Which tree are you blind to?

The soulish person has no capacity to comprehend the language of the Spirit of God; spiritual things seem meaningless to them; they are incapable to discern that which can only be spiritually appreciated.

1Co 2:14

Francois du Toit in his Mirror translation added this comment:

A performance-based mindset cannot access what grace communicates. It would be as impossible as trying to get airborne with a motor car. Law cannot compete with grace.

We saw in earlier installments that the word for tree in Hebrew also means to close your eyes.

Verse 11 of the same chapter does show us that every human being has a spirit. It asks the question: who then knows the thoughts of man but his spirit.

Interestingly enough, pneuma, the word for spirit, can mean ratio or mind as well. Maybe Paul made a game on words here and uses it to mean mind in verse 11 and spirit in verse 14. But I doubt that, as it would be confusing to the reader.

The two parts that Paul contrasts here are psuchike and pneuma. Those are the two immaterial parts of man. Animals have psuchike, a soul, as we can see in the creation story, while only human beings have a spirit.

How could we now translate this word pneuma in modern terms? How about consciousness?

Mankind became conscious when they decided to receive for themselves, that is, when they adopted the principle of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. In that moment, man became blind for the principle of the tree of life.

Before being conscious, man was one with everything, though not in a conscious way, but merely instinctively.

Basic consciousness is the ability to discern duality. It means to be aware of one self and others as well as things.

Consciousness is the beginning of the capacity to comprehend the language of the Spirit of God. We need to start with first things first. We need to develop a capacity to love, to make decisions.

The law is a step, a necessary step in the development of our consciousness. Paul tells us that only through the law we can truly discern what is good and what is evil. That is, since the lost paradise of unconsciousness, we grow into better and better discernment and use of the principle of the tree of the knowledge of good an evil.

We learned it in our basic relationships within the family and the tribe. Look at the archetypical story of Cain and Abel. It shows how not to relate to your brother, but on a deeper level shows us the dark pit in our soul. Hopefully, we have not killed our brothers, but we at times thought about it, didn’t we?

We next learned to defend our kindred, but also discovered our strength and therefore power. And through external law, we learned to tame that power, in order to display it in a more civilised from as strive and drive. Only to come back to community on a greater base with the ability to individuate, but the urge to fellowship on a new level.

When you look at this, you will find a pendulum swinging from we to me and back, from fellowship to discovery, from adherence to a greater good to testing its limits. But it all is within the confines and the principle of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Let me put it another way: first we adhere to the somewhat magical law of the family or tribe, and then rebel against it. Next we obey the law of a higher power, and then rebel against it. And then we obey the humanitarian laws of tolerance and harmony, but at the same time destruct law as we become the subjective legislative, executive and judiciary for ourselves. We annihilate law altogether in a pluralistic onslaught to create nihilism.

Yet another way: We first look to our kindred for guidance, and then break out because they do not have all the answers. We then look to God as source, but realise that our image of God is flawed and lies to us. We therefore look to ourselves as the answer and value giving instances, and fail.

Through all that, we have learned primarily one thing: laws do not cut it. Neither peer group pressure nor bodies of law nor subjective morals truly help. There are certain problems they solve, but none of them gives life.

What then was the life giving side of all that? Our consciousness grew. We matured. But what is next?

After realizing that all those strategies to master life are flawed and wonderful, error-prone and grandiose, we can take off our eyes from the tree of knowledge of good and evil as it has done its deed. It prepared us for the next step.

We have progressed from walking to horse buggies to cars, but it is time to fly.

God is opening our eyes towards the tree of life and blinding them to the other tree. He is taking us from form to formlessness. Form has limitations, and we know what belongs to a form and what does not. Grace is formless. It just gives grace.

Does that mean that we have to unlearn what we have learned? Yes, but it does not mean that we have to un-become what we have become.

We are a loving, decisive, moral individual that values the godliness in others.

We are no longer the conforming, waring, moralising hyper-individual that destructs meaning.

Jesus has been given all power, but decides not to judge anybody, but to extend grace.

When we became conscious, we had to leave paradise as we realized our own mortality. But the cure to that is not less consciousness, that is numbing. The cure is more consciousness, that is awakening and growing.

The law helped us through some steps. Grace will take us further.

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By Ralph Rickenbach

Accompanyist | Writer | Son of God — ideation | learner | deliberative | intellection | futuristic — I am a Gallup certified CliftonStrengths coach and a Spiral Dynamics practitioner.