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JohnGospel of John

Lorin Friesen, April 2018

This essay completes the cognitive analysis of the Gospel of John. An analysis of John 1-18 was posted last year, and when I got to the trial of Jesus, I felt that my understanding was insufficient to do a proper job. Since then I have looked in detail at the book of Hebrews, and what I learned has made it possible for me to finish examining the Gospel of John.

Due to the length of this analysis, I have split it up into four parts. This part looks at John 18-21. The first part examines John 1-6. The second part examines John 7-12. The third part examines John 13-18. I have also included a table of contents.

All scriptural references are taken from the NASB.

Table of Contents

John 1-6

John 7-12

John 13-18

Jesus The Motivation of Jesus

Pilate The Motivation of Pilate and the Jews

18:28-32 Incarnation and Government

18:33-38 Spiritual Technology and Government

Passover Passover

18:40 Barabbas

19:1-3 Scourging Jesus

19:4-7 Behold the Man

19:8-12 The Source of Authority

19:13-16 The Judgment Seat

19:17-22 The Crucifixion of Jesus

19:23-30 Letting Go of Human MMNs

19:31-37 Ensuring Death

19:38-42 Removing the Body

20:1-10 Visiting the Tomb

20:11-18 Mary sees Jesus

20:19-23 Meeting the Disciples

20:25-31 Doubting Thomas

21:1-14 Going Fishing

21:15-19 Do You Love Me?

21:20-25 What about John?

Before we begin, I would like to make a comment regarding capitalization. The standard practice in an English Bible is to capitalize any pronoun that refers to God or Jesus, and this practice is followed by the NASB, which I will be transcribing accurately when quoting from the NASB. However, the reader may notice that I have chosen not to capitalize pronouns that refer to God or Jesus. That is because excessive capitalization of references to God leads subconsciously to the view that God is special and different from people. In contrast, the primary message of incarnation is that the character of God can be revealed to humanity through the comprehensible form of a physical person living among humans in a physical world. Thus, I feel that the concept of incarnation is conveyed best by treating the pronouns that refer to God and incarnation as normal pronouns without any special capitalization. This does not mean that I regard Jesus merely as some well-known Rabbi, and I will be using capitals when talking about the divine nature, such as the ‘Son of God’, or ‘God the Father’. But when referring to the relationship between God and incarnation, this will probably be written normally without capitalization. For instance, ‘Jesus viewed God as his father’. In summary, I feel that it is more effective to demonstrate that Jesus is the Son of God by describing the universal nature of Incarnation, rather than merely state that Jesus is the Son of God by capitalizing a few additional words.

The Motivation of Jesus

The story of the crucifixion lies at the heart of Christianity, which means that it has become overlaid over the centuries with many emotionally potent mental networks. Therefore, it is important to look at the text itself at the level of mental networks by determining which mental networks drove the various parties in the story.

Jesus explicitly tells us how he views his coming crucifixion. When the Jews first demand the death penalty for Jesus in John 18:31, verse 32 explains that this is to “to fulfill the word of Jesus which He spoke, signifying by what kind of death He was about to die”. Looking at this literally, when the Jews ask the Roman authorities to kill Jesus, then this means that Jesus will die a Roman death of crucifixion. But this same five-word Greek phrase ‘signifying by what kind of death he was about to die’ can be found verbatim earlier in John 12:33, which means that John 18:32 is referring back to John 12:33. Quoting the earlier passage, “‘Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.’ But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die” (John 12:31-33).

This passage is strange because a symbolic interpretation actually ends up being more literal than a literal interpretation. If one interprets this as referring to the physical death of Jesus, then one has to explain that ‘lifted up’ really means being crucified, because a person who is crucified is put on a cross and then lifted up off the ground. The ‘judgment upon this world’ must be viewed as something invisible that happens in the spiritual realm, which will eventually affect the physical world. And ‘drawing all men to myself’ is typically represented by the image of Jesus stretching out his hands in invitation, a picture that should more accurately be captioned as ‘Jesus trying to attract some people to himself but not being very successful’. Thus, a physical interpretation actually ends up becoming symbolic, because most of this verse has only become partially true in the physical realm: The physical world has not yet been judged by Jesus, and Jesus has not yet succeeded in drawing all men to himself.

Ironically, the symbolic interpretation becomes apparent if one interprets the words more literally. I am not suggesting that the literal interpretation is wrong, but rather that John seems to be encouraging the reader to go beyond a purely literal interpretation of the text. The word translated lifted up means ‘to lift or raise up, to exalt, uplift’. This word occurs twenty times in the New Testament and is always translated as ‘exalt’, except in the five times that it is used in the Gospel of John. Therefore, it makes sense that John also meant for this word to be regarded primarily as ‘exalt’, especially since three verses earlier, a literal voice from heaven thunders about glorifying the name of God (12:28).

The word translated draw means to ‘draw in, focusing on the attraction-power involved with the drawing’, which implies an attraction that really works. And the word ‘men’ is not in the original Greek. Instead, Jesus says that he will ‘draw each and every part of a totality’ to himself. Finally, the word translated if does not refer to wishful thinking, but rather indicates an if-then relationship, something that will ‘happen if the condition is actualized or is valid’.

Looking at this cognitively, Jesus is viewing his crucifixion from the Teacher perspective of generality. Jesus-the-man has been living as a finite being within the human world of Mercy experiences. It is now time for him to be ‘lifted up’ to the divine realm of Teacher universality, where he can use Teacher emotion to draw everything to himself. This path through crucifixion to Teacher universality is expanded in Philippians 2:5-11, which says that as a result of dying on the cross, God the Father gave Jesus “the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (v.9-10).

This same movement from specific person in Mercy thought to divine universality in Teacher thought can be seen in John 20:31: “these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” Jesus refers to the human side of incarnation, while ‘Christ, the Son of God’ describes the divine side of incarnation. The disciples have experienced Jesus-the-man. John is writing his Gospel in order to change people’s perspective from Jesus-the-man in Mercy thought to Jesus-the-God in Teacher thought. The word believe means ‘to be persuaded’. Thus, people need to be persuaded that Jesus-the-man is also Jesus-the-God. The reason for making this transition is to ‘have life in His name’. If one approaches incarnation from the Teacher perspective of a name, then it is possible to have life. Saying this cognitively, one can find a lasting basis for MMNs of personal identity if one approaches God in Teacher thought through the technical thinking of incarnation.

Summarizing, the primary purpose of Jesus-the-man is to make the transition from specific person in Mercy thought to universal God in Teacher thought. Jesus-the-man has always been connected with divinity at the left hemisphere level of Server actions and Teacher words, because Jesus only did what he saw the Father doing. But Jesus-the-man has also gone through a process of cognitive development at the right hemisphere level of Perceiver facts and Mercy experiences. Jesus-the-man has recognized several times throughout the Gospel of John at a factual and experiential level that he really is God. The crucifixion will take Jesus-the-man from being a finite human to being infinite God at this right hemisphere level of facts and experiences. It is not possible for finite human beings to make this transition. But the steps that are taken by Jesus describe universal principles that apply whenever making a transition from finite person to institution or general theory. This happens, for instance, when a country makes the transition from a tribal society led by specific individuals to a democracy governed by the rule of law. Similarly, all theories of science began as the ideas of some specific scientist and then made a transition to being regarded as universal law.

Going further, Jesus says in John 12:31 that “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.” John defines ‘the world’ in 1 John 2:16 as “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life.” This passage was discussed earlier and refers to the mental content that is acquired from inhabiting a physical body within the physical world. I am not suggesting that physical matter is inherently evil in some sort of Gnostic fashion. The physical body and the physical world provide the essential function of programming the human mind with its initial content. This content is necessary for human existence, but it is also inevitably fragmented and incomplete.

When Jesus says that “Now judgment is upon this world”, this is a significant statement because with matter-over-mind, it is the world that does the judging. That is what it means for matter to be over mind. Matter is the ultimate source of judgment, and one dare not ignore the mental networks that one acquires from living in the physical body. If Jesus is lifted up in Teacher thought, then physical matter and its associated mental networks will be subject to judgment. The second phrase emphasizes mental networks: “now the ruler of this world will be cast out”. A ruler is ‘a commander with authority over people in a particular jurisdiction’. Jesus does not say that the world will be destroyed, or that one can ignore laws of physical cause-and-effect. Instead, the mental network that rules over the world will be cast out. The Greek word translated cast out means to ‘throw, cast, put out, banish, bring forth’, and this casting out is emphasized by adding an adverb that means ‘without, outside’. In other words, Jesus will introduce a new structure in Teacher thought that has no place for regarding ‘the world’ as the ultimate ruler. The very concept of matter-over-mind will be cast out. This will happen in the future; the judgment of the world is described in the present tense, while the casting out of the prince of the world is referred to in the future.

If the goal of Jesus in the crucifixion is to move from human Mercy specifics to divine Teacher universality, then it is imperative for our interpretation of the story of the crucifixion to move from human Mercy specifics to divine Teacher generality. Instead of viewing the crucifixion as Jesus-the-man being killed on a cross, we need to view it primarily as Jesus-the-man being lifted up to God in heaven. Similarly, if this world is now judged, and if the ruler of this world will be cast out, then this needs to be reflected in our interpretation of the story of the crucifixion. Instead of viewing the crucifixion as secular authorities using physical force to inflict agonizing physical pain upon the physical body of Jesus with a physical cross, one needs to view it as Jesus setting up a system of authority that is above physical matter and physical punishment. This is not a trivial mental transformation, because the Christian church for two millennia has fixated upon the physical agony of Jesus on the cross.

Stated bluntly, Christianity has emotionally bowed before the ruler of this world instead of allowing Jesus-as-God to cast it out. Quoting Hebrews 12:2, we should be “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Joy describes Teacher emotion, because it comes from the same Greek root as ‘grace’ and can be defined as ‘grace recognized’. The word translated set before does not have the primary meaning of something in the future which Jesus is looking forward to from his agony in the present. Instead it means ‘placed before, already there’, implying that Jesus could already see around him the coming Teacher joy. And instead of glorifying in the shameful deeds of crucifixion, Jesus despised it, which means to ‘pay no regard to because something seems of no account’. I am not trying to minimize the agony of Jesus’ crucifixion. Instead, I am suggesting that Jesus was being faced simultaneously with two sets of core mental networks: The Teacher mental network of universal joy ‘at the right hand of the throne of God’ and the Mercy mental networks of unrelenting vicious pain within a human body. This contrast is brought out by the preposition anti in Hebrews 12:2, which means ‘over against, opposite, in exchange for, as a substitute for’.

In summary, the goal of Jesus was to move from human Mercy specific to divine Teacher universal, and in order to make this transition Jesus had to let go emotionally of human Mercy specifics. The unrelenting pain of crucifixion provided the emotional ‘stick’ to force Jesus to let go of his human Mercy specifics. As humans trapped within matter-over-mind, we are primarily aware of this ‘stick’ of human physical suffering. Therefore, this is the aspect of crucifixion that humans naturally emphasize. But Jesus also experienced the emotional ‘carrot’ of being drawn to God in Teacher thought, something that a finite human being can only partially experience when being mentally attracted to the TMN of a concept of God. This crucial difference can be seen in the actual death of Jesus described in John 19:30: “Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” Unlike the human criminals crucified on either side of him, Jesus was not driven by mental networks of ‘the world’ to cling to physical life. Instead, Jesus chose to die when he said that his job was finished.

Looking at this cognitively, the death of Jesus was determined by righteousness and not by suffering. Jesus died when he recognized in Teacher thought that his Server actions had come to an end. In contrast, the criminals that were crucified with him died when their mental networks of physical existence fell apart. In addition, verse 30 does not say that Jesus died but rather that he “gave up his spirit”. The word gave up means ‘to deliver over with a sense of close personal involvement’. The spirit of a person interacts with core mental networks. ‘Delivering over the spirit’ implies that what humans saw as the death of Jesus was actually the spirit of Jesus-the-man leaving the physical container in order to be reunited with Jesus-the-God. (I say reunited and not united because Jesus-the-man came into existence when the Holy Spirit came upon his human mother Mary.)

The Motivation of Pilate and the Jews

The ultimate motivation of Pilate and the Jews can be seen in the title king, which is repeated twelve times between John 18:33 and John 19:21. In brief, the interaction between Pilate and the Jews centers upon one primary question: Is Jesus the King of the Jews? Looking at Pilate, the first thing that Pilate says to Jesus in 18:33 is “Are you the King of the Jews?” And Pilate—the supposed ruler—capitulates to the demands of the Jews in every area except in the one matter of writing in three languages on the cross ‘Jesus The Nazarene, the King of the Jews’.

King of the Jews is a strange title, because it juxtaposes two separate domains. Historically speaking, the Jews at that time had a high priest but they did not have a king. Instead, Caesar was the king of the Jews, a fact which the Jews point out to Pilate in John 19:15. This means that ‘King of the Jews’ is not only a strange title, but it is also a seditious title, and Pilate only stops clinging to this title when the Jews point out that ‘anyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar’. Even then, Pilate still attaches this title to the cross of Jesus—in three languages—when challenged again by the Jews in John 19:21.

In a similar vein, Roman governors do not respond kindly to vassal groups appointing their own kings. However, not only does Pilate defend the idea of Jesus being the King of the Jews, he actually asks the Jews whether he should release their king: “But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover; do you wish then that I release for you the King of the Jews?” Going further, why would Pilate feel any need to defend the kingship of Jesus when his first response to Jesus is that “I am not a Jew” (v.35). That would be like me as a Canadian caring about the Chancellor of Germany.

Summarizing, I know that the political climate in Jerusalem during the time of Christ was somewhat of a dancing act in which various parties were vying for power. But if one interprets the behavior of Pilate from a purely literal perspective, then it seems to violate common sense. I am not suggesting that the biblical narrative is inaccurate, but rather that the trial of Jesus was not a normal trial.

One can see what is unusual about this trial by looking further at the title King of the Jews. In simple terms, kings use technical thought to rule over matter while priests use mental networks to rule over minds. In practice these two realms tend to overlap, but the ultimate power of a king is physical force, which assumes that one can control minds by manipulating matter, and manipulating matter requires the use of technical thought. Similarly, a priest ultimately has emotional power, because a priest appeals to mental networks of God, culture, and conscience. And a priest can give people emotional comfort when dealing with issues that go beyond physical matter, such as life-after-death or eternal judgment.

In the case of the Jews of Jesus’ time, the Jews had substantial local autonomy, but they did not have the right to administer capital punishment. Going the other way, Roman citizens were expected to offer a sacrifice to the Emperor but “it was well understood that Jews would not perform sacrifices to the Roman gods or burn incense before an image of the Emperor.” Using modern language, Jewish society had a version of what we would call the separation of church and state, which the Jews knew as the division between Priest and King. Pilate was crossing this boundary by referring to the King of the Jews.

The Jewish religious leaders, in contrast, were convinced that Jesus was not their king, and they wanted Jesus dead. One can interpret this as a simple power struggle, but I suggest that something deeper was at play. In brief, Jesus challenged the Jewish concept of God. The standard view of Jewish philosophers is that God is incomprehensible and lies utterly beyond human rational thought. Saying this simply, Judaism interprets monotheism as mysticism; Jews assume that believing in one God means using Teacher overgeneralization to form a mystical concept of God. This is discussed further in the essay on Kabbalah. The earliest forms of Jewish mysticism began before the time of Christ. Some scholars think that full-fledged Jewish mysticism began in priestly circles in Jerusalem during Second Temple times, while other scholars think that the Jewish religious leaders of Jesus’ time only practiced a form of proto-mysticism known as Merkavah mysticism. Whatever the details, it is certain that Judaism was heading in the direction of mysticism during the time of Jesus and that this movement towards mysticism was being spearheaded by the Jewish religious leaders in Jerusalem. This is an interesting conclusion because it was these Jewish religious leaders in Jerusalem who were calling for the death of Jesus.

