October 8, 2014

Blind Not Dumb – Part 1 – Noetic Effect of Sin

Preacher:
Passage: John 9:1-5, Romans 12:2, Romans 8:28-30

Blind Not Dumb – Spiritual Wisdom In Physical Darkness

Blind not Dumb part one, the noetic effect of sin addresses the fallen mind of mankind.
Download "Blind Not Dumb - Pt 1 - The Noetic Effect
It addresses the inherent faults in a world that is darkened by a perverse human capacity for sound reasoning. The text comes from John Chapter Nine.
According to the Noetic theory, the fall resulted in perversion of the entire man, affecting body, soul, spirit and mind. Just as sin weakens the physical body and the purity of our emotions, so too does it hinder our ability to rightly interpret Scripture. Scriptural confirmation of the Noetic Effect is revealed in the book of Romans wherein Paul pens theses words:

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God," (Romans 12:2).

By examining the supernatural wisdom of a man born blind not dumb, we see a healing power that involves more than mere physical change. The old man lacks the ability to rightly discern matters of holiness, righteousness and Godliness. Thus conversion includes not only a spiritual death of the old man, but also a psychological metamorphosis in the new man.
 
This message is titled "Blind Not Dumb". It is about common sense, applied knowledge and supernatural spiritual wisdom. It addresses the inherent faults in a world that is darkened by a perverse human capacity for sound reasoning. The text comes from John Chapter Nine.
Before reading the Scriptures, I want talk a moment about something that Christian theologians call the "Noetic Effect," a concept that addresses the mental blindness that accompanies the spiritually crippled nature of mankind. In theory, the Noetic Effect troubles the redeemed as well as the alienated.
Now we know that the corrupt mind cannot grasp the things of God. Even without a technical term assigned to the condition, Christians are taught, and it is so according to Romans 8:7, that a carnal mind cannot be subject to the law of God. This condition of enmity with God is called the "Noetic Effect of Sin (1)." The term dates back to the early years of Christian theology, wherein redeemed men came to realize that the fall of Adam induced not only physical death but also a measure of mental death. Thus we have a simple explanation for why denominations, church assemblies and even individual Christians cannot come to full agreement concerning correct interpretation of all Scriptures. We may be “washed in the blood,” but until rightly conformed to acknowledge and accept the thoughts and intends of God our minds remain under the curse. Thus perfect understanding seems often to resist our hopes. The voice of the Spirit remains unheeded. And unity within the body of Christ remains ever just beyond our grasp.
According to the Noetic theory, the fall resulted in perversion of the entire man, affecting body, soul, spirit and mind. Just as sin weakens the physical body and the purity of our emotions, so too does it hinder our ability to rightly interpret Scripture. Scriptural confirmation of the Noetic Effect is revealed in the book of Romans wherein Paul pens theses words:
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God," (Romans 12:2 KJV).
Herein we see clear evidence that the mind of the old man lacks the ability to rightly discern matters of holiness, righteousness and Godliness. Thus conversion includes not only a spiritual death of the old man, but also a psychological metamorphosis in the new man. However, the process of healing spiritual blindness takes time, and typically more time than mankind has days on this earth. Thus even as the redeemed strive to grasp perfect understanding, the mind remains imperfect. Therefore each Christian does spiritual battle from a different level of mental awareness, and no Christian while in this life attains complete transformation. This is not an excuse for the pride and bickering that daily occurs between the Sons of God. It is merely an explanation.
Now if all this sounds like a mass of self-righteous theo-talk, you might be somewhat right for we often tend to overcomplicate simple truths. Be it enough to say that the Noetic Effect of Sin means that you and I lack access to the full potential of our mind.
A Bible Example: He Was Blind Not Ignorant
Let’s put it all together and talk about wisdom, about blind eyes, and about the Noetic mind of Scribes, Pharisees and even redeemed Christians.
The example comes from the tale of a man born blind from birth. First we zoom in on a miracle healing, and then we examine the response from the Disciples of Christ, the general onlookers, the leaders of the Jewish nation, and even the parents of the one who was healed. Yet for the greatest focus of this lesson, we will try to envision the supernatural wisdom that seems to come upon the man who was healed in flesh yet knew not the Jesus who had healed him.
Throughout this story, we can also see the typical nature of the church world, a world wherein doctrine overshadows the miracle of salvation, wherein the wisdom of God is often rejected because it does not align with man-crafted upgrades to Scripture, wherein truth is ignored in favor of tradition.
But before I set the spotlight on "a man blind from birth," take a peek into the mindset of the Jewish culture. Beginning in John Chapter Nine, verse One, we read these words:
"And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world," (John 9:1-5 KJV).
