and playing golf, while he might make her do all the washing and cooking. However, I suggest that such a response indicates that the two partners are not mentally whole and that they are not mentally married. Saying this more practically, I suggest that when people get physically married, then they have about two or three years to become mentally married by finding a common project that requires their cooperative efforts. When a couple becomes united by such a common project, then it becomes natural for the physical activity of the one to be guided by the thinking of the other.

The process of becoming mentally whole goes through three stages: First, one leaves childish MMNs in order to build the TMN of a concept of God. Second, one allows behavior to be guided by the TMN of a concept of God. Third, MMNs of personal identity become reborn by the TMN of a concept of God. In other words, one leaves concrete thought in order to take a detour through abstract thought that will lead to better results in concrete thought. A person follows this kind of detour whenever attending college in order to get a better job.

One continues to take such detours through abstract thought even when living in an integrated manner in concrete thought. Paul describes these detours: “Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. But this I say by way of concession, not of command” (7:5,6). Notice that the interaction between male and female thought is being suspended in order to interact with Teacher understanding. (Prayer uses words to address a concept of God in Teacher thought.) However, this must always be a temporary suspension through mutual agreement. Otherwise, the relationship between male and female thought will become adversarial (the word Satan means adversary). The relationship between female and male thought in Western society could accurately be described as adversarial, because female subjective thought is naturally opposed to the rational thinking of male thought, while male objective thought naturally suppresses the emotions of female thought.

Paul concludes by saying that “I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that” (7:7). This is usually interpreted to mean that Paul thinks that living the monkish life of remaining single is more spiritual than getting married, and that God has given the gift of being single to some individuals who are naturally more spiritual. But Paul spent the first four chapters of 1 Corinthians telling his readers what he is like. He is following a message of rebirth. Remember that Paul is describing a situation in which some people are trying to apply a message of rebirth in an environment ‘of immoralities’; some people are trying to apply the message of incarnation while others are being guided by mental networks based in physical experience. If one wants to be a ‘consumer’ of incarnation in such an environment, then one must function in a way that integrates male and female thought. But Paul is trying to follow the higher path of becoming an ‘inventor’ who builds upon the foundation of incarnation, and he wishes that everyone could follow this path.

However, Paul also recognizes that different people have different cognitive styles. I use the term ‘cognitive styles’ deliberately, because the word used for ‘spiritual gifts’ in Romans 12 is charisma, and Paul uses the same word here in 1 Corinthians 7. Consistent with this, Paul talks in Romans 12 about God ‘allotting to each measure of faith’, and of ‘having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us’. Similarly, Paul says in this passage that “each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that” (7:7). Applying this to my personal experience, I have often wished that everyone could follow a path of personal transformation like the path that I have been trying to pursue. However, I have also come to the realization that only a Perceiver person could follow the specific path of personal transformation that I am taking in this time and place. On the one hand, being a Perceiver person in today’s society is difficult, because we live in a postmodern age that no longer believes in the concept of truth, and a Perceiver person cannot exist without truth. But on the other hand, being a Perceiver person in today’s society is also an opportunity, because knowledge today is split into technical specializations that are begging to be integrated by the interdisciplinary connections of Perceiver thought. This combination of stick and carrot provides today’s Perceiver person with a unique opportunity to follow an extensive path of personal rebirth.

Relationship Instructions 7:8-16

I have suggested that 1 Corinthians 7 describes the kingdom of God with its complete sense of value coming to birth within a society that pursues inadequate value. This will lead to situations where one spouse follows the kingdom of God while the other does not. Obviously, this type of predicament would have existed in the time of Paul when the new religion of Christianity was spreading throughout the Roman Empire. However, I suggest that there is also a larger cognitive meaning which one can uncover by looking at the relationship between male and female thought.

Western society as a whole suffers from a deep split between objective rational male thought and the mental networks of female subjective thought. However, if one looks at specific components of society, one observes that every aspect is married to some—usually ignored—form of thought of the opposite gender. For instance, entertainment is a female type industry that creates and manipulate mental networks. But entertainment can only exist because it is supported by a male type industry that designs and builds recording and broadcast equipment. The average person sees the emotional images and famous people and thinks that entertainment equals mental networks, not realizing that entertainment has an invisible husband. Going the other way, scientific research emphasizes the male thinking of technical thought. However, research is married to a female culture known as academia, and this culture provides the motivation that keeps scientific research going. However, what the outsider sees is the objective rational research while the female motivation provided by academia usually remains hidden. Likewise, business is officially driven by the male thinking of product development, planning, and production. But every large business also develops a culture, and what motivates the average employee of business is not development, planning, or production but rather the unspoken culture of the business.

The same principle applies to church and religion. When one attends a modern church service, one is supposed to focus upon the mental networks of God and religious worship. However, a modern church service could not exist without the technical backing of a sound system and building infrastructure. But no one thinks about the sound system. Instead, if the sound system is functioning adequately, then everyone will pretend that it does not exist and focus upon the mental networks of religious worship.

Applying this to the mind, anyone who works in one of these industries will have a mental marriage between the explicit focus and the invisible spouse. Therefore, when one is evaluating a job or activity in the light of mental wholeness, one must also include the invisible spouse. For instance, for many years I played violin in professional orchestras. Generally speaking, playing classical music in a professional manner is a good expression of integrated thought. However, if one wants to play music in a professional orchestra, then one must also marry the invisible spouse. All members of major orchestras in North America must belong to the American Federation of Musicians, a closed-shop union controlled from New York. I know that unions were formed in order to address economic inequalities, but I find that a union, especially a closed shop union in which one must join in order to get a job, fosters a type of mentality that is mentally and societally destructive. Officially, it is possible to get a job in a professional orchestra if one has sufficient technical skills. But in practice one must both have sufficient skills and marry the invisible spouse. If one does not join the musicians’ union, then it is not possible to play in a major North American orchestra, no matter how skilled one is.

Paul makes the following statements: “If any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?” (7:12-16).

Using cognitive language, if some occupation or aspect of society is compatible with mental wholeness, then one must also examine the invisible spouse. It may not be directly compatible with mental maturity, but one should not automatically eliminate this invisible spouse if it agrees to cooperate with principles of mental wholeness. The word translated consent is suneudokeo, which means to ‘enthusiastically agree to cooperate with a partner’. That is because the relationship itself builds a connection with God, and this indirect connection with God will also lead to results that have a connection with God.

Looking at this more generally, the deepest problem of modern Western society appears to be the split between male objective thought and female subjective thought. Therefore, it is important to preserve existing connections between objective and subjective thought. But there are two limitations to this policy.

First, Paul says that this is his advice and not God’s advice: “To the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother...” (7:12). I have mentioned that a concept of God is based in a general Teacher theory. Teacher thought wants general theories to apply everywhere without exception. Therefore, ‘marrying an unbelieving spouse’ is not something that brings pleasure to a concept of God (or presumably to a real God). However, it does follow a path that leads in the direction of greater mental wholeness. Thus, Paul describes this as his advice and not God’s advice. One could view this as an aspect of secondary atonement, in which the ‘believing spouse sanctifies the unbelieving partner’. This does not mean that the unbelieving partner is automatically righteous or that the personal identity of the partner is automatically saved. But Jesus the incarnation is a God/man who saves institutions and cultures as well as individuals and personal identity.

Second, one must not force the invisible spouse to cooperate. On the positive side, the word for consent implies an enthusiastic cooperation. On the negative side, Paul explicitly says that the partner should be allowed to leave if the partner wishes. That is because one cannot build an integrated Teacher understanding upon a foundation of conflict: ‘God has called us to peace’. And one also does not know if the relationship with the invisible spouse is strong enough to redeem the content and mindset of the invisible spouse: “How do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, if you will save your wife?” (7:16).

As before, I am not suggesting that this passage has only a symbolic application. I think that it does apply to the situation of real spouses and real children. But I also suggest that it has a wider cognitive application, and that many people who claim to be following the kingdom of God are violating this passage when it comes to marrying invisible spouses. For instance, I have met many musicians who complain about the musicians’ union. But I am not aware of any other Christian musician who has decided not to join the union when faced with the choice between joining or being excluded from a professional career in music. I chose not to join when I was in grade 12. I was assistant concertmaster of the Saskatoon Symphony, and I had just been offered the position of being concertmaster in a new chamber orchestra. After making this decision, I was never again offered a professional gig in Saskatchewan. However, I also know beyond a shadow of a doubt that making this decision gave me the internal fortitude to follow the path of studying the mind, even when those around me did not care about pursuing mental wholeness.

Paul says something similar in 1 Corinthians: “But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion” (7:8,9). In other words, if one cannot find a spouse or get mentally married to some project or career, or if one’s spouse dies or one’s career comes to an end, then this should not be viewed as a disaster but rather as an opportunity to pursue the path of rebirth more fully. Paul is often viewed as a grumpy old man who hates women, but Paul said several times that he was driven by the positive goal of achieving a personal reward. For instance, he talks in 1 Corinthians 9 about running a race in order to receive the prize. And in one of his final letters, he says that “The time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness” (2 Timothy 4:6-8). Paul was not a masochist. Instead, he was following a path that leads to lasting benefits. We discussed this at the beginning of this essay.

Maintaining Continuity 7:17-24

Paul then applies the principle more generally: “Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. And so I direct in all the churches. Was any man called when he was already circumcised? He is not to become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in uncircumcision? He is not to be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God. Each man must remain in that condition in which he was called” (7:17-20). Using cognitive language, Paul is saying that what matters most is having the concept of a God of law and order: ‘What matters is the keeping of the Commandments of God’. One cannot build such a concept of God by attacking structure. (The word translated keep does not mean ‘to do’ but rather ‘to guard as a treasure’.) I have encountered a similar principle when analyzing mysticism. It is impossible to discuss theology in a meaningful manner with a person who believes in mysticism, because the fundamental principle of mysticism is that God is unknowable. Similarly, one cannot build the concept of a God of law and order by revolting from law and order. Notice that it is not the specific content that matters: ‘circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing’. Instead, what matters is the mindset of approaching God with an attitude of law and order. This principle is often violated today because many people think that being saved by Jesus means being freed from all rules, and many are convinced that God works magically apart from law and order.

This does not mean that content is irrelevant, but rather that the presence of law and order is more basic than the specific rules. Paul discusses this with respect to the topic of slavery, which was common in Roman times. “Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that. For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord’s freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ’s slave. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. Brethren, each one is to remain with God in that condition in which he was called” (7:21-24). Summarizing, a slave should try to become free if given the opportunity, but one should not focus emotionally upon one’s personal status. Translating this into modern language, it is good to use bottom-line thinking to better one’s condition. But one should not worry about social status. One might think that Paul is condoning slavery, but I suggest that this is not the case. Instead, Paul addresses the cognitive basis for slavery, which is the mindset of the slave and the mindset of the master. A slave should not view himself as having a low personal status in Mercy thought. Instead, he should become free of MMNs by submitting to the TMN of a concept of God. Likewise, a master should not view himself as being above the law because he has a high personal status in Mercy thought. Instead, he should recognize that he too is subject to the TMN of a concept of God. This does two things. First, it removes the mindset of submission and dominance. Second, it unites everyone under the common theme of being ruled in Teacher thought by a concept of God. If the mindsets of submission and dominance are eliminated, then the institution of slavery will naturally become abolished as well. However, if the mindset remains, then the practice of slavery will remain intact, even if it is officially abolished.

Present Troubles 7:25-31

Paul makes it clear that this passage is not providing universal principles but rather giving instructions for a specific time. He begins by saying “I have no command of the Lord”, which implies that these statements do not come from a general Teacher understanding. He adds that his comments are “in view of the present distress” which tells us that one is dealing with an unusual situation. He then says that “the time has been shortened”, and finishes by saying that “the form of this world is passing away” telling us that some sort of major transition is occurring.

The context provides us with a clue as to what is happening. A new system of complete value is coexisting with an existing system of partial value. The previous section described the relationship between these two systems. Jesus at the end of Matthew 6 is also comparing two systems of value, and he points out that “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth” (Matt. 6:24). Notice that, like Paul, Jesus is comparing a system of value guided by the Teacher understanding of a concept of God with a system of value based upon objective wealth. Jesus says that such a coexistence is unstable, because a person will eventually become driven by either one system of value or the other, but not by both. Paul tells us in verse 31 which of these two systems will be replaced: “for the form of this world is passing away”.

It may be difficult to imagine such a transition when living in today’s post-Christian world. But Paul is not referring to fundamentalists clinging desperately to the words of some holy book, but rather to the rebirth of incarnation based in a general Teacher understanding of God. The world that we currently live in provides a partial illustration of what this means, because natural existence is being replaced by a world of technology based in a general Teacher understanding of the laws of nature. As far as I can tell, the sixth seal at the end of Revelation 6 describes how people respond emotionally to the runaway growth of objective technology. Everyone looks for something solid that can give stability to personal identity: “Every slave and freeman hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains” (Rev. 6:16). If people experience such a deep need for personal stability when faced with the partial transformation of runaway technology, one can only imagine how deep the need would be for personal stability when faced with the complete transformation of an unveiling of incarnation.

Given this context, Paul’s statements make sense: “I think then that it is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is” (7:26). And Paul applies this advice to the personal realm: “Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife” (7:27). He emphasizes that this is not a moral rule, but rather that he is trying to spare people from physical problems: “If you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you” (7:28). As before, I suggest that these comments do not just refer to physical marriage but rather to the development and implementation of new mental structures. This cognitive interpretation does not rule out the physical because marriage is also a time of great transition and personal stress.

In most general terms, Paul is saying that in times of societal upheaval, one should preserve personal stability and avoid personal changes that create mental instability, especially changes that alter the relationship between male and female thought.

Verse 29 appears to be describing an intensified period of transition, because Paul talks about limiting emotional involvement. He doesn’t say that activity should be stopped, which suggests that structure is being maintained during this transition. However, he does say that one should limit emotional attachment while continuing to perform activity: “The time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none; and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though he did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess” (7:29-30). And Paul explicitly adds that one should limit emotional involvement with the physical realm because a major transition is occurring within this physical realm: “And those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away” (7:31). The word translated form is schema, which means ‘outward visible form’. As before, I suggest that we can find a partial illustration in current society. Technology has been transforming society for several decades, but this transformation has now entered a more intense phase that is affecting the realm of personal experiences in a much more profound way. For instance, face-to-face social interaction is being replaced by electronic messaging, while physical involvement is being replaced by immersion within virtual worlds. One could imagine what the situation would feel like if this transformation extended to the personal and was not just limited to the physical realm.

I should mention in passing that it is quite possible that Paul was writing his comments in response to some crisis occurring within the Roman Empire at that time. However, I have also found that the New Testament as a whole conveys a consistent message when one uses cognitive analysis to look for underlying principles. For instance, what Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount appears to be consistent with what Paul is saying in 1 Corinthians and John is saying in Revelation.

Focus on the Lord 7:32-39

In this section, it sounds as if Paul is making an appeal for celibacy. However, Paul finishes by saying that “This I say for your benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.” The problem is that one tends to view ‘undistracted devotion to the Lord’ from the vantage point of religious self-denial, which thinks that focusing upon God implies denying self.

One can gain a better feel for what Paul is saying by looking at the relationship between male and female thought that occurs in research and development. Paul says that “one who is unmarried is concerned about the things the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but the one who is married concerned about the things of the world, how we may please his wife, and his interests are divided.” (7:32-34). Similarly, technical thought that has not developed some corporate culture of mental networks is able to focus purely upon research. But when research becomes married to some culture, such as academia or the culture of some company, then interests will become divided. No longer will research be the only goal, but part of the energy will be spent maintaining the company with its existing products, corporate buildings, and cultural expectations. For this reason, a young company is naturally more nimble than an established corporation.

Turning now to female thought, Paul says that “the woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, how she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband” (7:34). Similarly, when some new church group emerges, then the initial focus is often upon living in a manner that expresses the Platonic forms of the spirit. Saying this another way, such a group will be idealistic in the sense that it is guided by the ideals of the Holy Spirit. But groups that are initially driven by idealism inevitably develop a supporting infrastructure of rules, machinery, buildings, and procedures, and following the spirit becomes replaced by living according to the rules.

A similar observation can be made about Paul’s statements regarding ‘a virgin daughter’. Paul says that “If any man thinks that he is acting unbecomingly toward his virgin daughter, if she is past her youth, and if it must be so, let him do what he wishes, he does not sin; let her marry” (7:36). Applying this to cultures and churches, when a movement is young, then there is no need for rules and procedures, because everyone participates with enthusiasm and naturally tries to protect the movement. But when a movement is past the bloom of youth (huperakmos), when people start to act improperly (aschemoneo), or when there are legal obligations (opheilo), then people will feel the need to find a ‘husband’ of rules and procedures for this ‘virgin’ movement. Paul is saying that there is nothing wrong with doing this.

But Paul also describes another option: “But he who stands firm in his heart, being under no constraint, but has authority over his own will, and has decided this in his own heart, to keep his own virgin daughter, he will do well” (7:37). Translating Paul’s words into cognitive language, it is possible to avoid turning a movement into an institution, but one must be driven by stable MMNs that are not being imposed upon the mind, these mental networks must have authority over people’s choices, and people must decide that they will follow these mental networks. In other words, people are choosing to be guided by the culture of the movement. Instead of being protected by rules and procedures, the movement is preserved in an organic manner, as people are guided internally by common goals and values.

Paul concludes that both methods are good, but the organic method is better than the institutional method: “So then both he who gives his own virgin daughter in marriage does well, and he who does not give her in marriage will do better” (7:38).

I should point out that this advice occurs within the context of a society that is guided by general Teacher understanding revealed through incarnation. In a traditional society, the organic method will quickly turn into another variation of culture with its unspoken rules enforced by common MMNs.

I should also point out that Paul lived in a culture guided by Pater familias. Quoting from the Wikipedia article, “The pater familias was the oldest living male in a household. He had complete control of all family members… He held legal privilege over the property of the familia, and varying levels of authority over his dependents: these included his wife and children, certain other relatives through blood or adoption, clients, freedmen and slaves.” Thus, it is quite possible that Paul is referring to real fathers and their virgin daughters. The Wikipedia article explains that “The pater familias had the power to approve or reject marriages of his sons and daughters; however, an edict of the Emperor Caesar Augustus provided that the pater familias could not withhold that permission lightly.” However, as I have already mentioned, the biblical text always appears to contain a coherent universal message that transcends specific cultural applications.

Paul concludes the chapter by saying that “A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. But in my opinion she is happier if she remains as she is; and I think that I also have the Spirit of God” (7:39,40). Applying this to the context, if some movement is ‘married’ to an organizational structure, one must respect that structure. But if the structure falls apart, then it is possible either to come up with a new structure or else return to an organic movement. Paul suggests that it is better to remain as an organic movement because one then becomes more aware of the Platonic forms of the Holy Spirit.

Things Offered to Idols 8:1-13

As this PBS webpage explains, “The Romans believed that their gods or spirits were actively involved in their daily lives. As a result, sacred meals were held in their name during certain religious festivals. It was believed that the god actually took part in the meal: a place was set for him at the table, invitations were issued in his name, and a portion of the food served was set aside for him to enjoy.” Physical food is no longer offered to idols in Western society today. Therefore, one can either conclude that this passage has no relevance today or else look for a cognitive meaning.

Cognitively speaking, an idol is a core MMN formed by emotional input from the physical world. Notice the two components. First, emotional experiences from the physical body are directly imposing mental networks upon Mercy thought. Second, the mind is building itself upon these mental networks. For instance, car, houses, sports heroes, or movie stars are often treated as idols. I suggest that one is also thinking in an idolatrous manner when one rationalizes in order to protect childish MMNs. For instance, the thinking of Sigmund Freud described earlier in this essay would qualify as idolatrous.

We have seen that Paul is describing an extension and unveiling of Jesus Christ as incarnation. In the previous section, concrete thought was being transformed by the application of a complete system of value. In this section, abstract thought is now being further transformed by this system of value. In other words, the previous section went from abstract thought to concrete experience, while this section goes from concrete experience back to abstract thought. As usual, modern society provides a partial example. Initially, the path of development was one way from laboratory to consumer. Science was used to develop new gadgets, which were then sold to consumers as laborsaving devices. However, so many gadgets have now been developed, that the physical world is now a reflection of scientific thought, leading to an interaction between abstract thought and concrete thought. Science and technology are used to create new gadgets, these gadgets change the physical world, and this altered physical world provides the mental context for further scientific research.

When one is using physical reality as a starting point for abstract thought, then one will have to contend with idolatry, because idolatry also uses physical reality as a starting point for abstract thought.

Paul begins by saying “Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies” (8:1). A more accurate translation would be ‘We perceive that we all have experiential knowledge. Experiential knowledge puffs up but love builds up.” In other words, people are perceiving an environment of knowledge, which implies that the physical world has become an expression of rational thought. One can respond either by being puffed up or with love. Being puffed up focuses upon the MMNs of personal identity: “Aren’t we great. Look at what we have achieved”. Love, in contrast, places MMNs of personal identity within a structure of a TMN of understanding: “How can we use understanding to improve our situation?”

This relationship is explained in the next verses: “If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know; but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him” (8:2,3). More literally, “If anyone supposes that he has experiential knowledge, he does not yet have an experiential knowledge of what it means to have experiential knowledge. But if someone loves God, then God has experiential knowledge of that person.” In other words, concrete thought by itself is not enough. Saying this another way, modern scientific thought is based upon empirical evidence—knowing that comes from experience. Paul is saying that a mindset that is based upon empirical evidence will not deal with empirical evidence in an adequate manner. Instead, one must be emotionally guided by the TMN of a mental concept of God, and that concept of God will lead to a grasp of personal identity.

I think that Paul is talking about the following cognitive principle. When one is guided by MMNs identity and culture, then one is never consciously aware of these mental networks but rather follows them automatically and implicitly. The only way to become consciously aware of one’s own mental networks of identity and culture is by acquiring other mental networks and then viewing one’s own identity and culture from the vantage point of these other mental networks. For instance, living for a while in another culture provides the perspective that is needed to understand one’s own culture. In contrast, the person who remains in one culture will think that he is behaving normally and will not realize how his behavior is being shaped by his culture.

Paul then describes the general relationship between the TMN of a concept of God and other mental networks. There is no such thing as an idol, because everything is guided by the TMN of a monotheistic God: “Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one” (8:4).

Going further, people are mentally ruled by various MMNs and TMNs and they may verbally claim that these core mental networks are gods: “For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords” (8:5). But mature individuals are guided by the TMN of a universal concept of God combined with the concept of incarnation that is both God and man. “Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him” (8:6).

Unfortunately, not everyone is internally guided by such a concept of God and incarnation: “However not all men have this knowledge” (8:7). Instead, they are still being guided by the mental habit of thinking in terms of idolatry. Therefore, they approach knowledge with an attitude of idolatry, polluting their weak sense of morality: “But some, being accustomed to the idol until now, eat food as if it were sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled” (9:7).

For instance, everything that a computer does is an expression of the universal laws of nature made incarnate through science and technology. But because people have the habit of basing truth in MMNs of culture and personal status, they have a weak sense of scientific knowing, and they treat a computer as if it is a magical object that has been conjured up by some magician. Thus, I suggest that Paul is stating a moral version of Arthur Clarke’s principle that ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’.

Paul then points out that information is not the critical factor when constructing a concept of God: “But food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat” (8:8). Using cognitive language, if one is merely constructing a general theory within Teacher thought, then gathering information is enough, because Perceiver facts provide the bricks for constructing the building of a Teacher theory. But a concept of God emerges when a sufficiently general theory applies to personal identity. Therefore, one must also consider the effect that knowledge will have upon personal identity. If the emotional pressure from MMNs is too strong, then this will overwhelm a person’s ability to know facts within Perceiver thought. Using the language of Paul, if a person has a weak conscience, then he will ‘eat food as if it were sacrificed to an idol’, and his weak conscience will be defiled.

I know that many would consider this to be a novel interpretation of this passage. However, I suggest that this is because we do not really grasp that ‘There is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him’. Christians may say these words, but they do not understand what they mean. Science and technology may not explicitly say these words, but it does have an implicit understanding of what they mean.

Continuing with 1 Corinthians 8, “Take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak” (8:9). The word translated liberty is actually exousia, which means ‘authority or power’. Science and technology has great power, because it has learned how to manipulate and control nature. Paul is warning that this power should not be become a stumbling block for those who have an inadequate sense of knowing.

Paul then gives a specific example: “For if someone sees you, who have knowledge, dining in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to eat things sacrificed to idols?” (8:10). One can understand Paul’s example by looking at the modern entertainment industry. The primary purpose of most modern entertainment is to use physical sensation to implant MMNs within the mind of an audience. I personally can no longer watch most modern movies because they are too vivid and intense. Going further, most households have a shrine to entertainment placed centrally within the living room, in the form of a huge flat panel display with surround sound. Modern entertainment depends upon science and technology for its special effects. Symbolically speaking, most modern entertainment is an example of knowledge dining in an idol’s temple. The person who is watching a movie is supposed to suspend disbelief in order to enter emotionally into the drama being depicted upon the screen. In fact, anyone who uses rational analysis when watching a movie will be silenced by the rest of the viewers as a spoilsport who is ruining the movie. Instead, the vivid depictions of a movie are used to to strengthen a person’s mental ability to base Perceiver facts upon defining Mercy experiences. Using the language of Paul, people with a weak sense of knowing are being strengthened to eat things sacrificed to idols. Summarizing, technology that is an expression of rational understanding is being used to overwhelm rational understanding through the use of special effects and vivid imagery.

Paul continues: “For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died” (8:11). The word translated ruined is quite strong, and means to destroy or cut off entirely. Using the example of modern entertainment, society did not escape a mindset of idolatry through a scientific revolution in order to create special effects that make it possible to worship idols more effectively. When the solution makes the problem worse, then one is ruining people rather than saving them. When one uses rational understanding in such a manner, then one is sinning against incarnation: “And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ” (8:12).

Paul finishes with a statement that is both general and specific: “Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble” (8:13). On the one hand, Paul says that he will never eat again, (more literally, he will ‘never eat to the age’), which is a surprisingly general statement. But Paul specifically says that he will never again eat meat. This word, which means ‘meat from the market’, occurs only one other time in Romans 14:21, where Paul also talks about not eating meat in order to avoid causing one’s brother to stumble.

Based upon the context, I suggest the following cognitive interpretation. When one eats meat, one is actually eating muscle, the part of the body that performs movements. Cognitively speaking, when one eats meat, one is gaining information about how people act.

Studying human behavior seems scientific: science studies how the natural world behaves; social science studies how humans behave. But human behavior is largely arbitrary while the natural world always behaves in a consistent manner. For instance, a regular exercise routine can turn into a habit, but so can smoking cigarettes. Saying this more technically, whenever a person or group of people repeat a set of actions, then this Server sequence will gain in confidence, turn into a habit, and be emotionally reinforced by the TMN of an implicit understanding. When studying human behavior is combined with the idolatry mentioned earlier, then science becomes the servant of idolatry. For instance, Hollywood has come up with a formula that maximizes the emotional impact of a movie, and most modern movies follow this formula. Similarly, significant research has been done working out the optimal layout of a store. When society is struggling with ‘dining in an idol’s temple’, then this type of social science will end up researching the most efficient process for causing a brother to stumble. Paul is saying that one should avoid this type of social research ‘until the age’. In 10:11, Paul refers in the past tense to those “upon whom the ends of the ages have come”, and Paul gives a different set of instructions regarding food offered to idols in chapter 10.

Being an Apostle 9:1-18

We saw earlier that Jesus describes discipleship in economic terms: “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world forfeits his soul? Or what will a man given in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:25,26). However, as was pointed out before, the economy of God’s kingdom extends beyond the exchange of goods and services to include mental networks of personal identity. One is not just investing in order to receive some dividend but rather going through death in order to experience rebirth. One is allowing core mental networks to fall apart in order to have them reborn in higher form.

Going further, we have also seen in these chapters that the rule of incarnation is being extended from one area of existence to another. In this chapter, Paul describes what it means to be an apostle under the rule of incarnation.

Paul opens by asking, “Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord” (9:1,2).

Many theologians say that only a person who has physically seen Jesus can claim to be an apostle. Since Jesus is no longer physically visible, the conclusion is that it is no longer possible for a person to be an apostle. Paul refers to this qualification: “Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?” But the verb that Paul uses for seeing is horao, which often has a metaphorical meaning. And if one concludes that seeing the physical person of Jesus with one’s physical eyes is the qualification for being an apostle, then one is using a form of thought that focuses upon physical experiences and important people, which is precisely the form of thought that Paul wants to move beyond. Thus, I suggest that the qualification of ‘seeing Jesus’ could also refer to having a sufficiently well-developed internal concept of incarnation.