Mysticism cannot coexist with incarnation. That is because mysticism builds a direct emotional connection between man and God, while incarnation insists that man and God need to be connected indirectly through Jesus Christ the mediator. Mysticism declares that humanity is incapable of comprehending the nature of God, while incarnation states that the nature of God is revealed through the person of Jesus Christ. Using cognitive language, mysticism uses Teacher overgeneralization to form the concept of a God of Oneness within Teacher thought, and then uses Mercy identification to emotionally identify with this God of Oneness. Teacher overgeneralization cannot handle any rational content but instead must emotionally belittle it by insisting that a mystical concept of God is more general in Teacher thought than any rational content. Applying this to Jesus, the Jewish religious leaders could handle Jesus as a human rabbi, but when it became clear that Jesus was a superhuman being with power over life and death, then Jesus crossed over mentally from the human realm of rational content into the divine realm of transcendent holiness.

This uncrossable gap separating fallible, sinful, human life from eternal, perfect heavenly afterlife can be seen in Berkhof’s revulsion to the idea of a millennium: “How can perfect saints in glorified bodies have communion with sinners in the flesh. How can glorified saints live in this sin-laden atmosphere and amid scenes of death and decay?” (Berkhof was one of the premier theologians for Reformed Christianity. Reformed Christianity does not practice mysticism, but it does use Teacher overgeneralization to construct its concept of God.) Jesus explicitly crossed this gap when he raised Lazarus from the dead, because Lazarus left the human sinful realm to enter the perfect realm of life-after-death before being brought back to live again within the sin-laden human atmosphere of death and decay.

Mysticism plays a major role in Orthodox Christianity, and it deals with Jesus by redefining incarnation in terms of mysticism. But that approach only works with a Jesus who has left sinful earth and resides within perfect heaven. The Jews, in contrast, were faced with a living Jesus who performed superhuman actions of bringing people back from the dead while continuing to live as a human being within the world of physical reality. This explains why the Jews say in John 19:7 that “We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made himself out to be the Son of God.” Restating this law cognitively, people who live in physical reality must always regard themselves as inferior to a concept of God in Teacher thought. For the mystic, this is not just a theological statement. Instead, the entire mindset of the mystic depends upon defending this principle.

This deep emotional need can be seen in the response of the Jewish religious leaders to the resurrection of Lazarus. When the chief priests find out in John 11 that Jesus has raised Lazarus from the dead, their immediate response is to plan together to kill Jesus. And in John 12:10, the chief priests decide that Lazarus needs to be killed as well.

The response of the Jewish religious leaders in John 11 can only be described as insane, and I suggest that this insanity can be explained as a byproduct of mysticism. It was insane for them to decide to kill Jesus. If I have an incurable disease and some doctor comes up with a cure for this disease, then it is not rational for me to decide to kill that doctor. Instead the rational response would be to go to the doctor for treatment. Similarly, if Jesus demonstrated that he had a cure for the incurable disease of death, then it would not make sense to try to kill Jesus. Instead, the rational response would be to become a follower of Jesus. However, that is not mentioned by the Jewish religious leaders in John 11:47-53. Instead, they fear that the Romans will come and take away their political power. But why should the Jewish religious leaders fear the Romans putting them to death if Jesus could bring them back to life again? Many armies have gone into war fearlessly because they believed that they would be supernaturally protected from physical harm. However, one of the principal tenets of mysticism is that a transcendent God is incapable of affecting human physical reality. This conclusion can be seen in the writings of Martin Buber, a Jewish mystic, who said that mysticism can lead to a knowing that one has encountered God, but this sense of knowing does not lessen or moderate the mysteriousness of God or provide any sort of solution. Thus, the Jewish religious leaders were mentally incapable of conceiving of the idea that a transcendent God would reach down into reality to save them.

Going further, because a mystical concept of God cannot provide any content to humanity, human religious leaders will invariably fill the gap and claim to speak for God. If mysticism was a secret knowledge that was practiced primarily by the religious priesthood, the Jewish religious leaders would see their personal role as leaders as essential for bringing enlightenment to the world. What others would view as a naked grab for power, they would view as standing up for The God of Monotheism and The Chosen People of God.

When a core mental network is threatened, then a person will be emotionally driven to do anything to satisfy this mental network, as illustrated by the drug addict who will break laws and violate common sense in order to get the next fix. The existence of Jesus threatened the core mental network of mysticism within the minds of the Jewish religious leaders. Therefore, like the drug addict, they had to protect their core mental network by eliminating the threat, even if this meant following a path of insanity. This conclusion may sound rather harsh, but I cannot come up with any other reason that would motivate a group of religious leaders to kill someone who had conquered death.

One might think that I am overestimating the emotional power of a mystical concept of God. However, that is a rational conclusion and mysticism does not use rational thought. Instead, the mystical experience requires a sense of ‘knowing’ that is more powerful than rational thought; the emotional intensity of the mystical experience overwhelms Perceiver thought in the mind of the mystic into ‘knowing’ that mysticism is truth. I personally have never had a mystical experience, but I have found repeatedly that no rational argument is capable of dissuading the mystic from ‘knowing’ that his experiences of mysticism define truth. In fact, if one examines the methods of achieving mysticism, one will see that they are specifically designed to lead to a sense of ‘knowing’ that is capable of deflecting all rational thought. One can see this illustrated by the Zen koan. A person will continue to think about an irrational statement until his logical mind snaps, making it possible to emotionally embrace the insanity of pretending that ‘I am God’. Mystical experiences have been described and analyzed using technical language by respected religious and academic experts, but using academically approved technical thought to describe insanity does not make it any less insane. One can tell that this is the case because mystics will warn that using too much rational thought to analyze mysticism will prevent the mind from experiencing mysticism.

Mysticism may be logically insane, but it is also a cognitively natural expression of childish thought. An immature mind that contains only a few facts will naturally overgeneralize in Teacher thought and identify in Mercy thought. One can see this in the preschool child who is functioning at Piaget’s preoperational level. Children will overgeneralize rules of grammar and pretend to be adult figures, such as a doctor, a fireman, or a parent. Similarly, it is natural to use overgeneralization and identification to think about God when one does not know very much about ‘how things work’. The problem arises when one continues to use childish modes of thought as an adult who should know better, and when one pretends that mysticism is higher than rational thought instead of recognizing that it is an expression of immature, childish thinking. Going further, a child who overgeneralizes some rule of grammar is usually willing to accept that one should say ‘I went to the store’ instead of ‘I go-ed to the store’, and will usually stop being a fireman when it is time for dinner. In contrast, the mystic will insist that the overgeneralization that ‘All is One’ overrules all factual information and will continue to pretend that ‘I am God’ even when this contradicts all of the facts about finite personal identity.

Putting the mindset of the Jewish religious leadership together with the motivation of Jesus, Jesus knew that he had to die to physical existence in order to return from Mercy specifics to Teacher generality. Therefore, he deliberately chose to violate the core mental networks of the Jewish religious leadership, knowing that they would turn on him and demand that he be killed.

Now that we have looked at the underlying motivations, let us examine the biblical text in more detail. We will start with verse 28, right after Peter’s third denial of Jesus.

Incarnation and Government 18:28-32

The third denial of Peter is followed immediately by the crowing of a rooster: “and immediately a rooster crowed”. As was mentioned when looking at John 14, a rooster crows to announce the coming of the day. Therefore, I suggest that the next major event in the timeline of John 18 is the theoretical return of Christ, represented symbolically as the Day of the Lord, because society will be illuminated by the sun of a general Teacher understanding. Several factors support this hypothesis: First, the crowing of a rooster indicates the coming of a new day. Second, the next verse explicitly states that it was ‘early in the morning, at dawn’. Third, Jesus changes location, being led from Caiaphas to the Praetorium: “Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas into the Praetorium” (v.28). The Praetorium was the official residence of the Roman governor. In other words, incarnation moves from the arena of religious and academic thought to the world at large, which is under government authority. Saying this another way, incarnation stops interacting with the religious and the academic world, and starts appearing in the secular world. This is consistent with the idea of spiritual technology, because technology leaves the cloisters of science in order to impact the larger, secular world. Saying this more clearly, I suggest that a distinction needs to made between the aspect of academia that acts like a religious priesthood and secular thought which takes scientific principles and applies them to the real world, guided by the secular laws of government.

Applying this to our discussion of mysticism, incarnation leaves the realm of religion with its mystical foundations and enters the realm of secular thought with its rational understanding. Revelation 10 describes this transition, because a strong angel swears by all of creation that “the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets” (v.7) and then gives a little book of rational understanding to the author John and tells him to digest this book. This is the only time in the entire book of Revelation that anyone swears an oath. Notice also that the end of mystery does not mean the end of the Bible. Instead, the rational thought that emerges is consistent with what was ‘preached to His servants the prophets’.

Jesus was sent bound from Annas to Caiaphas. In contrast, Jesus is described as being led from Caiaphas into the Praetorium, and it is not mentioned that he is bound. There is also less of an emphasis upon personal control. Previously, Annas sent Jesus to Caiaphas; Jesus was sent from one person to another person. Here, an impersonal ‘they’ is leading Jesus away from the person of Caiaphas to the impersonal place of the Praetorium. The symbolic implication is that incarnation now has the freedom to move, and is no longer under direct control. This personal distance is described in the rest of the verse: “they themselves did not enter into the Praetorium so that they would not be defiled, but might eat the Passover” (v.28). Notice again the impersonal ‘they’, which is reflected in the original Greek.

Speaking literally, the accusers of Jesus did not want to enter a Gentile house and become ceremonially unclean, because they wanted to participate in the religious rituals of the upcoming Passover. This type of thinking is typical of a mindset of Judas, which has no qualms about eliminating unwanted opposition through midnight skulduggery, but goes to great lengths to maintain protocol and methodology. Looking at this symbolically, academic thought does not want to become politically entangled but wants to maintain its academic independence, the underlying assumption being that academia is practicing pure rational thought, untroubled by any emotional bias. This may be reasonably true at the surface level of methodology, but academic thought is often guided under the surface by emotional motives that range from childish to egotistical to destructive. Whatever the underlying motive, academic thought takes a hands-off approach to incarnation. One also finds no more mention of any of the disciples of Jesus until the crucifixion itself.

Pilate initially views this as an academic squabble: “Therefore Pilate went out to them and said, ‘What accusation do you bring against this Man?’” (v.29). Pilate leaves the secular realm of the Praetorium in order to interact with ‘them’, and he asks ‘them’ for an official accusation. The answer is pure arrogance: “They answered and said to him, ‘If this Man were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him to you’” (v.30). Summarizing, Jesus is evil because ‘they’ have said that he is evil. Pilate does not need to ask any factual questions. If ‘they’ have decided that Jesus is evil, then that should be sufficient reason for Pilate to punish Jesus. And the religious leaders are not just directing this arrogance to anyone, but rather demanding blind obedience from the official Roman ruler, a ruler who has the power of life and death.

I do not see how normal mental networks would be sufficient to motivate such arrogance. But if the Jewish religious leaders were secretly practicing mysticism, then I think that this provides a possible cognitive explanation. In essence, the Jewish leadership is merely treating Pilate the way that the mindset of mysticism treats rational thought. Mysticism uses overgeneralization to come up with a theory of ultimate Oneness in Teacher thought: “All is one; everything fits together”. But this oneness is contradicted by Perceiver facts about reality: “Everything is not one. For instance, a Gentile Praetorium is not the same as a Jewish temple.” Mysticism eliminates such troublesome facts by declaring that Teacher oneness is more general in Teacher thought than any facts: “Facts are merely illusion. The oneness of God transcends all facts about reality.” If one continues to follow this path, then one will eventually have the ecstatic experience of feeling that I am united with God, and the strong emotions of this ecstatic experience will overwhelm Perceiver thought into ‘knowing’ that the oneness of God really does transcend all facts about reality.

It is possible that the Jewish religious leadership was not yet practicing a full-fledged form of mysticism. But any existing proto-mystical feelings of having a special relationship with God that transcended normal physical reality would have been strongly encouraged by 1) The Jewish belief that Jews have a special relationship with God that transcends God’s interaction through nature with the Gentiles, backed up by the special, divinely-ordained actions of halacha that Jews perform within the physical world, and 2) The priestly belief that tribe of Levi has a special relationship with God that transcends God’s interaction through normal physical life with other Jews, backed up by the special, divinely-ordained actions that the priests perform within the temple.

Thus, when the Jewish leadership came to Pilate, it was natural for them to ‘believe’ that their words in Teacher thought had divine significance and automatically overruled any rational facts from some inferior, non-religious Roman ruler.

Moving forward now to a future time of spiritual technology, normal science and technology can coexist with a mindset of mysticism, because normal science and technology limits itself to understanding and manipulating physical matter, while mysticism deals with the non-physical realm of God and spiritual existence. Spiritual technology would cross this divide and enter the spiritual realm. This would be experienced as an existential threat by mysticism, because the fundamental principle of spiritual technology is that the spiritual realm has rational content, while the fundamental principle of mysticism is that the spiritual realm does not have rational content. When a core mental network is threatened, then it drives a person to respond like a cornered animal, lashing out emotionally at adversaries. Therefore, I suggest that many, if not most, current religious and academic leaders would view spiritual technology as an existential threat and demand that it be eliminated. I say this for three reasons: 1) The belief that God is ultimately incomprehensible and transcends rational thought appears to be present in all shades of religion, including most Christian theologians. 2) Since about the 1970s, the entire Western world has been turning towards mysticism by embracing spirituality without content. 3) The official consensus of science is that rational thought is limited to the materialistic realm of physical reality.

However, notice the inherent contradiction in the demands of the religious leaders. On the one hand, they are demanding blind obedience from Pilate, because they believe that they are superior to the secular realm governed by Pilate. On the other hand, they have to go to Pilate in order to kill Jesus, because they are actually inferior to the secular realm governed by Pilate.

Looking at this cognitively, mysticism claims that the Teacher overgeneralization of cosmic oneness is superior to all facts from physical reality. But mysticism has to use physical reality to kill any mental networks that oppose this theory of Oneness. For instance, when a monk is sitting in a lotus position and staring at a candle, or focusing upon his breathing, then he is using physical reality to stop undesired mental networks from being triggered. Similarly, the Zen monk who contemplates a koan such as ‘What is the sound of one hand clapping?’ is misusing facts about physical reality to break through to a mystical encounter. (If one continues to focus upon a fact that is physically impossible, then Perceiver thought will eventually give up, making it possible for Teacher thought to break through to overgeneralization.)

This inherent contradiction becomes explicit in verse 31: “So Pilate said to them, ‘Take Him yourselves, and judge Him according to your law.’ More literally, ‘make a determination of right or wrong, especially on an official standard’, according to ‘the law, with emphasis on the first five books of Scripture’ (the original Greek refers to ‘the law’, using the definite article). When Pilate tells the Jewish religious leaders to judge Jesus according to their law, he is applying rational thought to the religious realm. The Jewish leaders are not using rational thought to judge Jesus but rather are being driven emotionally to condemn Jesus, reflecting the underlying mindset of mysticism. Pilate, in contrast is assuming that the Jewish religious realm is governed by rational law.

The story of the centurion in Matthew 8:5-13 tells us how Jesus would respond in this situation. A centurion comes to Jesus and asks him to heal a paralyzed servant, saying that Jesus only has to give a verbal order because he recognizes that the spiritual realm is governed by a system of rational Teacher order: “I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes” (v.9). Jesus responds by saying “I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel” (v.10), and then he predicts that “many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness” (v.11-12). Stated bluntly, Jesus would applaud the mindset of Pilate and reject the thinking of the Jewish leaders.

