Models of the Human Mind: The Symbiotic Model
This is the Post-Symbiosis Human Heart of Romans 8:1-28 (which reads like the follow-up report after the computer program bug reported in Romans 7 has been eradicated):
We have noted that the Holy Spirit resides in the heart, but the way we have traditionally thought of the location as either metaphorical (thus having no real presence), or incidental and not pivotal. In the latter case, we would put a yellow circle in the lower right hand corner of the Human Heart, far away from and not affecting the bitstream.
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
Location! Location! Location! The Holy Spirit "wraps" Himself around the bitstream and affects it. There is no need to modify the portions of the bitstream coming from the senses (It is, after all, the Spirit of Truth), but the portion of the bitstream that is "downstream" from the place where simulated sensations (and associated mental "choice menus) are generated is totally commandeered, editing, removing, and adding thoughts to the stream of data that directly impacts the "I". The heart remains fundamentally evil and remains capable of sin, as Paul, James, and John continually remind us. However, and Jesus made this very point, "defilement" (the committing of sin) does not happen in the heart, but when the evil thoughts coming from the heart "defile the man": "with my mind, I myself serve the law of God". The "I myself" of Paul in 7: 24 is the "I"/"eye" in the diagram, and is the part whose choices determines if "the man" sins or not.
6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
I cannot emphasize this point too much: The Holy Spirit is actually, for really, and very truly, present in the believer. He has to be in there, affecting chemical balances, changing the order, frequency, and location of the firing of neurons, moderating chemical balances in the gaps between synapses, in order to actually affect actual thoughts.
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
The implication here is that the process is cooperative: we have a part to play in the way that thoughts run around the "simulated sensation loop". It was asked earlier "What good is a model of the human mind that's 2 millenia old?" If the Human Heart model is closer to reality than the classical model, then "how" one affects the mortification (putting to death) of the deeds of the body must necessarily change. The classical model puts the onus for changing one's thoughts on the conscious mind, which is the "I" in that model. That model states "You, and you alone, are the one creating the thoughts of your mind. Thus, you are responsible if you do not change the thoughts you are creating." The human heart model absolves the "I" of the thought creation process, but restores responsiblity by saying "You are responsible for the choice of what thoughts to focus upon. What's that? Your heart dealt you a bad hand by gving you a pre-rigged list of thoughts, all bad, to choose from? Too bad: you either choose to focus on one of those thoughts and choose the least noxious menu option provided to you by a corrupt heart, or do the right thing by shutting yourself down to enforce the choice of not choosing." The Symbiotic model says, "I, the Holy Spirit, am here and present. I'll edit the simulated sensations so they are either gone or toned down to be tolerable when you get them. I'll add more options to choose from, and implement the options you choose that I added. Choose wisely."
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
How does "The Spirit itself bear witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God"? By generating simulated sensations of His own, tossing them into the bitsream, and letting the system sweep those thoughts up and into the mind so that they impact the "I". Or were you of the impression that the Third Person of the Godhead, who was the only one actually on the ground at Creation while the other two stood off at a distance (better to admire the results) and shouted their instructions, wasn't smart enough to do that?
Human parents may care for the sons and daughters of others, but the only way one knows that a child was adopted is when that child bears the surname of their new parents. With God, adoption is signalled by the giving of the Spirit to His new sons and daughters.
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. 24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? 25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
Our condition inevitably affects others, even the whole of creation. If we are in bondage, then creation is in bondage. If we are truly free from the bondage of a corrupted heart, then creation is also free within whatever passes for its "heart". All that remains is the redemption of the body, when the corruption of the heart is healed, and not just its output filtered, edited, and augmented by the Holy Spirit. No longer will the "simulated sensation" cycle be half black/half gold, but all gold.
But there is more to this passage: It implies a sort of "field effect", like a magnetic or electric field, but in the realm of spiritual liberty. We have an influence on the human members of this creation that "groaneth and travaileth in pain together". God himself could not do this: The Holy Spirit needs a human host to witness to others in the same way that an electric current needs an antenna to fling electromagnetic waves through empty space. It is not the case that this method that God chose to propagate the Gospel was one of many viable ones picked from a menu of possibilties, with this one chosen because "making the kids work in the garden is good for them". No. The nature of man and the creation dictates that the job lies with Christians symbiotically and actively "linked" to the Spirit Within.