The word apostle means ‘a delegate, one commissioned by another to represent him in some way’. And Paul talked in an earlier chapter about building upon the foundation of incarnation. Putting this together, I suggest that one can define an apostle as someone who builds upon incarnation in a manner that leads to major new understanding and insight. This type of breakthrough is not just a matter of research and study. Instead, there is a significant spiritual and personal cost to becoming an apostle. Paul elaborates on this cost in this chapter.

Paul begins by saying that he has the right to take a number of privileges: “Do we not have a right to eat and drink? Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? Or do only Barnabas and I not have a right to refrain from working? Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat the fruit of it? Or who tends a flock and does not use the milk of the flock?” (9:4-7). In other words, Paul has the right to have his expenses covered, he has the right to receive a salary, and he has the right to get married. Getting married could be interpreted literally, or also figuratively as starting an organization. (Incidentally, Paul points out that the other apostles do have wives, which implies that celibacy is not a requirement for being a clergy.)

Paul continues, “I am not speaking these things according to human judgment, am I? Or does not the Law also say these things? For it is written in the Law of Moses, ‘You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing.’ God is not concerned about oxen, is He? Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops. If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you?” (9:8-11). Summarizing, Paul speaks in economic language, using terms such as sowing and reaping, working and getting paid. Paul adds that economic thought is not just a secular concept but also described in biblical law. And biblical economic thought bridges religious and secular existence, because the person doing spiritual work is getting paid material money.

Paul emphasizes that it is proper to give a salary to those who preach a spiritual message: “Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the Temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share from the altar? So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.”

Paul’s statement in the middle of this quote is quite interesting because it expresses the mindset that is being used in this essay. He quotes a proverb about ‘not muzzling the ox while his threshing’ and then says that God is not just talking about cows but rather illustrating a general principle that applies to people: ‘God is not concerned about oxen, Is he? Or is he speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written.’ Similarly, I suggest that Paul is not just talking in 1 Corinthians about virgin daughters and things offered to idols but that he also is ‘speaking altogether for our sake’.

This is then followed by a twist. Paul does not follow these statements by asking for donations but rather by stating that he chooses not to exercise his right to be paid: “We did not use this right, we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ” (9:12). And he is not just pointing this out in order to trigger feelings of guilt that will motivate people to send him money: “I am not writing these things so that it will be done so in my case; for would be better for me to die than have any men make my boast an empty one” (9:15).

Instead, he does not want to hinder his message. It is easy to see how asking for money can hinder the Christian message. One merely needs to turn on the television screen and watch the typical televangelist. However, I suggest that there is a deeper principle at work, which Jesus refers to in the Sermon on the Mount. “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (6:1-4). Notice that Jesus, like Paul, is talking in economic terms about receiving a reward. Jesus is saying that the person who receives a reward from people will not receive a reward from God. If one wishes to receive a reward from God one must not receive a reward from people.

The same principle occurs within the mind, because mental networks take ownership of behavior that they motivate, and a mental network grows whenever it motivates behavior. Therefore, if one wants to be guided by the TMN of a concept of God, then one must not be guided by MMNs of personal approval. Going further, if one continues to allow actions to be guided by the TMN of a concept of God, then one will acquire the personal character trait of being righteous.

Paul then returns to the topic of his apostleship. “For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel” (9:16-18). Paul starts by saying that he cannot take credit for his ministry because he is driven by an obsession, and has been entrusted with a stewardship. As far as I can tell, God manipulates people in society through the use of core mental networks. Stated simply, God guides people and groups by giving them obsessions. When God entrust some person or group with a stewardship, he ensures that this stewardship is mentally driven by the obsession of a core mental network. This is discussed in other essays.

This obsession does not eliminate free will because Paul says that he still has the choice of deciding whether he will carry out this obsession willingly or unwillingly. If he performs his task willingly, then he will receive the reward of—not getting paid.

Huh?

For years I have wondered how not getting paid could be a reward, and I have never heard anyone talk about this ‘reward’. However, Paul’s next phrase, combined with an understanding of incarnational economics, provides us with an answer. Paul says that he does not want to ‘make full use of his right’ to be paid.

He says in verses 19-23 that he wants to make the message more effective, and he says in verses 24-27 that he wants to receive a reward. Let us examine these two factors in the light of how the mind works and what it means to be an apostle.

Paul talked earlier about building upon the foundation of incarnation, and an apostle builds upon the message of incarnation in a major way. Incarnation is the word made flesh. Therefore, if one wishes to build upon the message of incarnation, then one must also combine words and flesh. For instance, I have found when studying the mind but it is only possible to continue making theoretical progress if one consistently applies the knowledge that one already has. One will stop progressing if one limits oneself to the theoretical realm of words. Instead, one must always combine the words of theory with the flesh of application.

Science recognizes this principle because the student of science learns the abstract language of mathematics and uses mathematics as a tool to solve practical problems. The words of math are being combined with the actions of solving problems. But science and technology can only save the physical world, while incarnation saves souls. Therefore, if one wishes to extend the message of incarnation one must also include personal identity. Paul emphasized this personal aspect to the message of rebirth in earlier chapters.

Summarizing, if one wishes to continue making progress when studying the natural world, then one must add the Server actions of application to the Teacher words of mathematics. But if one wishes to continue making progress when studying the mind, then one must add Server actions of personal application to the Teacher words of theology, and in addition, use these words to transform the MMNs of personal identity. And transforming personal identity means following incarnational economics.

In other words, one cannot simply choose to build upon the message of incarnation by studying words and applying these words and actions. Instead, one needs help from God, both internally from a concept of God and externally through the hand of Providence. And if one wishes to receive help from God, then one must have the right to ask for a reward from God, which means choosing not to receive a reward from people.

Going further, if one wishes to fulfill the ministry of an apostle, then one must extend the message of incarnation in a major way, and one will only receive enough grace to do this if one seeks treasure from God in a major way. That is why Paul regarded offering the gospel without charge as a reward. He needed all the grace from God that he could get, so that his personal transformation could keep up with the message with which he had been entrusted. Paul wanted to participate personally in the message that he was sharing with others: “I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it” (9:23). Paul did not want to end up sharing a message with others and then be personally disqualified from experiencing the benefits of this message: “I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified” (9:27).

Translating the Message of Rebirth 9:19-27

One can see that Paul is adding personal transformation to his expansion of the message of incarnation: “To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel” (9:20-23). Notice that Paul is not just translating the message of incarnation into language that can be understood by various groups. Instead, Paul is actually embodying the message of incarnation in order to communicate more effectively with these groups. To the Jews he is as a Jew, to those under the law he is as under the law, to those without law he is as without law, to the weak he is weak.

Notice also that Paul is not acting as a social chameleon, because he is only becoming like these groups. Looking more specifically at the categories that Paul mentions, the Jew was the equivalent of today’s fundamentalist religious believer, because both hold on to accurate content for inadequate reasons. Therefore, when Paul says that he becomes like a Jew he does not add any further explanation. He is like a Jew because he holds on to the same content, but he is not a Jew because his internal identity and understanding are different than that of the typical Jew.

In contrast, when saying that he is like those under the law, Paul adds that he himself is not guided by a legalistic mindset. Similarly, I have found that it is possible to describe Christianity using the legalistic language of technical thought, but the path of Christian transformation extends far beyond the formalism of precise statements and correct procedures.

When saying that he is like those without law, Paul clarifies that he is still guided by the law of Christ even when not being guided by the law of God. Translating this into cognitive terms, the person who is it without law lacks an understanding of universal moral law Thus, one cannot interact with such an individual using the language of an integrated understanding of the character of God. But one can still be guided by universal principles of cause-and-effect that reflect the law of Christ.

Finally, when addressing the weak, Paul does not use the word ‘like’ but says that he actually becomes weak. In other words, humility and vulnerability are natural characteristics of a path of transformation. Using the symbolic language of the book of Revelation, incarnation is the Lamb of God.

Paul’s purpose is both to extend the message of rebirth and to be able to participate personally in this message: “I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it” (9:23).

Paul finishes by saying that he is not just being driven by altruistic motives to extend the message of incarnation. Instead, he is also being guided by the selfish goal of seeking a lasting personal reward: “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable” (9:24,25). The runner who is training for a race controls himself in order to win a prize. Paul is also controlling himself in order to win a prize—a lasting prize.

Summarizing, Paul is being driven by an obsession to share the message of rebirth. But if Paul’s personal transformation can keep up with his message, then he will receive a personal reward. Using an analogy, Paul has been forcibly enrolled in an advanced school of character development. Paul could sit through the classes without getting personally involved, but he would experience no personal benefit. But if Paul chooses to become personally involved in the classes, then he will receive the personal benefit of studying in this advanced school.

Paul is determined that he will receive a personal benefit from his forced enrollment: “Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified” (9:26,27). We saw earlier that the ‘spirit’ of applied understanding struggles with the ‘flesh’ of embodied physical sensation. Paul makes it clear that he places restrictions upon his physical body in order to ensure that he is applying understanding. But his goal is not to deny self, but rather to gain the reward of willingly being an apostle.

Living in the Kingdom 10:1-13

The previous chapter described what it is like to be an apostle within an economy of incarnation. I suggest that this chapter describes what it is like to be a normal person within such an environment. Paul talked in previous chapters about the thinking of ‘this age’, and the ‘rulers of this age’. However, in verse 11 of this chapter, he specifically says that people are now living in a new age, and that it is important to learn lessons from the past: “Now these things happen to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” More literally, ‘the end purpose of the ages has arrived’. One might think that everything would now be perfect. However, living within a kingdom ruled by incarnation has its own set of temptations, and these are illustrated by the way that Western society has responded to the transformation of science and technology.

Paul begins by referring to those who followed God in the past, again implying that he is talking about living in some new era: “For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness” (10:1-5). ‘Our fathers’ tells us that Paul is talking about a previous generation. ‘Under the cloud’ suggests the shape of a partial understanding rather than the bright sun of a universal theory. ‘Through the sea’ indicates a focus upon the waters of experience. (This symbology is discussed in the video on Revelation.) A rock is a symbol of solid truth; therefore, ‘drinking from a spiritual rock’ would mean acquiring Platonic forms from solid facts. If the rock ‘follows them’, this implies that spiritual truth is being learned after the fact, and that people are not being guided by truth. Paul then explains that ‘the rock was Christ’, which means that the truth that guided these people was actually an expression of the universal principles of incarnation. Finally, eating spiritual food and drinking spiritual drink suggests an intermediate form of growth. On the one hand, the focus is upon objective food and drink rather than deeper issues of life, but on the other hand this objective nourishment is being internalized, leading to spiritual food and drink. Summarizing, the symbology portrays a fundamentalist-like form of faith that is based upon the rock of absolute truth rather than being guided by the sun of a universal understanding. One can tell that general understanding is lacking because ‘with most of them God was not well-pleased’. They are thinking in a fragmented manner because they are scattered. (The word translated laid low means ‘scattered on the ground’.) And they are not living in the ‘promised land’ of a coming age of blessing because they are ‘in the wilderness’.

Paul says that one should learn from these individuals so that one is not driven by immature MMNs the way that they were: “Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved” (10:6). The word evil means ‘inwardly foul or rotten and refers to generic badness’.

Paul then describes several lessons to be learned from the past. First, “Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play’” (10:7). This describes a society of leisure. People are acquiring their core mental networks from the environment in an idolatrous fashion, personal development is limited to secondary matters of food and drink, and subjective experiences are being treated in a playful manner that avoids facing any real issues. This describes much of Western society. Science and technology have removed most physical problems. Therefore, most people spend most of their time living comfortable lives in comfortable houses driving comfortable cars to comfortable jobs while relaxing with comfortable entertainment in comfortable easy chairs. When everything is so comfortable, then one can avoid dealing with major issues and turn life into play. Deep down, one becomes very shallow.

The second temptation is immorality. “Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day” (10:8). This could refer to physical immorality, or more generically to a lack of deep personal commitment. This too is an aspect of deep down being very shallow. One can see the mindset that motivates immorality by looking at the ‘free love’ of the 1960s and 70s. The 1950s were a time of material prosperity and reasonably wholesome family life. In other words, core mental networks were relatively healthy. Free love took advantage of this internal stability by filling the mind with fragmented mental networks of hedonism. It was possible to enjoy this experimentation as long as core mental networks remained intact. But eventually the onslaught of fragmented mental networks from the physical body started to threaten the integrity of core mental networks. As a result, the average person today feels fragmented inside and is searching for stability and solid identity.

Saying this more technically, there are two kinds of emotion. Normal emotion comes from specific experiences, which can feel good or bad. Hyper-emotion comes from mental networks, which generate positive emotions when experiencing input that is consistent with their structure and negative emotion when experiencing inconsistent input. A mental network that continues to receive inconsistent input will start to fall apart and generate the hyper-pain of fragmentation. Normal pain occurs immediately, while hyper-pain occurs after a while, because it takes time for a mental network to fall apart. This contrast can be seen in culture shock. Initially, it feels good to visit a new country, while eventually the strangeness of the new culture will threatens the integrity of mental networks, leading to feelings of culture shock. The motto of free love was ‘If it feels good, do it’. But people did not realize that seeking hedonism in a fragmented manner will threaten the integrity of core mental networks. Thus, pleasure was followed by hyper-pain. Summarizing, everyone in the 1950s implicitly knew who they were. This made it possible for people in the 1960s and 70s to play around with personal identity. The final result is that people no longer know who they are but rather are searching for an identity.

Notice how the second temptation follows naturally from the first temptation. When everything is treated as entertainment, then deep issues such as love and sex will naturally be regarded as sources of entertainment, because entertainment likes to feel good, and love and sex feel good. But these cannot be treated as mere fun because sex imposes strong mental networks upon the mind. Therefore, treating sex as mere entertainment will fragment the core of the mind.

The third temptation is to test incarnation. “Nor let us try the Lord, and some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents” (10:9). More literally, one should not ‘test the Christ beyond reasonable limits’. This implies that the very concept of universal incarnation is being questioned. The end result is to be destroyed by serpents. I suggest that one can see this in the rise of mysticism and postmodern questioning. (The relationship between a serpent and mysticism is discussed in another essay.) Summarizing, there is a biblical connection between the serpent and mysticism because the serpent tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden using words of mysticism: Ignore the content spoken by God, your eyes will be opened, you will be one with God, and your sense of knowing will transcend categories of good and evil. There is also a cognitive connection between a serpent and mysticism. Teacher thought interprets both general theories and visual lines. The simplest way to form a concept of God is through the overgeneralization of mysticism. Similarly, the simplest visual shape is a line, and a snake is visually a line. Therefore, a snake visually symbolizes the thinking of mysticism. (This cognitive interpretation of the shape of a snake is backed up by psychological studies which show that there is something cognitively natural about a fear of snakes.)

Applying this to current society, the physical environment has been transformed by the universal laws of nature expressed through the incarnation of technology. Because most external problems have been eliminated, internal content and structure is no longer required. Saying this more simply, technology has made the physical world idiot-proof, making it possible for people to remain childish idiots. When mental content is lacking, then the mind will naturally ‘discover’ mysticism. That is because facts limit overgeneralization, while an absence of knowledge makes overgeneralization possible. This mysticism will severely test incarnation: 1) The physical world has been transformed because incarnation connects the universal laws of nature with the benefits of modern society. 2) People are using external transformation as an excuse for remaining internally ignorant. 3) This ignorance makes mysticism possible. 4) Mysticism says that man and God are directly connected together without any need for incarnation.

The fourth temptation is to grumble. This brings to mind the proverbial ‘first world problem’, in which one complains about trivial matters because of the absence of more pressing concerns. When one lives in an environment of ease and leisure, then there is no need to develop deep mental networks. Instead, one will be mentally ruled by shallow childish MMNs, causing a person to be troubled deeply for brief moments about trivial matters. This will lead in the end to destruction. First, those who lack internal depth will not have the wisdom that is required to maintain a physical paradise, leading to the decay of common sense. Second, complaints about trivial matters will become all-consuming, causing common sense to be replaced with ignorance. Thus, common sense will not just be forgotten, but it will be both forgotten and forcibly replaced by ignorance.

Paul then mentions the verse quoted at the beginning of this section: “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (10:11). This is usually interpreted to mean that we in the present are supposed to learn from the ‘rebellious Jews of the Old Testament’, and there is probably some truth to this interpretation. However, society currently violates these rules in such major ways that this passage is probably meant primarily for a future civilization that is supposed to learn from our mistakes. I mention this because the book of Revelation appears to describe two sequences. Revelation 6-9 describes current society with its objective science and technology, while Revelation 10-20 describes a coming society that is ruled by a rational Teacher understanding of the nature of God and incarnation. And we saw that Paul’s description of ‘our fathers’ in verses 1-5 is an accurate symbolic description of current society.

This is followed by a warning: “Therefore let him who thinks he stand take heed that he does not fall” (10:12). Applying this to current society, the United States for many decades has epitomized a society transformed by the benefits of science and technology. And most Americans are also convinced that America is The Best Place on Earth. However, it is becoming increasingly apparent to the rest of the world that those who think that they stand are in the process of falling.

This is followed by a verse that is often quoted—out of context: “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it” (10:13). I suggest that this verse is true—for a mindset that is guided by God and incarnation, which is the type of society that is being described here. The reason for this is simple. How can God lead a person (or group) if that person has no concept of a God who leads? And how can God lead a person out of temptation if that person is emotionally convinced that following temptation is more personally rewarding than following God? A similar verse that is also often quoted out of context is Romans 8:28: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.” Like 1 Corinthians 10, Romans 8 also occurs at the end of a process of personal and societal transformation. And Romans 8 specifically says that it only applies to those ‘Who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose’. Again, we see that knowledge of the ways of God is required, and that one must love God more than temptation.

Looking at verse 13 in more detail: 1) A person is being seized by temptation, which implies that they are being grabbed while following a different path, presumably one guided by rational thought. 2) Paul emphasizes that one should view temptation from the vantage point of Teacher thought. Mercy thought views a temptation as an isolated MMN that is happening only to me, while Teacher thought views a temptation as an illustration of a general principle that applies to everyone. 3) The ultimate source of stability in this situation is not personal effort but rather the faithfulness of God. 4) The tempting situation is not being removed, but God is providing a way out of this temptation, telling us that there is a relationship between God and ways.

Science and technology provide a partial illustration of this principle. When society experiences a problem, then the natural response is to turn to science to find a way out of the problem. Science is able to provide a way out because it knows the ways of God that have been revealed through how the universe works.

Moving Forward under Incarnation 10:14-31

Paul complained at the beginning of Chapter 3 that he ‘could not speak to you as to spiritual men’, but rather had to treat his audience as ‘infants in Christ’. In contrast, Paul says in verse 15 that “I speak as to wise men; you judge what I say.” Again, this implies that Paul is referring to a new society that is more capable of rational thought than the individuals of chapter 3.

Paul reminds his readers that society is experiencing personal benefits as a result of incarnation being reborn: “Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ?” (A cup often refers to an emotional situation that one is experiencing or is about to experience. For instance, Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me” (Matt. 26:39). Zechariah said that God will “make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around” (Zech. 12:2). Isaiah 51:17 says “Arise, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the Lord’s hand the cup of his anger.” And Revelation 18:6 says, “Pay her back even as she has paid, and give back to her double according to her deeds; in the cup which she has mixed, mix twice as much for her.”)

Paul also reminds his readers that their intellectual food is a fragment of the integrated knowledge of incarnation: “Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the blood of Christ?” (10:16). And Paul emphasizes that there is a single integrated body of knowledge held together by incarnation: “Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread” (10:17).

One can rephrase Paul’s words using scientific language: Don’t you know that present society is experiencing the benefits of the rebirth of technical thought, which began with a scientific revolution that taught us about the universal laws of nature, and was followed by the societal rebirth of the industrial and consumer revolutions? Don’t you know that everything you learn is an expression of the universal laws of nature? Since there is only one set of natural laws, all specializations belong together, because they are all partaking of a single set of natural laws.

Paul then mentions the physical nation of Israel: “Look at the nation Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices sharers in the altar?” More literally, “Consider Israel according to the flesh, are not those who eat the sacrifices sharers in the meeting place between God and worshipers?” This is the only time that Israel is mentioned in 1 Corinthians, and the reference is cognitively interesting. Paul is saying three things: First, he focuses upon the Server actions of Israel, Israel according to the flesh. Second, he talks about eating sacrifices, which implies learning from situations of rebirth. Third, he says that there is an integrating connection with God. If one examines the history of Israel, one notices that Jews as a group have repeatedly gone through situations of ethnic rebirth, in which the existence of the Jewish people was threatened and then became reborn. Because of these repeated ‘sacrifices’, Jews believe that there is a fundamental relationship between how a Jew acts as a person, national survival, and the plan of God through history. In other words, Judaism recognizes an aspect of incarnation that most Christians do not grasp, which is the relationship between specific Server actions and a universal Teacher understanding of God. Using religious language, Jews believe that the God of monotheism is made incarnate in Jewish halacha (Halacha means doing or going, and is used to describe the collection of Jewish religious laws. Jewish thought is examined in the essay on Kabbalah.)

Summarizing, Paul tells people to flee from idolatry. They should not base knowledge in MMNs that come from specific experiences. Instead, they should base knowledge in the TMN of an integrated concept of God.

If one does not hold onto an integrated concept of God in Teacher thought, then one will be guided by TMNs of fragmented understanding. Paul refers to these fragmented TMNs as demons: “The things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons” (10:20). Paul mentions demons four times in verses 20 and 21, and this is the only time that demons are mentioned in 1 Corinthians. I have pointed out in previous essays that both the Old and New Testament distinguish between spirits and angels, and I have postulated that in addition to a human realm that interacts with the mind through concrete thought, there is also a spiritual realm that interacts with the mind through mental networks as well as an angelic realm that interacts with the mind through abstract thought. (This is discussed further in this essay when looking at chapters 13 and 15). One characteristic that distinguishes spirits from angels is that spirits can possess human desires and give humans super-normal power, consistent with a form of being that interacts with the mind through mental networks. In contrast, the Bible never talks about an angel possessing a human, but always describes angels as independent beings with their own agendas and messages, implying a realm of angelic content that is the mirror image of the human realm of physical content.)

However, when writing this essay, I noticed for the first time that demons also possess human minds. My guess is that demons interact with fragmented TMNs while evil spirits empower unhealthy MMNs. That is because Beelzebul is described as the ruler of the demons, and this title means ‘Lord of the flies’. A fly is a small creature that moves through the air, implying that a fly symbolizes the TMN of a fragmented understanding. My current guess is that both demons and spirits inhabit the same spiritual realm. A similar type of coexistence can be found in the physical universe. Physical objects and electromagnetic waves are quite different, but they coexist—and interact—within the same universe. (For instance, visible light is a form of electromagnetic wave and eyes are actually electromagnetic receivers.) Going further, it appears that one has to go through the spiritual realm to build lasting connections between the human realm and the angelic realm.

This interpretation of demons is consistent with current society because academic thought has become fragmented into numerous specializations, each ruled by the TMN of some fragment of universal understanding. Paul says in verse 21 that “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.” Similarly, I have found that a mindset of specialization will resist the concept of an integrated understanding. A Teacher theory feels emotionally threatened when it encounters situations that it cannot explain. Therefore, it is natural for a technical specialization to either ignore or belittle anything that lies outside of the specialization. Going the other way, I have found that I cannot function within the academic world of specialization because Teacher emotion drives me to use the theory of mental symmetry as a meta-theory to explain many different subjects. Paul emphasizes that this is an emotional struggle between competing rulers: “Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than he, are we?” (10:22). Using cognitive language, specialization emotionally questions the idea of universal understanding. Is the TMN of some specialization more powerful than the TMN of universal understanding? In my experience, most professors would rather cling to the TMN of their specialization than open their minds to the possibility of a universal understanding. But denying the existence of a universal understanding contradicts the very concept of a UNIVERS-ity.

Paul talked in chapter 8 about eating things sacrificed to idols. He finished that chapter by saying that he would not eat meat ‘to the age’ if this was a snare to his brother. Paul’s next reference to ‘age’ is in verse 11 of chapter 10, where he talks about those upon whom ‘the ends of the ages have come’. And Paul gives quite different instructions regarding meat offered to idols in chapter 10: “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor. Eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking questions for conscience’ sake; for the earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains” (10:23-26).

looking at this in more detail, Paul starts by reemphasizing that one should be guided by cause-and-effect rather than by rules: What profits? What edifies? Paul then says that one should ‘not seek his own but rather that of his neighbor’. This is sometimes used as a proof text for religious self-denial, and the NASB adds the word ‘good’ in italics to ‘clarify’ the meaning. However, the word ‘good’ is not in the original Greek, and the word seek means to ‘inquire or investigate’. Thus, I suggest that this verse is talking about interdisciplinary thought. This is consistent with the context, because Paul instructs in the next sentence to “Eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking questions for conscience’ sake; for the earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains” (10:25,26). Stating this cognitively, don’t stick with your own specialization, but instead investigate neighboring specializations. When you go to the intellectual market, don’t worry if the facts has been tainted by MMNs of idolatry. That is because the earth of rational thought, and everything contained within rational thought, belongs to the TMN of a universal concept of God. Similarly, I have found that the theory of mental symmetry makes it possible to use rational thought to analyze all content, even rationalization that is guided by MMNs. If a person is rational, then one uses mental symmetry to analyze the content. If a person is rationalizing, then one uses mental symmetry to analyze the mental mechanisms behind this rationalization. One either explains what a person is saying or why he is saying what he is saying.

Paul then describes further what it means to seek ‘that of his neighbor’: “If one of the unbelievers invites you and you want to go, eat anything that is set before you without asking questions for conscience’ sake. But if anyone says to you, ‘This is meat sacrificed to idols,’ do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience’ sake; I mean not your own conscience, but the other man’s; for why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I slandered concerning that for which I give thanks?” (10:27-30).

In other words, the TMN of a concept of God is now strong enough to handle any content, even content guided by idolatry eaten in someone else’s ‘house’. The only restriction is to avoid participating in institutions which openly proclaim that MMNs are the source of thought. One example of such an institution would be Women’s Studies. As we saw earlier, the fundamental assumption of this specialization is that all knowledge is based in MMNs of personal status. This leads to a mindset that is intrinsically opposed to rational thought. Quoting further from the Wikipedia article, “Daphne Patai, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has criticized this aspect of women’s studies programs, arguing that they place politics over education, arguing that ‘the strategies of faculty members in these programs have included policing insensitive language, championing research methods deemed congenial to women (such as qualitative over quantitative methods), and conducting classes as if they were therapy sessions.’”

I should emphasize that the fundamental problem is not using feminine thought, but rather assuming that all truth is based in MMNs of personal status. Translating Paul’s words into modern language, I suggest that it is fine to use rational thought to analyze postmodern questioning, because that would be eating meat offered to idols. However, it is not fine to become part of a group or institution that uses postmodern questioning, because that is eating meat which a person specifically states is being sacrificed to idols. Paul says that this is for the sake of the conscience of other person who is saying that the meat was offered to idols.

Again translating this into modern language, there is no point in working within an atmosphere of postmodern questioning, because everything that is said will be regarded as merely personal opinion. Therefore, if one says anything unpleasant, then this will be rejected as a personal opinion that is making other people feel bad. But a message of rebirth—by definition—makes people feel bad, because it insists that success lies on the other side of allowing truth and understanding to reconstruct personal identity. When postmodern questioning takes over some system of thought, then it can only be influenced from outside this system. That is because postmodern questioning always replaces one authority figure with another; the person or group doing the questioning becomes the new authority figure that replaces the person or group being questioned. If one attempts to work within such a system, then one’s personal status will be less than the status of those controlling the group, and because truth is based in personal status, one’s words will be ignored as unimportant. However, if one works outside of such a system, then one becomes an independent viewpoint, and the independence of this viewpoint will create a form of conscience for the group following postmodern questioning.

Paul mentions partaking with thankfulness, and contrasts this with being slandered. Thankfulness recognizes that something has its source in the mental network to which one is being thankful. Being thankful to God is a way of recognizing that everything has its source in the TMN of a concept of God. Slander, in contrast, uses words to attack MMNs of personal identity. Thus, one attitude is recognizing that MMNs of personal identity are being helped by the TMN of a concept of God in Teacher thought, while the other attitude is using Teacher thought to attack MMNs of personal identity.

The next verse emphasizes this attitude of recognizing that everything has its source in the TMN of a concept of God. “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (10:31). Similarly, one should be guided in Mercy thought to try to improve both religious and secular existence, following a bottom line that extends beyond personal improvement. “Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved” (10:32).