The mindset of Pilate is illustrated by the name Pilate, which means ‘armed with a pilum’. A pilum was a Roman javelin that was thrown through the air to hit some target. Cognitively speaking, a javelin is following a Server path through the air of Teacher thought in order to achieve a desired Mercy result. This Server path is guided by a knowledge of natural cause-and-effect, because the path of a javelin is determined solely by the laws of physics after it has left the hand of the thrower. Kinematics is one of the topics taught in high school physics, and one learns in kinematics how to use the Newton’s three laws of motion to determine the path of a projectile traveling through the air, such as a pilum. Cause-and-effect is also the basic building block for concrete technical thought, which uses a knowledge of cause-and-effect to achieve desired results in Mercy thought. Looking at this symbolically, if cause-and-effect travels through the air guided by the laws of physics, this implies that concrete technical thought is being assisted by abstract technical thought, with its Teacher understanding of general law, because air represents Teacher thought. This interpretation is consistent with the word for ‘sin’, which means to shoot at a target and miss. Thus, sin could be interpreted as a failed application of concrete technical thought, possibly guided by an inaccurate understanding in abstract technical thought.

Applying this to the name Pilate, ‘armed with a javelin’ suggests two things. On the one hand, some person is equipped with a powerful weapon. On the other hand, this weapon does not function haphazardly. Instead, it is launched by a person, and then its path is guided by the rule of law. This combination describes the Roman Empire. On the one hand, the Romans used armed force to acquire a vast empire. On the other hand, Roman might was not applied arbitrary but was guided by a strong system of Roman law. This combination also describes any government guided by the rule of law. Government, by definition, has the power to inflict physical punishment upon its citizens. A government that is either unable or unwilling to impose physical punishment has effectively been deposed from power, and some other power will fill this vacuum and become the real government. But government power needs to be channeled by the rule of law. The name Pilate implies this kind of government. Most generally, this describes the human mindset of living within matter under matter-over-mind. On the one hand, one lives within physical matter, guided by the laws of nature. On the other hand, one assumes that human minds can be controlled through the application of physical force to the physical bodies within which human minds are trapped.

Spiritual Technology and Government 18:33-38

Spiritual technology would be viewed by government as a new, more powerful, form of technology. Normal technology harnesses the laws of science. Spiritual technology would build upon this by using personal transformation to access spiritual power which would enhance normal technology. Government would see this as extending the order and structure of the physical universe to the unseen realm of religion and the spirit—a King of the Jews.

In other words, government would view spiritual technology quite differently than academia and religion. The Jews saw Jesus as a threat to their position, influence, moral authority, and practice of mysticism, because Jesus was threatening their core mental networks of Jewish religion and status. Similarly, science would see spiritual technology as a threat to its position, influence, moral authority, and practice of materialism, because spiritual technology would threaten core mental networks of academia. Going further, academia is willing to coexist with mysticism, because mysticism is an ‘absentee landlord’ that provides emotional comfort while allowing science to perform its objective, rational, materialistic thought unimpeded. Saying this another way, mysticism provides the yin for the yang of rational technical thought. However, government views both religion and science as an outsider. Using the analogy of the name Pilate, government may throw a javelin, but the path that a javelin takes to its intended victim is governed by the revealed rules of religion and science. Saying this more simply, government is used to operating under universal laws that are revealed to it from other sources.

This explains why the first thing that Pilate asks Jesus is whether he is a source of law: “Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, ‘Are You the King of the Jews?’ Jesus answered, ‘Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?’ Pilate answered, ‘I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?’” (v.33-35). Notice that this interaction is happening verbally within the secular realm. Pilate enters the Praetorium, a place that the Jewish leaders would not enter because it was not ceremonially clean. Here Pilate ‘calls’ Jesus and he ‘says’ to him. In other words, Pilate is doing what the religious leaders should be doing: he is asking abstract questions about the rule of law. The Jewish leaders are incapable of doing this because they are being driven by mental networks of status, culture, ritual, and mysticism.

Jesus responds by asking Pilate the source of his thinking. Is he viewing kingship as something that is revealed from another source, or is he coming up with his own conclusions? Using educational language, is he following rote learning or is he applying critical thinking?

Pilate answers “I am not a Jew, am I?” (v.35). The underlying assumption is that one has to be a Jew to decide whether Jesus is the King of the Jews. But what happens when the Jewish leaders refuse to think in terms of kingship? They may use rational thought extensively when dealing with religious rituals and ceremonial purity, as described in verse 28, but when it comes to the larger issues of kingship and the rule of law, then they are being driven by mental networks and not by rational thought.

Similarly, when the average person on the street today is asked an academic question, then the typical answer will be “Why are you asking me? I am not a professionally trained expert.” That is because academia uses technical thought, and academia has convinced the world at large that technical thought is ultimately the only valid form of rational thought. But technical thought is always used within some specialization, and it breaks down and is replaced by mental networks when dealing with larger issues.

Pilate continues, “Your own nation and the chief priests delivered you to me” (v.35). The word translated nation means ‘people joined by practicing similar customs or common culture, usually referring to non-Jews’. Using cognitive language, it refers to people who share similar cultural MMNs. This word is used 163 times in the New Testament, and as the definition states, about 90% of the time it refers to nations that are not Jewish. Pilate, in contrast, uses the word ‘nation’ to refer explicitly to the Jews as opposed to his own culture. The precise Greek language is interesting, and is reflected accurately by the NASB. Pilate does not refer to ‘the Jewish nation and their chief priests’, but instead says ‘your nation’ and ‘the chief priests’. In other words, he is recognizing at an experiential level that Jesus really is the King of the Jews, because he describes the Jews as ‘your nation’ and he refers to the chief priests as a group of people that stands on its own, distinct from the Jewish people. And he does not say that these two groups have applied the rule of law, but rather that they ‘delivered you to me’. ‘You’ and ‘me’ are explicitly stated in the original Greek, emphasizing the personal focus. Similarly, the word delivered means ‘to deliver over with a sense of close personal involvement’. Summarizing, Pilate is recognizing two things: First, the Jewish people are actually connected to Jesus and not to the high priests. Second, both the Jewish people and the high priests are functioning at the level of personal MMNs, and both are attempting to use secular rule of law as a method of eliminating personal opponents.

Looking at this in more detail, the Jewish people are doing the right thing for the wrong reason. On the one hand, they are doing the right thing because they are ‘your nation’. But on the other hand, they are doing this for the wrong motives because they are delivering up Jesus. I have experienced a similar reaction to using the theory of mental symmetry to analyze Christianity. On the one hand, if one applies mental symmetry, then one ends up with a culture that is similar to Christian culture. But most Christians have felt uneasy with mental symmetry because it starts from a general theory and not from the absolute truth of the Christian Bible. (This is starting to change as the mindset of absolute truth itself is being questioned.) Turning to the high priests, they claim to be the high priests of the Jewish nation, but they are actually following their own agenda which has nothing to do with the Jewish nation. Similarly, academia claims to search for universal truth that will benefit society, but I have discovered that most of academia is not interested in the universal principles that are described by mental symmetry. Instead, what really matters is being part of the culture of academia. Looking at this historically, if the Jewish high priests were secretly practicing a form of mysticism, then this would have given them an emotional source of integration that had nothing to do with the Jewish people.

Pilate then asks, “What have you done?” (v.36) Secular authority deals primarily with doing: First, humans interact with the physical world by doing, and government brings order to human activity by telling people what they may and may not do. For instance, one may not smoke in any restaurants or public places. Second, people cannot read each other’s minds. Instead, people can only judge each other on the basis of what is done, because doing creates lasting external results that can be observed and analyzed by other people. For instance, in most detective shows or detective books, the focus is upon determining what was done, and who was physically capable of doing those actions.

When Pilate asks Jesus what he has done, then Pilate is using critical thinking to determine the nature of Jesus, because government is an expert at determining what people do. But focusing upon doing also lays a cognitive foundation for understanding God’s kingdom. That is because God’s kingdom is a kingdom of righteousness, which allows a rational Teacher understanding of the character of God to guide Server actions. Using scientific language, science constructs a rational Teacher understanding of natural processes; it focuses primarily upon how the natural world behaves.

Jesus builds upon Pilate’s focus upon doing. “Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm’” (v.36). Pilate has talked about the king of the Jews. Jesus, in contrast refers three times in verse 36 to ‘my kingdom’, a term that Pilate does not use, while Jesus only uses the word ‘king’ once in verse 37 to describe what Pilate is saying. ‘King’ focuses upon the person who is in charge, while ‘my kingdom’ focuses upon the structure that results from the person who is in charge.

Consistent with this distinction, Pilate’s words in verse 35 focused upon people and culture. Jesus in verse 36 describes the nature of his kingdom. It ‘is not of this world’. The word translated of means ‘out from among’, while world refers to ‘the world, universe; worldly affairs; the inhabitants of the world’. As I mentioned earlier, John defines ‘the world’ in 1 John 2:16 as “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life.” Using cognitive language, the kingdom of Jesus is not based in mental networks of natural, physical existence. Notice that Jesus can only tell Pilate what the basis of his kingdom is not, and cannot tell Pilate what the basis of his kingdom is. That is because government and secular society deals almost exclusively with natural, physical existence.

Jesus then proves his statement by describing the actions of those who are part of his kingdom, because secular authority understands actions. He begins by repeating verbatim the phrase ‘of this world’, because that defines the mindset of secular authority. He then refers to ‘my servants’, and the word servant describes ‘an under-rower who mans the oars on a lower deck; figuratively a subordinate executing official orders’. Again, the focus is not upon personal status in Mercy thought, but rather upon doing actions in a coordinated manner in submission to authority—the kind of definition that the centurion used in Matthew 8, which Jesus referred to as great faith.

Jesus then explains that if his kingdom were of this world, then his servants ‘would be fighting’, which means ‘struggling, striving, as in an athletic contest or warfare’. In other words, they would currently be doing things with great effort on behalf of the kingdom. They would be struggling “so that I would not be handed over to the Jews”. The word ‘handed over’ is the same Greek word that Pilate used in the previous verse when saying that “your own nation and the chief priests delivered you to me”. Jesus has referred three times to ‘my kingdom’, but he does not refer to the Jews as ‘my nation’. In other words, Jesus does not identify with the cultural MMNs of some ‘nation’. Instead, his starting point is the TMN of ‘my kingdom’. Because he starts with a TMN, there is no need to struggle with personal or cultural MMNs or to worry about being betrayed by one personal MMN to another. Consistent with this, the personal pronouns in this statement are implied by the conjugation of the verb, and a more literal translation would be ‘not might be betrayed to the Jews’, with ‘I’ being implied and ‘the Jews’ referred to as a generic category. In contrast, a more literal translation of Pilate’s statement in verse 35 would be ‘Not I a Jew am. The nation of you and the chief priests delivered you [to] me’ (‘to’ is implied by the dative case of ‘me’). Notice how Pilate’s pronouncement is peppered with personal pronouns (just as this sentence is peppered with ‘p’s).

Jesus summarizes, “but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm” (v.36). The word translated of this realm means ‘from this place’. It is used ten times in the New Testament and this is the only time that it is translated as ‘realm’. Thus, Jesus is trying to convey the impression that his kingdom does not come from place. It is not a kingdom that is based in a different place than the kingdom of the Jews or the kingdom of Pilate. Instead, it is not based in place at all. Instead of being rooted in Perceiver facts about the physical world, it is based in Server actions that are guided from a non-physical source in Teacher thought. All earthly kingdoms are ultimately based upon some plot of physical land, and all earthly kingdoms ultimately use physical force to control everyone who lives within this plot of physical land. The kingdom of Jesus has a different source, and this can be proven by the behavior of the servants of this kingdom.

Pilate responds to this explanation: “Therefore Pilate said to him, ‘So you are a king?’” (v.37). ‘Therefore’ is used twice in the sentence. The first time is translated therefore and tells us that Pilate is responding to the words of Jesus. The second time is translated so and is a combination of ‘not’ and ‘therefore’ that is only used once in the New Testament. The definition explains that ‘a speaker often introduces in this way his own opinion’. In other words, Jesus is trying to describe the nature of his kingdom, while Pilate wants to know if Jesus is a king. Pilate starts his answer with a ‘not therefore’ because he sees in Jesus’ statement an indirect confession that Jesus is a king.

Looking at this cognitively, Pilate’s concept of a king straddles two incompatible mindsets. On the one hand, a king rules over some physical realm, and the physical world is governed by natural law. On the other hand, a king uses physical force and emotional manipulation to rule over people. This juxtaposition emerges naturally when matter is over mind. Jesus is trying to tell Pilate that the personal world is also ruled by a set of invisible laws, while Pilate is trying to maintain the cognitive disconnect that is inherent in the concept of a king.

However, when Pilate uses a ‘not therefore’, he is actually forming his own opinion. He is deciding on his own initiative that Jesus is the King of the Jews.

Jesus addresses both of these issues in his reply: “Jesus answered, you say [correctly] that I am a king” (v.37). As the NASB indicates, the word ‘correctly’ is not in the original Greek. Instead, Jesus is pointing out that this is Pilate’s opinion about Jesus, because the pronouns ‘you’ and ‘I’ are explicitly used. First, Jesus is telling Pilate that Pilate is forming his own opinion about the nature of Jesus. Second, Jesus is telling Pilate that Pilate’s opinion about Jesus is different than what Jesus just said. Third, Jesus is pointing out to Pilate that Pilate is focusing upon the person of a king.

The addition of the word ‘correctly’ to the English implies that the translators are also focusing upon the person of Jesus. Looking at this more generally, when Jesus is asked who he is, he never seems to give a straight answer. For instance, in Matthew 11:3-6, when John asks if Jesus is ‘the Expected One’, then Jesus does not answer with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ but rather tells John to look at what Jesus is doing: “The blind receive site and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed in the deaf hear...” Similarly, Jesus asks his disciples in Mark 8:27-30 “Who do people say that I am?” When Peter gives the answer “You are the Christ”, Jesus does not tell Peter ‘you say correctly’, but instead warns Peter not to tell anyone, and then teaches his disciples that he will have to follow the path of death and resurrection. When Peter objects, then Jesus tells Peter that he is setting his mind on man’s interests rather than God’s interests. Summarizing, a human perspective will try to nail down the identity of Jesus, whereas a divine perspective tries to determine the path of incarnation. A human perspective looks at Jesus as king, while a divine perspective focuses upon the kingdom of Jesus. That is because a human perspective is guided by MMNs of personal identity, while a divine perspective is based upon the TMN of a general understanding of how things work.

Jesus then elaborates on who he is by describing how he came into being, and what he has come to do: “For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth” (v.37). Looking first at how he came into being, it is interesting that Jesus describes his existence in two different ways. On the one hand, he says “I have been born”, using the normal word for giving birth. On the other hand, he also says “I have come into the world”, implying that he existed somewhere else before being born. The word translated ‘world’ is cosmos, which describes the mental networks that a human child naturally acquires from growing up in a physical body in physical reality. Jesus says that he was born, but he does not say that he was born in the world. Instead, he says that he came into the world. In other words, when Jesus was physically born as a human he already had a set of core mental networks acquired from outside the cosmos, and his cognitive development as a human child was guided by these pre-existent core mental networks, and not by the childish MMNs that every human child acquires.

Going further, Jesus came “to testify to the truth”. The word testify means to ‘bear witness, give evidence’, and is based upon the word that means ‘eye- or ear-witness’. This is the only time that the word truth appears in the entire story of Jesus’ trial, death, and resurrection, and it is used three times in two verses: twice by Jesus and once by Pilate. All three of these occurrences are significant. First, Jesus says that his life mission is to bear witness to truth. Second, Jesus says that everyone who is of the truth hears his voice. Third, Pilate questions the existence of truth. This summarizes the essence of Jesus’ lifelong dilemma. He has been sent to convey truth to an audience that does not believe in truth.

But Jesus’ mission was not a failure because Jesus came to testify to the truth and not just to proclaim the truth. Looking at the big picture, my thesis regarding the nature of Jesus is that Jesus-the-man always was God at the left hemisphere level of Teacher words and Server actions. But Jesus had to go through stages of cognitive development in order to recognize that he was God at the right hemisphere level of Perceiver truth and Mercy experiences. Jesus-the-eternal-Incarnation was born as a human within the human realm of Perceiver facts and Mercy experiences in order to have personal Mercy experiences of Perceiver facts—to bear witness of the truth. Jesus’ human audience may have remained largely oblivious to this truth, but Jesus still accomplished the divinely ordained plan of extending the divinely revealed Server doing of Jewish halacha into the divinely revealed Perceiver believing of Christian faith.