26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
It is obvious from this passage that the Holy Spirit intervenes in the communications between Homo and Deus. However, in the rush to use this verse as a club to condemn Christians, the underlying implications are missed. The first part of verse 26 assures us that the Holy Spirit helps us deal with our infirmities, one example of which is covered in the rest of the verse and the next. That is, the infirmity of not praying properly. Note how the editing process takes place: as the believer prays, the Holy Spirit edits out inappropriate material, inserts appropriate material, adds proper honorifics, makes sure all the "i"'s are dotted, the "t"'s crossed, and ensures the entire thing is properly entered into the right forms (which are submitted in triplicate).
I, of course, exagerate, but note how the Holy Spirit works: just as he edits the prayers that we, out of our ignorance, generate, so he edits the thoughts that our heart, out of its corruption, generates.
Further note that only one example is cited, that of praying. However, the word "infirmities" is plural, implying that the Spirit helps in more areas than just in our praying.
(I have said that this verse is used as a club to condemn Christians. This merits further comment. When this verse is used as a club, the implication is "You people are so wicked and evil that, even after conversion, you need the Holy Spirit to patch up your prayers!" The problem with this criticism is that, since the Holy Spirit is to lead us unto all truth, then should the Holy Spirit not reveal to us the truth of how badly we are praying? Why is there an assumption that the Holy Spirit will not teach us how to pray better? In reality, He does! In 1 John 3:19-22, we have John pointing out how the Holy Spirit uses the feelings being generated by the heart to inform the Christian of whether their prayers will be answered. As a person who has used the promises to get my needs met, I avoided that passage because I felt I could not meet the preconditions, so much did my heart condemn me of my sins (even though forgiven). I recently prayed on behalf of a church member needing to sell their house, who was getting deperate because they were not getting any nibbles. After confirming they were doing all that was human possible to advertise the house during what was a buyer's market, I revisited this passage and said, "Heck, why not? My heart is so much more cooperative, and I'm not praying for myself, but for another, so why not?" After doing so on Sunday, several inquiries came in by Tuesday, and it was sold by Thursday. The essential thing is to see how the messaging process functions by sending a signal from the Holy Spirit to me, its host, that signalled that the prayer was appropriate.)
Now I invite you to imagine yourself standing alongside the Master Engineer of the Universe, both of us looking at the Human Heart model as a system for producing thoughts. A nasty gremlin has gotten into the system, commandeering the thought generation process and making it generate evil signals that is making the machine behave in an evil fashion. We're not talking about misbehaving. We're not talking about erratic symtoms or behavior. We're talking really evil output here that is destroying everything around it. Whatever is causing this perverse reaction, its buried in so deep that it looks as if the Proprietor will have to scrap the entire engine, purge the inventory of the output, fire the operator, prosecute him for the damage done, and start all over again.
The Master Engineer examines the machinery. He then opens up his heart, pulls out a glowing yellow donut, opens a compartment in the machine, and sticks the donut around a glass cable that is glowing red from bad data and commands going to the machine's processor board. The data flow coming up to the donut makes the cable go red, but the portion of the cable between the donut and the processor board turns a golden yellow for a few minutes, then it slowly begins to redden.
"Hey! Production just changed for the better for a moment there! What'd you do?" asks the operator.
The Master Engineer leaves the door open and turns to the operator "We'll have to wait until the outage to pull it apart and get the gremlins out, but that donut will enable you to control the machine and restore proper production until then. It modifies the data stream going to the processor, and can partially or completely block the effects of the gremlins. You'll need to figure out how to tweak your controls to get the necessary effect, because it won't do that automatically. It will respond only to the choices you make via your control panel."
"Great! So what do I have to do?" asks the operator, "And what am I looking for?"
"Just keep the color of the cable above the donut yellow. That's the signal that all is going well."
"Great!" exclaims the operator, "What else does it do?"
The Master Engineer grins, "Try it out. Have fun. Your biggest problem is that you have no idea of what it can really do."
"Not bad!" you compliment the Master Engineer, "A production unit that was spewing arrows, bullets, and death everywhere is now productive, useful, and has potential it never had before."
"Yes," the Master Engineer replies, "Before I installed that patch, the gremlin had so subverted the system that everything in it was working for evil. But now-"
28 And we know that all [these] things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
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