Women in the Church 11:1-16

This passage of 1 Corinthians is controversial because it deals with the role of women in the church. A feminist viewpoint would regard this section as a classic example of Paul using his status as a man to suppress women. I suggest that there is no point in dialoguing with such viewpoints because such dialogue falls under the category of eating meat that a person specifically says has been offered to idols. However, I also suggest that it is inappropriate to interpret this section in terms of literal head coverings and literal men and women, because that is an example of focusing upon people and physical experiences which Paul warned against at the beginning of 1 Corinthians.

Instead, we will examine this passage in terms of male thought and female thought. This does not mean that physical gender is irrelevant, because there is a strong relationship between gender and thought. But I suggest that what really matters is the interaction between male and female thought, which is what Paul says in verses 11 and 12: “However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God.” The NASB translation is usually pretty good, but not in this case, because the translators try to fit the text into the mold of physical gender. A more literal translation of verse 11 would be “Neither is woman separate or independent from man, nor is man separate or independent from woman in the Lord.” Using cognitive language, when one examines the mind, one finds that male thought and female thought cannot function independently from one another, and when the mind is guided by a concept of God in Teacher thought, then these two forms of thought cooperate with one another to produce mental wholeness. A more literal rendition of verse 12 would be “Just as the woman is from the man, so also the man is for the sake of the woman.” I suggested earlier in this essay that learning a skill goes through the three stages of beginner, technician, and expert. A beginner is guided by untrained mental networks of female thought, while the technician ignores mental networks in order to develop male precision and reasoning. The third stage of expert marries the mental networks of female thought with the precision and reasoning of male thought. Symbolically speaking, the woman is from the man because the transition from technician to expert is a transition from pure male thought to male thought plus female thought. Going the other way, the man is for the sake of the woman because male technical thought is being guided and motivated by the mental networks of female thought.

Let us return now to the beginning of chapter 11. Paul opens by saying “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you” (11:1,2).

I suggest that Paul is describing an aspect of mental networks. A mental network is a collection of emotional memories that uses emotional pressure to impose its structure upon the mind. When using mental networks, one can focus either upon the emotion or upon the structure. Earlier in the book, Paul described using mental networks to focus upon emotional status. One group was saying ‘I am of Paul’ while another group saying ‘I am of Apollos’. In cognitive terms, both Paul and Apollos were mentally represented as MMNs, and these MMNs of personal authority were fighting for pre-eminence within the minds of the Corinthians. In Chapter 11, the focus is upon the structure of the mental network. The people are ‘remembering Paul in everything and holding firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you’. The word translated tradition means more precisely ‘an instruction or tradition’, which implies that information is being actively transmitted from one person to another and not just implicitly picked up as a habit. Using cognitive language, the content that Paul gave the Corinthians has turned into mental networks, these mental networks are being passed on to other individuals, and when these mental networks are being triggered by situations, then they are imposing their structure upon behavior. The ultimate source of these mental networks is the general pattern of incarnation as expanded and applied by Paul. This implies that Paul is now talking about a society in which a general Teacher understanding of incarnation has become institutionalized, similar to the manner in which scientific understanding has become institutionalized in current society.

Mental networks lie at the heart of female thought. The mind cannot exist without mental networks. They provide the emotional core of the mind, they motivate thought and behavior, and they make it possible to respond to situations quickly and intuitively. However, because a mental network jumps to conclusions based upon partial clues (i.e. imposes its entire structure when triggered), it can be mistaken. And because the mind is held together by core mental networks, a person can be stubbornly mistaken.

A person has no choice but to build the mind upon core mental networks. Ideally, one would want to build the mind upon a mental network that is always appropriate and always accurate. The TMN of a concept of God is always appropriate because it is based in universal principles that always apply. And it is always accurate because its content is based in patterns and sequences that one sees repeated everywhere. In contrast, mental networks of personal identity and personal skill are not always appropriate and they are not always accurate. For instance, one cannot base one’s existence upon the MMN that represents Paul or Apollos. Similarly, the saying goes that ‘For the man who has a hammer, everything looks like a nail’. In other words, if one’s core mental network is a TMN based in some specialized skill, then one will try to view all of existence through the lens of this skill, which will be neither appropriate nor accurate.

This means that mental wholeness requires an internal hierarchy. One must start with the TMN of a concept of God and finish with the mental networks of female thought. Paul describes this hierarchy: “But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ” (11:3). Paul’s readers are being guided by traditions (mental networks of female thought) that were received from Paul. And Paul acquired his content by building upon the foundation of Christ the incarnation.

A mindset that thinks in terms of MMNs of personal status will conclude that Paul is saying that women are at the bottom of the pecking order of society. But such a mindset is inverting Paul’s hierarchy. If God really is at the top, then this means that one needs to think in terms of the TMN of a concept of God and not in terms of MMNs of personal status. Looking at Paul’s hierarchy more closely, the starting point is the TMN of a rational concept of God. This is then connected with reality through incarnation. Incarnation transforms reality by using male technical thought, and the final result is a transformed set of female mental networks. Viewed this way, female thought is actually at the top of the hierarchy, because it is the final stage of the process of cognitive development.

Paul has followed this order in 1 Corinthians. The book began by discussing a concept of God, and then examined how a universal concept of incarnation can be built upon a general understanding of God. Paul then described how apostleship extends incarnation, before turning to normal thought and now to female thought.

This hierarchy is obvious when using technology. Technology begins with an understanding of the universal laws of nature in Teacher thought. These general laws are then translated into physical objects through the incarnation of science and technology. Male technical thought is then used to set up and connect the objects of technology, while the mental networks of female thought decide how this technology will be used. Female thought is not the final stage because it is at the bottom of the heap but rather because it is the final goal. The woman may come from the man; setting up and connecting technology makes it possible to use technology. But the man is also for the sake of the woman; if no one used technology, then there would be no point in setting up and connecting anything.

Saying this more bluntly, a professor in women’s studies may claim that the mental networks of female thought are supreme. But the professor who is making these statements is using a computer and video projector that were constructed using male technical thought, is standing in a climate-controlled classroom on a college campus that was also constructed using male technical thought, and probably drove to work in a car on a highway system that was constructed using male technical thought. Going further, all this technical thought did not emerge out of a vacuum but rather is an expression of the benefits of the incarnation of modern technological society with its Teacher understanding of the laws of nature. However, once all of this infrastructure has been physically constructed, then it is possible to think and talk as if it does not exist, especially if technicians (remember the invisible spouse) keep all of the machinery functioning behind the scenes.

Paul then talks about covering one’s head. “Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head. But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved. For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head. For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man” (11:4-7).

This is a controversial passage that has guided society in the past, and continues to guide women today. In Paul’s time, all women wore head coverings in the church. However, Paul made it abundantly clear at the beginning of 1 Corinthians that one must go beyond focusing upon people and physical appearance. And I think that we can now conclude that the book of 1 Corinthians makes logical sense as a single connected narrative when interpreted from a cognitive perspective.

And Paul has just used the term ‘head’ in a symbolic sense, by saying that God is the head of Christ, Christ is the head of man, and man is the head of woman. The same word for head is used when talking about the woman covering or uncovering her head. If ‘head’ has a symbolic meaning in verse 3, then why would it have a purely literal meaning in verses 4-7?

Verses 4 and 5 make sense as an expansion of the hierarchy mentioned in verse 3. When one is attempting to connect to God through prayer or attempting to receive a message from God through prophecy, one should use male rational thought without placing anything between this rational thought and a concept of God. One must not cover up rational thought when interacting with God. In contrast, when one is attempting to connect with God by using emotions and mental networks, then one needs to cover up the mental networks and not connect them directly to a concept of God.

This is a significant principle that is violated in major ways by theologians, churches, and even entire branches of Christianity.

One of the major assumptions of current Christianity is that God is an incomprehensible being who transcends rational thought. In most Christian circles, it is regarded as fundamentally wrong to use rational thought to analyze the character of God. Instead, one is supposed to cover rational thought and approach God with the attitude that the fundamental character of God is inherently incomprehensible to rational thought. Using Paul’s metaphor, the head of male rational thought is being covered when interacting with God. In contrast, my research has led me to the conclusion that the essence of God’s character is comprehensible to rational thought and needs to be studied using rational thought. I agree that it is impossible for a finite mind to know exhaustively the nature of God, but it is possible for a finite mind to know sufficiently the essence of God’s nature. Similarly, it is impossible for a finite mind to know how all particles in the universe will behave, but it is possible for a finite mind to know the fundamental laws that govern all particles and to use these laws to predict how a small group of particles will behave.

Current Christianity also assumes that one can come into direct contact with God by using the mental networks of female thought. Thus, the average Christian encounters God through praise and worship. Using Paul’s metaphor, the head of female emotional thought is not being covered when interacting with God. But when the mind is transformed, then mental networks do not come into direct contact with one another. Instead, all mental networks reside within a grid of rational thought held together by the TMN of a concept of God.

For instance, suppose that I have a disagreement with Fred. In the immature mind, the MMN that represents me will struggle for dominance with the MMN that represents Fred. Paul described this when mentioning the conflicts between those who are of Paul and those who are of Apollos. But in the mature mind, the MMN that represents me and the MMN that represents Fred will both reside within an internal map of cognitive styles, mental functioning, and character development. Instead of feeling that I am arguing with Fred, I will understand where both of us are in the map of personal growth. This understanding provides an internal buffer that prevents mental networks from coming directly into contact with one another. Similarly, when one is using mental networks to interact with God, it is important to cover one’s head by placing this interaction within the grid of an understanding of the character of God and mankind.

As far as I can tell, the deepest problem of current Christianity is that it covers male thought when interacting with God and uncovers female thought when interacting with God. To some extent, this reflects itself in gender, because women have a greater tendency to use ecstatic worship while men have a greater tendency to try to analyze God rationally. However, this is a cognitive and institutional problem that extends far beyond mere gender, and it is a travesty to think that one can address this problem by merely pinning pieces of cloth onto women’s heads.

Paul adds that “the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels” (11:10). But the word ‘symbol’ was added by the NASB to support a literal interpretation, and is not in the original. Instead, the Greek says that ‘the woman ought to have authority or power on her head’. I have suggested that angels inhabit a realm of abstract thought. The way that one treats mental networks will have a major impact on the way that one uses abstract thought. If female thought is used uncovered, then it is possible to develop common sense in concrete thought, because emotional experiences from physical world will impose MMNs of common sense upon the mind. However, one will not develop common sense in abstract thought, because one develops abstract thought by using rational thinking to look beyond appearances. Thus, cognitively speaking, it is important to cover female mental networks for the sake of abstract thought. This cognitive principle also appears to involve real angels, because mysticism is often recommended as a means of contacting UFO aliens. (It appears that aliens and angels both inhabit the same angelic realm.) I don’t want to make a blanket statement and state that all UFO aliens are demons. However, most UFO aliens are described as behaving in a manner that qualifies as evil, and one of the primary reasons that I avoid mysticism is that I do not want to come into contact with such beings.

That brings us to the symbolic meaning of hair. I mentioned previously when looking at serpents that Teacher thought thinks in terms of sequences, lines, and strings. (Mercy thought, in contrast, thinks in terms of experiences and events). For instance, speech is a sequence of words. Words are written as sequences of letters, and letters are composed of visual lines. In fact, when writing cursive English, one writes each word as a single line of ink. My brother and I initially learned that these are all related to Teacher thought when studying the character traits of the Teacher person.

Visually speaking, hair is a string. A snake is visually a single isolated string. Hair, in contrast, is composed of many strings, all flowing from the head of a person. A snake corresponds visually to the overgeneralization of mysticism—a single isolated sweeping statement within Teacher thought that ‘All is one’. This implies that hair is also a form of overgeneralization, but there are many overgeneralizations and not just a single sweeping statement, and all of these overgeneralizations are anchored in the head. Thus, my guess would be that hair represents intuition, because one is making statements within Teacher thought by overgeneralizing from a limited foundation. Intuition is a powerful aspect of female thought. It is not magical or mystical. Instead, small clues are triggering mental networks, which are causing the mind to jump to conclusions.

With this in mind, let us return to 1 Corinthians. Quoting all of verse 5, “But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved.” Presumably, a shaved head describes pure emotional response without the covering of intuition. Thus, Paul appears to be saying that unguided intuition is no better than raw emotional response, which is an accurate statement. Intuition is a powerful tool, but it has to be trained to be accurate. Using the language of Paul, it needs to be covered.

Verse 6 compares short hair with long hair: “For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head.” Long hair could be interpreted in two related ways. It takes time to grow long hair. Thus, long hair would represent intuition that has been tempered by time, while short hair would represent intuition that does not have the benefit of either time or experience. Long hair could also represent long-term sequences, while short hair would be short-term sequences. Intuition is most accurate when it considers long-term consequences, while being most harmful when it focuses upon short-term consequences. Thus, Paul is saying that uncovered intuition is no better than short-term intuition. And if raw emotional thought and short-term intuition are both disgraceful, then female thought needs to cover intuition.

Hair is explicitly connected with intuitive thought in Luke 21: “Make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; for I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute. But you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, and you will be hated by all because of My name. Yet not a hair of your head will perish”. Jesus begins by telling people not to prepare beforehand what they will say, but rather to follow intuitive thought, because intuitive thought will be successful. He then finishes by promising that ‘not a hair of your head will perish’, saying in symbolic language that intuitive thought will be successful.

Verse 7 expands upon this interpretation: “For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.” Glory is an external expression of something internal. Male thought glorifies the Teacher understanding of the concept of God by transforming theory into practice. Female thought glorifies male rational thought by turning technical thought into mental networks.

I know that it is politically incorrect to suggest that ‘woman is the glory of man’, but this principle is obvious when watching the expert perform. When the male content of the technician becomes expressed through the female mental networks of the expert, then the results can accurately be described as glorious. The smooth, efficient, elegant, and professional skill of an expert transcends the wooden performance of the technician. ‘Woman is the glory of man’ does not mean that female thought is the servant of male thought, but rather that female thought is able to go far beyond male thought—but only if it is willing to learn from male thought.

Stated more bluntly, many men prefer dumb blondes, because the average man finds an intelligent, beautiful woman intimidating, and feels threatened by a competent, graceful, beautiful woman. However, the goal of incarnation is to produce female thought that is intelligent, competent, graceful, and beautiful.

Paul states this explicitly in Ephesians: “But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless” (Eph. 5:24-27). Paul begins by talking about the wife submitting to the husband, which is typically interpreted from the Mercy perspective of personal dominance. But submitting female thought to male thought has a deeper purpose. The goal is to ‘sanctify’ female intuition by cleansing it from the MMNs of childish experience and connecting it with the TMN of the concept of God, so that it can be ‘holy and blameless’. This cleansing requires the verbal content of ‘the word’ combined with the experiences of ‘water’. The end result is a form of thought that has no ‘spot’ of imperfection in Mercy thought and no ‘wrinkle’ of inelegance in Teacher thought.

Paul backs up his reasoning by appealing to natural law: “Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her for a covering. But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor have the churches of God” (11:14-16). Using cognitive language, when one is using male rational thought to study the natural world, then one should not follow intuition too long, but rather be guided by the ‘short hair’ of flashes of intuition. For instance, I suggest that the thinking of Bill Gothard illustrates what it means cognitively for a man to have long hair. Gothard is infamous for using a form of logic that one could refer to as proof-by-example, or jumping directly from specific experience or isolated verse to general principle. (This is ironic, because Gothard is also infamous for preaching strongly that women should submit to men.) Scientific concepts have sometimes originated as flashes of intuition. But this intuition was then tested using rational thought. However, when one lives within the mental networks of female thought, then it is important to be guided by ‘long-haired’ intuition that considers the impact of time and has withstood the test of time.

Paul then turns to those who are focusing upon MMNs of personal conflict and says that the principles that he has just mentioned describe his tradition as well as that of the Church of God. In other words, Paul is saying that his approach to intuitive thought itself needs to be viewed as ‘long haired’ intuition. Female intuition needs to be guided by the long-term principle that female intuition needs to be covered by rational thought. (This principle of applying theory to itself is very important when dealing with the mind, because one is using the mind to understand itself.)

Factions 11:17-22

The previous section focused upon female thought and emphasized the need to ‘cover’ female thought with male thought. The rest of chapter 11 examines the other side of this relationship and describes two ways that male thought can ignore female thought. (We see again that when 1 Corinthians is interpreted cognitively, then it becomes apparent that Paul—or at least the ultimate Author behind Paul—is not jumping around from one topic to another.) In order to understand what is being said, we need to look further at male and female thought.

I have suggested—several times—that female thought uses emotions while male thought uses rational thinking. This may convey the impression that I regard female thought as wallowing anti-rationally through experiences. That describes the immature female mind, which is emotionally tossed to and fro by childish MMNs. Mature female thought is totally different. First, when emotions are trained by rational thought, then emotion becomes a shortcut for rational analysis, making it possible for the leaping of female intuition to accomplish more than the plodding of male analysis. This explains, for instance, why females are better than males at multitasking. Second, emotions involve both Mercy experiences and Teacher theories. Mercy thought connects emotions with experiences, while Teacher thought uses emotions to evaluate theories. Teacher thought feels good when a general theory ties together many specific elements. For instance, females are usually better than males at social interaction, which involves MMNs of personal identity. Females also tend to talk more than males, and speech is an expression of Teacher thought. And females tend to specialize less than males, which indicates a greater focus upon Teacher emotions of generalization. Finally, we just saw that females are better at intuition than males, and intuition combines MMNs of personal experience with TMNs of general understanding. (These studies all refer to male and female people, because one can only observe how male and female people think. The male person naturally emphasizes male thought and the female person naturally emphasizes female thought, but mature thought in all individuals is a combination of male and female thought, even though a male person will continue to emphasize the male side of this integrated thinking—and vice versa.)

Now let us return to 1 Corinthians 11. The first way that male thought can ignore female thought is through specialization. This begins as simple division: “When you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it” (11:18). Notice that the people are coming together, but when they come together they are divided into groups. This grows into distinct factions: “For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you” (11:19). The word faction is stronger than the word division. In addition, people are now being tested in order to see if they are qualified.

This accurately describes most modern academia. It may gather together at universities, but it is split into different specializations. And one can only become part of an academic specialization by becoming officially approved. I have consistently found that if a professor is presented with a general theory that crosses specializations, then the typical response will either be ‘I am unqualified to evaluate this research’, because the professor is only an expert in some small fragment of knowledge, or ‘this is non-rigorous garbage’, because the fragment of the theory that the professor does understand does not meet the high standards that are required to be recognized as an expert within that specialization. I have been forced to conclude that academia is not guided by a search for general understanding. In the words of Paul, “When you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord’s supper, for in your eating each one takes his own supper first” (11:20-21). Symbolically speaking, if a concept of God is based in general Teacher understanding, and if eating represents the consumption of intellectual food, then ‘the Lord’s supper’ would be a consuming of intellectual food guided by a desire for general understanding. If ‘each one takes his own supper first’ and does not meet together ‘to eat the Lord’s supper’, then each faction is consuming its own intellectual food rather than attempting to build general understanding.

I know that Paul was probably referring to having communion in people’s houses. However, I strongly suspect that the same kind of mental processing was occurring in Paul’s situation. The men were ignoring integrated understanding, dividing into factions, and then policing these factions through some kind of entrance requirements.

Paul adds that “one is hungry and another is drunk” (11:21). Hunger implies a lack of intellectual content, while drunk implies a lack of inhibitions. When knowledge is fragmented into different factions, then one faction cannot learn from other factions, leading to intellectual hunger, and one faction will not be guided or inhibited by other factions, leading to intellectual drunkenness.

Paul asks, “Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink?” (11:22). Food and drink refer to peripheral facts and experiences. As Jesus said, the body is more important than food; personal skill and identity are more important than peripheral facts and experiences. If one is supposed to eat and drink at home, this implies that subjective emotions need to be added to peripheral facts and experiences. In contrast, one of the central principles of objective science is that one should not eat and drink at home—one should not allow subjective feelings to cloud facts and experiences. This may work to some extent when analyzing the physical world, but it does not work when applying incarnation, because Jesus ‘saves people from their sins’.

Paul asks further, “Do you despise the Church of God and shame those who have nothing?” (11:22). An image of God emerges when a general understanding applies to personal identity. A focus upon objective food and drink despises the Church of God, because it ignores general understanding and avoids applying truth to personal identity. And shaming those who have nothing implies that the focus is upon having rather than being, and that people with inadequate objective knowledge are not being saved but rather despised.

This introduces us to the second way that male thought is ignoring female thought, which is by remaining objective and ignoring personal identity. This is expanded in the next section.

Eucharist? 11:23-33

This passage is usually quoted during communion. However, Paul has made it clear in 1 Corinthians that the wisdom of God extends beyond physical experiences and important people. Therefore, I suggest that communion is more than people with religious status doling out pieces of bread and administering sips of wine. Going further, if one thinks that one can receive special grace from God by physically consuming bread and wine administered by priests wearing fancy clothes, then one is following earthly wisdom and not the wisdom of God. The physical world has become transformed because humans have learned that the natural world is governed by universal laws and not by magical rituals and incantations. This implies that the personal world will also become transformed when humans learn that the religious realm is also governed by universal laws and not by magical rituals and incantations.

Turning now to Paul’s words, “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (11:23-26).

Notice what Jesus is doing with the bread. First, he is giving thanks, recognizing that objective information has its source in a Teacher concept of God. Second, he is breaking the bread, which implies that this knowledge is being taken apart and analyzed. Third, he is saying that this bread is of his body, which means that the knowledge has been personalized and added to his body of knowledge before being shared with others. Fourth, he is saying that this is for others, which means that Teacher thought is seeking general understanding and not just personal status. Fifth, he is telling them to ‘do this’ as a deliberate recollection of him.

So what is the ‘this’ that one is supposed to do? Eat bread crumbs and sip from a cup with a somber attitude? That might be one small aspect, but I suggest that one is supposed to do the same thing that Jesus did: Recognize that truth is an expression of the character of God; take truth apart without swallowing it whole; internalize truth and make it part of one’s person before sharing it with others; and search for truth that helps many people. This idea of being a personal messenger of truth can be seen in the beginning of this passage: “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you...”

This is followed by the phrase “The Lord Jesus in the night in which he was betrayed took bread...” Jesus was physically betrayed by Judas in the garden of Gethsemane. But Jesus is also being ‘betrayed in the night’ in verses 17 to 22. The name Jesus means salvation, and salvation is being betrayed by those who pursue the truth of incarnation in a fragmented manner that approves experts, despises a concept of God, and belittles the ignorant. And when there is no sun of universal understanding to shine upon information, then it will be intellectual night. Thus, people will be betraying salvation in the dark.

Righteousness allows understanding to guide personal behavior, making theory part of ‘my body’. This is followed by rebirth, which allows applied understanding to transform MMNs of personal identity. Similarly, the ‘body’ is followed by ‘blood’. We saw previously that a cup represents a set of personal experiences. Thus, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood’ means that a set of personal experiences is causing MMNs of personal identity to fall apart, leading to a new relationship between people. This also applies to the physical death of Jesus, because he drank a cup of experiences that caused his personal identity to fall apart, leading to a new relationship between God and humans.

As before, this description is followed by the instruction to ‘do this… in remembrance of me’, which tells us that Jesus is establishing an example to follow. And one is supposed to do this ‘as often as you drink’ (the word ‘it’ is not in the original), implying that one should respond to all experiences in such a manner.

Verse 26 describes the reason for responding in such a fashion: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” In other words, this type of response extends the message of the rebirth of incarnation. Paul said something similar in the passage from Colossians that was quoted at the beginning of this essay: “I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions. Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God” (Col. 1:24,25). Notice that Paul is suffering for others, he is focusing on the body of Christ, he is applying the message in his own flesh, and he is adding to Jesus’ message of rebirth. The goal is to make the message of incarnation more complete. As Paul says in Colossians 1, “We proclaim him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ” (1:28). Why? To lay the foundation for the return of incarnation as man and God: ‘...proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes’.

Academic thought is now starting to apply these two principles—in reverse. First, embodiment is currently a hot topic, which recognizes that there is a strong interaction between the physical body and how one thinks. But instead of embodying truth by applying understanding, embodiment does the opposite by insisting that how one thinks is controlled by the physical body.

Second, we have already seen that postmodern thought believes that truth is based in MMNs of personal identity. Paul says the opposite, which is that truth needs to transform MMNs of personal identity.

Similarly, the doctrine of transubstantiation says that the physical bread and physical wine become spiritually the body and blood of Jesus. Notice that the direction is from physical to spiritual. In contrast, I suggest that one should do the opposite by going from spiritual to physical. The spiritual person of incarnation has a physical expression when the message of incarnation turns into the body of personal application and the blood of personal rebirth.

When one does precisely the opposite by going from physical to spiritual and internal, and when one protects or avoids MMNs of personal identity rather than allowing them to be transformed through salvation, then I suggest that one is betraying Jesus. How should one respond to this betrayal of Jesus? By doing the same thing that Jesus did when he was betrayed in the night. As I mentioned earlier, those who focus on earthly wisdom will persecute and ignore those who follow God’s wisdom, forcing those who follow heavenly wisdom to go through the rebirth that is required to fully apply the message that they are preaching.

That is precisely what Paul says in the next verse: “Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord” (11:27). The person who follows this process and does not become personally worthy will become part of the oppressive group that forces others to go through rebirth—‘guilty of the body and blood of the Lord’. That is why it is important for people to examine themselves when following this process: “But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat the bread and drink the cup” (11:28). Because if one learns truth about God and does not apply this truth and make it part of one’s body, then one will become judged by this truth rather than transformed: “For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly” (11:29).

Paul describes this judgment: “For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep” (11:30). ‘Many among you’ implies that this judgment is occurring to a number of people. However, I am not aware of any person who is physically weak or physically sick because of participating in Eucharist with insufficient reverence. Therefore, Paul must be talking symbolically.

It is dangerous to learn truth that applies to the subjective, because this will lead naturally to conflict between mental networks. First, TMNs of understanding will conflict with TMNs of habit. The solution is to become righteous by allowing understanding to transform habits. If this is not done, then mental networks of understanding will fight mental networks of habit, leading to cognitive weakness. Second, TMNs of understanding will conflict with MMNs of personal identity. The solution is to become reborn by allowing understanding to transform identity. If this is not done, then mental networks of understanding will fight mental networks of identity, leading to cognitive sickness. Finally, if there is too much internal conflict between mental networks, then a person will try to avoid triggering mental networks, leading to a state of mind that could be described as being cognitively asleep. And these cognitive maladies will affect the physical body because there is a connection between the mind and the body.

Paul summarizes the various options. One can avoid the painful consequences by judging oneself. Or one can avoid dealing with issues and end up being personally judged by understanding. But being judged by Teacher understanding is still better than being condemned because one has no understanding. “But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world” (11:31,32).

Verse 33 is somewhat unclear in the English: “So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.” The word translated wait means ‘welcome from the heart, looking to the end-result of the waiting’. In other words, when people with different specializations come together to build understanding, then they should welcome each other from the heart and be patient with each other, knowing that the end results will be worth it. Interdisciplinary research may not come naturally, but it is rewarding.

Paul concludes by saying that one should apply truth to the subjective before sharing it with others: “If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you will not come together for judgment” (11:34).

Spiritual Gifts 12:1-31

Paul opens the chapter by saying, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware” (12:1). The original Greek word translated unaware is stronger and means ignorant, or possibly willfully ignorant. I have been researching spiritual gifts for about 30 years and I have discovered that the average person does not want to know anything about spiritual gifts. People love to know something about themselves, but spiritual gifts tell them too much. More generally, people are increasingly searching for spirituality, but people want spirituality without content, and spiritual gifts add solid content to spirituality.

Part of the reason that spiritual content is avoided is that every mind already contains a spirit of the world imposed by childish MMNs. Childish MMNs are based in emotional experiences from the external environment. Spiritual MMNs, in contrast, are based in invisible Platonic forms that emerge within the mind as a result of Teacher understanding. Saying this more simply, childish MMNs reflect how things are, while spiritual MMNs reflect how things could be if one followed Teacher understanding.

Paul describes this contrast in the next verse: “You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute idols, however you were led” (12:2). Using cognitive language, when you lacked the TMN of a concept of God, you were led astray in random directions to idolatrous MMNs based in external experiences, which are mute because they are not connected to Teacher thought.