Restating this cognitively, incarnation is based in Contributor thought, and the description of Jesus-the-man in the Gospels describes a Contributor person. Contributor ties together Perceiver and Server. Jesus is using Contributor thought to add Perceiver beliefs to the Server actions of Jewish halacha.

Looking at the text in more detail, Jesus says that “Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice” (v.37). Everyone ‘focuses on the parts making up the whole – viewing the whole in terms of the individual parts’. Jesus is making a universal statement, because he is talking about everyone and not just about Jews, chief priests, himself, or Pilate. But this is not an overgeneralized universal statement, because the word ‘everyone’ recognizes that the whole is composed of specific parts. The preposition of is the same word that was used in verse 36 to talk about being ‘of the world’. In verse 36 Jesus described his kingdom as the opposite of ‘of the world’. He could only tell Pilate what his kingdom was not. In verse 37, Jesus can say what his kingdom is: It is ‘of the truth’. ‘Not of this world’, by definition, cannot be viewed within this world. But ‘of the truth’ can be grasped both out of this world and in this world. Being ‘of the truth’ makes a person receptive to the words that come from Teacher thought through Jesus: ‘hears my voice’. Here we see the other aspect of Jesus’ ministry, which is proclaiming truth to an audience. Those who are ‘of the truth’ will listen to the words that Jesus is speaking. Looking at this cognitively, Jesus is starting from Server actions of righteousness and then adding Perceiver truth, while the human audience of Jesus is starting from childish MMNs. Those who allow Perceiver facts to rule over personal Mercy experiences will find themselves resonating with the message of Jesus and will want to learn more.

The response of Pilate makes it clear that he is not ‘of the truth’. First he asks “What is truth?” (v.38). Second, he stops talking with Jesus and goes out again to the Jews. Third, he interacts with the Jews on the basis of tradition, while suppressing the implications of truth.

Looking at this cognitively, truth is needed to extend an understanding of natural law beyond ‘this world’ into universal truth, because Perceiver thought will recognize that ‘this world’ and ‘not of this world’ behave in a similar manner. This principle is illustrated by these essays, because I am using my natural ability as a Perceiver person to find similarities between realms that are currently considered to be unrelated. Saying this another way, Perceiver thought has the ability to unlock new areas of thought by building factual connections, as symbolized by Jesus giving the keys of heaven to Peter in Matthew 16. (The keys of heaven are examined further in the essay on 1 Peter.) But merely using Perceiver thought is not enough, because one will then only view these connections as interesting facts. Instead, one has to be ‘of the truth’, which means building one’s existence upon these factual connections. For instance, I am not just using Perceiver thought in these essays to come up with an abstract theory. Instead, I am coming up with a general theory so that I can build my personal life upon this understanding in order to escape the insanity of current society which no longer believes in the existence of truth.

Pilate does not know what truth is because he has chosen to focus upon people rather than facts. Jesus has tried to direct Pilate’s attention towards his kingdom, but Pilate continues to focus upon Jesus as a king. Every legislator or ruler is faced with a similar dilemma of trying to reconcile people with facts. Saying this cognitively, Perceiver thought can acquire facts in one of two ways. First, MMNs of personal status in Mercy thought can overwhelm Perceiver thought into ‘knowing’ what is true. Second, Perceiver thought can come up with facts that apply to many people, and then personal identity can submit to these facts as one of many people. Saying this more simply, when a legislator passes some law, then is that legislator above the law, or does that law apply to everyone including the legislator?

The second attitude of submitting personally to universal truth can be seen after Jesus’ resurrection in John 20:17 where Jesus says to Mary, “Stop clinging to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’” The word translated clinging means ‘to modify or change by touching’. Jesus is telling Mary to stop trying to influence him at the human level of personal MMNs so that he can ascend to the divine level of the TMN of a concept of God. He then refers to his personal self as one of many individuals who are equally subject to God in Teacher thought.

The first attitude of viewing oneself as above the law can be seen in the response of Pilate. He leaves the realm of secular thought and interacts directly with the Jews: “When he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and said to them...” (v.38). Pilate starts by making a factual statement about Jesus: “I find no guilt in Him”. The meaning and order of these words in the original Greek is revealing. Find means ‘learn, discover, especially after searching’. Thus, Pilate is not just stating some off-the-cuff opinion, but rather the conclusion that he has reached after using rational thought. And the word translated no ‘categorically excludes, declaring as a fact that no valid example exists’. Thus, Pilate is not simply stating that the evidence points in the direction of letting Jesus go. Instead, Pilate is declaring that he has searched extensively and come to the conclusion that Jesus has no guilt at all. But this Greek phrase starts with the explicit pronoun I. Pilate himself has come to the conclusion that Jesus is free of guilt. This means that Pilate is using critical thinking to come up with an opinion about Jesus, but it also means that Pilate is the source of this opinion.

This phrase is repeated in John 19:4 as well as John 19:6. All three occurrences are translated in the English as ‘I find no guilt in Him’ but they are not identical in the original Greek. In 19:4 the pronoun ‘I’ is implied and the word ‘no’ comes first. So a more literal translation would be ‘no guilt found [by me] in him’, implying that Pilate here is focusing upon the facts and not upon personal opinion. In 19:6 the phrase starts again with the word ‘I’ and the adverb ‘no not one’ is replaced by the less strong negation ‘no’, implying that Pilate is retreating to personal opinion rather than holding on to the facts.

Returning to John 18, Pilate does not follow his strong statement that Jesus is free of guilt by declaring that Jesus is free to go. Instead, he allows the Jews to decide guided by their tradition. When Pilate begins his statement about Jesus being free of guilt by saying ‘I’, this indicates that the personal status of Pilate as a source of law is higher than the content and facts of the law. And Pilate demonstrates this by ignoring the facts of the law in order to make a personal decision about the fate of Jesus that is based in the personal feelings of the Jews guided by the personal customs of the Jews: “But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover; do you wish then that I release for you the King of the Jews?”

This question of Pilate is insane on multiple levels. First, he explicitly states that Jesus is the King of the Jews. But if Jesus really is the King of the Jews, then Pilate should be asking Jesus the King what to do with the Jews, instead of asking the Jews what to do with Jesus. Second, if a king is personally present, then one does not follow custom but instead allows the king to overrule custom. Third, if Pilate has determined after extensive examination that Jesus is totally free of guilt, then Pilate is not just ignoring the rule of law by allowing the Jews to determine the fate of Jesus, but Pilate is deliberately undermining the lawful, legitimate rule of the King of the Jews. One might think that Pilate is using the term ‘King of the Jews’ sarcastically, but John 19:8 strongly suggests that this is not the case, because it describes Pilate is being ‘more afraid’, telling us that he already was afraid.

Fourth, if Pilate is the official ruler, then why is Pilate allowing his decision to be guided by others? Fifth, rulers do not allow themselves to be swayed by mass hysteria, but Pilate is allowing his opinion to be determined by screaming crowds, because the word translated cried out in verse 40 means ‘to cry out with a loud screaming or shrieking, especially with inarticulate unintelligible sounds’.

The general cognitive principle is that denying the existence of truth is not merely a philosophical statement. Instead, it leads to a mindset that is no longer capable of thinking rationally.

This same mindset is emerging in today’s post-truth society. Quoting from the Wikipedia article, “Post-truth politics is a political culture in which debate is framed largely by appeals to emotion disconnected from the details of policy, and by the repeated assertion of talking points to which factual rebuttals are ignored.” In a post-truth society, crowd opinion replaces truth. Quoting again from Wikipedia, “The digital culture allows anybody with a computer and access to the internet to post their opinions online and mark them as fact which may become legitimized through echo-chambers and other users validating one another. Content may be judged based on how many views a post gets, creating an atmosphere based on click bait that appeals to emotion instead of researched fact.” This leads naturally to a polarization of society into us-versus-them: “The rise of post-truth politics coincides with polarized political beliefs. A Pew Research Center study of American adults found that ‘those with the most consistent ideological views on the left and right have information streams that are distinct from those of individuals with more mixed political views—and very distinct from each other.’”

Returning to verse 39, Pilate tells the Jews “But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover; do you wish then that I release for you the King of the Jews?” The word translated wish gives the impression that Pilate is asking what the crowd desires, but the word actually means ‘to plan with full resolve and determination’. In other words, Pilate is asking the crowd about their core mental networks, because these extend beyond mere desire to full resolve and determination. This is another characteristic of a post-truth society, because what is accepted currently as ‘truth’ will be determined by the people within society whose core mental networks are screaming the loudest.


Passover is discussed in the essay on Hebrews 11. Christians normally associate Passover with the atoning death of Jesus, but as some Jews have pointed out, this is not entirely accurate. Instead, the first Passover in Exodus 12 had four primary elements: 1) The Passover was the start of the journey of the Israelites leaving Egypt (12:11). 2) The Israelites ate a roasted lamb while they were waiting to leave on their journey (12:8-10). 3) The angel of death passed over the firstborn of those who put the blood of a lamb on their doorpost (12:12-13). 4) The Israelites celebrate the Passover by getting rid of all leaven (12:15-20). Thus, I suggest that it would be more accurate to view the Passover as leaving the kingdom of men in order to enter the kingdom of God, and making this transition requires going through a form of death and resurrection.

There is only one New Testament verse that explicitly connects Jesus with the Passover. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5:7-8: “Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” Paul explicitly describes Christ as a Passover who has been sacrificed. But notice that Paul refers to Christ, the divine side of Incarnation, and not to Jesus, the human side, telling us that we need to focus upon Teacher understanding and not Mercy experiences. Paul also focuses upon eating unleavened bread, an aspect of Passover that is usually ignored by Christians. (Christians, in contrast, have a tradition of eating especially rich leavened bread at Easter.)

Bread represents intellectual food in the New Testament. Paul defines leaven as ‘malice and wickedness’. Malice is the noun form of an adjective that means ‘inwardly foul, rotten… flowing out of a morally rotten character’, while wickedness means ‘pain, laborious trouble, pain-ridden evil’. This describes feeding on an intellectual diet composed of Perceiver facts that are based upon MMNs of pain and filth. Looking at this literally, leaven is a living organism that introduces pockets of air within bread dough. Air represents Teacher thought. Therefore, leaven would represent Teacher theories that are based in personal mental networks. If a person has an emotional experience that turns into an MMN, then Teacher thought will naturally interpret this Mercy emotion as Teacher generality. That is because Mercy emotion feels the same as Teacher emotion, and Teacher emotion is formed by generality. For instance, suppose that I am eating an ice cream cone and it falls to the floor. The instinctive reaction will be to feel in Teacher thought that ‘the whole world is against me’, because the Mercy pain of losing the ice cream cone will be interpreted by Teacher thought as generality. ‘Leaven of malice and wickedness’ would describe a collection of nasty MMNs being interpreted as general theories by Teacher thought.

Going the other way, Paul describes unleavened bread as sincerity and truth. The word sincerity is only used three times in the New Testament and means literally ‘judged in the light of the sun’. A sun represents the light of a universal theory in Teacher thought. The word truth is the same word that Jesus uses in John 18:37 when saying that those who are of the truth hear his voice and the word that Pilate uses in verse 38 when asking ‘What is truth?’ Thus, instead of allowing Mercy emotions to create feelings of Teacher generality and impose ‘truth’ upon Perceiver thought, the bread of intellectual food needs to be interpreted in the light of Teacher understanding built upon Perceiver facts that are independent of Mercy emotions.

Righteousness is required to move successfully to a kingdom of heaven. One becomes righteous by doing actions that are guided by the TMN of a concept of God and not by MMNs. Jesus describes this principle in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:1-6, which is followed by the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. The crux of the Lord’s Prayer is to follow the kingdom of heaven so that one can become free of evil and temptation.

If one truly wishes to enter God’s kingdom of heaven then one must start with righteousness, which means devoting the firstborn to God. In other words, one does not submit to people and culture and then add acts of righteousness. Instead, one starts with acts of righteousness. This lays a mental foundation of righteousness, which then creates a mental context within which one places people and culture.

The relationship between righteousness, the firstborn, and Passover is described in Exodus 13:1-16. Quoting just the first three verses: “Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Sanctify to Me every firstborn, the first offspring of every womb among the sons of Israel, both of man and beast; it belongs to Me.’ Moses said to the people, ‘Remember this day in which you went out from Egypt, from the house of slavery; for by a powerful hand the LORD brought you out from this place. And nothing leavened shall be eaten.’”

When one is being motivated by God rather than by men, then this means in practice that one is not receiving approval from people or experiencing beneficial personal results. Therefore, there will be a natural tendency to focus upon this human disapproval and discomfort, leading to the leaven of malice and wickedness. It is essential not to get emotionally sidetracked by the lack of positive Mercy emotions and focus instead upon the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Saying this more generally, leaven is not inherently evil. Physically speaking, the Jews eat leavened bread during most of the year. Cognitively speaking, it is natural to use Mercy emotions as a starting point for building Teacher understanding, and this is a core aspect of intuitive thought. But when one is making a transition from the kingdom of men to the kingdom of heaven, then one must be guided by the light of Teacher understanding and not twisted by Mercy pain. That is why it is imperative to view the death and resurrection of Christ from the Teacher perspective of Jesus returning to God and not from the Mercy viewpoint of Jesus being tortured by men.

Putting this all together, Passover represents moving from the kingdom of men to the kingdom of God. Making this transition will require a rebirth. One prepares for this rebirth by 1) laying a foundation of righteousness by submitting one’s firstborn to God; 2) consuming intellectual food that is guided by understanding and truth rather than generalizing from personal discomfort and misery; 3) preparing for the journey by ‘eating the lamb’ of a mindset of transformation through humility. 4) identifying in Mercy thought with the ‘blood’ of the experience of being transformed through humility.

If one does not take these steps, then the angel of death will kill the firstborn. Saying this cognitively, when a group of people successfully make a transition to the kingdom of heaven, then it will become apparent to the rest of the population that they have built their minds upon an inadequate foundation. They will realize that they have climbed the wrong ladder of success; instead of devoting their firstborn to God, they used their firstborn to set a direction of becoming successful in the kingdom of men.

Barabbas 18:40

Returning now to John 18, Pilate asks the Jews, “You have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover; do you wish then that I release for you the King of the Jews?” In essence, the Jews are practicing a watered-down version of Passover. Custom means ‘custom, habit, practice’, and the word translated someone means the number ‘one’. Thus, instead of using the Passover to escape the kingdom of men and be guided by the TMN of a heavenly kingdom, Teacher understanding has been replaced by custom, and submitting to the TMN of God has been replaced by exchanging the MMN of one leader with the MMN of one other leader. Using a partial political example, instead of replacing dictatorship with democracy, one dictator is being replaced by another dictator.

But Jesus is not just a normal king who leads through the MMN of personal status. Instead, Jesus is a God/man who leads through the TMN of an entire system of thought and behavior. Therefore, when one rejects the King of the Jews, then one is actually rejecting rational thought and choosing to replace this with another form of thinking: “So they cried out again, saying, ‘Not this man, but Barabbas.’ Now Barabbas was a robber” (v.40). (Matthew 27:15-18 puts a different spin on this interchange, but I have been assuming that God guided John to write the Gospel of John in a manner that would convey a specific symbolic message. It is quite possible that the synoptic Gospels are conveying a different—but related—symbolic message.)

The name Barabbas means ‘son of father’, which describes a male version of culture and tradition, because sons are following fathers. Male thought emphasizes technical thinking. Therefore, ‘son of father’ implies a culture of technical thought in which each person builds upon the technical thinking of the previous generation, which accurately describes much of academia. The general principle is that when a religious or academic priesthood rejects incarnation, then what is left is a tradition of technical thought. Saying this more clearly, technical thought is naturally limited to some specialization. Incarnation uses technical thought but stretches beyond specialization to the TMN of a concept of God in Teacher thought. Similarly, technical thought is naturally objective. Incarnation uses technical thought but stretches beyond objectivity to save MMNs of personal identity. When incarnation appears and is consciously rejected, then technical thought will remain but it will become disconnected from general understanding and from personal identity.

