The Noetic Effects of Sin

First, here is an interesting piece by Dr. Michael McGuire of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in which he mentions a bit about the Noetic Effects of Sin.

Noetic is derived the Greek word nous. Plainly, it means,

The concept in Christian theology that argues for the negative effect of sin on the minds of all people. This effect changes man’s thinking and ability to understand. It is not that the mind is incapacitated, but that sin has a deteriorating effect on our ability to think and believe. This effect is primarily seen with regard to our understanding and perception of spiritual things. All Christian traditions believe that sin has debilitated the mind, but some will differ with respect to the degree or what the remedy is.

Calvin might would consider the noetic effect as something in line with predestination, relieving God of culpability in selecting souls before the creation of the world for damnation. Others might see the noetic effect of sin as something that prevenient grace can pull a soul through.

The word is not in the bible, but is the concept?

In Romans 1.28, a passage that is a bane to the gay-christian movement, Paul says that those people who engaged in homosexuality were given over to a mind that is castaway, or reprobate. In others words, because of the vileness of the sin, God gave them a mind that rejected Him.

Further, Paul tells Titus

To the pure all things are pure, but to the corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure. Their very minds and consciences are corrupted. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their actions. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.
(Tit 1:15-16 NRVS)

Or to Timothy, when Paul said,

Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
(2Ti 3:8 KJVA)

Here we see that those, although they may profess faith, who reject God are themselves given to such a mind that they are unable to see their immorality. In a previous letter to the young Christian, Paul wrote,

Whoever teaches otherwise and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that is in accordance with godliness, is conceited, understanding nothing, and has a morbid craving for controversy and for disputes about words. From these come envy, dissension, slander, base suspicions, and wrangling among those who are depraved in mind and bereft of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment;
(1Ti 6:3-6 NRVS)

So, it would be safe to say that sin drives a wedge between the mind of man and the righteous ways of God. Theologians have tackled this, especially in dealing with the fact that our salvation is not wrought by the works of man, but is fully resting upon God. Yet, how can a sinner come freely to God? Of course, as an Arminianist, I subscribe to the ‘preceding grace’ of John Wesley as something in line with biblical concepts. (Much more so than Calvinism)

I believe that sin can damage the mind to such an extent that God simply cannot call a soul to salvation any longer. Again, you can reject God and His ways, His call, to such a point that the mind is uncallable, and those the soul unsavable.

Look at the abortion debate. It is usually framed in moralistic terms on both sides. One side says that murder is morally wrong. The other side says that it is morally acceptable, and indeed, choice itself is a moral, for a woman to abort a fetus. It is, after all, her body. This side says that it is immoral to control another person’s body.

But morality has been predetermined by God. A ‘choice’ that is against this predetermined morality is a sin. Everyone has a right to make choices, to sin or not to sin, but consequences are always brought to bare. In abortion cases, some women will later suffer something akin to post traumatic stress syndrome, called Post Abortion Syndrome. Some say it is rare; others say it occurs with every abortion.

Dr. Edmonson says,

Some women may work through the aftermath of abortion with the aid of a support group, their church or family and friends. But I believe the only person who would not be affected by an abortion would be someone with severe character disorder. Such an individual can form no real attachment to other human beings and therefore has no feeling for how her actions affect others.

The better a woman’s capacity to repress, the longer the disorder will be put off, but the greater the eventual stress. Some women can talk quite glibly about the issue. They build support groups and are not consciously bothered by their abortions, but they spend a great deal of time and energy justifying them.

Thus we come to see an physical sign on the stress on the mind caused by sin. Yet, people attempt to justify abortion. Yet, ‘christians’ believe that being pro-choice is something that Christ would have agreed to, attempting to use bible to justify

Homosexuality is the same way. Although physiological effects have been noted in a majority of individuals, as well as physical issues, homosexuality is still promoted by many as being natural and groups are constantly seeking ‘tolerance’. Yet a holy God as decreed sin in all of it’s forms as corrupt. To many today, because of the noetic effect has taken to seeing homosexuality, and indeed many other sins, as something well within the designs of God. For those ‘christians’ who promote such a idea, the hypocrisy exists int he fact that the same Bible that proclaims to them their ‘god’ also proclaims the very God of the Bible has condemned homosexuality, abortion, and sin and has called all of humanity to repent of such sins.