Paul explains that “no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus is accursed’; and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’, except by the Holy Spirit” (12:3). The name Jesus means salvation. Therefore, saying that Jesus is accursed would mean coming up with a Teacher theory that denies personal salvation. For instance, ‘It is your duty to die for your country’ would qualify as saying that Jesus is accursed, as would ‘God wants you to deny yourself and devote your life to serving God’. Modern consumerism also says that Jesus is accursed, because it preaches a message of accumulating goods while suppressing any message that suggests the need for personal transformation. Paul is saying that none of these messages are an expression of the Spirit of God. The cognitive reason for this is that Teacher thought looks for order and structure, and Teacher thought feels bad when encountering exceptions to the general order and structure. A concept of God emerges when a general Teacher theory applies to personal identity, and a spirit of God is an indirect expression of this Teacher understanding. Therefore, a spirit of God will want personal identities to have order and structure. Saying this more personally, a spirit of God will want me to function well, which means that the Spirit of God is incapable of saying that personal salvation is accursed.

Going the other way, Paul says that ‘no one has the power to say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit’. The path to personal salvation is not a direct path, but rather leads through personal rebirth. It is only possible to handle the emotional trauma of allowing childish MMNs to be reborn if one is guided by the TMN of a concept of God. I mentioned at the beginning of this essay that a concept of the Holy Spirit emerges when Platonic forms combine to make what Plato called a form of the Good. A Holy Spirit will have the emotional power to motivate a person to reach personal salvation, because it is held together by the TMN of a concept of God. A spirit that lacks this power will be ‘watered down’ by the emotional pull of childish MMNs, turning from a spirit of salvation to a spirit of rationalization. Instead of saving a person from their sins, such a spirit may remove some elements of sin but will also focus upon giving a person a good self-image so that they no longer feel that they are a sinner.

If one searches for spiritual gifts on the web, one will find that most explanations lump all of the gifts into a single large list. However, Paul specifically says that there are three kinds of spiritual gifts: “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons” (12:4-6). First, there are the gifts of the Spirit. Second, there are the ministries or services of the Lord. Third, there are the effects or energizings of God. Notice that each of these three is an expression of a different person of the Trinity.

One can use these three categories to organize the rest of the chapter:

The first kind of spiritual gift is that of cognitive style. That is because the term for gifts is charismata, which is the same word used in Romans 12:6 when describing the seven cognitive styles (“since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us” Rom. 12:6). Cognitive styles relate directly to the Holy Spirit because a concept of the Holy Spirit is a general MMN that encompasses many specific MMNs, and cognitive styles describe the way that specific MMNs of personal identity have been organized into different general categories.

The seven cognitive styles are not directly mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12. But Paul begins verses 14-27 by talking about being many different members of a single body of Christ, which is the same language used in Romans 12:4-5. (“For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” Rom. 12:4-5). Verses 14-27 make sense when interpreted in terms of the seven different cognitive styles.

The second kind of spiritual gift is described in verses 7-11. Verse 7 says that they are for the common good, and the Greek word specifically means to ‘combine in a way that brings a profit’. In other words, they function as part of the economy of incarnation, and the focus of these gifts is upon the process of salvation.

Verse 5 talks about the ministries or services of the Lord, while verse 7 talks about manifestations or disclosures of the Spirit. Looking at this cognitively, the Platonic forms of the Spirit are invisible images of perfection, which become disclosed through the ministries of incarnation. This happens, for instance, when technology is used to turn visions of a better world into practical devices that make life better.

The third kind of spiritual gift is described in verses 28-30. Paul starts this passage by saying that “God has appointed in the church...” Teacher thought works with order and generality. Similarly, Paul talks about different categories that have been established in the general structure of the church.

Verse 6 says more literally that ‘There are a variety of energizings, but the same God energizes each part of the whole in everyone’. Cognitively speaking, a general structure will become mentally represented by a TMN, which will emotionally energize this general structure to keep going. For instance, this explains the quote by Oscar Wilde that “The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.” Paul emphasizes that all general structures in ‘the church’ are ultimately energized by the TMN of a concept of God.

Spiritual gifts are typically interpreted as some sort of magical power that is given to a person by the Holy Spirit. In contrast, we will be interpreting these gifts from a rational, cognitive perspective, and we will see that one can find partial illustrations of these gifts within modern technological society. This does not mean that these gifts have no spiritual component, but rather that the supernatural and spiritual aspects are an extension of what is happening within the mind.

Ministries of the Lord 12:8-11

Verses 8-11 appear to describe the second kind of gift, which relates to the plan of Jesus Christ. Nine manifestations are mentioned: “For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills” (11:8-11). Notice that the first four (wisdom, knowledge, faith, and healing) are explicitly associated with the spirit, while the last five are not. Notice also that the prepositions used with the first four are different: through, according to, by, and by.

The first four spiritual gifts describe a loop that leaves concrete thought and then returns to concrete thought. More specifically, the loop goes from Mercy to Teacher to Perceiver to Contributor to Mercy. The starting point is Platonic forms in Mercy thought, because the first gift is described as ‘through or on account’ of the spirit. One then receives an insight in Teacher thought that has personal applications—a word of wisdom. This relates to the flash of intuition mentioned earlier. The second gift adds factual content to this theoretical insight, because it is a word of knowledge. This factual knowledge is described as ‘according to’ the spirit, which implies that the factual knowledge is being guided in some indirect manner by the values of Platonic forms. These facts are followed by plans. These plans require faith because they are guided by factual understanding and not by visible experience, and they are motivated by the internal vision of perfection provided by the Platonic forms of the spirit. One can tell that these first three gifts form a sequence because Paul emphasizes that they occur as a result of the ‘same spirit’. The fourth gift then uses this plan to bring healing to MMNs of personal identity, which is also guided by Platonic forms of perfection. Paul says that this fourth gift is guided by the ‘one Spirit’ and not the ‘same spirit’, which implies that this fourth gift is guided by a unifying vision that goes beyond the more specific vision that guided the first three gifts.

One can see this loop illustrated by the development of new technology. It begins with a flash of intuition within the mind of someone who has a deep grasp of how science works. This is then expanded into a fuller understanding by acquiring facts. This factual understanding makes it possible to come up with new plans and products. And these products are then used to improve society.

Spirit is not specifically mentioned with the next five gifts. This may be because it is possible for these five gifts to function apart from the spirit. This is backed up by Jesus’ warning at the end of the Sermon on the Mount: “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness’” (Matt. 7:22,23). Jesus mentions three of the five last gifts: miracles, prophecy, and casting out demons—which would require a discerning of spirits. But Jesus complains that people performing these gifts have not been personally transformed.

Looking at these gifts more specifically, the phrase ‘effecting of miracles’ gives the impression of supernatural powers, but the Greek words are energema, which means energizing, and dunamis, which means might, power, and marvelous works. One of the primary characteristics of our technological society is the energy that makes marvelous works of power possible. One discovers how dependent one is personally upon energy when there is a storm and the electrical power goes out. Similarly, cars, trucks, ships, airplanes, and machines all require the energy contained within fossil fuels to function. While energy and power are essential, they lack direction and will only generate useful work if channeled. Raw, unchanneled energy is a destructive force, as illustrated by floods and explosions. And power can be used to enable either good or evil, as illustrated by the power of a nuclear bomb versus the power of a nuclear power station.

Turning now to the spiritual realm, charismatic movements often talk about being ‘slain in the spirit’. This too is an experience of raw unchanneled spiritual energy, because it is causing a person to be psychologically overcome. I do not want to say categorically that all experiences of being slain in the spirit are either fraudulent or spiritually harmful, but one can definitely state that the goal should be to harness energy and to use power to perform good.

The next gift is prophecy, which means communicating facts as well as predicting facts. This too is a major characteristic of scientific thought, because research gathers facts about the world and then forms hypotheses in order to predict facts about the world. However, modern science has shown us that it is possible to divorce prophecy both from the larger picture of a concept of God in Teacher thought as well as from personal implications in Mercy thought.

Moving to the next gift, modern science discerns spirits all the time, distinguishing internal visions that are fantasy from those that are scientifically reasonable, and then passing judgment on those that are regarded as scientifically impossible. It is important to test internal visions of perfection and pass judgment on those that violate Teacher understanding. But it is also possible to test and pass judgment from the sidelines. Personal transformation goes beyond discerning and judging to living within that which is good.

This distinction can be seen in Matthew 7. Quoting more fully from this passage, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.’” (Matt. 7:21-23). Notice that all of this is being done in the name of incarnation. Similarly, modern objective science is guided by the name of incarnation as revealed in the structure of the physical universe. Objective science has performed the useful task of casting out many demons (daimonion) of irrational, fragmented TMNs. But instead of replacing these demons with a Holy Spirit, objective science has left personal identity untransformed and lawless. Summarizing, I suggest that Matthew 7:21-23 is an accurate indictment of the shortcomings of modern objective science.

The final two gifts are tongues and interpretation of tongues. This is often interpreted as ‘speaking in tongues’, but the Greek word is glossa, which means language, or ‘a nation distinguished by its language’. The symbolic meaning becomes obvious to anyone who is familiar with academia. Academic thought is split into different specializations, each characterized by its own technical language. If one wishes to become an expert in some specialization, then one must learn the language that is used by that specialization. Technical language is useful, because defining terms is a requirement for technical thought, and technical thought is an aspect of incarnation. Because each specialization has its own technical language, technical terms have to be translated into normal speech, and the technical terms of one specialization have to be translated into the technical language of another specialization. That describes the final gift of interpreting tongues. The Greek word is hermeneia, which means ‘to translate, interpret, or explain’.

Speaking tongues and interpreting tongues are both critical aspects of integrated thought. Much of my current research consists of learning the language of some researcher or school of thought, and then attempting to translate between this language and other languages, guided by the language of mental symmetry. However, modern science has shown us that is possible to practice these two gifts while completely ignoring personal transformation.

Turning now to the charismatic practice of ‘speaking in tongues’, we will see when looking at 1 Corinthians 14 that charismatic tongues may have the overall shape of speech but they lack the content of a real language. Looking at this more generally, ‘being slain in the spirit’ is energy without content, while ‘speaking in tongues’ is language without content. Both of these are consistent with the spirit of this age, which is happy to embrace spirituality without content. But what society really needs is spirituality with content.

Paul finishes by saying that “One and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as he wills” (12:11). In other words, the Spirit has content. The Holy Spirit is not just some vague force that provides nebulous spiritual feelings. Instead, there is one Spirit who ‘divides into parts, cuts asunder, distributes’ (diaireo). It is precisely this sort of dividing into parts, cutting asunder, and distributing which mysticism abhors, because the overgeneralization of mysticism can only maintain unity by making vague universal statements. In contrast, the technical thinking of incarnation by its very nature will ‘divide into parts, cut asunder, and distribute’. Therefore, it is only possible for incarnation to manifest the invisible ideals of the Spirit if one goes beyond a mystical concept of God and divine spirit.

Cognitive Styles 12:12-26

Moving on, verses 12-26 deal with the body of Christ with its many members, which I suggest relates to the spiritual gifts or cognitive styles of Romans 12. Paul begins by saying that these spiritual categories override existing categories of religion and culture: “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit” (12:13). What mattered initially was the distinction between religious and secular (Jew or Greek) as well as MMNs of power and status (slaves or free). But when one becomes immersed within the water of the Spirit, then these external divisions become replaced by the internal, invisible distinctions of cognitive style. This essay illustrates what that means. We are not quoting from established experts, and we are interpreting 1 Corinthians in a way that is both secular and religious. We are being guided by the internal categories of the seven spiritual gifts described in Romans 12, and we are finding that this approach leads to an integrated view of 1 Corinthians.

Paul then refers to different parts of the physical body. I suggest that Paul’s illustrations are not random but rather describe basic internal divisions that are characteristic of modern thought. In order to interpret these illustrations, we need to work out the symbolic correspondence between body parts and cognitive styles. Paul mentions eyes, ears, smell, head, hands, and feet. Eyes are used to see the physical world of objects. Thus, eyes probably refer to concrete thought. Ears, in contrast are used to hear words, and words are the basic building blocks for abstract thought. Thus, ears probably represent abstract thought. Smell is easy to decipher because smell is the only sense that connects directly with the orbitofrontal cortex, and neurological evidence makes it clear that mental networks reside within orbitofrontal cortex. Saying this more simply, smell triggers emotional memories. Christ is described as the head of the church, the head controls the body, Contributor thought is the core of choice and free will, and incarnation is related to Contributor thought. Thus, the head would correspond to Contributor thought and Contributor-controlled technical thought. Feet are used to support a person and to move a person from one location to another. Mentally speaking, the mind uses mental networks to represent personal identity, and a person moves internally from one location to another by changing mental networks of personal identity. Therefore, I suggest that feet represent mental networks (or possibly Mercy thought and Teacher thought in general). Most skills involve the hands, and hands are also used for object manipulation. Therefore, I suggest that hands correspond to Perceiver and Server thought.

Let us turn now to Paul’s illustrations: “If the foot says, ‘because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,’ it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body” (12:14). Translated, if one pretends that mental networks are not related to Perceiver facts and Server sequences, then this does not stop mental networks from being dependent upon facts and sequences. This describes a fundamental fallacy of Western thought, which thinks that mental networks can exist apart from rational content. However, I suggest that mental networks never occur in isolation but are always a reflection of the current context.

Going further, “If the ear says, ‘Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,’ it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body” (12:16). Translated, because abstract thought is different than concrete thought, the assumption is that abstract thought can exist without concrete thought. This too is a fundamental fallacy of Western thought, which divorces abstract theory from concrete experience, not realizing that concrete experience is the starting point for abstract thought.

Paul then asks, “If the whole body were an eye, where with the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?” (12:17). Translated, using only concrete thought is not enough. Instead one must go beyond concrete thought to include abstract thought as well. However, that also is not enough, because one must also include the emotional impact that mental networks have upon thought and behavior.

Moving on to the next illustration, “The eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you” (12:28). In other words, merely observing the world is not enough. Instead, observation goes together with participation. This too is a fundamental fallacy of modern scientific thought, which tries to observe situations without contaminating them through personal involvement. However, quantum mechanics has taught us that one cannot observe a situation without influencing it.

Similarly, “the head [cannot say] to the feet, I have no need of you” (12:21). Here, Contributor thought is thinking that it can exist independently of mental networks. This is another fundamental fallacy of Western thought. In academia, it leads to the assumption that Contributor-controlled technical thought is sufficient for solving all problems, and that there is no need to consider mental networks of culture and identity. More generally, it leads to the assumption that a person can use free will to choose whatever he wishes, not realizing that the free will of Contributor thought is always guided by the desires of mental networks.

These four fundamental fallacies correspond reasonably well to the four fundamental divisions of MBTI. The two core divisions of MBTI are Feeling versus Thinking and iNtuition versus Sensing, and they are related to the first two fallacies mentioned by Paul. Feeling versus Thinking separates between the mental networks of feeling and the facts and skills of thinking. iNntuition versus Sensing separates between the intuitive leaps of abstract thought and the step-by-step plodding of concrete thought.

Going further, the separation between observation and participation is somewhat related to the MBTI division between Introverted and Extraverted, because observation does its thinking internally while participation becomes involved externally.

The final MBTI division is between Judging and Perceiving. Judging prefers rules and restrictions and tries to come to solid conclusions, all characteristics of technical thought. Perceiving follows desires without restriction and tries to keep options open, characteristics of the mindset that tries to follow mental networks without being restricted by decisions.

I examined MBTI several years ago and came to the conclusion that its four fundamental divisions are an accurate description of the immature, fragmented human mind. Similarly, I suggest that Paul’s four illustrations are also an accurate symbolic description of how the mind naturally fragments. The correspondence between Paul’s illustrations and the MBTI categories is not perfect, but it is close enough to warrant being mentioned. And it is possible that my analysis of MBTI and interpretation of Paul’s symbolism is inaccurate.

Verse 22 says, “On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary”. The phrase, ‘on the contrary’ implies that verse 22 expands upon the divisions mentioned in the previous verses. Generally speaking, female thought with its mental networks has historically been regarded as weaker than male thought with its rational facts and skills. However, I have come to the conclusion that the human mind cannot exist without core mental networks. They may be ‘weaker’ but they are anagkaios (‘necessary, essential, intimate, right, and proper’). Paul does not say that these members are weaker, but rather that they seem to be weaker. Similarly, mental networks often appear to be weak, but they are in fact extremely resilient and stubborn. For instance, communist Russia killed, persecuted, and indoctrinated its citizens for decades in an attempt to eliminate mental networks of religion and culture, but in the end, communism fell while Russian religion and culture has remained intact. (Paul will describe the ‘better way’ of being guided by mental networks of love in the next chapter.)

The two ‘and’s in verse 23 suggests that this is also expanding upon the previous comparisons: “And those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it” (12:23,24). The first comparison is between thought and behavior. We form an opinion that some members have less honor or value than other members, while in fact bestowing or clothing these members with more abundant honor. This may refer to the division between abstract thought and concrete thought. Abstract thought is generally viewed as more honorable than concrete thought (for instance, a white-collar job is considered to be higher class than a blue-collar job), but in practice most honor is given to those who pursue concrete thought (for instance, there are many more sports stars than famous professors).

The second comparison appears to deal with privacy. More literally, the unseemly or indecent parts are given more decorum, while the more presentable parts do not need this. (The precise meaning is open to interpretation because these three terms are only used once in the Bible.) One possible interpretation is that personal privacy is covered by mental networks of politeness, while normal thought does not need such a covering. Interpreting this physically, private parts are covered by clothes while the rest of the body does not need to be covered. Cognitively speaking, it appears that there is a need for personal privacy. It is not mentally healthy to share everything with others. Putting this in religious terms, I suggest that the Catholic practice of confessing to a priest, as well as Protestant concepts of personal accountability, are psychologically harmful, because they lead to emotional ensnarement. Saying this cognitively, sharing too many private details gives too much power to MMNs of personal identity. In fact, one effective way of controlling and blackmailing people is by maintaining secret files on their hidden sins. Instead, the ultimate goal should be to build the mind upon the TMN of a concept of God. Cognitive styles make it possible to be emotionally open without violating personal privacy, because one can talk about the weaknesses of each cognitive style in generic terms, without having to personally investigate the behavior of specific individuals.

Paul then describes the characteristics of mental and societal wholeness: “But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it” (12:24-26). First, people have different cognitive styles, but each cognitive style is capable of excelling in its own way. This is quite different than modern society, which attempts to ignore personal differences and forces everyone to meet a single standard of success. Saying this another way, God practices justice while the world currently pursues fairness. Fairness eliminates differences by treating everyone in the same manner, while justice provides everyone with equal opportunities. Second, if one cognitive style (or cognitive module) is not functioning properly, then this hurts everyone. For instance, Perceiver thought requires truth to operate, but postmodern society does not believe in the existence of truth. This suppression of Perceiver thought does not just hurt Perceiver persons but harms all of society. Third, helping one cognitive style or cognitive module produces positive benefits for all of the mind.

Administration and God the Father 12:28-30

The last section examines the work of God in general terms: “And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues” (12:28). In verse 7, the gifts were given ‘to each one’, focusing upon individual abilities. Similarly, verses 15-17 refers to the parts of the body in the singular. Verses 28-30, in contrast, use the plural, indicating a focus upon general categories.

These seven categories form a sequence, which is clear from Paul’s use of first, second, and third. As we have already seen, an apostle extends incarnation in some significant manner. This is followed by prophets who proclaim truth, guided by the new insights of the apostle. The next stage is to teach this material in a more systematic manner. This systematic understanding makes it possible to unlock new sources of power and energy, which are then used to solve personal problems. Once the problems have been eliminated, then the focus turns to help in general. Finally, organizations form that need to be administered, and specializations emerge with specialized vocabularies.

This sequence starts with apostles. Many theologians teach that the gift of apostleship ceased after the time of the original disciples of Jesus. However, this list begins by saying that ‘God has appointed in the church’, which means that the process is being driven by a concept of God in Teacher thought. Science provides a partial illustration because it is driven by a general understanding of natural law in Teacher thought. And the development of science has been driven by ‘apostles’ of science who have made major breakthroughs in understanding how incarnation is expressed in the structure of the universe.

Paul finishes by insisting that here too there is a division of labor: “All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they?” (12:29). These questions are relevant because there is a natural tendency to take one of these gifts and use them as a standard to evaluate everyone, as illustrated by the quote about the expanding bureaucracy. For example, every professor is expected to be an apostle, continually publishing original, groundbreaking research, as illustrated by the phrase ‘publish or perish’. Quoting from the Wikipedia article, “In popular academic perception, scholars who publish infrequently, or who focus on activities that do not result in publications, such as instructing undergraduates, may lose ground in competition for available tenure-track positions. The pressure to publish has been cited as a cause of poor work being submitted to academic journals.” Using the language of Paul, everyone is expected to be an apostle, and those who have the gift of teaching rather than apostleship are penalized. (It is interesting that theologians say that no one can be an apostle while all professors are expected to be apostles.) Turning to a religious example, in some charismatic circles, speaking in tongues is considered to be a qualification for being a genuine Christian. But Paul specifically says here that not everyone speaks with tongues. In other Christian circles, social work and ministry to the down-and-out are considered to be the hallmark of genuine Christianity. But Paul says that not everyone has the gift of healing.

Finally, notice that Paul specifically refers to the theoretical gifts of apostle, prophet, and teacher as first, second, and third, making it clear that God’s administration of the church is based in theology and not in pragmatic worship or service. There is a strong tendency today to downplay or even abandon theology in exchange for story-based narrative, worship-based experience, or some form of social gospel. This list makes it clear that God builds his church upon theology. Christianity goes beyond theology to practical application and personal transformation, but it begins with theory and theology.

Paul finishes his discussion of spiritual gifts by saying that there is a better way, which is the way of love.

Describing Love

1 Corinthians 13 is known as the love chapter. This chapter is often quoted at weddings, but I have seldom heard sermons preached on this chapter at other times. In other words, the average person views this chapter as a romantic ideal that does not apply to normal life. Therefore, it is necessary to make some general comments before looking at the chapter.

Love can be defined as mental networks of identity interacting in a mutually beneficial manner. Love tends to be defined today as accepting a person no matter what they do or say. I suggest that this is a natural byproduct of using mysticism to come up with a concept of God. The God of mysticism is a God of oneness that ‘transcends’ factual content. This leads in Mercy thought to the concept of a Holy Spirit who ignores factual content, leading to the assumption that love means accepting people by ignoring facts.

The same cognitive mechanisms function in a different manner when the starting point is a rational concept of God. A concept of God is based in a general Teacher theory that applies to personal identity. A mystical concept of God can only generate feelings of encountering God. A God of rational content, in contrast, has content that can apply to personal identity through the actions of righteousness and the ideals of Platonic forms. Platonic forms combine to form a mental concept of the Spirit of God. Because both God and Platonic forms have rational content, it is possible for mental networks of personal identity to become reborn and live within this internal environment. The behavior of personal identity is guided by an understanding of the righteous ways of God in Teacher thought, while the Platonic forms of the Spirit of God in Mercy thought provide a set of idealized values. When interaction between mental networks of personal identity is guided by the TMN of a concept of God and by the MMNs of Platonic forms of the Spirit of God, then this interaction will express the love of God.

For instance, a democratic society is governed by a Constitution and a set of laws. This is represented in Mercy thought by Platonic forms such as Lady Justice. Lady Justice does not exist, but rather is an internal image that symbolizes characteristics of law and justice. When society is guided by the rule of law, then people will interact in a civil manner.

The Spirit of God is described in John 16 as the Spirit of truth: “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak, and He will disclose to you what is to come” (John 16:13). A spirit of truth leads naturally to prophecy. Looking at this cognitively, a Platonic form does not ignore facts about reality but rather uses Teacher understanding to idealize facts about reality. For instance, the Platonic form of a circle is based upon real circles, but it is also an internal image that is more perfect than any real circle in real life. Because a Platonic form is based in a Teacher understanding of universal principles, it is an internal image of how things could be or should be. For instance, Lady Justice provides the internal image of an ideal society that is governed by impartial law. When one goes beyond describing what is to describing what could or should be, then one is entering the realm of prophecy.

The connection between God, Spirit, prophecy, and love can be seen in 1 John 4. Like 1 Corinthians 13, 1 John 4 also follows several chapters of a process of reaching mental wholeness. John starts by saying “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (4:1). John emphasizes that not all spirits are from God, and that one should be wary of inaccurate predictions of future perfection. Skipping ahead a few verses, “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (4:4-6). The conflict is between spirit that is internally based upon a concept of God, and spirit that is rooted in external reality, between a Spirit of God and the spirit of this age. John says that a ‘spirit of truth’ comes from God and listens to God.

The next verses talk about the love of God: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him” (4:7-9). John tells his readers to love each other with a love that is from God, and he emphasizes that this kind of love requires being ‘born of God and knowing God’. John adds that the love of God expresses the saving content of incarnation. A Platonic form is an invisible image that is more perfect than reality. Similarly, John says that “No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us” (4:12).

Summarizing, a Teacher concept of God leads to Platonic forms of perfection within Mercy thought, and when mental networks of personal identity are reborn within this grid of Teacher understanding and Platonic forms, then people will naturally express the love of God. As John says, “God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (4:16).

Four Ways of Functioning 13:1-3

Let us return now to 1 Corinthians 13. Paul begins by describing four ways of approaching Christianity. The first way is theology. “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (13:1). Theology speaks the language of doctrine and abstract theory, but remains limited to the world of words and symbols. Pure mathematics and analytical philosophy also fall into this realm of speaking with various tongues. Paul says that this type of Christianity is merely noise.

The second way is incarnation. A mental concept of incarnation combines precise definitions in abstract thought with a knowledge of cause-and-effect in concrete thought. The combination of qualities that Paul mentions describes incarnation. “If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing” (13:2). In the abstract realm, technical thought works out mysteries and acquires knowledge. What Paul is describing here is not just incarnation, but incarnation expanded to the universality of God, because all mystery and all knowledge has been revealed. This concept of divine incarnation in abstract thought is extending to the concrete world through prophecy and exhibiting itself through the transformation of cause-and-effect to the extent of moving entire mountains. These are probably figurative mountains, but Paul is still describing a fully developed concept of incarnation. And Paul’s goal is to reveal the mystery of a fully developed concept of incarnation that transforms reality: “to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). But Paul says that a person with such a concept of incarnation who lacks love is nothing. Notice the progression. The way of theology leads to noise and not knowledge. Paul is not saying that a person with a fully developed concept of incarnation produces only noise. Such an individual does have knowledge and does transform reality, but there is no personal salvation. The person himself is nothing.

Modern science and technology provide a perfect illustration, because they have developed a reasonably thorough concept of incarnation that has transformed physical reality. But modern science does not transform people. Stated bluntly, the typical scientist can transform the world but personally is nothing.

The third way is righteousness. A person becomes righteous by choosing to follow the TMN of a concept of God rather than follow MMNs of personal status. Paul says in verse 3, “If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body [a]to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing” (13:3). The italics and footnote are in the NASB translation. The italics indicate that the phrase ‘the poor’ is not in the original Greek. Instead, the word translated ‘give to feed the poor’ is psomizo, which means ‘to feed with morsels’. And the footnote indicates that in early Greek manuscripts, the word translated ‘to be burned’ (kauthesomai) is actually ‘to boast’ (kauchesomai), and ‘to boast’ is probably the original word. The NASB translation conveys the impression of practicing religious self-denial in order to help the down-and-out as well as suppressing the physical body in the most painful way possible. However, when Jesus talks about practicing righteousness, he emphasizes receiving a reward from God rather than from men: “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you” (Matt. 6:1,2). The word translated ‘to boast’ is not a negative word signifying arrogance but rather a positive word, defined as ‘what holds the head up high… living with God-given confidence’. Consistent with this, Paul does not say that a person practicing righteousness is nothing. Instead, when one allows Server sequences of personal behavior to be guided by a Teacher understanding of the character of God, then one becomes a person who is righteous, and this ‘God-given confidence’ makes it emotionally possible to ‘hold one’s head up high’ even when not receiving approval from people. In a similar vein, Paul talks about using possessions to ‘feed with morsels’. This is consistent with Paul’s desire in chapter 9 to receive the reward of not having to charge people for the message of rebirth, in order to receive a reward from God.

Paul concludes by saying that the way of righteousness ‘profits me nothing’, and the word profit is an economic term.

Summarizing, theology limits Christianity to words and theories, and the end result is basically noise. Incarnation adds content to theory and applies this content in real life. There is knowledge and transformation, but people are not personally transformed. Righteousness follows God rather than men and seeks approval from God rather than men. This leads to personal transformation but does not necessarily lead to personal reward. The implication is that following a path of love will lead to personal reward.