I suggest that Judaism mutated into this type of religion after the time of Jesus. First, Judaism rejected the concept of incarnation by making the mystical concept of an incomprehensible God of overgeneralization official dogma. Saying this cognitively, Judaism now defines monotheism as Teacher overgeneralization, and not as Teacher order-within-complexity. Quoting from Judaism101, “G-d is a unity. He is a single, whole, complete indivisible entity. He cannot be divided into parts or described by attributes. Any attempt to ascribe attributes to G-d is merely man’s imperfect attempt to understand the infinite.” This obviously transforms the very concept of an incarnation into blasphemy against God. Looking at the Gospel of John, everything that the Jews say in the Gospel of John about Jesus during the trial is a personal, emotional attack—with one exception. The Jews appeal to the law once in John 19:7: “We have a law, and by that law he ought to die because he made himself out to be the Son of God.” Stated simply, the one law that the Jews state is that Incarnation deserves the death penalty.

And this is still taught as Jewish law today. I am not ranting in some anti-semitic fashion about Jews being Christ-killers. Instead, I am observing that Judaism still officially teaches the law that got Jesus killed 2000 years ago; Judaism in its current official form declares as a fundamental principle that the concept of incarnation must be mentally killed. But this ‘law’ contradicts the very fabric of Judaism, because the history of Judaism demonstrates that God is not some incomprehensible entity but rather a rational Being who interacts with human society through the incarnation of the Jewish people. Thus, the very existence of Jews as a people chosen by God contradicts the Jewish belief that monotheism needs to be interpreted as mysticism.

Second, Judaism became separated from Christ in Teacher thought by developing Kabbalah instead of theology. Kabbalah is an attempt to build a rational concept of psychology upon a foundation of mysticism. Kabbalah ‘interprets’ the Jewish Scriptures using a symbolic form of analysis known as sod which ‘reveals’ a hidden esoteric meaning, and Kabbalah with its sod has spawned countless volumes of technical thought. I am also attempting to interpret the Bible using a form of symbolic analysis. But this symbolism is based upon correspondences that emerge naturally from normal human existence, and the interpretation that results is an extension of the surface text which does not violate what the Bible says when interpreted literally. In contrast, every sod interpretation that I have read so far has nothing to do with the surface text, but rather pulls words and phrases out of context in order to come up with a mystical interpretation.

I am not suggesting that all Jewish abstract thought is worthless. However, I suggest that what is worthwhile in Jewish writing has resulted primarily from the struggle to apply the laws of Torah in real life combined the painful lessons that Jews have learned through the hells-on-earth of pogroms and holocausts—lessons that were learned despite Jewish mysticism and not because of it. Thus, I suggest that what is traditionally known as the blood curse (Matthew 27:24-25) is not God judging the Jews, or Christians and others persecuting the Jews, but rather a cognitive result of choosing mysticism over incarnation when faced with Incarnation in the flesh.

Third, Judaism became separated from Jesus by focusing upon fence laws rather than upon personal transformation. In brief, a fence law is an extra set of restrictions added to Biblical law in order to ensure that the law is not violated. The underlying assumption is that one must be extra careful of violating the laws of God because God is Holy. This is consistent with the mindset of mysticism, which regards God as separate and different from humanity. However, I have now analyzed enough of the Jewish Torah from a cognitive perspective to be able to state with reasonable confidence that the structure of Jewish law reveals the character of God and Incarnation (one can find this kind of analysis in messianic Judaism). If the character of God is revealed in the shape and structure of the Jewish Torah, then fence laws distort and mask the character of God, similar to the way that a Niqab distorts and masks the shape of the female form.

Finally, over the centuries, most Jewish learning has consisted of men gathering together to use technical thought to analyze the writings of their Jewish ancestors. This is literally ‘Barabbas’, or son of the father.

I am not suggesting that these four results all began as a direct result of the trial of Jesus. These trends already existed during the time of Jesus, because one can find Jesus preaching against them in the Gospels. But I suggest that the official rejection of Jesus as King of the Jews by the Jewish religious leadership set Judaism along a path of following mysticism rather than incarnation, and turned most Jewish learning into Barabbas. In other words, the trial of Jesus can be seen as a fork in the road for Jewish religious history. However, as I have suggested earlier, I do not think that the real choice happened at Jesus’ trial. Instead, I suggest that the actual choice occurred centuries earlier as Judaism chose to develop mysticism rather than follow a path of developing science in the city of Alexandria. It was the myriad of little choices made by the Jewish leadership in the previous centuries that ‘predestined’ them to making the choice of rejecting Jesus as the King of the Jews during the trial of Jesus.

One of the problems with Barabbas is that Barabbas is a thief, and the word translated thief means ‘a thief who also plunders and pillages… exploiting the vulnerable without hesitating to use violence’. Notice that this statement is being added as a postscript to the decision of the Jews to choose Barabbas. It does not say that the Jews are thieves, or that the Jews chose a thief. Instead, the Jews chose Barabbas, and Barabbas turned out to be a thief. Similarly, when one rejects incarnation in favor of intellectual tradition, then one will inherit a mindset that naturally turns into violent plundering of the vulnerable. There are two primary reasons for this: First, mysticism provides no basis for religious morality, because it teaches that God has nothing to do with human activity. Second, mysticism enables tyranny, because human experts who claim to speak for God will add the content that a mystical God is incapable of providing. I am not suggesting that all Jews are amoral. But one does observe a preponderance of Jews in industries that are particularly amoral and which take advantage of the vulnerable. There is also another side to this story. Because Judaism has also embraced the partial form of incarnation that is found in science and technology, a preponderance of Jews have won Nobel prizes, and Israel is a hotbed of technology. But here too there can be a dark side, because Israeli technology can also head in the direction of taking advantage of the vulnerable in an amoral fashion.

Scourging Jesus 19:1-3

This kind of behavior can be seen in John 19:1-3, which immediately follows. Verse 1 says that “Pilate then took Jesus and scourged him.” Verse 1 starts with a ‘therefore’, which tells us that it follows logically from the end of chapter 18. The word translated took means to ‘actively lay hold of’. Until now, Pilate has treated Jesus with some deference, but the verb ‘took’ tells us that Pilate is now acting more aggressively.

A scourge is a ‘lash of leathern thongs with pieces of metal sewn up in them’. It is a hideous item designed to inflict a maximum of Mercy pain. The scourge is also mentioned in Hebrews 12:6, which says that “those whom the Lord loves he disciplines, and he scourges every son whom he receives.” One could interpret this scourging according to ‘the leaven of malice and wickedness’ as a hideous punishment by humans on the Son of God, and that is how it is usually interpreted. But I suggest a different interpretation. The goal of Jesus is to return to God in Teacher thought. The final stage of submitting to a Teacher theory is to eliminate any remaining elements that are ruled by other mental networks. Scourging is an effective way of eliminating these last remaining elements, because it makes it emotionally unbearable to base one’s personal identity in mental networks of physical existence. Hebrews 12:6 appears to describe a similar stage in personal transformation, in which people are taking the last remaining steps needed to rebuild physical existence upon the TMN of a concept of God.

I am NOT suggesting that scourging is good or that one should wear a cilice. My personal goal in following the theory of mental symmetry is to make a transition into the kingdom of heaven with as little scourging as possible. Instead, I am trying to place the vicious act of scourging within the positive framework of a general Teacher understanding.

The scourging in verse 1 is followed by more painful treatment from the soldiers in verse 2: “And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him.” This too has been used over the centuries to emphasize the suffering of Jesus. Therefore, I suggest that it is important to place this within a cognitive prospective. Matthew 7:16 provides a possible cognitive interpretation of thorns, because it contrasts grapes with thorns, and figs with thistles. Thorns are also mentioned in Hebrews 6:7, in a context of describing two possible responses to the kingdom of heaven. Grapes represent MMNs of culture that bring joy to human existence. If thorns are the opposite of grapes, then thorns would represent a culture of pain.

The verb twisted is only used three times in the New Testament in the three gospel accounts of the crown of thorns, and means ‘weave together, plait, twist, braid’. The implication is that the thorns are being woven into some sort of ‘social fabric’. The word translated crown is ‘a wreath or garland awarded to a victor in the ancient athletic games’. This crown is then being placed upon the head of Jesus. Finally, a purple robe represents the mantle of royalty.

One can see what this symbolizes by looking at how incarnation has been treated by modern Western society. Science and technology are a partial expression of incarnation. Secular society loves the gadgets that science and technology produce. Therefore, modern society has given the victor’s crown to science and technology and treats them as royalty. This is seen as normal and proper. But how is Incarnation being treated? Incarnation includes technical thought but goes beyond technical thought to include God in Teacher thought and personal salvation in Mercy thought. However, instead of placing science within the TMN of an integrated concept of God and using technology to bring salvation to humans, the tendency has been to pursue science in a specialized manner in order to avoid facing a concept of God, and to apply technology in a tribal manner to bring amplified death, destruction, and suffering to fellow humans. That is a crown of thorns, because it honors the thinking of incarnation with torture and brutality. And it is a woven crown of thorns because modern society has created a culture of applying the thinking of incarnation in a manner that violates the person of Incarnation.

Secular society has felt free to do this because much of Christianity has also rejected Jesus as King of the Jews in favor of Barabbas. As Jesus stated to Pilate, a king implies a kingdom with order, structure, and rules of conduct. Barabbas, instead, implies tradition and personal male authority. Barabbas has always been a thief; leaders have always taken credit for projects that they have not carried out, and taken control of systems that they have not developed, but science and technology have given Barabbas much more to steal. When religion rejects Jesus as King of the Jews then this theft will be regarded as normal.

For instance, the Manhattan Project in World War II enrolled numerous world famous scientists, and employed up to 130,000 people at 30 sites across the US, the UK, and Canada, in order to design and construct the most powerful and destructive weapon known to mankind. I know that arguments can be made that the atomic bomb ultimately saved lives by avoiding an invasion of Japan. However, the big picture is that the Allies developed the atomic bomb because they wanted to win World War II. WWII flowed out of the shame and trauma that the Germans suffered in World War I, exploited by Hitler’s racial dogmas about Aryans and Jews. And the horrors of WWI were the result of a Barabbas-like leadership placing a crown of thorns upon the partial incarnation of science and technology. And instead of standing up for incarnation, most of the Christian Church actively supported this demonization of society.

The idea of a just war may sound fine in theory, but in practice it creates an exception to the rule of the kingdom of heaven through which one can drive entire armies and start world wars. If anyone had the right to start a just war, it was Jesus in his trial before Pilate. But instead of defending his right to be king, Jesus told Pilate that his kingdom was not of this world.

I should finish by saying that I do not think that the trial of Jesus is referring primarily to recent Western history. Instead, I suggest that the history of the twentieth century provides a partial illustration of the universal cognitive principles that are being illustrated by the trial of Jesus. WWI and WWII were enabled by the development of normal technology. I suggest that something similar but much stronger will happen in the future enabled by the development of spiritual technology.

Continuing with John 19, verse 3 says that “they began to come up to Him and say, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ and to give Him slaps in the face.” As the NASB indicates, the phrase ‘in the face’ is not in the original Greek. Instead, it is a noun form of a verb that means ‘to strike with a rod, hence to strike with the palm of the hand’. It is used either as a verb or a noun five times in the New Testament, four times in connection with the trial of Jesus and once in Matthew 5:39 where Jesus says that “whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also” (the word ‘cheek’ is explicitly used in that passage). A rod represents authority, while the hands are used to perform skilled movement, which is an expression of Perceiver and Server thought. Putting this together, the peripheral expression of incarnation is starting to order incarnation around. In addition, secular thought is recognizing that the Jews have a king; it is realizing that subjective thought is not random or irrational but rather guided by principles of human intelligence. Going further, the word hail means ‘rejoice, and glad’ and has the same root as the words ‘grace’ and ‘joy’. Thus, secular thought is recognizing that the King of the Jews is guided by general Teacher principles, and it is approaching incarnation with an attitude of intelligent Teacher thought. But incarnation is not in charge. Instead, the King of the Jews is being ordered around by menial soldiers.

I suggest that modern marketing provides a partial illustration of this kind of behavior. Marketing goes beyond the objective and specialized thinking of science and technology to include the interaction between personal identity and the core mental networks of society. Stated simply, marketing recognizes that people are ultimately driven by emotions and are only partially rational. Going further, marketing recognizes that it is possible to use rational thought to study and analyze the emotions that drive people and society.

Edward Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud, played a major role in developing modern marketing. Quoting from this summary, “Intrigued by Freud’s notion that irrational forces drive human behavior, Bernays sought to harness those forces to sell products for his clients. In his 1928 book, ‘Propaganda,’ Bernays hypothesized that by understanding the group mind, it would be possible to manipulate people’s behavior without their even realizing it.” Using the language of John, Bernays recognized that the Jews have a king, and he addressed this king with a ‘hail’ from Teacher thought. But Bernays (who was Jewish) did not submit to the King of the Jews. Instead, he slapped him around in order to satisfy the whims of common economic soldiers. The first thing that Bernays did with his understanding was launch a public relations campaign in which he convinced women to smoke. And ever since, marketers have been applying similar principles to sell products such as beer, chili peppers, diapers and paper towels, computers, credit cards, chicken sandwiches, energy drinks, and body wash.

Most of the products that are sold by marketing are useful. But cognitively speaking, marketing is basically soldiers in the war for economic dominance slapping incarnation around. That is because marketing is using cognitive mechanisms that were designed to construct a mental concept of God and Incarnation to implant desires in people so that they will buy new-and-improved things. This may sound like an overstatement, but it is illustrated by the deep emotional backlash that occurred when Coca-Cola attempted to introduce new Coke. Wikipedia explains that many Southerners “considered Coca-Cola a fundamental part of the regional identity. They viewed the company’s decision to change the formula through the prism of the Civil War, as another surrender to the Yankees… A psychiatrist whom Coke had hired to listen in on calls told executives that some people sounded as if they were discussing the death of a family member.”

Behold the Man 19:4-7

Moving on, verse 4 says that “Pilate came out again and said to them, ‘Behold, I am bringing Him out to you so that you may know that I find no guilt in Him.’” So far, Pilate has gone out to talk to the Jews, while Jesus has remained in the Praetorium. In Verse 4, Pilate comes out to the Jews and tells the Jews that he will bring Jesus out to them. The word translated behold means primarily to ‘see with the mind’, while the word know in this verse means to know through personal experience.

As was mentioned before, this second statement of ‘I find no guilt in him’ is more objective than the first statement. A more literal translation would be ‘no guilt at all found in him’, with ‘I’ being implied by the verb conjugation. In other words, Pilate honestly thinks that he has reached a verdict using rational thought that is free of subjective bias. And he is convinced that the Jews will come to the same mental conclusion if they personally experience Pilate’s version of a Jesus that is totally free of guilt.

Similarly, principles of marketing and secular success have been used to remold Jesus into a form that society as a whole regards as fully acceptable, and many branches of the church, such as seeker-friendly-Christianity, have attempted to proclaim this new-and-improved, societally-approved, version 2.0 of Jesus. Saying this more simply, the Jesus of history has been transformed into a Jesus of marketing, who fully approves of the consumer society.

Jesus is then brought out, accompanied by Pilate’s famous statement: Ecce homo: “Jesus then came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, ‘Behold, the Man!’” (v.5). (The word translated behold is the same word that was used in verse 4, which means ‘to see, often with metaphorical meaning: to see with the mind’.) What kind of Jesus does Pilate view as free of guilt? A Jesus with a crown of thorns and a purple robe. The word translated wearing is only used six times in the New Testament and means ‘to bear or wear as a habit, implying repetition or continuance’. Thus, people have become accustomed to viewing incarnation as clothed in a purple robe wearing a crown of thorns, because that is what incarnation habitually wears.

