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Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Noetic Effects of the Fall - A Beginners Guide

I occasionally stumble across a word or phrase that, to be honest, I have no idea what is meant by that word or phrase. Doing the Berean thing I look up that word or phrase in order to clarify the book or article I am reading, and quite often I find the words bulky and rarely use them if ever, but it's good to know what they mean. Words like "presupposition". Normally I don't use "presupposition", especially when speaking of myself, because presupposing that God exists is the same thing as presupposing that air exists. Do we need a special word for 'normal thought'?

Today I was reading an older article at Hip and Thigh blog and was struck by the term "noetic effect of the fall." I could gather the meaning of this phrase from the content of the blog, but it was used more in passing so I went digging. Most of the articles I could find on the phrase "noetic effect of the fall." were long, scholarly, well written, and a lot deeper than I expected. So I decided to put together a beginners guide for myself. 


Noetic is an adjective which means "of or pertaining to the mind" so if you were discussing the effects alcohol has on your reasoning capability you could say that you were discussing the noetic effects of gin. Noetic comes from the greek word nońďtikos which comes from the Greek words noein to think, from nous the mind. So when the author at Hip and Thigh said "noetic effects of the fall" he was talking about the effect that falling from God's grace had on our minds... on our minds? Really?

Of course! We know there's a God, the entirety of creation proclaims it:
1 The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; Their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their utterances to the end of the world. In them He has placed a tent for the sun (Psalm 19:1-4)
The very Earth shouts "God's made this!!!", and if you don't believe that it does, you really need to go up to Rocky Mountain National Park (or Yellowstone, or Yosemite, or Glacier) and find a nice scenic overlook and pay attention to the crowd. You will hear them talk about how they were impressed by the vistas, how spiritually moving the experience is. Even hard core atheists are hard pressed to maintain their theological deficiency. 
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)
It's right there - proof of God, His majesty, His power, it's all right there in every aspect of creation, we just have to look. We have no excuse not to understand that all of creation is the work of God. This is the General Revelation of God and it's a unifying thread throughout all of humanity, but it's what we do with that revelation which divides us.

So if we all can see God's creation why don't we all know it's God's creation? Atheists claim that there is not enough reason to believe God exists, however these are the same people that believe that man descended from ape even though physiological evidence denies this. We don't fully appreciate God's creation, or we chose to worship the creation rather than the creator because of the noetic effects of the fall A.K.A. the noetic effects of sin. Our minds have been clouded;
"The Fall brought about the perversion of human faculties, but it did not destroy those faculties. Human reasoning abilities are affected but not eliminated. This can be seen in the fact that the writers of Scripture often appeal to the minds of unbelievers by citing evidence on behalf of their claims, using logical inferences in building their case and speaking in the language and thought forms of those outside the faith." (J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian worldview, ch. 1)
The term 'noetic effect of the fall' is not in the bible, but the concept is clearly there. Time and time again we are warned that the bible doesn't make any sense to unbelievers, this is due to the noetic effects of sin:
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)
It isn't God who is blinding us to His word but Satan, whom Paul called "the god of this world". To me this is just terrifying, I know numerous people who say they can't understand the bible, many of whom are Christians, when the chapter they're looking at is clear to me. This is the clearest example of outright spiritual warfare I can see, and this is why Jesus called us to repent - to change our minds, to turn our back on sin and allow His word into our minds.
31 And Jesus answered and said to them, It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32)
God gave us a helper to assist us with that - the Holy Spirit. Without repenting, turning away from sin, we are lost. God gave us the general revelation, He even gave us special revelations. He sent His Son, He sent His Holy Spirit, yet many will turn their backs on their Father. This is the deep dark rabbit hole of the noetic effects of the fall. Theologians will go on about Calvinism and Arminianism and Luther and on and on, we just need to know this about noetic effects of sin: Adam spoke clearly with God, they knew each other and loved each other right up until until Satan was able to wedge his way between Adam and God. That's when man turned away from God and that wedge remains. Now we must struggle to hear His word through the mental fog Satan has shrouded us in. Or ...
21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 1:21-25)

2 comments:

  1. Well done brother. I appreciate the scripure references to support your information.

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    1. Here is a great discussion on the noetic effects of the fall

      http://www.albertmohler.com/2014/05/17/ask-anything-weekend-edition-05-17-14/

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