Looking at this cognitively, the childish mind is guided by MMNs of idolatry, hedonism, and emotional status. Theology does not alter this fundamental motivation, because it is limited to the realm of words. Incarnation may reveal mysteries and transform reality but it is possible to pursue incarnation guided by the TMN of a concept of God without transforming childish MMNs. Righteousness does use a TMN of God to transform MMNs of personal identity, but this will not necessarily lead to a transformed personal environment in which one can experience the benefits of righteousness. If one wishes to experience personal benefits, then one must pursue love.

Let me restate this from a more personal perspective. One often thinks of theologians, theoreticians, mathematicians, and philosophers as being coldly rational, but these individuals are driven by Teacher of emotions of theory and understanding. However, this theoretical emotion has nothing to do with real life. Going further, it is exhilarating to live in a world of science and technology in which new and exciting products are continually being released. However, what is the point of buying a new cellphone every year if I never change? Righteousness introduces a new personal emotion. One is no longer pursuing abstract theory in order to receive acclaim from one’s colleagues, and one is no longer buying the latest gadgets in order to keep up with the Joneses. Instead, one is motivated by a deep understanding of how things work, and this will make previous motivations appear hollow, temporary, futile, and infantile. However, one is still following God rather than man. One is still holding one’s head high while walking apart from society. Love goes beyond this to living as a transformed person within a transformed society.

But love does not lead immediately to a transformed society. Instead, one must become a person of love before one gains the privilege of living in a society of love, because a society of love is built upon people of love. Saying this another way, love emerges within minds that are guided fully by transformed mental networks, and when mental networks are transformed, then this will inevitably result in a transformed personal world. This is a fundamental cognitive principle, and it also appears to be a fundamental spiritual principle. Paul says in Galatians 6, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” (6:7-9). Paul begins by saying that the person who misunderstands this principle is actually mocking God. There is a universal spiritual law of sowing and reaping, but involves the spiritual realm of mental networks. One sows internally by transforming mental networks of spirit. One reaps eternal life—the ultimate personal transformation. But sowing to the spirit is not followed immediately by reaping from the spirit.

Defining Love 13:4-7

This attitude of being emotionally guided by internal mental networks of spirit can be seen in 1 Corinthians 13. Starting with verse 4, “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not boast and is not arrogant”.

The word patient means to be ‘long-tempered, suffering long, and persevering’. This happens naturally when the mind is ruled by the TMN of an understanding of how things work. For instance, there is no point in physically flapping one’s arms and trying to fly because this contradicts how the natural world works. Similarly, there is no point in flapping one’s tongue in order to try to instantly change people and situations because this contradicts how the mind works. In other words, one suffers long not because one is suppressing emotions but rather because one is being guided by a deep emotional grasp of how things work.

The word kind means kind and gentle, and only occurs once in the New Testament. This trait recognizes that people are emotionally vulnerable and treats them with gentleness. The childish mind cannot exhibit this trait because MMNs of personal identity are continually struggling with one another for dominance. The childish mind sees people either as authority figures to be respected and obeyed, or as inferior pawns to be stepped on and ignored. A transformed mind, in contrast, regards people as individuals with feelings living within an environment governed by the law of God.

The word jealous means ‘to set one’s heart on, to be completely intent upon’, and it is often portrayed as a positive trait. For instance, Paul says at the end of 1 Corinthians 12 to ‘earnestly desire [be jealous of] the greater gifts’. When mental networks of personal identity become reborn within internal grid of understanding, then desire remains but there is no longer deep jealousy. That is because desire is tempered by a knowledge of where I am compared with where I want to be. For instance, a little child on a trip will often ask ‘Are we there yet?’ because the child lacks an internal map of the journey and therefore is continually jumping mentally to the destination and being disappointed when the destination has not yet been reached physically. An adult, in contrast, has an internal map of the journey, and this knowledge prevents personal identity from jumping to the destination. When personal identity lives within a grid of understanding, then it is possible to be motivated by a deep desire without being consumed by jealousy.

The word boast is not the term kauchesomai referred to earlier, but rather perpereuomai, which means to ‘flaunt myself or act as a braggart’. When one is driven by MMNs of personal status, then one will continually feel the need to promote self in front of others. However, when one is guided by a TMN of understanding how things work, and when one’s ultimate focus is determined by MMNs of Platonic perfection, then one will realize that the ultimate reward does not come from people. In fact, people can only provide temporary assistance, and they are literally incapable of satisfying one’s deepest needs or desires. One stops bragging not because one is trying to deny oneself in front of others but rather because one is seeking lasting personal benefits.

Finally, the word arrogant means ‘swelled up, like an egotistical person spewing out arrogant puffed-up thoughts. One sees here the abstract side of boasting. Boasting uses speech to emphasize MMNs of personal identity, while arrogant uses an exalted sense of self to come up with inflated theories in Teacher thought. The goal here is not to make me look good but rather to make my ideas appear more significant. A transformed mindset does precisely the opposite, allowing the TMN of a general understanding to shape MMNs of personal identity rather than allowing personal identity to shape understanding.

Notice that these traits are not characteristics that one attempts to achieve by suppressing self through great effort of will. Instead, they emerge naturally when personal identity is reborn within rational understanding and Platonic forms.

Continuing now with verse 5, Paul says that love “does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered” (13:5).

Love does not ‘act improperly, unseemly, or unbecomingly’. I mentioned that transformed identity lives within a grid of rational understanding. This will exhibit itself as behavior that is naturally appropriate and law-abiding. Even when internal standards differ from the norms of society, the goal will not be to rebel from society but rather to submit to a higher law. Paul says something similar in Romans 12:17,18: “Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”

Love does not investigate or search for the things of its own. One might think that this means practicing religious self-denial, but I suggest that this is not the case. That is because a person who is denying self is still thinking in terms of self versus others. Saying this another way, self-denial is a very elusive goal, because one continually finds oneself denying oneself in ways that seek the approval of others.

Reborn identity is capable of transcending this mindset because it no longer thinks in terms of self-versus-others. Instead, it places both self and others within a map of mental maturity, recognizing that each person is composed of needs and character traits at various levels of maturity. Going further, such a mind also recognizes that no individual is complete, which means that it is not even possible for a person to focus upon their own personal needs while ignoring the needs of others.

Love is not ‘provoked, irritated, or aroused to anger’. The KJV says ‘is not easily provoked’, but the word ‘easily’ is not in the original Greek. The Perceiver person is prone to being provoked to anger, because he thinks in terms of justice and morality but has no direct control over his emotional response. Therefore, he usually experiences anger as an emotional outburst that erupts from the subconscious. I have found that the only successful method of eliminating such outbursts is the long-term strategy of allowing personal identity to become reborn in submission to Teacher understanding. When one really grasps at a deep emotional level that there is no such thing as instant character transformation, then using anger to impose changes upon others is no longer an option, for the simple reason that it is futile. Emotional outbursts destroy mental structure, while maturity requires mental structure. Notice that Paul is not saying that love always talks calmly in a low tone of voice, but rather that love does not respond involuntarily to the triggering of emotional hot buttons.

Love does not ‘reckon, consider, or count’ badness. One obvious application is that love does not keep track of how it has been wronged by others; it does not keep a list of grievances. But I think that Paul’s words also have a more general application. Stated simply, love does not spend its time thinking about bad things. This does not mean that one ignores evil or that one pretends that evil does not exist. Rather, it means that one’s attention is continually drawn beyond temporary experiences of evil to the lasting goodness of Platonic forms and the eternal righteousness of God’s character. One cannot simply choose not to think about evil, because that is like choosing not to think about pink elephants; the more one tries to repress the image, the more it comes to mind. Instead, it is only possible to continue not thinking about evil if one is internally ruled by core mental networks of goodness that are more potent than the experiences of evil that one encounters in real life. One will then find one’s attention naturally drawn away from evil to good.

Moving now to verse 6, love “does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth” (13:6).

I have mentioned that righteousness allows actions to be guided by the TMN of a concept of God. This does not mean trying to obey God or attempting to obey some set of rules through self-effort. Instead, one recognizes that God has structured both the world and the mind to function in certain ways, and this recognition has turned into the TMN of a general theory. Thus, one feels emotionally driven to behave in a way that is consistent with how things work. Going further, when one observes behavior that is not consistent with how things work, then one cringes emotionally. It feels bad to behave unrighteously or to observe unrighteous behavior. Notice that like the previous characteristic, one is again dealing with a spontaneous emotional response that cannot be faked.

For instance, I played violin professionally for a number of years. It makes me cringe to see an actor pretending to play violin in a movie, because the behavior of the actor is so obviously inconsistent with how one plays a violin. I suggest that this is the type of response that Paul is describing.

In contrast, love ‘rejoices with the truth’. ‘Rejoices with’ is a single word in the original Greek, and truth refers to ‘truth in the moral sphere’. I suggest that this describes an emotional response provoked by Platonic forms. A Platonic form is an internal vision of goodness and perfection. When a Platonic form turns into a mental network, then one will feel good whenever one experiences a situation that is like the Platonic form. Because a Platonic form is an idealization of real experiences, it can never be fully experienced in real life. But it is possible to experience situations that are more like Platonic forms, and these experiences bring joy. Notice that one is ‘rejoicing with’. That is because a Platonic form is triggered by the existence of situations. For instance, when one sees an object of beauty, then the strongest emotion is not desiring to possess that object for oneself but rather rejoicing that such an object exists. I am not suggesting that personal desire ceases to exist or that identity becomes swallowed up. Instead, I am suggesting that personal desire exists within the larger framework of a general desire for goodness.

Verse 7 describes four superlatives: “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Bears means to ‘bear up under’ or ‘protect by covering’. Believe is the normal Greek word for belief or faith. Hope means ‘to hope for or expect’. And endure means to ‘remain under or persevere’.

This description may appear at first glance to be an expression of naïve ignorance, if one interprets these traits in terms of responding externally to people. For instance, one protects one’s friend by covering up what they did wrong, one believes everything that someone else says, one lives within a fantasy world of expectation, or one is stepped on by others because one lacks the self-confidence that is needed to stand up for oneself. This type of naïve response seldom lasts but rather is eventually replaced by cynicism.

Instead, I suggest that Paul is describing something far deeper, which is that all situations and people are being viewed through a mindset of covering, belief, hope, and endurance. One covers everything by placing specific situations within an internal framework of understanding. One believes everything by looking for the solid facts in every situation. One hopes everything by viewing real situations as incomplete expressions of Platonic forms of perfection. And one endures everything by submitting internally to inescapable principles of moral cause-and-effect.

For instance, I have found that the theory of mental symmetry provides a covering for situations by placing them within the framework of a Teacher understanding of how the mind works. Thus, instead of being troubled by the Mercy pain of unpleasant personal experiences, I find myself more deeply attracted to the Teacher emotion of understanding why people act the way that they do. I also find that mental symmetry makes it possible to find truth in every situation. This does not mean accepting all facts at face value. Rather, it means that even when a person is deliberately lying or practicing self-deception, this falsehood is still being guided by inescapable principles of how the mind works; even when they are not speaking truth, they are still subject to truth. Mental symmetry also makes it possible to find hope even when people are inadequate. That is because each cognitive style is driven to use the part of the mind in which they are conscious. Therefore, if one combines how the Perceiver person uses Perceiver thought with how the Server person uses Server thought, how the Exhorter person uses Exhorter thought and so on, then one can form an internal composite image of how a person with a whole mind would function. This is like the old joke which says that “Heaven is where the police are British, the cooks are Italian, the mechanics are German, the lovers are French and it is all organised by the Swiss. Hell is where the police are German, the cooks are English, the mechanics are French, the lovers are Swiss, and it is all organised by the Italians.” In other words, one can form an internal image of heaven out of real experiences on earth, if one knows how to combine the experiences of earth—if one knows, for instance, that one should learn cooking from Italians and not organization. The theory of mental symmetry makes it possible to assemble a reasonably accurate internal image of human perfection out of experiences with imperfect humans. This internal image gives one hope for a better society, and interaction with normal imperfect people can actually build this hope rather than tearing it down. Finally, I find that mental symmetry builds endurance, because one cannot escape one’s own mind. If the human mind is ruled by inescapable cognitive principles, then trying to escape these principles merely prolongs the lessons that are required to become mentally whole. Saying this another way, if one cannot drop out of the school of character development, then one may as well be the best student that one can.

Paul says in verse 8 that “love never fails”. More literally, love never ‘falls down’. This could mean that love never fails, but it conveys the cognitive impression of a mental network that never falls apart or has to submit to other mental networks.

A New World 13:8-13

We have looked so far at what is happening within the mind, and one can see that love describes an internal mindset that can survive external pressure. However, one still lives in a vulnerable physical body that can be controlled and abused by those who do not practice love. I suggest that the rest of the chapter addresses this second problem. Saying this another way, what has been described so far in chapter 13 is sowing to the spirit. But Paul says in strong terms in Galatians 6 that those who sow to the spirit will eventually reap eternal life from the spirit. How does that transition occur?

Paul says five things in the next few verses that I suggest are related: 1) Certain forms of thought will end. 2) Incompleteness will be replaced by completeness. 3) Childish thought will be replaced by mature thought. 4) Dim vision will be replaced by clear sight. 5) Partial knowledge will be replaced by full knowledge.

Paul’s statements are usually viewed as poetic hyperbole or as a description of some mysterious, mystical, heavenly existence. We will examine Paul’s words as accurate descriptions of a coming reality. Saying this more clearly, if 1 Corinthians ended with Chapter 13, then it would be inappropriate to make the statements that I am about to make. However, Paul did not end by talking about love, but rather finished his letter with an extensive discussion about resurrection bodies and resurrection existence (in chapter 15). What we will be discussing in this section is consistent with what Paul says in chapter 15.

In order to put these pieces together, one needs to look at the nature of human reality. I have referred several times to concrete thought and abstract thought. One can see from the diagram of mental symmetry that Mercy and Server are concrete, while Teacher and Perceiver are abstract. Mercy and Server are concrete because Mercy thought receives emotional experiences directly from the physical environment, while Server thought can use actions to change the physical environment. Teacher and Perceiver are abstract because they do not interact directly with the physical environment. Teacher thought uses words, which are merely ephemeral vibrations in the air, and words will only change the world if some person or machine translates these words into actions. Similarly, one cannot use Perceiver thought to impose objects upon the environment, but rather must build objects by using Server thought to shape and assemble physical matter.

One major result of this imbalance between abstract thought and concrete thought is that one can use concrete thought to suppress abstract thought. Stated crudely, one can always respond to an unpleasant message by killing the messenger. Cognitively speaking, one is stopping the use of abstract thought by using Server actions to impose painful—or fatal—Mercy experiences.

Returning now to 1 Corinthians 13, Paul says in verse 8 that “if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease.” More literally, prophecies will be ‘rendered inoperative’ or ‘made of no effect’ while tongues will be ‘hindered or made to cease’. Notice that both tongues and prophecies are expressions of abstract thinking that is disconnected from physical reality. A tongue is a rational verbal structure in abstract thought that has no obvious connection with reality. That is why tongues need to be interpreted. In a similar vein, prophecy is guided by invisible understanding in Teacher thought to make statements about reality. (Or using an Old Testament definition, prophecy is guided by the invisible voice of God in Teacher thought to make statements about reality.) Paul says that something is going to stop tongues and make prophecies ineffective.

Paul’s next four points tell us what is going to achieve this effect. First, Paul says in verse 9-10 that prophecy and tongues are an expression of incompleteness that will come to an end when the perfect or complete arrives: “For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.” (The word translated perfect means ‘complete in all its parts, full-grown, having reached its final goal’.)

Second, Paul says that childish thought will be replaced by adult thinking: “When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things” (13:11). Notice that Paul is again referring to aspects of abstract thought. He does not talk about no longer behaving like a child in concrete thought, but rather about no longer speaking, thinking, and reasoning like a child in abstract thought.

Third, Paul says that seeing a ‘riddle or enigma’ in the reflection of a mirror will be replaced by seeing face-to-face. (Mirrors in Roman times were made of polished metal and only produced indistinct reflections.)

Fourth, Paul says that partial knowledge will be replaced by complete knowledge: “Now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known” (13:12).

Putting this together, human thought currently functions in an incomplete and childish manner. However, the present form of abstract thought will eventually be changed by replacing childish thought with adult thought and by replacing indirect knowledge with direct knowledge.

These pieces fit together nicely if one remembers that Paul began his discussion of love by talking about speaking the tongues of men and angels. I have mentioned that humans can use concrete thought to experience and control the physical world. Descriptions of angels (as well as descriptions of UFOs) make sense if angels have the same minds as humans but interact with their environment by using Perceiver facts and Teacher words. In other words, what humans call concrete thought, angels view as abstract thought, while human abstract thought corresponds to angelic concrete thought. I know that the love chapter is not normally interpreted by referring to multidimensional existence. That is why we took the time to examine Paul’s words carefully before putting them together.

Humans are currently incomplete because only concrete thought can interact with the environment while abstract thought remains locked within the invisible realm of words. The result is childish thinking, because abstract concepts are warped by a childish grasp of concrete experiences. This incomplete childish thinking needs to be replaced by adult thought that is integrated and whole.

If humans acquired the ability to sense Teacher emotions the way that angels appear to do, tongues would cease because Teacher emotions from the environment would overwhelm verbal ‘castles in the air’. Prophecy would also be rendered ineffective, because there would be no need to use an internal understanding of truth to predict external facts, if one could go directly from internal Perceiver belief to external Perceiver fact.

However, mixing human and angelic realms is not enough. That is because such a combination occurred before in Genesis 6 when ‘the sons of God came down to the daughters of men’, and the results were disastrous. As the book of Jude describes, this combination led to a mindset that was totally ungodly: “It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him. These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.’” (Jude 14-16). Examining this cognitively, human and angelic realms were drawn together by physical feelings of lust, and instead of placing personal identity within a concept of God, such individuals completely rejected the idea of God and instead struggled for personal dominance.

Summarizing, as long as humans can only use concrete thought to control the environment, godless people will use physical force in concrete thought to suppress understanding in abstract thought—people will respond to unpleasant messages by shooting the messenger. The positive side of this is that such ‘earthly wisdom’ will force those who are following a message of rebirth to find deeper sources of motivation, leading ultimately to the mindset of love described in 1 Corinthians 13. The long-term solution is to put concrete thought and abstract thought on an equal footing, which means making it possible for humans to use abstract thought to control the environment, which means combining human and angelic existence. But this must be done in a way that preserves internal content, or else the final result will be the disaster of Genesis 6.

The solution to that problem appears to lie in the spiritual realm. Humans interact with the physical environment through Server actions and Mercy experiences. Theory and observation suggest that angels interact with their environment through Perceiver power and Teacher words. In addition, it appears that there is also a spiritual realm in which individuals interact with the environment through mental networks. In other words, for such individuals core mental networks do not just rule the mind, but they also determine to some extent the shape of the environment. This type of realm was originally explored by Swedenborg in the 1700s. I think that most of Swedenborg’s teachings need to be rejected. However, I think that his general concept of ruling loves makes sense. In simple terms, Swedenborg suggested that after people die, they are drawn inexorably to an environment that is consistent with what Swedenborg calls their ‘ruling loves’, which mental symmetry would refer to as core mental networks. Similarly, most contemporary stories of people ‘visiting heaven’ describe living in a realm in which there is a resonance between internal mental networks and physical reality.

Returning to 1 Corinthians 13, Paul begins the chapter by describing a mind that is ruled by love. Using cognitive language, mental networks of personal identity reside within an internal world held together by the TMN of a concept of God as well as by the mental networks of spiritual Platonic forms. Such a mindset is internally stable; it can survive all kinds of pressure without falling apart. And building one’s mind upon such an internal foundation of mental networks could be described as sowing to the spirit. But how does one reap from the spirit? Does this remain purely an internal structure that one clings to despite external pressure? Or does there come a time when one’s internal world begins to affect the external world? But if one’s core mental networks start to affect the external world, then one is dealing with some kind of spiritual realm impacting the physical realm.

Paul says in verse 8 that ‘if there is knowledge, it will be done away’. The Greek word for knowledge means ‘knowledge gleaned from first-hand personal experience’. Science is based upon empirical evidence acquired through the senses. Paul is saying that knowledge based in sensory experience will be done away. This implies that the physical world can no longer be trusted as a solid source of knowledge, which means that it is being influenced by something else—something nonphysical. Paul describes the new basis for knowledge in verse 12: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” The word translated ‘know fully’ does not mean to know everything but rather to experientially know in a more full way. And the term ‘as’ is a comparative that means ‘in proportion, to the degree that’. In other words, Paul is saying that I will know other things to the degree that I myself am known. This is consistent with the idea of a spiritual realm in which one’s knowledge of the environment is in some way dependent upon placing personal identity within an internal structure of knowledge.

Turning now to personal experience, I have found that following the path of personal transformation changes one’s view of reality. This happens at a cognitive level because one views the world through a different set of cognitive glasses, and many authors now recognize the role that a person’s worldview plays in shaping a person’s picture of reality. But as I increasingly acquire a spiritual mind that is built upon ruling loves of God and the Holy Spirit, held together by an expanded concept of incarnation, I gain the internal impression that a spiritual realm lies behind the mental networks that I love. I also sense that ‘where’ and ‘with whom’ one connects within the spiritual realm is a reflection of one’s core mental networks.

Many groups within current society are pursuing spirituality without content. I have become convinced that this is asking for trouble at a deep spiritual level. I would not want to connect with spirits who think that content is meaningless, because I live within a world of content and I need content to exist. Instead, I would want to connect with spirits who are pursuing a path of mental and personal wholeness.

And I find myself being forced to turn this theory into practice, because I am currently in a situation where my only remaining option is to try to connect with the spiritual realm for help. That is because I find that the vast majority of humans are convinced that a rational understanding of God and Christianity is worthless, despite living in a technological world that has been utterly transformed by a rational understanding of God as revealed through the laws of nature. Thus, I identify with Paul’s statement that a message of rebirth is considered foolishness to those who pursue earthly wisdom.

Summarizing, a message of rebirth will naturally be rejected by those who pursue earthly wisdom. This rejection will force those who are preaching the message of rebirth to stop talking about their message and start applying their message. The struggle of trying to follow a message transformation in an environment that rejects personal transformation will build the internal confidence that is needed to make this message solid. This personal application will lead ultimately to a transformed mind in which reborn mental networks of personal identity live within an internal world held together by the mental network of a concept of God combined with the mental network of a concept of the Holy Spirit. But this transformed mind has to exist within an untransformed world. If a person with a transformed mind becomes fully emotionally committed to living a transformed life, then it appears that this commitment will open a door to the spiritual realm, which will be accompanied by connections with the supernatural realm.

This spiritual and supernatural breakthrough will not lead to an existence of stress-free bliss, but it will change the nature of stress. Before, the struggle was to follow internal content despite external pressure. After, the struggle becomes to stay internally integrated while attempting to bridge disparate external environments. Saying this more simply, when charismatic Christians experience some form of spiritual or supernatural activity, then one of the biggest challenges appears to be remaining sane and not going crazy.

One final point. Paul finishes the chapter by saying “but now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love” (13:13). Paul has said that tongues, prophecy, and knowledge do not remain. In contrast, he says that faith, hope, and love do remain. One can see how love would remain and be the greatest in a combined physical, supernatural, and spiritual realm, because what would matter above everything would be one’s core mental networks. They would determine the overall shape of one’s environment, and they would also provide the internal glue needed to combine physical with supernatural existence.

I suggest that hope and faith would also survive, but would take a different form. Swedenborg states in his description of heaven that every person naturally lives within a certain environment and is incapable of leaving this environment for more than a short time. This already occurs to some extent in the current physical world because people find it difficult to leave their own cultural MMNs, and the intellectual who develops the TMN of an understanding becomes emotionally trapped within this understanding. However, I have also found out that a mental network that is based in the structure of the mind is capable of expanding to cover many different contexts. In other words, I have discovered that it is possible to explore many other paradigms and systems of thought while still remaining emotionally imprisoned within the theory of mental symmetry. But this moving beyond one’s comfort zone requires hope and faith. Whenever I tackle a new topic, such as the book of 1 Corinthians, I hope that I will gain an understanding, and I have faith that I will survive this intellectual journey with my understanding intact. Thus, hope turns into internally ‘seeing’ an existence that is better than one’s current environment while faith is needed to get from one’s current environment to this better environment.

This view of hope and faith is conveyed in Revelation 21 in the description of the new heaven and earth: “I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb” (21:22,23). A temple is needed when a valid concept of God cannot be acquired directly from the external environment. And a sun illustrates a general Teacher theory in abstract thought that is shining upon concrete thought. There is no temple in the new Jerusalem because the concept of God directly illumines physical existence, and there is no sun or moon because abstract thought is no longer something separate from abstract thought that shines upon concrete thought. But John also says that the Lamb is the lamp of the city. Why would a city that is lit by the very essence of God require the small oil lamp of the Lamb? That is like using a flashlight in bright sunlight. I suggest that a flashlight is needed when moving through a dark passage from one well-lit environment to another, just as headlights are needed when driving through a tunnel during the daytime. The Lamb represents incarnation in the book of Revelation. When one is living in an environment where everything can be seen, one still needs to follow incarnation by faith through periods of temporary darkness guided by a lamp of hope as one moves from the status quo to something better. This mindset is described in Revelation 14:1-5, because a new group is singing a new song before God that others cannot sing, and this new group is following the Lamb wherever he goes.

Prophecy versus Tongues 14:1-5

In Chapter 13, Paul described the ‘more excellent way’ of love. Paul’s statement in verse 8 that prophecy and knowledge will be done away and tongues will cease led us to conclude that following a path of love leads ultimately to major changes in the nature of existence. Chapter 14 is obviously describing a more normal path because the topic of discussion is tongues and prophecy.

Paul begins by saying “Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy” (14:1). The Greek word translated ‘spiritual gifts’ is the same term Paul used in chapter 12 when introducing the topic of spiritual gifts. Paul says that the ultimate goal should be love (the word pursue means to ‘aggressively chase, like a hunter pursuing a catch’), but one should also ‘jealously seek’ spiritual gifts. It is interesting that ‘jealously seeking’ is one of the traits which Paul says in 13:4 that love does not have, which again implies that the love of chapter 13 describes a form of mental integration that goes beyond the tongues and prophecy of Chapter 14.

I suggest that chapters 13 and 14 are dealing with two sides of the same cognitive problem. I have suggested that when the mind is mentally whole, then reborn mental networks of personal identity reside within an internal grid held together by the TMN of a concept of God combined with mental networks of the Spirit. Chapter 13 looks forward, following love to the point where a door opens to other realms. Chapter 14 in contrast looks back, ensuring that internal wholeness does not become disconnected from external reality. Chapter 13 goes beyond chapter 14 because it describes what happens when one finally arrives at the destination. But chapter 14 is also necessary because it describes what one must continually do as one moves forward to the goal described in Chapter 13.

This can be seen in verse 2: “For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries.” Speaking in a tongue means pursuing the TMN of a general theory. Such a person is ‘speaking to God’ because a concept of God is based in a general theory in Teacher thought. The spirit will become involved because a general theory leads indirectly to Platonic forms of the spirit within Mercy thought. But other people will not understand because the theory has not been translated into terms that others are capable of understanding. And the Platonic forms will be a mystery to others because the invisible visions of perfection have not been translated into real life. In other words, when one pursues mental wholeness, one will naturally become disconnected from other people as well as disconnected from reality.

Prophecy applies abstract theory using words and pictures that others can grasp: “But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation” (14:3). Edification ‘builds the structure of a home’. For instance, edification goes from the Platonic perfection of ‘the invisible church’ to the reality of an actual local church. Exhortation means to ‘come alongside to give legal help’, and is closely related to the description of the Holy Spirit in John 14:16. Using cognitive language, exhortation places real situations within the context of universal law. For instance, technology addresses real needs by placing them within the context of the universal laws of science. Finally, consolation means ‘speaking closely with a degree of tenderness’. This goes beyond describing theory in generic terms to describing the universal principles that apply to the current specific situation. One is bringing emotional comfort by using theory to illuminate the present situation.

Paul then summarizes: “One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; the one who prophesies edifies the church” (14:4). It is good to develop general theories because they are the starting point for personal growth and transformation. But if one wants to help others, then one needs to go beyond tongues to prophecy.

Comparing these two, “I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying” (14:5). Theory is good, and Paul wishes that everyone could develop theory, but applying theory is better, because applied theory helps everyone. Therefore, if one works with theory one should also try to translate this theory into language that others can understand. The word interpret is different than the word prophecy, and these are described as different spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12. Prophecy applies theory to real life while interpretation translates theory into language that others are capable of understanding.

For instance, the average person views my research as a form of speaking in tongues, because I am using a language that people do not understand to come up with Platonic forms that do not relate to people’s reality. This is not of my choosing. Instead, it appears that I am being providentially manipulated to pursue a path of love. However, my primary focus during recent years has been to translate the tongue of mental symmetry into other languages, such as the language of theology, the language of psychology, the language of cognitive science, the language of science, and, hopefully, the language of normal life.