The effects of sin on the mind is well documented in the world today, when entire movements are built on providing equal rights to those that abuse themselves and murder the innocents. Those who seek to stand against such abominations are roundly criticized as homophobic and shoved from the conversation. I am not one for government involvement in matters of individual morality (who cares if they get ‘married’?), instead believing that the heart has to be won before any law becomes an effective deterrent.

One thing that worries me is the nature of attacks against those that even choose to deny the validity of ‘homosexual-rights’ or the stance of the ‘pro-choice’ movement is horrendous. This is directly related to the mind being so defiled and deformed with sin, that any voice for righteousness is seen as the abhorrent one.

When approached by a family member about accepting their homosexuality, to which I refused to accept that lifestyle as natural, they literally justified themselves by claiming to have accepted me for my ‘lifestyle’. My lifestyle is a traditional marriage in a fundamentalist church. Now, I did not refuse them in my home, but their lifestyle (partner, etc…). My stance was that I had enough respect for them not to bring in my ‘lifestyle’ (preaching, traditional values) into their home and force them to accept them. Their sin deformed mind could not reason well, and I doubt that many homosexuals can reason such, but the fact remains: if I have to accept their values, why should they not accept mine? (No matter the level of tolerance that they preach, to accept our values would mean an ending of theirs.)

We can see the effects of sin on the mind by watching television where barriers of decency are being destroy every season, and commercials are produced promoting sexuality of any kind in order to sell more sin. We see young stars becoming engaged in lifestyles detrimental to their lives, but this is accepted and excepted. In the clothing departments, it is difficult to buy clothes that are fitting for a young girl because most seek to dress them as prostitutes. The deformed mind finds this acceptable and promotable. It sees anything as a challenge to this lifestyle as something detrimental to the ‘creativity’ if the young mind.

I readily know, as many do, the effects of sin on the body, but sin also seeks to destroy the mind, forever separating it from the power of God’s call. It is my prayer that no one turns away from conviction, lest you find yourself unable to answer when you most want to.

The Purpose of Life

The Purpose of Life:

The special purpose and life fulfilling realization that entails great prosperity, peace, and a quiet heart before God, entailing the one who understands to gain future promises of help, comfort, a mansion, a new body, comfort, and an abundance of riches, glory, and grace.

Below is a list of daily affirmations that seek to enable people to feel better about themselves, to help them find a purpose in life. They need to repeat these several times in the morning, and perhaps a few times throughout the day.

A List of positive affirmations you can use to boost your self esteem:

* I deserve to be happy and successful
* I have the power to change myself
* I can forgive and understand others and their motives
* I can make my own choices and decisions
* I am free to choose to live as I wish and to give priority to my desires
* I can choose happiness whenever I wish no matter what my circumstances
* I am flexible and open to change in every aspect of my life
* I act with confidence having a general plan and accept plans are open to alteration
* It is enough to have done my best
* I deserve to be loved

The above was taken from: http://www.more-selfesteem.com/affirmations.htm

If you want, there are books, computer programs, websites, seminars, and even individual counseling to help you determine your purpose in life. At the Life Purpose Institute (http://www.lifepurposeinstitute.com/ ), you can pay to become a Life Coach, which I am sure you can turn around and earn a living from. You can get quotes from famous people, mostly telling you that your purpose is exactly what you want it to be and that your desires will determine your destiny. And if that doesn’t work, don’t worry it is not your fault; it is your parents or society’s fault for correcting you and inhibiting your creative growth when you where younger. If they had only encouraged you to be violent, lazy, and selfish instead of correcting you!

