Living in the other Dimension
Living in the Other Dimension (1 Corinthians 2:9-15)
Not all of us who live in the same place live in the same space. Some people in Fort Worth live in one place, others live in two places. Those who live in two places at once have an extra dimension in life—the knowledge of God through His personal Spirit. Evidence supports the obvious. Around us are those blind to God and those who see Him, those deaf to Him and those who hear Him, those who are numb to Him and those who feel Him. What makes this drastic difference? The difference is the presence of God's personal Spirit.
God in Himself Is Unknowable to Mere Humans
God's preparation for us really exists: "What God has prepared for those who love him" (v. 9). By His initial act in eternity and continuous activity in time God prepares life in the spiritual dimension. He prepares a richness and scope of life that defies description. God has elaborately prepared a spiritual dimension of life.
Our unaided recognition of God's preparation is impossible. No sensory capacity we possess can recognize God's activity for us: "No eye has seen, nor ear has heard." No rational capacity we have can think of God's preparation for us: "No mind has conceived." The knowledge of the spiritual is beyond the natural capacity of humans.
God in Himself Is Knowable By His Spirit
We know God only because He reveals and unveils Himself to us. This is humbling. It slays our pride. The scientist wants to find evidence. The philosopher wants to think it through. God is closed to both approaches.
The nature of God's Spirit is personal and probing. God's Spirit is personal. The very word Spirit means "personal self" in biblical language. To have God's Spirit is to know God's personal self. Verse 11 offers a simple comparison. Paul moves from the human level we can understand to the divine level we cannot understand. On a human level, no one really knows what is going on inside another person except that person's own human spirit. The inner feelings, thoughts, and motives of any person are really known only to that person. Even a human has secret depths which no human can penetrate. How much more God! Only the Spirit of God knows God. Only the Spirit of God can communicate God to us.
God's Spirit is probing: "The Spirit searches all things" (v. 10). The activity of the Spirit is that of probing, penetrating, and piercing everything in creation. The Spirit acts as a divine sonar, penetrating and returning with knowledge of everything. This includes the deepest things of God's nature. The Spirit reflects those deep things into the heart of the person who knows God.
The origin of God's Spirit belongs to God Himself, not this world. Negatively, "We have not received the spirit of the world." There is a spirit of the world. It is a temperment, an outlook that gives this world its distinctive character apart from God. "The spirit of the world" is the sum total of the way life works in this world without God. We get that spirit automatically at birth and later by contact with this world. The Christian is not dominated by that spirit.
Positively, we have received the "Spirit who is from God" (v. 12). The source of our knowledge is from God Himself. The Christian lives with a confident assurance of this personal spiritual knowledge. It is more "real" than the world itself.
The communication about God's Spirit comes through words. Having God's Spirit does not mean simply "warm fuzzy feelings." The Spirit communicates to us through the words of Scripture. Negatively, the Spirit speaks "not in words taught us by human wisdom" (v. 13). Scripture contains the words taught the apostles by the Spirit. These words do not belong to the language of human science or philosophy. They are different. Positively, they are "words taught by the Spirit." The inspiration of the Bible goes beyond mere ideas. The very words of Scripture were taught to the authors by the Spirit of God. The Bible is verbally inspired. This does not degrade its authors into robots. Within each writer's personality, the words used were given by the Spirit.
All of this means that we are dependent and humble in order to know God. The knowledge of God comes through His Word and Spirit, not our investigation.
Our Knowledge Depends on His Provision
The natural person cannot know the things of God. The natural person means the person with merely animal life, the person not inhabited by the invited Spirit of God. That person misses God in two senses. First, the person has no capacity for reception (v. 14). The spiritual organ is not present to receive the Spirit of God. The pencil in your pocket cannot receive this message, in the same sense. Second, even if that person could receive the Word of God, he could not understand it. Hence he thinks it is all foolish, insipid, and stupid. Everything about Christian discipleship and stewardship appears ridiculous.
The spiritual person not only understands the things of God, but places all things in their proper perspective. Because the spiritual person knows the things of God, he/she is able to scrutinize, examine, and appraise the value of everything else in life. Knowing God is the key to all understanding of things as they really are. Work, play, home, family life, and death are seen in their true relationship only when you see God.
On the other hand, the spiritual person cannot be evaluated by the natural person (v. 15). You are a puzzle and an enigma to the unbeliever. You ought to be. A mark of the genuine Christian life is that of mystery to the outsider. A born-again person should be a mystery. There is literally nothing like it in this world.
Are you a mystery that cannot be explained in human terms?