Paul says that prophecy is better than speaking in tongues, unless tongues is accompanied by interpretation. That is not the current view of academia. Repeating an earlier quote from Wikipedia, “In popular academic perception, scholars who publish infrequently, or who focus on activities that do not result in publications, such as instructing undergraduates, may lose ground in competition for available tenure-track positions.” In other words, academia rewards those who speak in tongues while penalizing those who prophesy or interpret. The end result is an academic world that has become increasingly disconnected from normal society, which is precisely what Paul is trying to avoid in chapter 14.

Is Charismatic ‘Speaking in Tongues’ Biblical? 14:6-12

Before continuing I would like to address a question that is probably in the minds of the religious reader. What is the relationship between charismatic ‘speaking in tongues’ and the tongues of 1 Corinthians? I have some personal experience with this question because I attended a charismatic church for several years in the 1980s (though I myself never ‘spoke in tongues’). I occasionally encountered ‘words of prophecy’ that were clearly legitimate and helpful, but most of the time what occurred was something like ‘shibabara shicaba lakakana bahartiya’ followed by a translation something like ‘God loves you and wants to know that he cares for you very deeply’. First, this is a fairly generic translation that expresses the politically correct message of love without content. Second, how can one know that this is an accurate translation?

In general, I suggest that charismatic speaking in tongues is a way of applying a concept of God when one does not have a valid concept of God. A linguistic analysis of speaking in tongues found “that glossolalic speech does resemble human language in some respects. The speaker uses accent, rhythm, intonation and pauses to break up the speech into distinct units.” But the linguist also “found that the resemblance to human language was merely on the surface” and so concluded that glossolalia is “only a facade of language”. Applying a rational theory of God in Teacher theory to personal identity in Mercy thought is a key aspect of Christianity. But how can one do this when such a rational theory does not exist? All one can do is emotionally identify with the façade of a general verbal theory. And that appears to describe charismatic speaking in tongues.

Returning now to 1 Corinthians 14, Paul’s discussion of tongues goes beyond the façade of a language to an actual language. As usual, Paul takes an economic perspective, phrasing his answer in terms of personal profit. “But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, what will I profit you unless I speak to you either by way of revelation or of knowledge or of prophecy or of teaching?” (14:6). Paul mentions four ways in which abstract theory can profit personal identity. Theory can reveal something that was previously unknown, it can add knowledge to experience, it can apply new facts to experience, and it can systematize education. Using cognitive language, a paradigm makes it possible to see the world in a new light, find patterns, predict facts, and organize facts.

Paul then describes several cognitive characteristics of speech and abstract thought. First, speech is only possible if Server thought can organize Teacher waves into different categories: “Yet even lifeless things, either flute or harp, in producing a sound, if they do not produce a distinction in the tones, how will it be known what is played on the flute or on the harp?” (14:7). This principle is more basic than mental networks because it applies ‘even to lifeless things’. For instance, Japanese and Korean speakers have problems confusing ‘l’ and ‘r’ because they cannot distinguish between these two sounds. Going the other way, Korean speakers would try to describe to me the difference between ‘k’ and ‘kk’, and I literally could not distinguish what to the Korean ear was clearly two different sounds. More generally, when one is learning a new language, then everything initially sounds the same, and over time one gradually learns to pick out words and syllables out of the stream of noise. Looking at this cognitively, in the right hemisphere, Perceiver thought performs object analysis by organizing Mercy experiences into categories of same and different. Similarly, in the left hemisphere, Server thought performs sound analysis by organizing Teacher sounds into categories of same and different.

Second, Teacher words cannot be applied with Server actions if Server thought cannot distinguish one sound from another sound: “For if the bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare himself for battle?” (14:8).

Third, words can only have meanings if it is possible to distinguish one sound from another: “So also you, unless you utter by the tongue speech that is clear, how will it be known what is spoken?” (14:9). The word translated clear means ‘with clear meaning, intelligible’.

Fourth, speech that has no meaning is merely a vibration in the air: “For you will be speaking into the air” (14:9).

Fifth, Server categories of sounds can be connected with meanings in many different ways (Server thought can attach words to meanings in simple ways, while Perceiver thought is needed to distinguish between alternate meanings or multiple languages): “There are, perhaps, a great many kinds of languages in the world” (14:9).

Sixth, all languages assign meanings to words: “And no kind is without meaning” (14:10).

These six points may seem rather basic, and they are. However, when I was using mental symmetry to analyze speech, I came up with essentially the same points (and linguists would make similar statements). Thus, Paul appears to be describing basic cognitive characteristics of language. Why would Paul mention such basic principles? It may be that he is trying to eliminate charismatic speaking in tongues, because linguistic analysis shows that it lacks these fundamental characteristics of language.

Quoting further from the Wikipedia article (which is summarizing the research of a linguist), “Samarin found that the resemblance to human language was merely on the surface and so concluded that glossolalia is ‘only a facade of language’. He reached this conclusion because the syllable string did not form words, the stream of speech was not internally organized, and – most importantly of all – there was no systematic relationship between units of speech and concepts. Humans use language to communicate but glossolalia does not. Therefore, he concluded that glossolalia is not ‘a specimen of human language because it is neither internally organized nor systematically related to the world man perceives’. On the basis of his linguistic analysis, Samarin defined Pentecostal glossolalia as ‘meaningless but phonologically structured human utterance, believed by the speaker to be a real language but bearing no systematic resemblance to any natural language, living or dead.’” Notice that a linguist is analyzing charismatic speaking in tongues and concluding that it lacks precisely the basic features that Paul mentions when discussing tongues in verses 6-10.

Finally, Paul points out that it is not possible to distinguish expertise from ignorance if one cannot understand the language of an expert: “If then I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be to the one who speaks a barbarian, and the one who speaks will be a barbarian to me” (14:11). This describes one of the deepest problems of charismatic Christianity, which is discerning the voice of the charlatan from the words of the genuine spiritual expert.

Paul concludes that if one is seeking spirituality, then one should aim to build up the church: “So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church” (14:12). This may seem like an obvious statement, but most spiritual activity today is pursuing spirituality without content, and is not seeking spirituality for the purpose of building up content and structure.

Interpretation 14:13-19

Moving on now to the next paragraph, Paul says that theory needs to be interpreted: “Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret” (14:13). ‘Praying for an interpretation’ indicates that one is turning to Teacher thought for help in translating a theory. The typical approach today is to translate the Christian message into language that resonates with cultural MMNs, and this approach is even taken in modern translations of the Bible. However, Paul says that one should search for translations that are consistent with the TMN of a concept of God. In other words, the goal of translation is not to become culturally relevant, but rather to communicate accurately the character of God. Teacher thought feels good when a simple explanation applies to many situations. Therefore, a translation or interpretation of a theory will produce Teacher pleasure, because the simple explanation now applies to more situations.

Paul emphasizes that spirituality should be combined with mental content: “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also” (14:14,15). (14:14). The word translated mind means ‘mind, the reasoning faculty, intellect’. Thus, Paul is clearly stating that one should not regard spirituality as devoid of rational content the way most people do today, but rather combine spirituality with intellectual reasoning. Paul applies this principle to both praying and singing praise. Prayer and singing praise are both combinations of Teacher thought and Mercy thought, because in both cases, words are being used to communicate the needs and desires of personal MMNs to a concept of God in Teacher thought. But prayer places a greater emphasis upon speech in Teacher thought while song places a greater emphasis upon tone and nonverbal speech in Mercy thought. The point is that personal identity is interacting with a concept of God in a manner that is both emotional and rational. Notice that Paul does not say ‘I will sing and pray to God in a secret prayer language that transcends rational thought and then leave this secret prayer language in order to communicate rationally with people in the physical world’. Rather, Paul seems to be emphasizing that prayer and praise should be simultaneously spiritual and rational.

For instance, this essay has been interpreting the term spirit from both a rational perspective and a spiritual perspective. Rationally speaking, a spirit corresponds to a mental network, a spirit from God corresponds to a Platonic form and a concept of the Holy Spirit emerges when Platonic forms combine to produce a form of the Good. Spiritually speaking, it appears that there is a spiritual realm populated by spiritual beings who interact with humans by empowering mental networks within human minds. Thus, the kind of analysis that we are doing in this essay is consistent with Paul’s statements.

Paul adds that praying in the spirit prevents an audience from participating in an informed manner: “Otherwise if you bless in the spirit only, how will the one who fills the place of the ungifted say the ‘Amen’ at your giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying? For you are giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not edified” (14:16,17). More literally, if you speak well of something in the spirit, how will the one in the place of a non-professional layman who is completing the process be able to agree with your Eucharist, because he cannot perceive what you are saying.

The word Eucharist means thanksgiving, but the word Eucharist is also used to describe the ritual of communion. Many branches of Christianity feel that the Eucharist has an inherent power that does not require rational comprehension by the participant. But Paul is saying that it is important for the laity who are participating in communion to have a rational understanding of communion.

Going further, the label Eucharist is not in the Bible. Instead, the name Eucharist was given to the church ritual of sharing bread and wine because 1 Corinthians says that “when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is My body...’” (11:24). Analyzing this phrase, I suggest that Paul is describing two sides to the process of acquiring knowledge. On the personal side, one embodies knowledge and one follows knowledge through rebirth (This was discussed previously). On the abstract side, one ‘gives thanks’. Cognitively speaking, giving thanks acknowledges some mental network as a source. For instance, if I thank aunt Jane for a lovely knitted sweater, I am recognizing that she was the source of this sweater. Similarly, if one gives thanks to God for the bread of knowledge, one is acknowledging that the TMN of a concept of God is the source of this knowledge. This is a significant statement because 1 Corinthians 11:23 says that “the Lord Jesus in the night in which he was betrayed took bread; and when he had given thanks...” Thus, the context describes following the TMN of a concept of God ‘in a night of betrayal’ during which this TMN of God is being blindly suppressed.

For instance, the theory of mental symmetry is currently being ‘blindly suppressed’. This theory has turned into a TMN within my mind, this TMN has formed a concept of God, and this concept of God appears to be consistent in detail with the God of the Bible. But when I think about knowledge, I have to consciously choose to examine this knowledge in the light of the theory of mental symmetry, because the ‘night of betrayal’ is continually exerting pressure upon my mind to ignore this theory. Therefore, giving thanks is not a simple verbal statement but rather an internal commitment to an entire imaginary world that is incompatible with the mindset of current society.

Returning now to the layman saying amen to the giving of thanks, most scientific research feels that it is not necessary for laymen to be able to understand the technical language of the specialist who is discussing theory, and that laymen should follow the instructions of the professional without having to understand. Paul is suggesting something quite different. He is not saying that professionals should try to explain their theory to everyone. Instead, Paul seems to be saying that when one is following theory, then there will be professional specialists who understand the theory, and laymen who are needed to complete the task who are relative amateurs. And an expert in one field may be in the place of an amateur in another field. Specialists need to explain the theory to the amateurs so that the amateurs can participate intelligently.

For instance, when I was in graduate studies in engineering, I regularly attended seminars given by visiting scholars in engineering. Most of these seminars used such technical language that they were largely incomprehensible to even me, a graduate student in engineering. But the audience was still expected to say a loud amen to what the visiting scholar said. As Paul complains, “You are giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not edified” (14:17). Similarly, most of these scholars were probably doing useful research, but the majority of the audience was not being edified.

Paul explains his attitude to abstract theory: “I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all; however, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind so that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue” (14:18,19). Paul’s concept of God allowed him to pursue abstract theory more than his audience. And Paul is not exaggerating, because the cognitive theory that one finds described in the writings of Paul is more advanced than what is being written even today. However, Paul’s goal is to use rational thought when he speaks so that he can instruct others.

The Extent of Translation 14:20-25

Paul has emphasized the need to translate and apply abstract theory. But this does not mean that one translates for everyone or that one applies theory to every situation. Instead, there are limitations: “Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature” (14:20). I have mentioned that every person grows up with a mind governed by childish mental networks. Paul says that one should not have a childish mind or intellect. I have also mentioned that the goal is to become mentally whole. Similarly, Paul says that one should be mentally full-grown and complete. In contrast, when it comes to evil, then one should be an infant, which is younger than a child. Looking at this cognitively, a newborn infant is innocent, but growing up as a child within a human body inevitably leads to a mind that is built upon childish MMNs. When it comes to thinking, then one is supposed to go beyond childish thought to mature thought. However, when it comes to the experiences of evil, then one should remain at the level of the infant who lacks experience.

Restating this in cognitive terms, when it comes to abstract thought, then one should attempt to understand everything in order to come up with the TMN of a universal concept of God. However, when dealing with concrete thought, then one should not try to experience everything. Instead, one should deliberately avoid experiencing evil. Compare this with the statement of the serpent in the Garden of Eden, who promised Eve that she would have a knowledge of both good and evil. Paul, in contrast, is saying that one should have a knowledge of good and not evil. Generally speaking, this principle is not followed in modern society. For instance, the United States used to be a relative paradise on earth, free of much of the evil that was present in the rest of the world. But instead of trying to gain understanding and avoid evil, American society has avoided understanding and embraced images of evil portrayed with ever increasing vividness upon television and movie screens. Similarly, Victorian society thought that modern technology would lead to a new world of paradise on earth. But this technology was hijacked in World War I to make weapons of war, and for much of the 20th century, science and technology was driven by the evil of killing humans and destroying civilization.

Turning now to the Christian church, the average individual thinks that the purpose of Christianity is to help the ‘down and out’. It is good that someone is helping these people, but this also leads to a personal knowledge of evil. It is true that James says that “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress”, but James also follows this by saying that one should “keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:27). Similarly, many Christian churches try to incorporate MMNs of secular culture and music in order to be ‘culturally relevant’. But society has become so dark that most secular MMNs can only be described as evil. Finally, most pastors will tell you that much of their time and effort is devoted, not to teaching and building the kingdom of God, but rather to dealing with an endless stream of humans ensnared in evil situations who are searching for counseling and help.

Stated bluntly, instead of transcending childish thinking to think as mature adults, while remaining infants when it comes to experiencing evil, we have become mature in experiencing evil, we celebrate and protect childish minds, and we suppress mature thought.

The next verses describe what commonly occurs when a message from God is being translated: “In the Law it is written, ‘By men of strange tongues and by the lips of strangers I will speak to this people, and even so they will not listen to Me,’ says the Lord. So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers” (14:21,22). Paul is saying that one will often find the voice of God coming from different groups that speak other languages. (The word ‘strange tongues’ simply means other languages, and the ‘lips of strangers’ means ‘lips or languages of others’.) If a concept of God is based in the TMN of a universal understanding, then this understanding will be evident in many languages and in many contexts. However, it is usually easier to understand how universal principles apply to someone else’s situation than how they apply to my own situation. This explains why the voice of God often comes through different voices. The typical response is to view different as strange (as the NASB translation does) and reject the voice of God because it comes from a strange source. For instance, I have repeatedly found in my research that groups and philosophies that I would naturally reject as strange often have a better grasp of some aspect of God’s message than I do.

Even if people do not listen to a message of God that comes from ‘a different language’, what remains is the sign (authenticating mark) of a tongue. People will recognize and respect the presence of a general Teacher theory. They may reject the message but they will recognize that the messenger is an expert with an understanding. One sees this conveyed symbolically in the Messiah chapter of Isaiah 53: “His grave was assigned with wicked men, yet He was with a rich man in His death, because He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth” (Is. 53:9). Even though the message of Jesus was rejected and Jesus the messenger was killed, Jesus was buried ‘with a rich man’. Similarly, I have found that even though most people ignore the theory of mental symmetry, these same people think that I am ‘very intelligent’.

Moving on, Paul says that prophecy is for believers: “But prophecy is for a sign, not to unbelievers but to those who believe. Therefore if the whole church assembles together and all speak in tongues, and ungifted men or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you” (14: 22,23). (The phrase ‘for a sign’ is not in the original Greek, which implies that the believer is not functioning mentally at the level of authenticating signs.)

If people get together and everyone speaks their own theoretical language, then laymen and outsiders will conclude that everyone is mad. It is often difficult for the average person to distinguish genius from madness. That is because both geniuses and madmen are driven by powerful mental networks to think and behave in ways that deviate from societal norms. Madmen are more prevalent than geniuses. Therefore, if one encounters an individual babbling in a strange theoretical language, then chances are that one is dealing with a madman and not a genius. Going further, if one encounters several groups of individuals each babbling in their own theoretical languages, then chances are that one is probably dealing with a company of madmen.

However, if a madman/genius can use his theoretical language to make enlightening statements about reality, then the layman will conclude that this theoretical language is actually making deep statements about universal principles. This already happens to some extent with scientific theory and physical reality. However, Paul is referring here to a general theory that applies to personal identity. The outsider is being ‘exposed with compelling evidence’ and analyzed, and the secret core MMNs of his heart are being revealed.

Three statements can be made about Paul’s words. First, I have found the theory of mental symmetry is capable of creating such an effect. For instance, my brother-in-law used cognitive styles for several decades as an aid for counseling and he often found people telling him that he was exposing the secrets of their heart. Second, I also found when giving seminars on cognitive styles that there was an optimal level of knowledge. Initially, people did not find the seminars compelling because the information was not sufficiently accurate. This was followed by a brief window of opportunity during which people learned just the right amount about themselves. However, as my understanding of human nature continued to grow, people started to lose interest, because they were learning too much about themselves. They were happy to chuckle about personality differences as long as significant personal change was not required. But they did not want to ‘fall on their face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you’. I have come to the conclusion that this response is not just because MMNs of personal identity are being threatened, but rather because people’s concepts of God are being challenged. I say this because the average person’s concept of God has shifted significantly over the last few decades, and in many ways the theory of mental symmetry resonates more with peoples’ thinking today than it did several decades ago when I stopped giving seminars.

That brings us to the third point, which is that Paul’s description of prophecy does not reflect the average person’s church experience today. Instead, the average church service goes out of its way to ensure that the outsider is not convicted, not called to account, and that the secrets of his heart are not disclosed. In fact, the vast majority of Christian churches would regard following Paul’s advice as a guaranteed recipe for disaster. I think that this is because the TMN of a concept of God is missing. If people represent God as an MMN with great emotional status, then a judgmental message from the church will be rejected as an attempt by religion to impose its views upon the rest of society. However, if God is represented by the TMN of a general understanding, then outsiders will conclude that a church which is capable of giving accurate assessments must have an accurate understanding of the nature of God and humanity. Using the language of Paul, they will ‘declare that God is certainly among you’.

A Typical Church Service? 14:26-33

The next few verses describe the nature of a typical church service. It is interesting to compare this with today’s typical church service or typical academic conference. Paul begins with an overview: “When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification” (14:26). Notice that everyone is participating and contributing. This is quite different than a few professional experts proclaiming a message to a passive audience. In addition, the goal is not to have a spiritual encounter with God, discover esoteric theory, share personal testimony, or carry out some religious ritual. Instead, the goal is edification, which means ‘building the structure of a home’. Edification combines the three persons of the Trinity. There is the Teacher order of the Father, the technical content of incarnation, and the personal interaction of the Spirit.

Looking at this list of five activities, it is interesting that reading the Bible is not mentioned. This is not just a matter of omission, or because the New Testament had not yet been written, because Paul uses the phrase ‘according to the Scriptures’ a few verses later at the beginning of chapter 15. Despite this, the five activities are centered on words: A psalm puts words to music, teaching uses words to explain, a tongue is a general theory based in words, and an interpretation translates words. In other words, Paul is not describing fundamentalism, which regards the words of some holy book as absolute truth, but rather abstract thought based in general Teacher theory. This type of starting point could not exist in today’s church service, because Christianity lacks a unified theory in Teacher thought. This explains why the chapter on tongues is at the end of 1 Corinthians, because Paul is describing how a church functions after a general theory of Christianity has been discovered.

And charismatic speaking in tongues is not an adequate starting point, because anyone who has attended a charismatic church for any length of time will discover that ‘speaking in tongues followed by interpretation’ descends very easily into error and heresy without the error-checking of the biblical text. However, one does find theory-driven interaction in the typical academic conference. Thus, Paul’s combination sounds more like an academic conference than like a church service.

However, the details of Paul’s description are somewhat different than typical academic interaction: “If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and one must interpret; but if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God” (14:27-28). Technical theory rules supreme in today’s society. Academic and professional thought is split into specializations, each with its own technical vocabulary and knowledge. (This is explored in the analysis of Revelation 6.) In contrast, Paul insists that tongues should remain silent if there is no interpretation. In other words, if there is no ELI5, no ‘explain it to me like I’m five’, then abstract theory should shut up. Paul is not saying that abstract theory is bad, because he just said that he practices theory more than anyone else. He is also not saying that one must back up abstract theory with empirical evidence, which is what academia generally requires today. Instead, he is saying that it must be possible to explain abstract theory in simple terms that everyone can understand. Cognitively speaking, this is a good standard, because Teacher thought constructs general theories by coming up with simple explanations that describe many specific situations. And it appears that the universe has been constructed in a manner that reflects Teacher thought. Therefore, if one has discovered a general principle about God’s creatures or creation, then it should be possible to describe this theory using a simple explanation that applies to the specific situations of the audience. The theoretician who cannot come up with an interpretation is supposed to talk to God. Saying this cognitively, he is supposed to look for the general theory that lies behind his abstract technical thought.

The next verses talk about prophecy: “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment. But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, the first one must keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted; and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets” (14:29-32). Prophecy applies abstract theory to real life. Paul says that it is appropriate to apply a form of peer review to prophecy. Thomas Kuhn says that most scientists spend most of their time solving technical problems within a paradigm rather than coming up with general theories. Using the language of Paul, most modern science falls into the realm of prophecy rather than tongues. Thomas Kuhn adds that the average scientist does not know how to evaluate a new theory. Similarly, my experience is that peer review works fairly well for incremental research that applies an existing theory. However, peer review breaks down completely when faced with a new theory, because a new theory violates the intellectual status quo, while peer review preserves the status quo. Thus, it is interesting that Paul treats tongues differently than prophecy. Prophecy requires peer-review, while tongues requires interpretation. These are different standards of evaluation.

Paul says that ‘the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets’. Scientific peer review focuses upon data and experiments while ignoring motivation. In contrast, Paul says that the Platonic forms and ideals of a researcher should also be open to peer review: What is the researcher trying to achieve? What is driving him? These are pertinent questions, because research is always colored by worldview. This type of peer review is not possible today, because it is only possible to evaluate something if a standard of evaluation exists that is different than what is being evaluated, and this type of independent standard for evaluating culture and worldview does not currently exist. However, if one has a general Teacher understanding of the character of God, then it is possible to submit MMNs of culture and motivation to this general understanding of God. That is why Paul follows his statement about the spirits of prophets by a statement about the nature of God: “And the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets; for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints” (14:32,33).

Paul began 1 Corinthians by describing the conflict that was occurring between different schools of thought. He now says that these disturbances or upheavals can be resolved by a God of peace. And Paul says that this is a universal principle that applies to all churches. Similarly, I have found that the theory of mental symmetry works well as a meta-theory that is capable of examining the underlying motivations of other theories as well as acting as a theoretical umbrella under which other theories can function. I have come to the conclusion that it is imperative to have a meta-theory, because any general theory that continues to be used by a researcher will turn into a TMN, and this TMN will emotionally force the researcher to try to interpret everything in the light of this general theory, and to reject or belittle anything that cannot be fit into this general theory. Thus, if a researcher does not have a meta-theory that is capable of handling all information, the existing theory of the researcher will be treated as a meta-theory, and the researcher will attempt to cram all existing information into this existing theory, whether it fits or not.

That leaves one curious verse about revelations interrupting prophecies: “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment. But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, the first one must keep silent” (14:29,30). One of the commentaries suggests that “sometimes a revelation was made, and light conveyed to these prophets in a very sudden and extraordinary manner, when it was proper that it should be at once communicated for the good of the whole society.” However, I attended a charismatic church for several years and never encountered a situation where someone with a revelation tried to interrupt someone giving a prophecy.

Therefore, I would like to suggest a possible more general meaning. The word revelation means to ‘reveal what is hidden, to make manifest what is invisible’. We have seen several ways of extending the ‘tongue’ of a general Teacher theory. Interpretation makes a theory more comprehensible by describing it using different language. Prophecy looks for ways in which a theory could be applied in real life. Revelation goes one step further than prophecy by making the possible real in some manner. Using the language of science and technology, prophecy uses theory to come up with some possible product, while revelation unveils a product. Thus, Paul appears to be saying that reality trumps potential. If one person is talking about some possible product, and another person actually has such a product, then one should listen to the person with the real product.

People sometimes complain about Christians being ‘so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good’. This is easy to become, because the heaven of Platonic forms is always more perfect than the reality of the earth. For instance, millions of people spend hours a week planting and harvesting virtual crops on their tablets and smartphones, but very few of these people would ever spend any time planting and harvesting real crops in the real world, because virtual crops are far more clean and elegant than real crops planted in messy dirt.

Paul seems to be stating that being ‘earthly good’ takes precedence over being ‘heavenly minded’. Paul is not saying that one should ignore Platonic forms of heavenly perfection, but rather that implementing a vision takes precedence over expounding upon that vision.

This kind of precedence does happen today, but in a somewhat perverse manner. For instance, someone with an idea for a new product can promote this product on kickstarter in order to raise money to turn the prototype into a manufactured item. However, some individuals who promote items on kickstarter are now finding that Chinese factories will steal their idea and start producing a high quality copycat product that is available faster and for less money. So, is Paul suggesting that one should ignore the inventor and buy the pirated copy from China? I suggest that the answer lies in the problem behind the problem. Paul has emphasized throughout the book of 1 Corinthians that knowledge should not be separated from personal identity. Instead, as the passage on communion suggests, one should embody truth and follow truth through rebirth. If knowledge is pursued in an objective manner without including personal identity, then one of the consequences is that knowledge can be stolen from people. In contrast, when truth is applied in an incarnational manner, then truth cannot be stolen from the person who embodies and applies this truth. This is not a trivial point, because current society is struggling deeply over the very concept of intellectual property.

Women in the Church 14:34-36

This is followed by the infamous passage in which Paul tells women to keep silent in the church: “The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church. Was it from you that the word of God first went forth? Or has it come to you only?” (14:34-36).

We have interpreted the rest of the chapter by looking beyond surface meaning to general principles. Therefore, it does not make sense to suddenly change our approach when talking about women in church. In other words, I suggest that Paul is describing a general principle involving female thought. In simple terms, Paul is saying that female intuition is not appropriate in a church setting. And this is an important principle, because pure female thought is often used currently in church settings, even when men are doing all the talking and women are saying nothing. For instance, charismatic speaking in tongues is an example of almost pure female thought, because the overall form as well as the nonverbal phrasing of speech are present, but rational content is absent. Thus, I suggest that charismatic speaking in tongues is not appropriate in church. Similarly, I suggest that the typical Orthodox Christian church service, with its icons, traditions, incense, rituals, incantations, and tapestry of colors, is also an example of ‘women speaking in the church’. If one interprets Paul’s words literally, then the Orthodox church follows Paul’s instructions, because there are no female clergy in Orthodox Christianity. However, if one interprets Paul’s words in terms of male and female thought, then one concludes that the Orthodox Church is violating Paul’s instructions in major ways. A similar cognitive dissonance can be seen in the teachings of Bill Gothard, mentioned earlier, who used to be a popular fundamentalist seminar speaker. On the one hand, Gothard teaches strongly that women should submit to men. But on the other hand, Gothard’s thinking is almost pure female intuition, and he is infamous for jumping directly from specific situation in Mercy thought to general theory in Teacher thought. (Gothard is an Exhorter person, and the Exhorter connects Mercy with Teacher.) More generally, I suggest that whenever a theologian says that some religious doctrine is an incomprehensible mystery that can only be grasped through meditation and personal encounter with God, then I suggest that this is an example of pure female thought without male content.

Paul explains his reasoning by posing two questions. First, “Was it from you that the word of God first went forth?” (The word ‘first is not in the original.) Looking at this cognitively, if one starts with pure female thought in Teacher thought, then one will not come up with a word of God but rather with an overgeneralized mystical concept of God that avoids all content, including words. Similarly, if one remains at this level of overgeneralization without male content, then the word of God will remain at the level of vague generalities and be incapable of going forth to the human realm of specific content.

