I recently was challenged to understand the relationship between two key verses in Scripture that speak of “the mind of God” and the “mind of Christ,” the Son of God.
Allow me to present my conundrum by first citing them:
“For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor?” – Rom. 11:34 (Clearly, the answer to this question is “No one!”)
“For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.” – 1 Cor. 2:16
Sounds like a conflict, doesn’t it? But I devoutly believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, so I must be “missing” something!
Let’s seek to resolve this by going to the writers. Could the authors of each work be using “mind” in a different manner? Sorry! Paul is the author of both epistles. Such a learned man, especially as inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 3:16, another of his letters!) would certainly select his vocabulary with mathematical precision. Going to the original Greek confirms this, since Paul uses the same word each time we read the English word “mind”:
νοῦς (nous) – the intellect, that is, mind; by implication, understanding
So, what’s the answer? Clearly there are things God knows that are beyond our ken (I LOVE that word!). For example, speaking of God in Job 5:9, Job says “Who does great things unsearchable, marvelous things without number.” And we read in Deut. 29:29, that “the secret things belong to the Lord our God.” So, even though we are created Imago Dei (in the image of God), His mind will always be beyond us!
The 1 Cor. 2:16 passage seems to echo this concept, even using the same words as in Romans, but nonetheless also stating that we have the “mind of Christ.” This is where I “hit the Book” for understanding this “conflict.” The answer is quite straightforward. In His Incarnation, Christ the Son of God became a man, tempted as we were yet without sin (Heb. 4:15). In taking on the form of a servant, He acted totally and completely in accordance with the Father’s will (Phil. 2:6-9). As we confess our sins and experience the Spirit’s filling (Eph. 5:18), we can and will find ourselves experiencing and acting with the “mind of Christ.” 1 Cor. 2:14 makes this case clearly. Without the Holy Spirit, we were completely incapable of understanding God’s Word. I have often described this fact with a simple metaphor: before we experienced salvation, it’s as if we had only an AM transistor radio and God was transmitting His truth in FM stereo! In salvation God has upgraded our “equipment!”
After salvation, we are blessed to have access to the νουν χριστου (mind of Christ) as we prayerfully seek His wisdom! After all, it’s there for the asking! – James 1:5