In other words, Pilate presents as normal the Frankenstein’s monster of intelligent, objective, rational, technical thought, driven by childish MMNs. Why would Pilate consider this version of Jesus to be morally acceptable? Because it matches the mindset of government. It corresponds to a king of the Jews, in which some person guided by unredeemed MMNs acts as the source of law-and-order that governs society as a whole. That may describe government, but it is not Incarnation.

However, Pilate has done what the Jews refused to do. He may have created a Frankenstein’s monster, but at least he has treated incarnation as a living, intelligent creature. Similarly, modern marketing may abuse the cognitive mechanisms that are designed to form a concept of God and incarnation, but at least modern marketing recognizes that these cognitive mechanisms exist. Meanwhile, most religious thought is either ‘worshiping God in vain, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men’ (Mark 7:7), or else being driven by Teacher feelings of mysticism to use complicated words to say that one cannot say anything about God.

Verse 6 describes the response of the Jewish religious leaders to Pilate’s version of the King of the Jews: “So when the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out saying, Crucify, crucify!” The word translated saw means ‘to see with the mind’, implying that the chief priests and officers are forming an internal image of incarnation. (The writer John seems to prefer using this version of the word ‘see’.) This triggers a gut response in the Jewish leaders, because the verb translated cried out means ‘to cry out with a loud screaming or shrieking, especially with unintelligible sounds’. This is the first time that the word crucify is used in the Gospel of John, and it will be used 11 times in the rest of chapter 19. (‘Cried out’ has been used twice earlier in the Gospel of John, first in 11:43 where Jesus cried out for Lazarus to come forth from the tomb, and then in 12:13 where the crowds cried out Hosanna to Jesus on Palm Sunday.) In 18:40, an impersonal ‘they’ cried out for Barabbas to be released. Here, the chief priests and officers are crying out for Jesus to be crucified. The word officers was seen before and means literally ‘an under-rower who mans the oars on a lower deck’. In other words, it is the Jewish religious leaders and their underlings who are calling out for crucifixion. This crying out is especially strong because the word ‘crucify’ is in the imperative and it is repeated. The only other time that this word is repeated is in Luke 23:20 which refers to the same event. Physical crucifixion actually kills a person slowly by preventing the physical body from moving and breathing. Cognitively speaking, this is similar to the way that one kills a mental network by refusing to allow it to express itself, as illustrated by attempting to kill a bad habit cold-turkey.

I suggest three possible reasons for this outburst from the Jewish religious leaders. The first reason was discussed before and is explicitly given by the Jews in verse 7. Jesus a man is making himself out to be the Son of God. Stated cognitively, Jesus is crossing the boundary line that separates human content from divine transcendence. For a mindset of mysticism, this is the unpardonable sin, because it makes mysticism impossible. A normal Teacher theory is troubled by facts that contradict the theory. Mysticism, in contrast is troubled by any facts, including facts about mysticism. That is because mysticism is not based in a normal Teacher theory that generalizes from facts but rather in an overgeneralization that suppresses facts. Therefore, the man that Pilate presents to the Jewish leaders may be a Frankenstein’s monster, but it is still recognizable as a man. It is the very existence of incarnation as an intelligent rational being that offends the religious concept of mysticism, to the extent that the Jewish religious leaders cry out at a gut level: ‘Crucify! crucify!’

The first reason involved the existence of incarnation. The second reason involves the form of incarnation. Teacher overgeneralization may abhor content, but it still has the overall mental effect of adding Teacher order, beauty, elegance, simplicity, and perfection to the worship of God. Saying this another way, the priest who preaches that God is transcendent will usually do so using elegant language in a beautiful temple, wearing lovely robes, and performing graceful rituals. The abomination of incarnation that Pilate prefers will totally violate such standards of elegance, beauty, loveliness, and grace, emotionally reinforcing a gut-level desire to crucify incarnation. Saying this more precisely, because mysticism uses Teacher thought, mysticism will be naturally surrounded by objects and rituals of elegance and beauty that reflect Teacher thought. But because Teacher thought is using overgeneralization, any connection between this physical beauty and God will be explicitly denied. Pilate’s version of incarnation violates the second principle, while Jesus’ existence as an incarnation violates the first principle.

The third reason involves reasonableness. An illustration of this can be found in the Nazi treatment of the Jews. It was not reasonable to send well-dressed, well-behaved Jews straight to the gas ovens. Instead, the Nazi leaders performed their extermination in stages. First, the well-dressed, well-behaved Jews were made to wear stars of David which identified them as different. It then became reasonable to persecute the Jews. A group that is persecuted will no longer be well-dressed and well-behaved. Therefore, it became reasonable to imprison the Jews within the ghettos. A group of people that is imprisoned within a ghetto will eventually descend to the level of animal existence because they will lack the food and care that is required to maintain normal life. Therefore, it became reasonable to send the Jews to the concentration camps and raze the ghettos to the ground in order to cleanse society. Similarly, it is not reasonable to crucify an imprisoned Jesus, but it is reasonable to crucify an imprisoned Jesus who has been scourged and brutalized.

Thus, I suggest that the gut-level desire to crucify Jesus driven by the mental networks of Jewish mysticism was reinforced by Jesus’ appearance and made reasonable by the fact that Jesus was now already half dead. One might think that mysticism does not create strong enough emotions to provoke a gut-level cry for crucifixion. But I suggest that this describes the viewpoint of the average person who has not experienced mysticism. Mysticism, like any general Teacher theory, does not make sense to someone who has not experienced Teacher emotion. In a similar manner, the average Christian does not grasp why the typical rational scientist rejects blind faith at such a gut level. That is because the average Christian does not know what it feels like to be guided internally by the TMN of a rational paradigm. Therefore, I think it is significant that verse 6 explicitly says that the chief priests and officers cry Crucify! because these are the individuals who would have been practicing the mysticism.

One can see a similar transition happening in present society. The rational thinking that was developed by marketing was eventually presented to the church by psychologists as a rational way of developing the ideal man and the ideal religion, an ‘ecce homo’ that would be accepted by society at large without feelings of condemnation. We are now seeing a backlash against this commercialization of religion. This backlash is usually expressed publicly as a desire to return to some loftier and less corrupt form of Christianity, similar to the second reason mentioned above. And this backlash has been made reasonable by the crass commercialization that one finds in many Christian churches which have tried to preach a more user-friendly and socially acceptable version of Jesus, corresponding to the third reason mentioned above.

However, I suggest that these two rationalizations are really smokescreens for the real motivation, which is to crucify incarnation. That is a strong statement, but one can back it up with simple observation. In brief, everywhere I have looked I have seen a movement towards spirituality without content. This is happening in both academia and on the street, in religious circles and out in the secular world. The fundamental principle of Christianity is that God reveals the content of spirituality through the person of incarnation, which is diametrically opposed to the idea that spirituality has no content. This movement from the content of incarnation to the emptiness of current spirituality has not been supported by major intellectual arguments. Instead the vast majority of people and institutions have simply refused to talk about the subject. And if enough people refuse to talk and think about subjects such as truth, morality, righteousness, and personal integrity, then the corresponding mental networks will eventually fall apart and die. That corresponds cognitively to crucifixion. And when one pursues spirituality without content, then one will naturally discover some form of mysticism, because mysticism is based on Teacher overgeneralization and overgeneralization requires a lack of content.

In contrast, secular thought has not been abandoning content but rather has been continuing to pursue its bastardized view of incarnation. This is brought out by Pilate’s response when the Jewish leaders call for Jesus to be crucified: “Pilate said to them, ‘Take Him yourselves and crucify Him, for I find no guilt in Him’” (v.6). This is the third and final time that Pilate declares Jesus to be without guilt, but the precise phrasing is different than the previous two times. Pilate’s statement starts with an ‘I’ and a logical connective which is ‘used to express cause, explanation, inference or continuation’. Thus, Pilate is responding to the mindset of the Jewish leadership by personally choosing to follow a different path.

If Pilate represents government and secular thought, then one can see the same choice being made today. Religious thought and subjective identity may be embracing spirituality without content, but secular objective realms such as technology and engineering will have nothing to do with what they regard as collective insanity—and insanity is not too strong a word. That is because the real world follows rational rules of cause and effect, and ignoring these rules leads to personal injury or death. This principle will reign supreme as long as matter continues to rule over mind in some manner.

Going further, one of the most basic cognitive principles is that knowledge and skill have a price. Perceiver thought has to gain sufficient confidence to hold onto a fact in the midst of emotional pressure. Similarly, Server thought also has to gain sufficient confidence to carry out a sequence in the midst of emotional pressure. Modern scientific thought has avoided this principle by attempting to remain objective, but this is no longer an option when major aspects of society embrace spirituality without content. Scientists, technicians, and engineers will then discover that it takes mental confidence to follow a path of rational thought, and this is a major cognitive realization. This realization will come to those who have to deal with cold hard facts of physical reality. In contrast, branches of academia that deal with social interaction and subjective opinion will tend to be swept up in the worldwide rejection of rational thought.

In the previous two statements, Pilate said that he found no guilt at all in him. Here, Pilate uses a weaker negation that simply means ‘no, not’. The implication is that secular thought is weighing incarnation in the balance and coming to the conclusion that the evidence supports continuing to follow incarnation rather than embrace irrational spirituality. This interpretation is backed up by the behavior of Pilate, because he does not stop the Jews from crucifying Jesus. Instead, he merely distances himself from what they are doing. Similarly, the typical researcher or developer who is coming up with new-and-improved gadgets feels strongly enough about rational thought to preserve it in the workplace but not strongly enough about it to extend rational thought to more subjective and social realms. That is because technical thought is by its very nature locally rational. It pursues rational thought within some area of expertise, while being driven emotionally outside of this area.

It is at this point that the Jews come up with their moral statement and their appeal to law: “The Jews answered him, ‘We have a law, and by that law he ought to die because he made himself out [to be] the Son of God.’” (v.7). (As the NASB points out, ‘to be’ is not in the original.) The sequence of words is revealing, because the first word in the Greek text is not ‘law’ but rather ‘we’. A universalizing is also occurring from the first phrase to the second phrase. The first phrase says literally ‘we a law have’, while the second phrase is literally ‘and according to the law’. Notice the progression. It starts with personal opinion: ‘we’. It progresses from there to ‘a law’. It then mutates into ‘the law’. As the definition of law points out, ‘nomos is used of the law, with emphasis on the first five books of Scripture; or any system of religious thinking, especially when nomos occurs without the Greek definite article’.

And what is this universal law that guides the Jews? ‘He ought to die because he made himself out a son of God.” (‘The’ is not in the original Greek.) The word translated ought ‘refers to being morally obligated or legally required to meet an obligation’. The word translated die is a strengthened word that ‘focuses on the separation that goes with the dying off’. Thus, the legal punishment is not just to die but rather to die and be blocked off. Finally, the word made is the normal word used for action which means ‘make, manufacture, construct, do, act, cause’. Stated cognitively, Jesus has committed the sin of moving from the human world of action and construction to the divine realm of son of God. He has committed the crime of adding human content to the transcendent realm of God. This describes the unforgivable crime of mysticism.

However, notice that the Jews have just committed the same crime, both in word and in deed. Verbally, they are jumping in verse 7 from the culture of their group to ‘a law’ to ‘the law’. But ‘the law’ was revealed to the Jews by God in the Torah. Similarly, what are the Jews doing in verse 7? They are using their status as the official rulers of Israel to impose their cultural beliefs upon Pilate and Jesus as a universal law of life and death. This will happen naturally, because a Teacher theory will emotionally drive a person to behave in a manner that is consistent with this Teacher theory—even if this theory has been reached through overgeneralization.

A similar contradiction can be found in present society, which expresses itself as an intolerant tolerance. The modern path towards intolerant tolerance began with deconstructionism, which says that all apparent universal laws are merely the opinions of social groups that are using their power to impose their views upon the rest of society. This leads to the moral conclusion that groups who have power should be stopped from imposing their ‘morality’ upon society at large. Using the language of the Jews, cultural groups should not make the leap from specific personal behavior to the universality of God; finite people should not make themselves out to be a son of God.

However, if one takes a closer look, one observes that the ‘law of tolerance’ is actually based in Teacher overgeneralization. First, it is explicitly stated as a Oneness that ignores Perceiver facts: “We could all get along and be one big happy global family if we merely forgot about our differences.” This mindset of unity-through-ignoring-details is summarized by the iconic earthrise picture taken in 1968. Fortune magazine says that “Humans saw their planet for the first time as a whole world. Not as continents or oceans, but as an entire entity. Our entire world was shown as a small, blue, finite globe in the distance with billions and billions of creatures depending on it for life. It’s the image that is credited with starting the environmental movement and has been used as a hopeful symbol of global unity.” Notice how a universal Teacher theory of human existence is being presented in a vague manner that glosses over specific facts. Similarly, those who preach the ‘law of tolerance’ usually ignore facts and respond emotionally when this universal law is either discussed or questioned, an attitude that defines Teacher overgeneralization.

For instance, this combination can be seen on the homepage of the official website for SOGI, which was recently introduced into BC public schools. The homepage contains a minimum of text, making it easy to analyze. The banner on the homepage says “Everyone has a sexual orientation and gender identity”. This tells us that SOGI is presenting itself as a universal theory of humanity, because the word ‘everyone’ is a universal word. The first headline promotes tolerance: “Support all students”. The text under this headline emphasizes the need to stop those in power from imposing their opinions upon others: “SOGI 1 2 3 helps educators make schools inclusive and safe for students of all sexual orientations and gender identities (SOGI). At a SOGI-inclusive school, students’ biological sex does not limit their interests and opportunities, and their sexual orientation and how they understand and express their gender are welcomed without discrimination.” Notice how the facts of ‘biological sex’ are being glossed over. As far as SOGI is concerned, the DNA of an individual is irrelevant. Notice also the idea of achieving unity by ignoring individual differences.

However, the rest of the homepage does not practice what is being preached. The next headline says “homophobia and trans-phobia affect all students, whether they identify as LBGTQ+ or not.” Looking at this cognitively, the website is committing the same crime that it accuses others of, because it is taking the personal feelings of some specific social group and turning this into a universal moral statement that applies to everyone. This basis in the emotions of some social group can be seen in the third headline which says that “64% of LGBTQ+ students feel unsafe at school.” The next section portrays both visually and verbally the goal of imposing the opinions of some specific social group upon the rest of the population. A map of Canada shows the provinces of BC and Alberta marked in black with the other provinces and territories marked in gray. The text states “We are currently in Western Canada and looking to grow. Change will come if we work together. Learn more and find your role.” But who is this ‘we’? It is not all of Canada, because the emphasized part of the map is limited to BC and Alberta and the text says that ‘we are currently in Western Canada’. And one can also safely conclude that ‘we’ does not refer to everyone in BC and Alberta, even though the main headline of the homepage makes the universal statement that ‘everyone has a sexual orientation and gender identity’. Instead, ‘we’ must refer to the supporters of SOGI who are attempting to change the rest of Canada by using emotional and political power to impose their views upon the rest of the population.

Notice that this analysis has not made any moral judgments about whether SOGI is good or bad. Despite this, the very fact that logical cognitive analysis is being applied to the SOGI homepage will probably be interpreted as opposition to LGBTQ+ and lead to an emotional response—indicative of Teacher overgeneralization.

However, this mindset of being opposed to other viewpoints can be seen in the very label LGBTQ+. This is the first time that I have seen this label with the ‘+’ being added. The label started as gay, but then lesbians felt excluded, so it was expanded to gay/lesbian. But then other groups felt excluded, and so the acronym was expanded to include lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning. But even that was felt to be insufficiently inclusive, necessitating the addition of the ‘+’. According to the quoted website, the current accurate acronym is LGBTTTQQIAA, and the website goes on to explain that “This initialism and the various terms are always evolving so don’t try to memorize the list. The most important thing is to be respectful and use the terms that people prefer.” A name is a verbal general Teacher theory. If an acronym is continually being made more complicated in order to include additional cultural groups, then this shows that a general Teacher theory does not exist. The text backs up this conclusion by explicitly saying that there is no general Teacher theory: “This initialism and the various terms are always evolving”. Instead, one must allow words in Teacher thought to be ruled by personal MMNs in Mercy thought: “Use the terms that people prefer”. But why should everyone submit to a universal theory if the advocates of this theory rebel from the very concept of submitting personally to universal theory and are incapable of stating their personal preferences as a universal theory?