Second, Paul asks “Has it come to you only?” In cognitive language, does the word of God apply only to the religious realm of subjective experiences? Many Christians today would answer in the affirmative, and even when a person verbally claims that the word of God applies everywhere, that same individual person usually acts as if the word of God applies only to the ‘female’ realm of words and subjective experiences and does not extend to the ‘male’ realm of business, plans, technical skills, and rational thought. This explains why one can usually find better illustrations of the message of rebirth in the ‘male thinking’ of objective science and technology than one can in the ‘female thinking’ of subjective religion.

Paul adds that if women “desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church” (14:35). That is strong language, especially if one interprets it purely in terms of men and women. However, I suggest that it makes cognitive sense. Paul is saying that female thought needs to be placed within its subjective context, and then taught by the appropriate male content. The overall theme of 1 Corinthians 14 is going from abstract theory to personal application. Suppose that one wants to go backwards from some personal situation and determine how to apply abstract theory to this personal situation. How does one do this? First, one places the personal situation within its cultural context. Using the language of Paul, female thought needs to ask at home. Second, one looks for the rational content that applies to this cultural context so that the personal situation can learn from the rational content. Using Paul’s language, the woman needs to ask her own husband. This relates to the concept of invisible spouses discussed earlier in 1 Corinthians.

Paul concludes that it is ‘disgraceful and shameful’ for a woman to speak in church. Cognitively speaking, I suggest that it is disgraceful and shameful to use pure female thought when talking about God, because this leads to a mystical view of God. Mysticism may state that God is a transcendent being with incomparable majesty, but what has happened in practice is that rational thought has been used to transform the world, causing people to conclude that irrational emotional fervor needs to be replaced by rational thought. And because mysticism insists that God has nothing to do with rational thought, the average person has concluded that theology is incurably irrational and belief in God is hopelessly stupid. Therefore, ‘intelligent’ people need to replace God and theology with something rational and godless, such as the theory of evolution.

Conclusions about Tongues and Prophecy 15:37-40

Paul concludes the chapter by saying that he is describing general principles based in the universal Teacher understanding of the concept of God, which apply to all prophecy and spirituality: “If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment” (14:37).

Verse 38 is somewhat ambiguous in the NASB, and I think that the KJV more accurately reflects the original Greek: “But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant” (14:38; KJV). In other words, don’t argue with those who ignore these principles. That is because arguing focuses upon personal MMNs, while the purpose of this chapter is to apply TMNs of understanding. Saying this another way, when one is applying theory, then the best way to deal with naysayers is not by arguing with them but rather by using theory to transform people and culture. That is because actions speak louder than words, and it is difficult to argue with success.

Paul’s choice of words in verse 39 is illuminating: “Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues.” Paul does not say ‘desire to speak in tongues, and do not forbid prophecy’. Speaking in tongues comes naturally, because general theories create positive Teacher emotions that motivate a person to speak in the tongue of some theory. There is no need to tell a person to strongly desire to speak in tongues, because tongues naturally create a strong desire. However, it is necessary to tell people not to forbid speaking in tongues, because working within some organization, system of belief, paradigm, or structure will create an implicit Teacher understanding, this implicit understanding will turn into a TMN, and this TMN will emotionally drive people to suppress theories that are new and different. Going further, there is a natural tendency to limit abstract theories to the verbal realm of words and symbols, and a person has to be pushed to go beyond talking about theories to thinking about applying theories. Speaking from personal experience, I was forced to think about applying the theory of mental symmetry because nobody allowed me to speak about the theory. Because my mouth was shut, I had to go beyond words to actions and applications. This is discussed further in 2 Thessalonians 3.

Finally, Paul concludes that “all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner” (14:40). In other words, personal identity should live within an internal grid of rational structure. One cannot apply the universal laws of God in an atmosphere that rejects the concept of universal law.

The Order of Seeing the Resurrection of Christ 15:1-11

Paul begins by summarizing the path of personal transformation: “Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain” (15:1-2). The path of personal transformation consists of the three stages of personal honesty, righteousness, and rebirth. Using the language of Paul, in the first stage, one ‘receives a message that is preached’; one allows verbal truth to apply to personal identity. In the second stage, one ‘stands’ in this message by allowing Teacher understanding to guide personal actions. The third stage is one of rebirth, which means lives within the understanding that was constructed during the previous stages. In the words of Paul, one is saved if one holds fast to the preached word and does not believe in vain.

The next few verses describe the order in which people saw the resurrected Christ. This is normally viewed as a purely historical description with no theological relevance, but if the man Jesus really is also Christ the incarnation of God, then the personal details that are recorded of Jesus must also have universal significance. Therefore, we will examine Paul’s chronology as a general description of the process by which a concept of incarnation becomes unfolded.

Paul begins this chronology by saying that it is of primary importance, which strongly suggests that it is more than merely a historical description: “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received...” (15:3). It is interesting that most of this chronology extends beyond the resurrection of Jesus, while the typical description mentions Jesus’ death and resurrection and then stops.

The chronology starts with the death and resurrection of Jesus: “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (15:3). Paul uses the term ‘Christ’ fifteen times in this chapter without mentioning Jesus once, which tells us that one is dealing with the death and resurrection of incarnation and not just the physical death and resurrection of Jesus on earth. It takes much longer for a universal concept of incarnation in Teacher thought to be reborn than it does for a finite person of incarnation in Mercy thought to be reborn. I know this from personal experience, because my research has caused my concept of God to become reborn within Teacher thought, and this process has taken decades.

Looking at this historically, Jesus the man died and was resurrected on a weekend in the Roman province of Judea. But Jesus the incarnation still has not become fully resurrected. (The book of Revelation appears to describe the process by which Jesus the incarnation of God becomes resurrected.) For instance, most theologians talk in rational terms about Jesus being man. However, every theologian that I have encountered so far states that the doctrine of Jesus being both man and God is an incomprehensible mystery that cannot be fathomed by man. This contradicts the words of Paul, who says that ‘Christ in you’ is a mystery that has been revealed (Col. 1:25-27).

First, Paul says that Christ died and was raised ‘according to the Scriptures’. This is the only time that this phrase is used in 1 Corinthians. And Paul uses it twice in two verses. Thus, Paul is emphasizing that both the death and the resurrection of incarnation are consistent with the content of the Bible. Similarly, I have found that when a Christian concept of God is going through rebirth, then one must hold on to the content of the Bible while simultaneously rejecting the mindset of fundamentalism. This is difficult to do, because the natural tendency is either to reject the content of the Bible when following rational thought, or else to reject rational thought when holding on to the content of the Bible.

Second, Paul emphasizes that Christ was buried and then raised on the third day. This is the only time that the word ‘buried’ is used in the New Testament with reference to Jesus. In order to understand the significance of the term ‘buried’, one must examine what happens to a concept of God when it is reborn and why it needs to be reborn. A concept of God begins as a verbal theory within Teacher thought. This kind of verbal theory may sound general and may talk about universal concepts but like most theories of mathematics and philosophy, it is completely divorced from reality. One could compare this to writing the constitution of some imaginary country on a piece of paper. This may be a wonderful constitution guided by universal principles, but it is merely a set of words because it does not rule over any country. A reborn concept of God is like a constitution that that has been adopted by some country. It can still be described verbally, but these words are also backed up by reality; the word of God turns into the kingdom of God. I have mentioned that reborn identity lives within an internal structure held together by the TMN of a concept of God. Looking at this the other way, when identity becomes reborn within the TMN of a concept of God, then the concept of God becomes a kingdom of God because it is now ruling over personal identity. This transition from word to kingdom will only occur if incarnation becomes buried within the ‘earth’ of rational thought. In other words, one cannot simply proclaim that a group of people will follow some written Constitution. Instead, the Constitution must become fully embedded—or buried—in the fabric of society.

Moving on, Paul says that Christ was raised on the third day. This may refer to three phases of Christianity. The first ‘day’ was when the Roman civilization was replaced by Christendom. This was a major transformation, but it did not lead to the concept of incarnation as God. The second ‘day’ occurred during the scientific revolution. This led to an understanding of the nature of incarnation as revealed in the laws of nature, but it has not led to the concept of incarnation as God, because the scientific revolution was limited to a knowledge of the physical world. It appears that we are now on the verge of a third ‘day’ during which the transformation that has occurred in the physical realm will be extended to the subjective and the personal, leading finally to the resurrection of incarnation as God.

Paul then mentions a list of people to whom the risen Christ appeared: “He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God” (15:5-9). As I mentioned, if this is nothing more than a historical description, then it is difficult to understand why Paul would think that it is ‘of first importance’ to know that Peter saw Jesus before James did.

Cephas was the new name given to Peter by Jesus, and the word means ‘rock’. Cognitively speaking, it appears that Perceiver thought (the part of the mind that deals with solid facts—mental ‘rocks’) is the first part of the mind to become aware of incarnation as a universal concept. This is because of what Perceiver thought does and because of what Perceiver thought cannot do. On the positive side, Perceiver thought looks beyond Mercy experiences for solid truth that applies to many specific situations. On the negative side, Perceiver thought is forced to look inward for solid truth because Perceiver thought cannot impose facts upon the physical world. (Looking at the four ‘simple styles’ that deal with mental content, Server thought can express itself through action, Mercy thought can relate to emotional experiences from the physical world, Teacher thought can express itself through words, but Perceiver thought has no way of directly expressing itself, forcing Perceiver persons to look beyond physical reality for something more.)

I am not sure why the 12 are mentioned next. It could be that Paul is referring to a follower who submits to the path of incarnation. However, Paul does not mention the word disciple, but rather refers to them merely as the 12. The 12 are followed by ‘more than 500’. Paul might be saying that rebirth is first apparent to a small group before being applied by a larger group. Paul says that some of the larger group have ‘fallen asleep’, which may mean that when the rebirth of incarnation becomes evident to a large group of people, then some of these people will fall asleep mentally and participate in a blind manner that lacks intelligent understanding.

James was the official leader of the church, who is followed in the list by ‘all the apostles’, implying that the 12 are different than ‘all the apostles’. One might think that church leaders and apostles would be the first to become aware of the resurrection of incarnation, but there is a cognitive reason why this is not this case. Christ the incarnation becomes reborn as people live within the kingdom of incarnation. It is difficult for a lawmaker to live within the law, because the lawmaker must go from being the source of the law to being under the law. In order to make this transition, many other people must first apply the law, making it possible for the lawmaker to become one of the many people who are applying the law. In other words, the church leader makes a decision, the people follow the decision, and then the church leader joins the group of people who are following this decision. This problem is even worse for an apostle, because one can only become an apostle by becoming personally involved in the message of incarnation. For instance, when a person tries to follow the theory of mental symmetry, it can be difficult for them to separate the theory of mental symmetry from the person of Lorin Friesen. I try my best to point people to the theory and not to my person, but this not easy. This problem is even worse for me, because I have to separate within my mind between the theory of mental symmetry and my personal identity.

I have learned from personal experience the difference between being first and last on this list. As a Perceiver person, I naturally see the bigger picture, and therefore want to live within incarnation as a ‘Cephas’. However, when I have attempted to do so, I have found that it is not possible, because the ‘solid facts’ that I am discovering are too different from the facts of current society. This has forced me to choose between giving up or else following the process through to the end to the level of apostle, which means walking a path similar to what Paul described in 1 Corinthians 9. This is easy to describe, but not easy or enjoyable to experience.

Paul adds himself to the end of the list as a postscript. Paul refers to himself as “the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God” (15:9). Paul was largely responsible for taking Christianity beyond the religious Jewish culture to the larger secular world, and Paul was also largely responsible for building Christianity upon a theoretical foundation of theology rather than upon the cultural mental networks of Jewish society. Thus, Paul in this list may represent scientific thought, which currently belittles Christian theology, suppresses Christian morality, and mocks the concept of the Christian God. Paul adds that “by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me” (15:10). Similarly, if scientific thought were to recognize the grace of God, then it is possible that, like Paul, it would labor even more than those who came before.

Paul concludes by saying that what he preaches and what others preach is the same, and that in both cases belief is required: “Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed” (15:11). Similarly, I keep finding that the path of personal transformation is the same whether one uses religious language or cognitive language.

Proving the Resurrection 15:12-19

Paul then uses logic to try to prove personal resurrection: “Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” (15:12). Paul is assuming that a message of Christ being raised from the dead is being preached. However, such a message is not currently being proclaimed. As I have mentioned, Christians may talk about Jesus being resurrected from the dead but this is not generalized into a concept of Christ being resurrected, while secular science has a concept of universal incarnation but does not explicitly teach this as Christ the God/man being raised from the dead. Paul began 1 Corinthians by talking about a message of rebirth. Paul’s reasoning makes it apparent that this message of rebirth is now widely known.

One can gain a partial understanding of Paul’s reasoning by looking at science. Incarnation is the word made flesh. Science is also the word made flesh, because it combines the word of mathematical equations with the flesh of how the natural world behaves. The scientific, industrial, and consumer revolutions have transformed our concept of what it means for the word to be made flesh. If the physical world has been so fully transformed by the mindset of incarnation, then it makes sense that the personal world would also be equally transformed if one applied the mindset of incarnation to the subjective and the religious.

One might think that this is a faulty comparison. After all, everyone ‘knows’ that there is no relationship between the universal laws of nature and personal identity, and everyone ‘knows’ that one should not view the transformation of modern civilization in personal terms by giving it a name such as ‘Christ’. But people do view the transformation of civilization in personal terms, and they do give it a name. They call it Nature, with a capital ‘N’. Evolutionary theorists continually ascribe divine traits to Nature, even though evolution officially states with great conviction that Nature is not a person.

Looking at this further, those who officially recognize Nature as a divine being are attacked in no uncertain terms. This is illustrated by the Wikipedia article on Intelligent Design. Most articles in Wikipedia are fairly objective, treating even the most bizarre subjects in an evenhanded manner. And if the treatment is not sufficiently balanced, then a comment will be posted at the top of the article. The article on Intelligent Design, in contrast, is openly antagonistic—and nothing has been posted at the top of the article asking for a more evenhanded treatment. (Even the articles on cold fusion, eugenics, and incest are less antagonistic.) For instance, “Educators, philosophers, and the scientific community have demonstrated that ID is a religious argument, a form of creationism which lacks empirical support and offers no testable or tenable hypotheses.” In other words, all the clever people know that Intelligent Design is crazy. “Detailed scientific examination has rebutted the claims that evolutionary explanations are inadequate, and this premise of intelligent design—that evidence against evolution constitutes evidence for design—has been criticized as a false dichotomy.” In other words, scientific research has shown that there is no connection between the ordered design of the universe and the existence of an ordered designer. And yet evolutionary theory continually acts as if Intelligent Design is true by ascribing attributes of intelligent design to Nature.

Using cognitive language, the transformed mind represents Christ as the TMN of a general theory. Similarly, today’s partially transformed mind represents incarnational transformation as Nature, and like Jesus Christ, Nature is also defined as a saving force that is continually driving personal life towards higher order and structure. One can tell that Nature is a powerful internal concept, because the scientifically trained mind goes to extreme lengths to try to suppress the concept of Nature as a person, and Nature is still treated implicitly as a divine person despite these extreme efforts. When people continue to do something despite their best conscious efforts to do the opposite, then this indicates that one is dealing with a strong cognitive mechanism.

One might also respond that it is a logical fallacy to compare the concept of an imaginary person in Teacher thought with concepts of real persons in Mercy thought. But if one examines this question cognitively, one finds that the distinction is not so clear-cut. The mind represents people as MMNs within Mercy thought. Whenever I meet a person, then the MMN that represents this person will be triggered, and it will predict how this person will respond. But how do I know that the MMN within my mind corresponds to a real person? I don’t. It is easy in today’s computer-connected world of virtual realities to form MMNs of people who do not really exist. Therefore, I must use evidence from my senses to determine which mental networks correspond to real people and which ones do not. Similarly, if one forms the TMN of a universal person such as God, Christ, or Nature, how can one know for certain whether or not this mental concept corresponds to a real being? One cannot be certain. Instead, one must use sensory evidence to determine whether this TMN corresponds to a real being or not. Because the natural world strongly reflects the structure of a mental concept of incarnation, this provides evidence that the mental concept of incarnation corresponds to a real person who is the incarnation of God.

Notice that this is quite different than the arguments that are typically used to prove the existence of life after death. Today’s typical argument points out the incompleteness and inadequacy of natural science and then postulates that God is someone totally different who fills the void, which leads to a concept of God known as the God of the gaps. This type of argument is not cognitively natural, because Teacher thought hates exceptions to the general rule. Therefore, the scientist who follows the TMN of a general understanding of the laws of Nature instinctively rejects the concept of a God of the gaps.

In contrast, Paul is postulating a God of completeness and wholeness. Paul is not suggesting that God is different but rather that God is universal. This type of argument is cognitively natural because Teacher thought wants general theories to become more universal. If incarnation has already been partially transformed, then it makes sense that the transformation of incarnation can extend to the personal realm. Paul is not asking people to stop thinking rationally in order to believe in personal resurrection but rather to apply more universally the message of resurrection that is already being taught: “Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” (15:12).

With this in mind, let us rephrase Paul’s arguments into modern language. Paul says, “Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” Using modern language, if Nature is being preached as a divine force of progress that is stronger than decay and death, and if Nature is continually being treated implicitly as a person, then why do you say that there is no personal force that is stronger than decay and death?

Going further, Paul says “If there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised” (15:13). In other words, if resurrection does not apply to people, then why do you keep referring to Nature as the person who formed life on earth?

And “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain” (15:14). In other words, if Nature really is not a person, then why do you keep talking about the inevitable progress of evolution? Stated bluntly, stop saying that Nature is not a person while acting as if Nature is a person.

Continuing, “We are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised” (15:15). In other words, if Nature really is not a person, then one is being a false witness of the universal laws of nature when one states that the universe has been guided by an irresistible force of progress.

And “if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised” (15:16). In other words, if there is no such thing as life after death, then there is no such thing as progress driven by Nature, because Nature is a divine being whose life extends beyond the physical death of individual humans. (Nature could only have guided the evolution of life if Nature was alive and capable of intervening while life was evolving.) And all the talk about the progress of Nature is worthless wishful thinking. “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins” (15:17).

More personally, “those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished” (15:17). Stated simply, even if Nature is guiding evolution, you as an individual person still end up permanently and absolutely destroyed.

Paul concludes that “If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied” (15:19). This is an important statement that needs to be emphasized. If the progress of Nature applies only to natural, physical reality and does not extend beyond the physical realm, then following Nature leads to a mindset that can only be pitied. Scientists wax eloquent about the evolutionary progress that has been guided by Nature, but what is the point of the human species and the physical world being transformed if I personally cease to exist at the end of my physical life? Similarly, businessman talk about leaving a legacy, but what is the point of building a legacy if I am not around to enjoy this legacy? People say that ‘I will live on in the memories of others’, but that is simply not the truth. A mental network that represents me might live on in the minds of some other individuals, but if there is no resurrection from the dead, then I will not live on.

This faulty reasoning demonstrates the cognitive power of a TMN. If one continues to think about a theory—or act within a system—that ignores personal identity, then this structure will turn into a TMN and this TMN will emotionally drive a person to follow growth that ignores personal identity. Such a person will actually feel good about being part of a plan that saves the group while ultimately destroying the individual. Positive Teacher emotion will drive such an individual to talk about personal annihilation at the end of physical life and smile. Such a mindset can only be pitied.

Adam and Jesus 15:20-22

Paul starts the section by saying, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep” (15:20). This tells us that Paul is referring to some future time, because Christ has not yet been raised from the dead today. Jesus has been raised from the dead, but Christ is still in the grave. (This distinction is discussed in detail in the two essays on Revelation.)

Paul’s next phrase alludes to a cognitive symmetry: “For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead” (15:21). Paul expands upon this symmetry in Romans 5. I am not sure that I understand all the implications of what Paul is saying, but I do know that the following cognitive principles are valid.

Teacher emotion is based upon generality, the more general a theory, the stronger the Teacher emotion. When Christ is being raised from the dead, then this increases the generality of the name of Jesus. This is clearly described by Paul in the well-known passage in Philippians 2: “For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11). God is increasing the generality of the name of Jesus by making it above all other names, everyone is verbally submitting to the kingdom of Jesus Christ, and this is increasing the generality of the order and structure of God.

Childish MMNs can only be transformed if three requirements are met. First, one must build the mind upon a new set of core metal networks that are emotionally more powerful than the MMNs of personal identity. The TMN of a general theory can fulfill this role if this theory has sufficient emotional power, and a theory can only acquire emotional power by being sufficiently general. The name of Jesus acquires this Teacher generality as Christ is raised from the dead. (Remember that Jesus and Christ are not separate persons, but rather that Jesus describes the finite concrete side and Christ the infinite abstract side of the same personal incarnation.) Saying this more simply, one must recognize that the character of incarnation is reflected in all aspects of existence. Otherwise, one will find that Christian belief will only have the power to transform some aspects of culture and identity, which is what I have consistently found when traveling to different countries.

Second, the general theory must apply to personal identity and also be viewed as a person. Obviously, a Teacher theory can only influence a situation if the theory applies to that situation. For instance, a theory of English grammar will not help a person to read Japanese, because English grammar does not apply to Japanese writing. But an impersonal theory that applies to personal identity will leave Mercy thought cold, because Mercy thought thinks in terms of interacting living beings, represented by MMNs. Applying a theory to personal identity meets the Teacher need, viewing the theory as a person meets the Mercy need. (This Mercy aspect of being viewed as a person is something new which I did not realize in previous essays. I think that it is accurate.)

Third, Teacher theory must be translated into Mercy experiences. That is why an incarnation is needed to mediate between God and humans. Incarnation translates the general theories of God into specific steps for humans, as well as translating the specific needs and desires of humans into the general language of God.

Jesus Christ meets these three requirements. First, Jesus Christ is the ‘word of God’, who ‘was with God and who is God’. Thus, Jesus Christ has a name that is sufficiently general in Teacher thought to emotionally overcome MMNs of personal identity. Second, Jesus Christ is a person, who lived as Jesus on the physical earth. Third, Jesus Christ is an intermediary who translates between the universal laws of God and the specific needs and desires of humanity.

Paul says that Adam brought death while Christ brought resurrection from the dead: “For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive” (15:21,22). Bringing death is fairly easy. One simply has to break the connection with life in a sufficiently universal manner. Adam did this by choosing to reject the instructions of God before a mindset of being guided by God had a chance to become established. This forced God to change the method of teaching humanity, which meant introducing physical death. (The Garden of Eden is discussed in another essay.) Bringing resurrection is much harder, because one has to overcome the MMNs of childish identity with a life-giving power from a different source that is more powerful—the three requirements that we just discussed.

Order of Resurrection 15:20-34

In the next verses, Paul describes the process by which incarnation brings resurrection to humanity. This process makes sense if one examines it from a cognitive perspective. Paul makes it clear that he is describing a process because he says “but each in his own order:” (15:23).

The order is “Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.” (15:23-25). The word abolish means to make inactive, annul, or make of no effect. Revelation 19:11-16 describes the coming of Christ, and the adjectives that are used in that passage to describe Christ are universal terms that would apply to a universal being: Christ is called ‘Faithful and True’. Cognitively speaking, incarnation is based in Contributor thought which combines Perceiver and Server. ‘Faithful’ is a generic attribute of Server thought, while ‘true’ is a generic attribute of Perceiver thought. One can also see that the person who appears in Revelation has great generality because ‘on his head are many diadems’, indicating a rule over many different domains.

The ‘first fruits’ is normally viewed as a reference to the resurrection of Jesus, and it could refer to this, but I think that it makes more sense as a description of the partial benefits that we are currently enjoying as a result of the partial resurrection of incarnation. Finally, I suggest that the handing over of the kingdom to God corresponds to the Great White Throne described in Revelation 20:11.

Paul describes resurrection as a two-stage process. First, incarnation becomes ruler over everything. Second, incarnation hands over the rule to God the Father. I suggest that this is not just a dry theological fact, but rather reflects a deep cognitive principle, which Paul will be discussing the next verses.

Before we examine what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15, we will look briefly at how this two-stage process is described in the book of Revelation. The book of Revelation is divided into two major sequences. Revelation 6-9 describes what happens when incarnation is viewed as the only form of thought that is ‘worthy’. This leads to the type of society in which we now live, which regards Contributor-controlled technical thought as the only valid form of thought. Personal existence has become split into professional specializations, and a person must acquire technical training—and become officially accreditated by a specialization—before being allowed to work within that specialization. It appears that the first sequence of Revelation 6-9 ends in corporatism, in which the world itself is divided into corporate entities, each using technical thought to rule over some specialization. Using the language of Paul, the first sequence of Revelation leads to the rule of incarnation over the objective side of society. Society currently (as of 2016) appears to be on the verge of entering this final stage of corporatism. Revelation 10 describes the development of an integrated understanding that bridges both the ‘earth’ of rational thought and the ‘sea’ of subjective experience. This is followed by a second sequence in Revelation 11-19 during which a general Teacher theory of God is imposed upon the world through incarnation. Summarizing, incarnation is conquering traditional authorities of culture and personal status in the first half of Revelation, and incarnation is handing over this kingdom to God the Father in the second half of Revelation.

This two-stage process is required because the current mindset of mysticism has to be replaced. Mysticism asserts that ‘I am God’, using overgeneralization to come up with the concept of a universal God, and then using identification to pretend that I am this God. Mysticism ultimately began in the Garden of Eden with the serpent telling Eve that she could have an ‘eye opening’ mystical experience that would cause her to ‘be like God’. In order to replace mysticism, one must first learn to think rationally before one can use rational thought to connect God with mankind—incarnation must conquer irrational thought before incarnation can transfer the kingdom to God. A similar two-stage process occurs when replacing a dictatorship with a democracy. One cannot simply depose the dictator and have an election, because the populace does not know how to think democratically. The recent American debacle in Iraq and Afghanistan has made this abundantly clear. First, one must educate the populace, and then the populace will naturally choose to follow a democratic government rather than a dictator.

Paul says that “the last enemy that will be abolished is death” (15:25). Cognitively speaking, death occurs when mental networks of personal identity fall apart and there is nothing to hold them together or put them back together. (Similarly, physical death will occur if parts of the body are taken apart and there is nothing to hold these parts together or put them back together.) If the content of incarnation bridges the MMNs of personal identity with the TMN of a concept of God, then the TMN of God can preserve the MMNs of identity and put them back together when they fall apart. This summarizes the path of personal transformation. However, if a concept of God is joined together with personal identity in a mystical fashion, then God cannot hold man together or put man back together, because a mystical connection between God and mankind lacks content. Instead, all that mysticism can provide is the feeling of being one with God. Adam and Eve chose a mystical connection with God rather than a connection based upon content. (When God came to the garden to talk with Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:8, then they ran away.) As a result, death naturally emerged, because God could no longer hold mankind together when mankind fell apart.

Looking at this from another perspective, students will not learn any content from a school teacher who gives them gold stars no matter what they do. Instead, they will be forced to learn content from the painful consequences of violating the rules of life. Similarly, once Adam and Eve stopped learning content from God, they had to learn content from the painful consequences of life, which explains the curses that God gave at the end of Genesis 3. Thus, if God and mankind are reconnected by an incarnation of content, then death will eventually be rendered ineffective. Mental networks of personal identity will still fall apart, but this will lose its emotional sting (15:55) because it will occur within the overall context of the TMN of a concept of God. That is what happens when personal identity becomes reborn within an internal grid held together by the TMN of a concept of God.

We have looked at death from a cognitive perspective. It appears that the spiritual realm functions in a manner that is consistent with the cognitive. Therefore, I suggest that the same principles would apply to a real God, real death, and real resurrection.

Incarnation Subjected to the Father 15:27-34

Let us now return to 1 Corinthians 15 and examine what Paul says about the rule of incarnation and God the Father. Paul begins by describing a problem that is becoming increasingly apparent today: “For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when He says, ‘All things are put in subjection,’ it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all” (15:27,28). Using modern language, when technical specialization rules the world, then what rules technical specialization? This is not a trivial question because I have learned that when a technical specialization becomes backed up by the TMN of a general process or theory, then specialists tend to become unchangeable and unteachable. Similarly, Thomas Kuhn concluded that major paradigm shifts in science require that existing experts die and be replaced by a new set of younger experts. However, I have also learned that the long-term solution is not to reject technical specialization but rather to come up with a general theory that bridges and integrates various specializations. Using the language of Paul, when all things are subjected to the Son, then the Son needs to be subjected to God. Going further, every specialization is guided by the TMN of some paradigm, system, or structure. And the final integration is also guided by the TMN of a meta-theory that integrates more specific theories. In Paul’s words, ‘the Son himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him’.