Prosperity preachers tell us that our purpose in this life, and indeed the purpose of the Cross, was to give us health and wealth. They see only peace in the bank account, not the peace that enables us to share in the riches of the grace of God. If we but want something, we just have to snap our heels together three times, say a magic phrase, send money to some white-suited preacher and we will have everything that we could want.

Brethren, each of us has a special purpose, not just us, but the entire world! We can live in the prosperity that comes from God. It is God’s purpose for us to be rich and not burdened by sins, but by treasures from heaven. We have a higher purpose.

We do have a purpose on this earth, and indeed, I believe that everyone else does as well. We have been predestined to greatness, to riches, to something greater than ourselves.

In Genesis 1:26-27, the Bible plainly tells us that we are made in the image of God. We were not made to till the earth or to go to work every day. We were brought forth for a reason, for a purpose. Don’t skip ahead and think that the purpose of man is the same as man’s duty. Purpose is why, duty is what. In this Garden, Man walks and talks with God and is in free communion with him. Man is free of sin, because there is no sin, so he is holy. Here is paradise.

We know that Adam fell when he sinned, creating a wall of separation between God and creation, and we also know that at that moment, not in some after thought, God set about to restore all things to Himself. He devised a plan and put it into action. He did not give up on us nor set us aside. He did not destroy us or remove us from His thought altogether, but His very first actions detailed the compassion of the Deity. He demanded separation, but did not leave Adam and Eve without a covering, making a sacrifice of flesh to hide their sins. He spoke the first prophecy, pointing to a time when Man would once again walk with God. Why did he do these things when he could have easily turned us aside?

It is no small thing to say that He loved us, and so He did love us. (Ephesians 2:4, 1st John 4:10, 1st John 4:19) He also had a purpose for us from the very beginning, and although sin interrupted it for a season, there is a pathway to it.

(Eph 1:3-5) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

There are several ways to look at this passage, concerning especially the καταβολης κοσμου (foundation of the world).

1.) World could very well be the world order created after the fall of Adam, where death reigned.

2.) The world is literally this planet. The problem with this is that sin would have to be predestined to, meaning that God predestined pain, suffering, and heartache.

3.) The first and ideal purpose of God was for humanity to share in the holiness of God, but the fall of Adam interrupted that plan.

The word “predestine” (προορίσας, proorizô) means literally “to set out boundaries in advance.” God staked out the boundaries for the group he would adopt. By his sovereign decree, all those in Christ – that is, in the name of Jesus Christ, in His Church – would be in the group. Whether a person is in God’s group, then, depends on what that person has done concerning the Gospel.

We see in 2nd Timothy, Paul makes the same suggestion: that we have a purpose in Christ that has existed before the world began.

(2Ti 1:9) Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

In Greek, the phrase translated as ‘before the world began’ is πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων, literally ‘before times eternal’. Time began after the Fall, so we had a purpose before then. What is the purpose that was given in Christ before time began?

To be holy and to share in the glory of God.

So, if we had a purpose before time began, what then afterwards?

(Rom 9:22-24) What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

This passage, of course, details the destruction that the Jews brought upon themselves. Peter tells us that God is longsuffering, is patient, in order that all may be saved. The Jews knew, by their prophets, (just as we do by John) that destruction was coming. They were fitted, like someone getting a tailored suit, for destruction, but God held off until the Church began, and even then it was not until 40 years after the Resurrection that the temple, and thus the Priesthood, was destroyed.

There is a purpose that God has for us once more. The problem is that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

The writer of Hebrews tells us that the goal of Christ in his sufferings was to bring in many sons unto glory (2.10). Paul in Romans 5:2 says that by faith we stand in the Grace of God, and rejoice in confident expectation that we will obtain the glory of God. In 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, he reminds us that no matter what we are going through, no matter the weights that afflict us, all these things are working together for the eternal weight of glory, because we are working not for the things seen, but for the things unseen, that is the heavenly things.