Notice how the Teacher overgeneralization of universal tolerance is coexisting with tribal MMNs of sexual preference. The contradictions that are inherent in this coexistence can be glossed over because Teacher overgeneralization by its very nature suppresses facts. If one wishes to extend this Teacher overgeneralization to the real world of real people, then the suppression of facts must also be extended to the real world of real people. This will only happen if ‘educators make schools inclusive and safe’ by using their power and prestige to make LGBTQ+ students ‘feel safe’, and if those who hold to this Teacher overgeneralization suppress any dialogue about the issue.

One final point of a more general nature. We are finding in these essays that the Bible contains an incredible amount of cognitive structure. In contrast, our cognitive analysis of the SOGI education homepage was rather disappointing. However, SOGI is now officially mandated by the BC government to be taught in public schools, while it is forbidden to give away Bibles on school property. Using biblical language, today’s high priests of education are also being motivated by a mindset of mysticism to crucify incarnation, forcing priests who do believe in incarnation to be secret followers of Jesus.

The Source of Authority 19:8-12

Returning to John 19, verse 8 says that “When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid.” The statement that makes Pilate ‘more afraid’ is in verse 7, where the Jews say that “We have a law, and by that law he had to die because he made himself out [to be the] Son of God.” I suggested earlier that Pilate’s fear indicates that he is not just using the term King of the Jews as a derogatory insult. The phrase ‘this statement’ in the original Greek is ‘this the logos’, implying that one is dealing with a Teacher mental network (TMN) and not just with normal speech.

One can come up with a possible explanation for this fear by looking at the recent responses of the so-called 1% to the protests of the masses. In brief, the 1% are scared that they will lose their position of authority, they are scared that they will be personally punished, and they are scared of economic instability. I suspect that Pilate was feeling similar emotions. When a universal law is proclaimed that those who ‘make themselves a son of God’ are worthy of death, then the 1%—and the Pilates—will fear that their heads will roll because they are making themselves sons of God.

But why do the leaders fear? Because they have a partial Teacher understanding of the rational principles that guide people and society. In contrast, those who protest against power groups usually have no grasp of the inherent contradiction between what they are saying and what they are doing. Saying this another way, the leaders know deep down that the Jews have a king. One can tell that this also applies to Pilate because he tries to deal with his fear by turning away from the Jews in order to get answers from the King of the Jews: “And he entered into the Praetorium again and said to Jesus, ‘Where are you from?’” But notice what kind of question Pilate is asking. The word translated where... from means ‘from what place’. A more literal translation would be ‘From what place exist you?’ In the previous conversation, Jesus tried to turn Pilate’s attention away from him as king to the nature of his kingdom, and he emphasized that his kingdom was not from any place but rather from out of this world. But Pilate is still committing the category mistake of focusing upon person and place. Pilate’s question is like asking ‘Where does the person of gravity live?’ Gravity is not a person but rather a universal law, and a universal law does not exist anywhere but rather describes universal behavior. Using cognitive language, Pilate is focusing upon Mercy identity and Perceiver facts, when he should be focusing upon Teacher universality and Server sequences.

Such a question cannot be answered because the very nature of the question is wrong: “But Jesus gave him no answer” (v.9). However, the absence of a verbal answer from Jesus is actually a behavioral answer. Jesus is demonstrating by his behavior of not defending himself that his kingdom is not of this world; he is applying what he stated to Pilate in 8:36. In verse 7, the Jews did not practice what they preached. In verse 9, Jesus is practicing what he has preached—even when being threatened with crucifixion.

Pilate responds to this behavioral answer by addressing the core issue of personal existence: So Pilate said to him, ‘You do not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you, and I have authority to crucify you?’” (v.10) As usual, Pilate is speaking a mixed message. On the one hand, his statement begins in the Greek with the personal pronoun ‘me’: ‘To me not speak you?’ In other words, Pilate is expecting Jesus to kowtow to his personal status. The word translated know means ‘seeing that becomes knowing’. In other words, Jesus should be convinced by his senses to know internally that Pilate has the power of life and death.

Looking at this literally, Pilate can either choose to release Jesus or subject him to a gruesome death. And Pilate is not just talking about some official authority that does not apply in practice. Instead he says twice that ‘I have authority’, and the word translated have means to ‘have, hold, possess’. But is this really the case? In verse 6, Pilate told the Jews to crucify Jesus themselves after he found Jesus innocent, showing that there is no connection between what Pilate pronounces based upon his official authority and what Pilate allows to happen in practice. More generally, one notices consistently throughout this trial that Pilate has no actual authority but instead is a mere figurehead being manipulated by Jewish emotional pressure.

Looking at this from a cognitive perspective, crucifixion kills mental networks of life by refusing to allow them to express themselves. Pilate is saying that he has the authority over the mental networks of incarnation either to allow them to express themselves or to shut them down. Saying this in terms of mental networks, Pilate is saying, “The Jews won’t listen to you but I will. I can save you from being totally ignored. In fact, I really want answers from you right now. If you do not give me answers, then you will die a painful, forgotten, lonely death.” But that begs the question. Does Pilate really have the ability to keep the mental networks of incarnation alive when his own mental networks are being driven by the mental networks of the Jews?

Jesus responds to Pilate by pointing out this underlying relationship of mental networks, and then placing mental networks within a larger perspective of Teacher structure: “Jesus answered, ‘You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above” (v.11).

Pilate’s statement places the person of Jesus within an abstract structure of law-and-order by its use—and lack—of explicit personal pronouns. A more literal, and grammatically incorrect, translation of Pilate’s statement would be: ‘Know that authority have to release you, and authority have to crucify you’. Jesus’ reply uses the same juxtaposition of personal pronouns but then places both Pilate and himself within this structure. A literal translation of Jesus’ response would be, ‘Not would have authority over me, not at all, if not were given to you from above. This may sound like the speaking of Yoda, but it accurately reflects which personal pronouns are explicit and which are implied by the verb conjugations in the original Greek. In each phrase, the personal pronoun is implied when describing the source of the authority but stated explicitly in describing who the authority is being applied to. Thus, abstract law in Teacher thought is being applied to personal identity in Mercy thought.

Notice that Jesus is doing the opposite of deconstructionism. When some person or group turns personal opinion into a system of universal law, then deconstructionism concludes that there is no such thing as a universal law, and that all apparent universal laws are merely personal opinions imposed by force which are masquerading as universal laws. Jesus, in contrast, responds to Pilate by turning personal opinion into a system of universal law that places both Pilate and himself within the system of universal law that Pilate has created. Jesus does this because Jesus himself wants to make this transition. The universe itself was created as an expression of the personal character of Jesus the Incarnation of God. But Jesus the creator wants to live within creation, and that is only possible if Jesus himself submits to the law that he originally created.

Looking at this more generally, submitting to universal law makes it possible to preserve personal identity when coming into close contact with the universal being of God. For instance, if I am the servant of an absolute dictator, then at any moment the dictator could turn to me and say ‘Off with his head’. But if my relationship with the leader exists within the rule of law, then I can have confidence that I will not be arbitrarily killed. If that is the case when dealing with human dictators, imagine what it would be like coming into close contact with the creator God.

This preserving of personal identity when coming into close contact with God is described in Hebrews 6. Verses 16-19 talk about God providing a place of refuge by swearing-an-oath. Verse 19 describes this as “an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil.” Jesus-the-man is about to enter the veil and return back to God the Father, but Jesus-the-man needs an ‘anchor of the soul’ to continue existing as a distinct entity within the close presence of the Infinite God. And this is not just a unique situation that applies only to Jesus, because Hebrews 6:26 says that “Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek”, indicating that humans will eventually have to deal with this problem as well.

Looking at this in more detail, Hebrews 7:16-17 explain that this is “according to the power of an indestructible life. For it is attested [of him], ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.’” The word translated indestructible is only used once in the New Testament and means ‘indissoluble, that cannot be broken up’, which describes continuing to exist as an intact, finite individual. And verse 24 makes it clear that the ‘him’ refers to Jesus, because it says that “Jesus, on the other hand, because he continues forever, holds his priesthood permanently.” Verse 25 adds that this priesthood is on behalf of those who are drawing near to God: “Therefore he is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through him.”

Summarizing, one of the key aspects of the priesthood of Jesus is to be able to exist as Jesus-the-man within the presence of God. This is described in detail in Hebrews 6-7. Going further, the name Jesus is used three times between Hebrews 6:9 and Hebrews 7:28 while the name of Christ is not mentioned, which makes it clear that this passage is referring specifically to Jesus-the-man.

Thus, Hebrews 6-7 describe the motivation for Jesus-the-man to want to return to God the Father in a manner that submits to the rule of law. I am not suggesting that Jesus-the-man was a normal human being who became God. Instead, I am suggesting that Jesus-the-man was born in the flesh as an expression of Jesus-the-God and that Jesus-the-man continues to exist as an entity that is distinct from Jesus-the-God in the presence of Jesus-the-God. This does not mean that Jesus-the-man is different in any way from Jesus-the-God, because both share exactly the same fundamental character and the same plan of salvation. However, Jesus-the-man packages this character and plan within a container that can interact with finite human existence. (My best guess is that Jesus-the-man is no longer a single finite person limited to one location, but rather is capable of replicating finite expressions simultaneously in many different locations. In other words, people still experience Jesus as a finite human, but many people can experience Jesus as a finite human at the same time in different places.) Finally, Hebrews 6:19-20 make it clear that finite humans will also have to eventually deal with this problem of remaining in one piece in the presence of God.

Stating this bluntly, when Buddha sidestepped the question of what it means for the human candle to be blown out in the presence of the Infinite God, then I suggest that Buddha was ignoring what may be the most significant issue of human existence. Using an analogy, this is like visiting the sun and ignoring the problem of having an adequate spacesuit that can protect one from being dissolved by the heat of the sun.

We looked at the pronouns in verses 10-11. Let us turn now to the text itself. In verse 10, Pilate says that he has power of life and death over the person of Jesus. Cognitively speaking, he is saying that the very existence of personal MMNs depends upon the TMN of a system of law-and-order. In verse 11, Jesus extends this mindset.

First, Jesus says that this structure of law-and-order is itself based entirely in Teacher thought. “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above” (v.11). The original Greek phrase starts with a negative and ends with a stronger negative: ‘not you would have authority against me, not at all’. The first not simply means ‘no, not’, while the second not at all ‘shuts the door objectively and leaves no exceptions’. The adverb from above means ‘from above, from the beginning, again’, and is used five times in the Gospel of John. It is used three times in John 3 in Jesus’ discussion with Nicodemus where Jesus talks about being born from above and coming from above. The final use is in John 19:23, which says that the tunic of Jesus was seamless, woven throughout ‘from above’. (The NASB mentions this literal meaning in a footnote.) This final usage is interesting, because the tunic is the ‘undergarment that is worn next to the skin’, the word seamless is only used once in the Bible, and throughout means ‘the total, which is greater than the mere sum of the parts’. Clothing represents the fabric of social interaction. Jesus’ tunic was entirely seamless, woven from above. This means that his social interaction was guided—without exception—by an integrated Teacher understanding. Looking at this phrase literally, it does not make sense to describe a tunic in this manner, which is why the NASB gives it as an alternate literal meaning in a footnote. However, this description does make cognitive sense. Similarly, Jesus is saying in verse of 11 that all authority—without exception—comes from Teacher thought.

Second, Jesus then places Pilate morally within this Teacher structure: “For this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin” (v.11). The phrase begins with the preposition dia, which means ‘through, on account of, by reason of’ (when followed by the accusative case). In other words, setting up a structure of law-and-order in Teacher thought has personal, moral implications. The word translated delivered up is used four times in John 18: 1) Judas betraying Jesus, 2) the Jews delivering Jesus to Pilate as an evildoer, 3) Pilate saying to Jesus that he was handed over, and 4) Jesus saying his kingdom is not of this world because his followers are not fighting to prevent him from being handed over.

Pilate is thinking in terms of an official, legal system of law-and-order. He is the legally appointed leader who has the official power of life and death over Jesus. He can absolve himself of any legal responsibility by officially declaring Jesus to be innocent and then allowing the Jews to crucify him. Jesus, in contrast, is thinking in terms of a hierarchy of personal mental networks. The Jews have greater authority than Pilate because they are doing the delivering up while Pilate is being influenced. This is backed up by the word greater which means ‘large, great, in the widest sense’. Mercy thought thinks in terms of personal status, while Teacher thought thinks in terms of generality. The word ‘greater’ is primarily a description of generality.

This relationship can be seen in verse 12, because Pilate tries to release Jesus but is then emotionally overruled by the Jews: “As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out saying, ‘If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar.’” The preposition translated as a result literally means ‘from out, out from among, from, suggesting from the interior outwards’. In other words, Pilate recognizes the situation that he is in and he tries to escape from it. The word translated made efforts means ‘to seek by inquiring’, which means that Pilate is searching for a way out.

Looking at this cognitively, the secular realm is recognizing that it is emotionally under the thumb of those who are manipulating mental networks, and it is using rational thought to try to find a way to become free of this emotional dominance. A similar realization is starting to hit those who attempt to use rational thought in current society. Saying this in more detail, those who use technical thought are recognizing that technical thought is actually driven by mental networks, and technical thought needs to be protected by extending rational thought beyond the academic realm of objective specialization.

The Jews respond by appealing to the fundamental contradiction in the mindset of Pilate. The verb cried out means ‘to cry out with loud screaming or shrieking, especially with inarticulate sounds’. It was used in verse 6 when the Jewish leaders cried out ‘crucify, crucify’. Thus, one is dealing again with a gut-level response driven by core mental networks. The first phrase appeals to MMNs of personal identity: If Pilate releases Jesus, then he is not a friend of Caesar. The Caesar at the time was Tiberius, and his reign was a juxtaposition of law-and-order and palace intrigue. Pilate wants to appeal to Teacher law-and-order, but he cannot because Pilate’s system of law-and-order is ultimately based upon the emotional whims of the personal MMNs of Caesar. Thus, Pilate is finally faced with the inherent contradiction of his concept of a King of the Jews. Jesus has been emphasizing the nature of his kingdom and stressing that his authority is based entirely in Teacher thought. Pilate is ultimately emotionally manipulated by the Jews into crucifying Jesus because his authority is not based entirely in Teacher thought, but rather in the MMNs of Caesar.

One reaches a similar conclusion if one examines the passage symbolically. The name Caesar is now used as a title, but it began as the family name of Julius Caesar. The exact meaning of this name is uncertain but the most common meaning given is ‘hairy’, which means that Caesar has the same meaning as Esau. I have suggested elsewhere that hair represents intuitive thought. Intuition makes a mental leap from MMNs of personal experience to TMNs of understanding. Intuition is useful as a starting point for rational thought, and it is very helpful as a quick way of reaching a reasonable conclusion when placed within a context of rational thought. Mysticism makes the ultimate intuitive leap, jumping from a personal experience of mystical ecstasy to a theological statement about the nature of God and the universe. But technical thought also has its starting point in intuition. As far as I can tell, every system of rigorous thought is built upon a foundation that was reached through intuitive thought. For instance, a recent article complained that the rigorous equations of quantum mechanics all began with intuitive leaps. This is an inherent flaw of technical thought that cannot be solved by using technical thought. Instead, I suggest that the only solution is to place everything within the TMN of a universal understanding, because this understanding can explain both technical thought and the intuitive thinking that gave birth to technical thought, and it can also provide an emotional alternative to the emotional basis of intuition. In other words, recognizing that all authority—without exception—comes from above is not just a political principle but it is also a universal cognitive principle that applies to rational thought in general.