This is followed by a verse that seems strange but actually makes sense within the context: “Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them?” (15:29). This verse is used by Mormonism as a scriptural justification for the Mormon practice of being baptized vicariously for the dead. But we have seen throughout 1 Corinthians that Paul is not just describing physical experiences. Therefore, I suggest that it does not make sense to interpret baptism for the dead in Mormon fashion as a physical ritual applied on behalf of the physical dead that has some sort of magical spiritual effect. Instead, I suggest that Paul is describing a simple cognitive principle that is consistent with the context. And the context talks about the Son submitting to the Father in order to go beyond the current specialization.

I mentioned that a concept of incarnation is based in Contributor-controlled technical thought. Technical thought can improve and optimize, but it cannot see around the corner. One sees this continually illustrated by businessman who flock after the latest trend and who pay big dollars to those who claim to be able to see what will happen around the next economic corner. However, technical thought can learn to see around the corner if it submits to a sufficiently general theory in Teacher thought, because a Teacher understanding of universal principles makes it possible to predict what will happen. This is what happens cognitively when the ‘Son submits to the Father’.

This also explains why Jesus said to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane, ‘Not my will but yours be done’. Incarnation had to submit to God the Father in order to make the transition from Judaism to Christianity. Incarnation by itself could only improve Judaism, and had to go through rebirth submitted to the Father in order to go beyond Judaism. Jesus made this clear in John 12:20-26. When a group of Greeks came to visit him just before his death, Jesus responded by saying that the time had come for him to die and be reborn, and he explained that “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” Using cognitive language, if Contributor thought wants to have an impact that extends beyond the current context, then Contributor thought must fall apart and be put back together by a general Teacher understanding.

We looked earlier at how humans can build upon the foundation of incarnation and extend the message of rebirth. A person who is being ‘baptized for others’ is extending the message of rebirth. Going further, a person who is being ‘baptized for the dead’ is extending the message of rebirth outside of the current context. Using everyday language, he is trying to save a lost cause, he is ‘flogging a dead horse’. For instance, I am trying to translate theology in a world that no longer respects theology. I am still working on spiritual gifts, a topic that had its heyday in the 1970s. I am building truth in a post-modern world that no longer respects truth, and I am analyzing Christianity in a post-Christian world. For each of these topics, I am paying a heavy price of personal rebirth, pursuing a subject that is generally considered dead and gone. Using the language of Paul, I am being baptized for the dead. (Academic research follows trends, and the person who wants to further an academic career will pursue topics that are in vogue.) If Contributor-controlled specialization were the final authority, then there would be no point in doing any of this. However, I believe that the universal principles of God the Father will ultimately transcend the specializations of God the Son. This does not mean that I reject God the Son. On the contrary, I try to learn as much as I can from as many specializations as I can.

In a similar vein, Paul complains, “Why are we also in danger every hour? I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily” (15:30,31). Notice that Paul’s confidence is based in a universal concept of incarnation that extends beyond the current context.

Paul then turns to a related limitation of Contributor-controlled technical thought, which is that it is excellent at working within a plan or paradigm, but lousy at coming up with paradigms. Similarly, Thomas Kuhn says that the average scientist spends most of his time solving technical puzzles within some paradigm, and that the average scientist is no better than a layman when it comes to evaluating paradigms.

Paul says, “If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (15:32). Academic papers have been written attempting to identify the wild beasts to which Paul is referring. Cognitively speaking, a beast is semi-intelligent, while a wild beast is a semi-intelligent being driven by core mental networks of survival and personal domination. The typical successful Contributor person in today’s society could accurately be described as a wild beast, because specialized technical thought is being driven by childish core mental networks of survival and personal domination. This is reflected in the numerous beast-like analogies that are used to describe the business environment. (I am quite sure that Paul was also a Contributor person, but Paul was following a long-term bottom line of personal rebirth.) Paul is concluding that if there is no rebirth that extends beyond Contributor specialization, then there is no personal benefit in trying to fight the wild beasts. Instead, if all that exists is current physical human reality, then it makes the most sense to become one of the wild beasts and claw one’s way to the top.

Similarly, my life goal is to become mentally whole. There is no point in pursuing this goal if my personal existence ends at physical death, because my life will be over before I have the opportunity to live as a mentally whole person. In the words of Paul, ‘If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die’. One could interpret this in terms of raw hedonism, but I think it makes more sense in terms of the distinction made earlier between peripheral food and drink and central life and body. If all that exists is the game of physical life, then there is no point in addressing central issues of life and body. Instead, it is sufficient to acquire peripheral food and drink. Why deal with core issues? Simply live your life guided by whatever peripheral skills and knowledge you can pick up.

Paul warns, “Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals” (15:33). In other words, if one is trying to pursue character development, and if one associates with those who are pursuing peripheral goals, then one will become internally corrupted. Not only will one become corrupted, but one will become deceived about being corrupted, because one will think that everything is still okay.

Instead, one should “Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame” (15:34). More literally, ‘sober up righteously and do not sin because some are ignorant of God’. Using cognitive language, think carefully and allow your behavior to be guided by the TMN of a concept of God, because there are individuals who do not have a concept of God to guide them. Shame on you.

Resurrection Bodies 15:35-37

Paul opens his discussion with what might appear to be an unjustified personal attack: “But someone will say, ‘How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?’ You fool!” (15:35,36). I have yet to hear a talk, or encounter a book, that discusses this passage in a knowledgeable manner. Therefore, Paul’s response feels like a physics professor expecting the average person on the street to have a full grasp of quantum mechanics and calling him a fool if he doesn’t.

The word translated fool means ‘lacking the overall picture needed to act prudently, or failing to grasp cause-and-effect relationships’. Remember that we are now at the end of 1 Corinthians, when people have an integrated understanding of the message of rebirth. My personal experience is that if one searches for the big picture when studying principles of moral cause-and-effect, then Paul’s concepts about resurrection bodies will naturally emerge within the mind. Using cognitive language, cognitive principles will turn into mental networks, and these mental networks will be viewed in personal terms, leading to concepts of how human life could exist. Therefore, I suggest that Paul’s response is justified within the context of a society that understands the message of rebirth, because a person who asks questions about resurrection bodies is showing that he has not internalized the message of rebirth.

One can tell that this is the case because Paul begins by referring to the message of rebirth: “That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else” (15:36,37). Looking at this cognitively, there is nothing flawed with the mind—if all seven cognitive modules function together in harmony. However, reaching such mental wholeness is a two-step process. First, one must make sure that the mind starts functioning. Second, once the mind is functioning, then it needs to be re-programmed so that it functions in a whole manner. Human minds are born within physical bodies in a physical environment that is optimized for getting the mind to start working. The current physical bodies and physical environment are not optimal for living in a mentally whole manner. If humans came to life in bodies within an environment designed for mental wholeness, then it would be very difficult for human minds to start working. Therefore, God has designed the current physical bodies and the current physical world to ensure that human minds will start functioning—by imposing core mental networks upon the mind, but this also ensures that human minds will function in an inadequate manner—built upon core mental networks that have been imposed upon the mind. These training bodies and this training environment have also been designed to be temporary, in order to force humans to reprogram the mind upon a more solid foundation. Using the language of Paul, everyone comes to life with the ‘grain’ of some temporary body, and that temporary body will eventually fall apart and be replaced by a more permanent body.

Continuing, Paul says that “God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own” (15:38). I discovered this principle when studying cognitive styles. Each cognitive style will naturally emphasize the part of the mind that is conscious. For instance, a Perceiver person will naturally emphasize Perceiver thought, while an Exhorter person will naturally emphasize Exhorter thought. Even though all seven cognitive styles naturally function in a manner that is incomplete, one can gain a picture of how a whole mind would function by assembling the traits of each cognitive style to form a composite picture of a wholesome mind. And, when the mind functions in a whole manner, then the concept of God that naturally emerges is that of a Christian Trinity.

Generalizing this principle, God is a universal Being who demands wholeness. But finite creatures all come into existence emphasizing some fragment of mental wholeness. Therefore, God has ensured that every aspect of divine wholeness is represented by some group of finite individuals who are forced by their bodies, their environment, and their culture to focus upon some specific aspect of the nature of God. Saying this another way, whenever I discover some new aspect of theology or mental wholeness, I keep finding that some group is already ‘camped out’ around this principle, usually attempting to follow it in some incomplete manner. Therefore, I keep finding myself having to analyze the thinking and behavior of groups with which I would not normally associate, because these groups contain seeds of eternal truth. This principle also seems to apply to existence itself. For instance, God has given humans physical bodies in order to ensure that they develop what we call concrete thought. Using the language of Paul, each of the seeds has a body of its own.

Different Kinds of Seed Bodies 15:38-41

The next few verses describe various kinds of seed bodies. The first distinction that Paul makes describes the impact that culture and training have upon the childish human mind: “All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish” (15:39). Paul uses the term flesh (especially in the book of Romans) to describe the part of the mind that develops in the human mind through embodiment—the childish MMNs and Server skills that form as a result of growing up in a physical body. Water represents Mercy experiences, air represents Teacher words, and earth represents rational thought. (This symbology is cognitively natural and is discussed in the essay on Revelation. It appears that the entire Bible uses cognitively natural symbology in a consistent manner.) A fish lives in the water. Thus a flesh of fish is a mindset that swims within the MMNs of culture and experience. In contrast, birds fly through the air. A flesh of birds is a mindset that is at home within the TMNs of verbal theory. A creature of culture who is placed in an academic environment will feel like ‘a fish out of water’, because the environment emphasizes the wrong kind of core mental networks. The word beast means beast of burden and not wild beast. Both beasts and men live on the earth of rational thought. However, a beast of burden is not self-motivated, but rather responds to instructions. This describes the typical professional, who performs skills in a rational manner in response to the needs and instructions of others. The word for man is the generic word for mankind that includes both men and women. I am not sure what is exactly required to qualify cognitively as a ‘man’, but I think that it would include self-awareness as well as personal transformation. A beast walks on all fours while a man stands upright, implying that a man is guided by the ‘air’ of Teacher understanding in a way that a beast is not. I suspect that a society can only function as a mature democracy if it contains enough ‘men’. Western society is showing us what happens to a democracy when men disappear and are replaced by beasts, fish, and birds.

The first distinction applied to flesh—humans living within physical bodies in a physical world. The second distinction compares human life with angelic life: “There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another” (15:40). (The word for body is soma, which is different than the word sarx, used previously for flesh.) Humans live in physical bodies. Experiences of pain and pleasure from the physical body program Mercy thought, while a human can use Server thought to make the physical body perform actions that change the environment. In contrast, it appears that angels sense waves and sequences which program Teacher thought, while being able to use Perceiver thought to make their ‘bodies’ generate powers that change the environment. Obviously, these two are not the same.

The third distinction may apply to the spiritual realm: “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory” (15:41). Cognitively speaking, a sun represents the TMN of a general rational theory that shines upon the entire earth of rational thought, a moon represents the general MMN of a worldview that indirectly reflects the light of the sun, while stars represent lesser luminaries of society that act as defining mental networks. Notice that these three all refer to the realm of mental networks. Similarly, my hypothesis is that spiritual beings have ‘bodies’ that are able to express mental networks. I am not suggesting as some do that stars are alive. Instead, I am suggesting that a spiritual realm exists that is different than the physical and the angelic realms, and that in this spiritual realm beings would ‘look’ like suns, moons, and stars.

I am not sure how these various realms precisely function, and I have not directly experienced either the angelic or spiritual realms. However, if one combines a knowledge of how the mind functions with biblical descriptions, popular anecdotes, and personal experiences, then it is possible to make some general statements with reasonable certainty. All the evidence seems to point in the direction of what I have mentioned here and I have not encountered any better theory for the evidence that is out there. My general hypothesis is that humans, angels, and spiritual beings all have the same kinds of immaterial minds, but are driven by their respective bodies to develop different aspects of mental wholeness. Humans are forced by their physical bodies to develop what we call concrete thought, angels are forced by their bodies to develop what we call abstract thought, and spiritual beings are forced by their bodies to develop what we call mental networks. (If a mental network interacted directly with the environment, then it would no longer be a mental network.) This type of reasoning can become very confusing very quickly, so I am doing my best to stick with the basics.

The Resurrection Body 15:42-49

Having discussed three different kinds of ‘seed bodies’, Paul then turns to the resurrection body: “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power” (15:42,43). The first distinction is that a seed body is a temporary body of corruption and decay, while a resurrection body is indestructible, incorruptible, and immortal. Anyone who is in their old age knows that the current body is one of corruption and decay. Therefore, the idea of a body that does not decay is quite attractive. Going further, all physical force is based upon the fact that humans live in vulnerable physical bodies that can be hurt, damaged, or destroyed. If people lived in invulnerable bodies, then the very concept of a physical threat would become meaningless. However, an indestructible body would also be an inescapable prison. This is wonderful if a prison is nice, but horrible if a prison is nasty. (It seems to be a general principle that the universal laws of God the Father can lead to either good or bad results, depending upon how they are personally applied. For instance, one can use technology to build weapons or to build laborsaving devices.)

A seed body needs to be vulnerable to ensure that learning will occur. When all of a person’s physical needs are met, then there is no need for a person to learn and become mature. This principle is illustrated by the rich child who can use money to buy his way out of personal problems.

The second distinction is that a seed body lacks value, while a resurrection body has value and intrinsic worth. Value implies the presence of significant resources, time, effort, skill. Current physical bodies are often considered worthless because they breed themselves. For most of human history, human beings have been considered replaceable, throwaway commodities that can be replaced through breeding. A seed body has to mature automatically, because a childish mind lacks the skill and knowledge that is required to develop a mature body.

To some extent, this concept of viewing humans as replaceable commodities has changed, because it now takes considerable time, money, and training to turn an ignorant child into a trained professional. For instance, it costs about $150,000 to train a person to become a commercial pilot, and the average Canadian medical student graduates with over $150,000 in debt. Similarly, while a seed body matures automatically, it appears that a mature resurrection body requires a significant investment of time, effort, skill—and personal transformation. This concept is conveyed in the passage that was quoted earlier about sowing to the spirit in order to reap eternal life: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” (Gal. 6:6-9). Two complementary principles are being emphasized in this passage. On the one hand, salvation is never a matter of self-effort, because one sows to something else, reaches the end of one’s rope, and then reaps from that something else. Paul made this clear when saying in verse 36 that “that which you sow does not come to life unless it dies”. Thus, salvation is a path of rebirth rather than one of gradual improvement. But on the other hand, there is a relationship between sowing and reaping because “he whose sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6).

The third distinction is that a seed body is frail and weak while a resurrection body has power. One can see what this means by comparing a construction worker wielding a shovel with the operator of a mechanical digger. The manual laborer equipped with a shovel can only move a limited amount of dirt before becoming physically exhausted, while the operator of a machine can control vast amounts of power with his fingertips. A seed body needs to be weak because immature minds should not have access to vast amounts of power. One can demonstrate this principle by seeing what happens when a small child is allowed to operate a powerful mechanical machine. The inevitable result will be chaos and destruction. Similarly, the popularity of action movies with their vivid displays of unending destruction demonstrate that most physical adults are still motivated by childish MMNs that would naturally wreak destruction if given untrammeled access to power.

Notice that the three traits of vulnerability, automatic development, and weakness are all essential requirements for a seed body. A childish mind requires a vulnerable body to force learning to occur. The body of a childish mind must develop automatically because the child lacks the mental content required to construct a body. And a seed body should be weak, because the childish mind lacks the knowledge and skills that are required to channel power in constructive ways.

The next verses describe the nature of a resurrection body: “It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So also it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living soul.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual” (15:44-46). The word natural means ‘of the soul or mind’ or ‘animal, natural, and sensuous’.

I have suggested that the abilities and appearance of the resurrection body will in some way be an expression of core mental networks. (This concept was mentioned earlier when looking at 1 Corinthians 13.) Saying this another way, a person will look like what they are inside. These verses provide scriptural backing for this concept, because Paul says that the resurrection body will be spiritual as opposed to natural. The Bible contains many descriptions of spirits inhabiting the minds of humans and empowering human desires and lusts. If a spirit inhabits and empowers core mental networks, then a spiritual body is one that is a reflection of core mental networks. Paul adds that the natural comes first and then the spiritual. Using cognitive language, one must begin with a natural body that trains the mind, because it is not possible to have a spiritual body that expresses the content of the mind until the mind has been trained to have content. The empowering nature of a spiritual body is revealed in the adjectives that Paul uses. Adam is described as a living soul, while the second Adam is described as a life-giving spirit.

I have also suggested that internal spiritual content makes it possible to integrate the human with the angelic. Paul describes this sort of integration: “The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly” (15:47-49). (The word earthy means ‘made of earth or dust’.) Using cognitive language, the human mind is currently guided by a materialistic mindset that reflects living within a material universe. However, transformed humans will have a new kind of mindset that is based in TMNs of heavenly existence that reflects the nature of heaven.

However, current humans cannot live within the kingdom of God: “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable” (15:50). ‘Flesh’ describes a mind that is based in the physical Server actions of embodiment, while ‘blood’ refers to MMNs of personal identity. These two combine to form concrete thought within the human mind. Such a mind cannot live within a kingdom of God that is guided by TMNs of general understanding. This is not a matter of failing to meet some standard but rather an incompatibility that has to do with inheritance—being born into the wrong family of created beings. Similarly, a mindset that is guided by human physical decay cannot live in environment of long-term existence. This also is a matter of being born into the wrong family. Saying this more simply, living within a temporary, human body imposes restrictions upon the mind that make it impossible for such a mind to live within a transformed kingdom of God.

For instance, I have tried for several decades to become the sort of person that is required to live in an imperishable kingdom of God, which means consistently following a path of long-term mental wholeness. I did this initially out of a sense of religious duty, and later motivated by the realization that one can only study the mind if one personally applies what one discovers. One can follow such a path reasonably well as long as one has a modicum of money and no major health problems. But as one’s body inevitably ages, the tension between living mentally for the long-term and living physically within a vulnerable, material body becomes increasingly apparent. Eventually, something has to give; something has to change.

Twinkling of an Eye 15:51-53

Paul says that the final solution is that human physical bodies will be changed or transformed: “I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed” (15:51,52). The mystery of ‘Christ in you’ becomes intelligible if one understands how a concept of incarnation forms within the mind. Similarly, I suggest that the mystery of ‘being changed in the twinkle of an eye’ becomes intelligible if one understands the nature of Teacher thought. Earlier in the chapter we saw that incarnation hands everything over to God the Father in order to escape the current context. If flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, then one is dealing with a situation in which a major shift is required in order to escape the current context of ‘flesh and blood’.

Teacher thought changes the context by performing a paradigm shift. A paradigm shift occurs when a new theory in Teacher thought is used to explain the same set of facts. A paradigm shift could be compared to a regime change, in which the same people are being governed by a new government. Paradigm shifts occur instantly, but it takes time for the implications of a paradigm shift to work themselves out. Similarly, regimes change instantly, but it takes time for the implications of a new government to make itself apparent. Paul’s description of being changed in the twinkling of an eye appears to be describing a sort of cosmic paradigm shift.

A paradigm shift doesn’t eliminate facts, but rather changes the relationship between facts, which is done by taking some specific fact and regarding it as general. One can see this in Einstein’s theory of relativity. Researchers before Einstein had discovered that light traveled at the same speed for everyone, regardless of their personal perspective. But this was regarded as a strange fact with no general significance. Einstein took this specific fact and turned it into a universal principle that guided all of existence. According to relativity, space and time literally warp in order to ensure that the speed of light appears the same for every person in every frame of reference. Teacher thought turns a fact into a universal principle by viewing everything in the light of this fact—by focusing upon this fact. Philippians 2 also describes a paradigm shift because God is taking the name of Jesus and turning it into a universal name that is above all other names. Thus, one can analyze a paradigm shift by looking at what is being brought to attention and what is fading from attention.

The paradigm shift that occurs when the Son hands everything over to the Father is described in the passage on the Great White Throne in Revelation 20. On the one hand, earth and heaven flee away from the presence of the person sitting on the throne, telling us that physical reality is losing its generality. On the other hand, all living creatures, dead and alive, come into personal contact with the person on the throne, telling us that personal existence is gaining in generality, and Revelation 21 describes a new heaven and a new earth in which God dwells with people.

Looking at this another way, the law-abiding nature of God is currently reflected in the structure of the natural universe (and presumably also in the structure of the current heavens), and people are forced to submit to the universal laws of nature. However, people can choose to follow or ignore God. Thus, the current order of generality is God, then the physical universe, and then people. This relationship appears to be reversed in the new heaven and earth, because all people are now intimately related to God while the current heaven and earth have fled from God’s presence. In other words, the order of generality will be God, then people, and then the physical universe. God will dwell with people, which means that people will have to acknowledge the presence of God. And people will be above the universe, suggesting that the universe in some way will be subject to people. Stated more simply, it appears that the new universe will be characterized by some form of mind over matter.

The positive side of such a reversal is that the human mind will no longer be vulnerable to physical harm. As Paul says, ‘the dead will be raised imperishable’, and as John says in Revelation 21:4, “there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain”. The negative side of this is that finite beings will require internal integrity, wholeness, and an adequate concept of God to flourish in such a new system. That is the downside of having a spiritual body; it requires a mature spirit.

A divinely ordained paradigm shift would be no trivial matter, because it would be irreversible and all-pervasive. It is possible to use human effort to go against natural law for a while in some limited area. For instance, one can choose to go against the law of gravity by picking up an object, but this requires an expenditure of energy, and can only be done for a while, and the object must not be too heavy. If a divine paradigm shift occurred, then all of existence would naturally pull in a new direction consistent with the new set of universal laws, and it would take effort to go for a while in some small area against this new direction.

People often think that ‘being changed in the twinkling of an eye’ means that one will be instantly perfect as soon as one reaches heaven. However, I suggest that this is not the case. First, this is cognitively impossible. A mind cannot exist without core mental networks. If a person’s core mental networks—or ruling loves—were to instantly change, then the result would be cognitive annihilation. It is possible for a person to handle some core mental networks falling apart if a person has an alternative set of mental networks that can take their place. In other words, it would be possible to survive the physical body being transformed if one had an alternative internal spiritual source of stability.

John talks about this kind of transition in the book of 1 John: “Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him” (1 John 2:28,29). John is talking about a transition in which one directly sees God. He does not conclude by saying that everyone will be instantly perfect. Instead, he says that one will instinctively shrink away from God if one’s core mental networks are inconsistent with the character of God. Paul talked about inheriting the kingdom of God. Similarly, John talks about being ‘born of Him’. And John, like Paul, says that one becomes born of God by practicing righteousness—by allowing a Teacher understanding of the character of God to guide personal behavior.

Paul’s language also implies that the core personality of a person will not be instantly transformed: “For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality...” (15:53,54). The word put on means to ‘put on clothing’. Paul uses the verb ‘put on’ four times in two verses to describe the change into imperishability and immortality, telling us that this is a peripheral transformation that does not affect core personality.

Notice that Paul does not talk here about putting off the old nature, neither does he talk about putting off the perishable and the mortal. Paul does talk about putting off the old self and putting on a new self in other passages, such as Ephesians 4:22-24: “Lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” In Ephesians, a change is being described that is both peripheral and central. On the one hand, one is putting on a new self like a new garment, but on the other hand one is also becoming renewed in the spirit of one’s mind. Notice also the reference to righteousness and the character of God.

Summarizing, it is possible to experience personal transformation now, because the laws of nature and the physical body are stable and do not change. But it will not be possible to experience personal transformation when the physical body is being transformed, because the physical change will force a person to cling to whatever internal stability exists. (Paul talked in chapter 7 about the need for internal stability during times of transition.) That is why it is important to become righteous now. As Paul concludes in verse 58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”

Overcoming Death 15:54-57

Paul mentioned earlier in the chapter that death is the final enemy. Paul explains this in more detail: “When this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (15:54-57). Paul says that death had the victory but will be swallowed up in victory. This describes the result of a paradigm shift in Teacher thought, because death is being demoted from a position of prominence to an inferior position of being swallowed up, from most general to an aspect of something else that is more general.

Paul adds that ‘the sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the law’. Using cognitive language, humans are subject to universal laws. Violating these laws leads to inescapable, painful consequences. In other words, the law is the power of sin. In contrast, when there are no inescapable laws, then the very concept of sin becomes meaningless. For instance, someone who violates my personal set of rules will not feel like a sinner, because my personal rules are not backed up by any general law that enforces these rules. In contrast, the laws of a country are enforced. Going further, sin leads eventually to death, because inescapable laws will impose mental networks upon my mind, and these mental networks of universal law will tear apart the mental networks of personal identity, and this will be a painful process. Similarly, if I get hit by a car traveling at high speed, then that vehicle will tear my body apart. My sinning against the laws of nature will lead to the sting of death.

Now suppose that one is playing a computer game and that one’s game character violates the rules of the game and ‘dies’. Such a death has no sting because the laws of the computer game have no power over my physical body. Even if I die in the game, I can either restore my game character or restart the game. If a divine paradigm shift occurred and people were placed above natural law, then existence itself would turn into a form of videogame. But this ‘videogame’ would become the new inescapable reality. This is what happens when ‘the perishable puts on the imperishable’ and ‘the mortal puts on immortality’. People can no longer be killed by violating the laws of nature.

Initially, death had ‘the victory’. But now, people have been given ‘the victory’. Paul explains how this has happened: “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” In other words, Jesus Christ has handed the kingdom over to God, God has performed a divine paradigm shift, and this paradigm shift is now being translated into personal benefits through incarnation. The victory is from God, but this victory is translated into human terms through Jesus Christ.

If this sounds like a strange interpretation, remember that Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13 that all experiential knowledge, tongues, and prophecy would cease and be replaced by love. If external reality could be affected by personal identity, then experiential knowledge would cease because the external environment would no longer be a source of solid facts. Tongues would also cease because it is no longer possible to come up with verbal theories that are isolated from reality when general theories have a natural impact upon reality. And prophecy would cease because one could no longer use an understanding of external physical laws to predict what would happen. What would remain is love because everything would ultimately be held together by core mental networks, or ruling loves.

This transition can be seen in the description of the Great White Throne: “And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds” (Rev. 20:12). First, notice that what matters is people, because people are standing before the throne. Personal status does not matter, because both the great and the small are present, and personal experience is no longer limited by physical reality because the dead are also present.

When a paradigm shift occurs, then there is a strong drive to explain rationally what is happening. For instance, Thomas Kuhn says that science textbooks will always be rewritten in the aftermath of a scientific paradigm shift. A book is an external picture of a rational theory in Teacher thought, because a book takes many words and arranges them in a structured manner in order to convey some general message. Books are being opened, implying that people are trying to come up with a rational explanation for what is happening. The final book that is opened is the book of life, telling us that people eventually turn to a rational general theory of personal existence—an understanding of mental networks, ruling loves, and cognitive principles. Going further, the dead are not being judged according to some external standard but rather by comparing what is written in books with peoples’ deeds. This describes a judgment of righteousness, because righteousness means acting in a way that is consistent with the TMN of a general understanding, and people are being judged by the correspondence between their deeds and what is written in the books.

However, the ultimate judgment goes beyond righteousness to one’s personal place within the general understanding of life: “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15). Righteousness describes how I act; a name describes me. Thus, we see again that what really matters is inheritance, which is based in who one is rather than what one has done.

The general theory of life remains the standard because “only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” can enter the Holy City (Rev. 21:27). And this theory of life turns into the dominant stream of society because the new Jerusalem has “a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of the street” (Rev. 22:1,2). And life becomes the standard for maintaining the health of society: “On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations” (Rev. 22:2).

Moving on, 1 Corinthians 16 addresses a number of personal issues. It is possible that these specific items have universal symbolic significance. However, I do not currently see any obvious patterns.

Conclusion

When I started examining the book of 1 Corinthians, I did not think that the end result would be a 130 page essay. I hope that it has become apparent that Paul’s letter deserves far more respect than it is typically given today. Paul says that those who follow earthly wisdom will regard the wisdom of God as foolishness, and I think that most of what is being taught today in secular—and religious—circles qualifies as earthly wisdom.

More specifically, Paul says that one should not build upon important people or upon physical experiences. In contrast, secular science rejects anything that is not built upon the empirical evidence of physical experience, while theologians tend to reject anything that does not quote extensively from important religious experts.

However, the ultimate standard is not current physical reality or personal status, but rather transformation. If the message of rebirth really is an accurate message of rebirth, then it should be possible to become personally reborn and live within a reborn world by applying this message of rebirth.

But that will only happen if one pays the personal price that is necessary to extend a concept of incarnation in major ways. Extending incarnation does not mean rejecting science and technology, but rather extending the thinking of science and technology to the realm of the subjective. Extending incarnation also does not mean rejecting the Bible and theology, but rather translating the content of the Bible into the language of rational understanding.