In 2nd Thessalonians 2:14, Paul tells the Church that we are called to obtain the glory of the Lord. In 2nd Timothy 2:10, in one of Paul’s final letters to his dear friend and son in the Lord, he writes that he is enduring all things that he may obtain the salvation in Christ that comes with eternal glory.

Our purpose during this life is to be saved, in order to obtain the Glory of the Lord.

What is ‘glory’?

Thayer’s defines it this way: a most glorious condition, most exalted state AND the glorious condition of blessedness into which is appointed and promised that true Christians shall enter after their Savior’s return from heaven.

It is an eternal state. It is not used in Scripture to speak about anything external or temporal. No privileges can be attained through this word. It does not bring prosperity or wealth untold. When the Apostles spoke about glory, they were not speaking about new cars, new homes, or happiness on earth. They were living in a world of persecution, where if they but uttered the name of Christ, they stood in violation of the Jews and the entire Roman Empire. They had the entire world against them, so their concerns were not material gain. They were speaking about being with God, as it was first before the fall. They had made Heaven their only priority, seeking first the Kingdom of God.

In Colossians 3:4, Paul says that when Christ comes again, we will appear with him in Glory. In the same letter, Paul tells us that Christ is our hope of glory. (Col 1.27).

We do not need daily affirmation to remind us that we are something special, or that we have a purpose. We but need to read the scriptures to find our true purpose. We hear a lot today from various so-called preachers who say that God’s purpose is external privileges, but nothing in Scripture proves that. We do have riches, but it is a glorious wealth that will see it’s fruition in eternal Glory one day, on that Day when Christ is manifested to the world.

Let me draw your attention to one final detail. Back in Genesis 2:9, we see that God put the Tree of Life in the midst of the Garden. In Revelation 2:7, we are told that if we overcome, then we will eat of the Tree of Life in the midst of the Paradise of God. Further in 22:2, we are told that in the middle of the city of God is the Tree of Life which will bring healing to the nations and in verse 14, we are told that those who keep his commandments we will partake of the Tree of Life. We see the grand scheme of the Bible at work, if we follow the evidence. In Genesis, humanity falls into a separation with God because of disobedience; in Revelation, those who are obedient are united with him forever. In Genesis, there is a tree of life set in the middle of the Garden; in Revelation, it is the city of God that holds the Tree of Life.

Adam fell from his purposed life in the Garden of Eden, and interrupted the set course for this world. God predestined the Church as a set of boundaries as the only way to unite God and man once more. The Tree of Life was there with Adam, and we will see it again.

Is there leaven in the house?

Under the Torah (Law) of the Old Covenant, filth was considered something that would be infect the entire body. If a mad touched but a speck of blood, then he was unclean and must go through ritual cleansing. Even Passover was put off until a person could be made clean. They did this so as to make sure that they were entirely clean and holy before a God Who is always Holy. Before Passover (the Feast of the Unleavened Bread), good Jews still to this day go through their home and clean ever nook and cranny in order to clear out the yeast (leaven) or their Passover is corrupted. When Joshua was marching on his conquest of Palestine, he lost a battle that should not have been lost. Why? Because there was ONE member of the camp, out of hundreds of thousands, that had brought sin in.

It seems to me that at times even the greatest and most noblest of organizations can fall and falter because in some nook and cranny there exists leaven; in some area of the camp, Achan lives with his ill gotten goods; on some of the body corporate is a speck of defiling blood. Is the congregation you are in somehow defiled and will not clean itself? Has it refused to send messengers to check the tents and disposed of the sinners? Maybe it is time to separate yourself.

Paul writes:

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, (2Co 6:14-17 – KJV)

Even in secular settings, this rule can be applied. If you are righteous, or right, then why continue with walking with someone that will defile you? How long can you live in a landfill without starting to smell like one? Without becoming a dump rat? That is why it is so important to keep ourselves separate and clean from the world, from evil, from filth. If we align ourselves with such things –people, organizations –that are wallowing in their own filth, how long can we maintain our conscience as pure and undefiled?