Now isn’t that amazing. Why would men raised in a Jewish culture conclude that someone could sin while yet in the womb of a mother? And why is the concept of generational sin so heavy on their mind? But more-so, and in the light of the lessons taught in the book of Job, why do they exclude the third possibility for why this man was born blind?
Let’s examine the issue.
Although considered by religious leaders as “unlearned and ignorant men,” (Acts 4:13) our first introduction to the men who would eventually become the disciples of Jesus Christ implies that they were no strangers to the doctrines of the times (John 1:35-51). They were disciples of John the Baptist. They were aware of the promises within the Scriptures and they were actively seeking Messiah. If raised in standard Jewish tradition, they knew the common Jewish practices such as dietary restriction, attending worship in the Temple in Jerusalem, learning Scripture, and living in other daily acts of faith.
As to sin within the womb: Hebrew children were taught and believed that life begins at conception, and the Holy Scrolls confirmed their learning.
“Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me,” (Psalm 51:5). And then again in Jeremiah 1:5 where it is written: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
As to understanding the concept of generational curses: The Jews as a whole believed that all suffering was caused by sin, and that children sometimes paid the consequences for the sins of the parents. And why would they not believe this? Consider their history; consider the consequences reaped by a generation of Jews who endured birth and the earlier part of life in a barren wilderness because their fathers lacked faith to cross over the Jordan River. Likewise, ponder memories of a time when old and young alike endured seventy years in Babylonian captivity for the sins of the nation. And there is, of course, the sin of Adam, which resulted in a curse upon the entirety of mankind. Thus there is some rightness in the viewpoint that children pay for the sins of the fathers.
Yet as Jesus revealed when answering their question, their beliefs were somewhat true but not all together correct. For example: Deuteronomy 24:16 declares “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.” And then again in Ezekiel 18:2,3, we hear the Spirit whisper these words: “What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge? As I live, saith the Lord God, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel.”
Now the list that brings balance for right understanding of generational curses could include many other passages of Scripture. But I am not here to draw a fine line on this issue. It is sufficient that you grasp the possibility of even a third cause for sickness.
For the Disciples only two possibilities existed: Either the man sinned or his parents sinned. They lived under a judicial system that could conceive no other options. Even after walking in the footsteps of Christ, the Disciples suffered from spiritual blindness and a faulty mental capacity for grasping the deeper truths within Scripture. If the thoughts and intents of God are hidden from men, it is typically due to our pre-established viewpoints, prejudiced belief system, and a mind that lacks the capacity for perfect logic. At times, and in spite of all evidence that we are wrong in a given point of understanding, we cling to tradition, self-righteous certainty, and the pride of our chosen denomination.
But Jesus presents a third option. And the truth comes in a short, simple, and clear phrase: “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” It seems so obvious. Does not the text in Romans 8:28 conclude with the words, “…according to His purpose.”
Looking back to the beginning when the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were delivered into Egyptian captivity, we see an example of suffering as it pertains to God’s purposes. Even as the Lord promised to make from the seed of Abraham a mighty nation, he also declared that they would enter into 400 years of captivity so that he could reveal his great power unto the world. It is recorded in this manner:
“And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance,” (Gen. 15:13-14).
And then after the set time has passed, and the captivity has taken place, we read these words as spoken to Moses
“And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians," (Exodus 3:7,8a).
It seems strange that God should speak as though these cries are just catching his attention, as though the captivity is only now being discovered. Yet we know that all of this is perfectly according to his plan.
And now we come to the blind man where yet again physical suffering comes not as a result of sin but rather as a role in God’s perfect plan of salvation. Jesus herein defines himself as the “light of the world.” These words reflect a simple truth: Men do not need physical eyes to have spiritual vision.
Watch the story unfold.
1) http://chaosandoldnight.wordpress.com/2007/08/08/the-noetic-effects-of-salvation-in-presuppositional-apologetics, http://www.theopedia.com/Noetic_effects_of_sin, http://catholicgnosis.wordpress.com/2013/11/27/noetic-sapiential-and-spiritual-exegesis
Quick Link To - Blind Not Dumb Pt 2 - Turn On The Light
Quick Link to Blind Not Dumb, Pt 3, After The Healing
Quick Link To - Blind Not Dumb -Pt 4 - Wisdom Rejected
 
 

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