The second statement made by the Jews in verse 12 describes the relationship between law-and-order and Caesar: “Everyone who makes himself out [to be] a king opposes Caesar.” A more literal translation would be ‘everyone a king himself making speaks against the Caesar’. The word making is the normal word that means do or construct.

Looking at this literally, Caesar does not take kindly to anyone else who claims the title of king. This literal interpretation can be seen in the verb ‘opposes’ that is used by the NASB, but the verb actually means ‘to speak against, hence to contradict’. ‘Oppose’ implies a struggle between MMNs of personal status, while ‘speak against’ indicates that the real struggle is happening in Teacher thought. The problem lies in doing or constructing oneself to be a king, because that implies submitting to a Teacher understanding that is based upon the content of human actions. This describes the mindset of science, because science is based upon the experiments of scientists. Scientists ‘did actions’ by conducting experiments to see how the natural world behaves, and then constructed from these experimental results a ‘king’ of the natural world. Science took this experimental approach in order to become free of the intuition of symbolic Caesars as well as become free of the intuitive decrees of actual Caesars. The Jews are pointing out that anyone who starts with an experimental approach will end up speaking against intuitive thought. Pilate cannot defend himself against this because his law-and-order is based ultimately in the intuition of symbolic Caesars as well as the intuitive decree of actual Caesars.

Summarizing, one sees in these two phrases two methods of becoming free of intuitive thought. The first method is holding everything together with the TMN of a general understanding, while the second method is building upon experimentation. Science uses both methods, starting with experimentation and then being guided by the TMN of mathematical equations.

The Judgment Seat 19:13-16

Pilate responds by attempting to rest his personal decision upon a more solid foundation. “Therefore when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha” (v.13). The opening phrase tells us that the conversation is now being ruled by TMNs, because Pilate’s response is described as a result of having heard these logoses (the plural of logos). Pilate brings out Jesus, telling us that Pilate has gone beyond secular thought and is now thinking in terms of incarnation. Pilate then sits down on the judgment seat, which is ‘a platform to which someone walked up to receive judgment’. Notice that the inherent contradiction between law-and-order and personal authority is still present. On the one hand, Pilate is adopting the most official stance possible by sitting on the officially approved throne of justice. But on the other hand, Pilate is still the person who is the source of this justice.

This throne of justice exists at a specific place, and the name of this place is given in both the religious language of Hebrew as well as the secular language of Greek, telling us that Pilate is attempting to find common principles that can be translated into both secular and religious language. The name The Pavement is only used once in the New Testament and means ‘paved with stone’. Stone represents solid truth in Perceiver thought. Cognitively speaking, Pilate is attempting to base his decision upon a solid foundation of Perceiver truth. But this is not enough. First, Perceiver facts by themselves are insufficient to overcome emotional pressure of personal MMNs. Second, if one wishes to find Teacher understanding, then one needs to look for Server sequences and not just Perceiver facts. Universal truth is not found in a specific location but rather in how things work in all locations.

Verse 40 explains that “Now it was the day for preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour.” We saw previously that Passover represents making a transition from the kingdom of men to the kingdom of God. The word day of preparation is used six times in the New Testament, and all six occurrences refer to this same period of time in the trial of Jesus. Looking at this literally, the Jewish religious leaders are making themselves ceremonially clean in order to prepare for sacred Jewish rituals. Looking at this cognitively, it is apparent to the religious leaders that some sort of major shift is happening away from secular thought to a new focus upon God and spirituality. For instance, it is clear that current society (in 2018) is making a shift away from scientific progress in technology to a focus upon spirituality. People do not know where this is leading, but they are certain that a major shift is happening away from the kingdom of men.

Within this context, Pilate “said to the Jews, ‘Behold your King!’” (v.14). This statement is revealing, both for what it says and for what it does not say. On the one hand, Pilate is now certain that Jesus is the King of the Jews. That question has now been answered in his mind. But on the other hand, Pilate refers to Jesus as the King of the Jews, and not as his king, or the king of everyone. Part of the problem is that Pilate is standing on a pavement of stones. He has adopted an objective mindset of basing his decision upon solid Perceiver facts, but objective thought does not involve the personal identity of the person making the decision. Saying this another way, Pilate has used objective thought to come to the conclusion that Jesus is the king of subjective thought. That is one byproduct of associating truth with a place, because one adopts a factual mindset in order to evaluate what is happening elsewhere where facts do not rule.

This same limitation makes possible the response of the Jews: “So they cried out, ‘Away with [Him], away with [Him], crucify Him!’” (v.15). (As the NASB indicates, the first two ‘him’s are not in the original Greek, but the final ‘him’ is.) The word cried out is the familiar word which means ‘screaming or shrieking’. The word translated away with is a normal verb that means ‘raise, lift up, take away, remove’. Interpreted literally, the crowds want to send Jesus away to his death. Interpreted symbolically, the crowds want Jesus removed from the ‘pavement of stones’ of Perceiver truth. They do not want to be forced to use rational thought to evaluate Jesus. This can be done when truth is viewed as something that is limited to some specific context or location. The Jews want to crucify Jesus but they cannot express themselves fully as long as the context is a pavement of Perceiver stones. And so, they first cry for Jesus to be taken away from the realm of objective truth, and this initial cry is made objectively, because ‘him’ is not in the original Greek. Once this movement away from solid truth has occurred, then the actual cry can be expressed: “Crucify him!’ Here, the pronoun ‘him’ is explicitly included. There is no more attempt at objectivity. Instead, the crowd wants at a gut level for the living mental network of Jesus to stop functioning.

Looking at present society, everyone is preparing for some kind of Passover; the general consensus is that the kingdom of men is coming to an end and will be replaced by something different. On the secular side, it is now acceptable to study religion and religious practice. But most of this research is being done in an objective manner that focuses upon the facts and ignores the person of the researcher; researchers who regard themselves as objective scientists are studying religious practice that is being performed ‘out there’ by religious people. In other words, the scientific world has become convinced that the religious world has a king. On the religious side, the general consensus is that the first step in discovering true religion is to move away from the context of objective truth. This is not a rational decision but rather is driven by gut-level feelings. When one pursues spirituality apart from truth, then one will naturally discover mysticism, and mysticism abhors the very concept of Incarnation.

These two conflicting attitudes can be seen in the final exchange: “Pilate said to them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but Caesar’” (v.15). On the one hand, secular thought has come to the conclusion that the Jews have a king, and finds it confusing why religious thought would want to crucify this king. Using modern language, secular research has concluded that religion serves a useful and necessary function in human society and finds it curious why religion does not embrace this scientific analysis. However, religious leaders and theologians have come to the conclusion that rational analysis is actually part of the problem: Religion has no king but Caesar. Saying this literally, the Jewish leadership is appealing over the head of Pilate, who is attempting to apply the rule of law, to Caesar, the ultimate source of law who is driven primarily by MMNs of personal status, glory, and self-preservation. Saying this symbolically, the religious leadership is convinced that the solution lies in pursuing pure intuitive thought without any rational content. They have no king except ‘hairy’.

Notice that the chief priests are making this declaration. Looking at this literally, they are probably ensuring that their personal careers are not tainted with any charges of rebellion against the Roman rulership. Interpreted cognitively, the religious leadership is probably pursuing a path of mysticism and is intrinsically opposed to the very concept of an incarnation. Interpreted historically, the chief priests are the source of local Jewish law, and would naturally regard law-and-order as something that applies to others. They would not want their intuitive conniving to be limited by the morality of some God-fearing and God-following king. All three of these interpretations probably apply to the actual trial of Jesus.

This is followed by the next delivered up in which Pilate hands Jesus over to the Jews: “So he handed Him over to them to be crucified” (v.16). From a political viewpoint, Pilate has managed to defuse a potential crisis. But in the light of verse 11, Pilate has now committed a greater sin. Jesus did not say that the Jews have greater guilt because they delivered up Jesus to Pilate. Instead, he stated it as a general rule: The one having delivered up me to you has greater sin. Pilate now also has greater sin because he has delivered up Jesus to the Jews.

Looking at this more generally, Pilate attempted to remove his person from the situation by making his judgment upon a pavement of stones. But Pilate did not realize that divine judgment is based upon behavior and action. For instance, 2 Corinthians 5:10 uses the same word ‘bema’ for judgment seat as is used in John 19. Paul says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” And what has Pilate done as a person? He has said that Jesus is not guilty. But what he has done is deliver up Jesus to the Jews to be crucified.

I am not suggesting that salvation is by works. Instead, salvation begins by constructing an honest concept of God in Teacher thought, which means coming to God as a sinner in need of salvation. The resulting TMN of a concept of God will then emotionally drive a person to act in a righteous manner. This combination can be seen in Ephesians 2:8-10. Verse 8 says that salvation comes from God through grace, while verse 9 says that salvation is not through works. Those who quote this passage usually stop here, but verse 10 adds that we were “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” This describes righteous action that is being guided by a concept of God and Incarnation.

The Crucifixion of Jesus 19:17-22

Verse 17 describes Jesus on his way to being crucified: “They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha.” We have compared Jesus’ focus upon behavior with the typical human focus upon place. Verse 17 describes the behavior of Jesus as well as the place to which Jesus is taken.

Looking first at his behavior, Jesus bears his own cross. The three synoptic Gospels say that Simon of Cyrene eventually took over, but that is not mentioned in the Gospel of John. Instead, according to a footnote in the NASB, a literal translation would be that Jesus went ‘bearing the cross for Himself’. I have mentioned several times that crucifixion kills slowly by preventing physical and mental life from functioning. If Jesus is ‘bearing the cross for Himself’, then Jesus is deciding—at least during the initial stages—that he will not allow his own personal networks to be expressed. I think I know from personal experience what this means, because I have followed a narrow life that has been largely of my own choosing. I could have followed various careers but chose not to. Similarly I could have marketed mental symmetry in various ways, but chose not to. I knew that making these choices would prevent core mental networks from expressing themselves. But I felt deep down that I had been given a treasure that needed to be protected at all costs, even if this meant shutting down major aspects of my life.

Jesus is taken “to the [place] called the Place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha” (v.17). The first ‘place’ is not in the original Greek but the second one is. We have interpreted place as a particular context of Perceiver facts. Thus, in the same way that Pilate judged Jesus within the context of solid Perceiver truth, so Jesus will be crucified in a context of a skull. Verse 17 adds that Jesus went out to this place, indicating that this context is separate from the normal existence of city life.

Bones are solid objects that represent the Perceiver facts of personal identity. Thinking occurs within the mind/brain which is encased within the skull. The head probably represents technical thought, which uses rational principles to guide the body. (As symbolized by Christ being described as the head of the body.) Therefore, a skull would represent Perceiver facts that have been emptied of rational, logical thought. We have seen that mysticism is the enemy of incarnation. One popular method of achieving mysticism is the Zen koan. A koan works by continuing to contemplate an impossible riddle, such as ‘What is the sound of one hand clapping?’ The goal of this contemplation is to get Perceiver thought to know with great confidence that it is impossible to know a solution. When this happens, then Perceiver thought will mentally step out of the way, making Teacher overgeneralization possible. In other words, the goal is to form a strong skull in which nothingness can be held. The bone of the head is there, but it is empty. This contemplation of contradiction needs to be done in a special place or mental context that is distinct from the experiences of normal life.

A Zen koan explicitly pursues a path that leads to the knowledge that one cannot know. However, this juxtaposition has become the dominant mindset of current society. The average younger person knows with total certainty that one cannot know any truth, and follows with great conviction the moral certainty that there is no moral certainty. That, I suggest, describes a place of the skull. This type of intolerant tolerance is capable of crucifying the very concept of incarnation. And when society reaches this level, then one is no longer bearing the cross for oneself, but being crucified by others.

The actual crucifixion is described in one verse: “There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between” (v.18). John does not say who was crucified with Jesus, but explains in detail that Jesus was crucified between two other victims. Looking at this cognitively, I suspect that any attempt to crucify incarnation would also have to crucify anything that is related to incarnation in order to ensure that the concept of incarnation is not just dead but never gets triggered again. Thus, Jesus is crucified between two others. This additional crucifixion is illustrated by the fence laws of Judaism, which broaden the scope of biblical law in order to ensure that the ‘holiness’ of God is never violated, not realizing that the laws of Torah have been precisely crafted by God to reveal his holiness.

Pilate then re-enters the scene at a verbal level: “Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, ‘Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews’” (v.19). The idea of Jesus being a Nazarene has its own Wikipedia page. Matthew 2:23 says that Jesus “came and lived in a city called Nazareth. This was to fulfill what was spoken to the prophets: ‘He shall be called a Nazarene.’” The problem with this verse is that there is no explicit Old Testament prophecy about the messiah being a Nazarene. The best guess is that this is related to Isaiah 11:1, which says that the messiah will grow up as a netzer, which means branch or young shoot. Given this interpretation, crucifying Jesus the Nazarene would mean killing the life of incarnation while it is still a young shoot and has not had a chance to develop fully. Using a similar analogy, the Jews are trying to nip the problem of Jesus in the bud.

One can understand what this means cognitively by looking at the behavior of mental networks. A general theory may feel good but it has no real power and can be ignored at will. However, if one continues to use a general theory, then it will eventually turn into a TMN and acquire the emotional power to impose itself upon the mind. Before this point, the theory can be ignored. After this point, the theory will become a growing TMN that will become increasingly difficult to remove. Therefore, the typical response is to eliminate an unwanted theory as soon as it turns into a TMN, when it is still at the stage of being a young living shoot. The normal way of killing an unwanted theory is through mental crucifixion, which means ensuring that the theory is never discussed or mentioned again. Over the decades, this describes the most common response that I have received from the theory of mental symmetry. People find it initially interesting but then drop the subject like a hot potato after a few weeks or months.

Some form of TMN has come alive within the mind of Pilate because he writes the inscription ‘Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews’, and all three ‘the’s are in the original Greek. But this TMN is limited to the realm of words, because it is not potent enough to save Jesus from being crucified. And it is also incomplete, because it still focuses upon Jesus as the King of the Jews instead of how the kingdom of heaven behaves.

Looking at this cognitively, Pilate has come up with a general theory of Jesus that uses words but does not extend to actions. This may sound like a minor point, but it is the primary distinction between philosophy and science. Philosophy uses logic to manipulate Teacher words, and views Server actions as something that is added to verbal understanding. Science, in contrast, is based in exemplars, a term introduced by Thomas Kuhn. The student of science learns about science by solving sample problems, known as exemplars. Solving such a problem teaches the student how to solve many similar problems. Saying this another way, Pilate may have answered his question of ‘What is truth?’ but he has not discovered righteousness.

This verbal TMN of The King of the Jews becomes widely known at a verbal level in the subjective realm: “Therefore many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin and in Greek” (v.20). The New Testament often refers to words in both Greek and Hebrew (actually Aramaic, which is very similar to Hebrew), but this is the only time that the word in Latin is used in the New Testament. Latin was the language of the Romans, the language of Pilate. Until now, Pilate has judged Jesus as an outsider, but when it comes to writing the inscription, he includes his own language as well. This is another indication that a verbal TMN has formed within his mind.

The Jewish religious leaders respond with a post-truth mindset: “So the chief priests of the Jews were saying to Pilate, ‘Do not write, “The King of the Jews”; but that He said, “I am King of the Jews.”’” (v.21). Pilate’s inscription is a definitive statement that is free of personal opinion: ‘The King of the Jews’. But post-truth believes that truth does not exist and that any apparent truth is simply the opinion of some person or group being imposed upon the rest of the population. Thus, the leaders view this verbal theory as merely a verbal claim based upon personal opinion: ‘He said, I am King of the Jews’. Of course, if all truth is merely a matter of personal opinion that can be ignored, then what the chief priests are saying to Pilate is also merely a matter of personal opinion that can be ignored. But notice that this statement is being made by ‘the chief priests of the Jews’, who hold great personal status. When I feel that I am very important, then this emotional status will convince Perceiver thought in my mind into knowing that my intuitive opinions define ‘truth’. Similarly, the chief priests see no contradiction between them claiming that their words define ‘truth’ while insisting that Jesus’ words are merely personal opinion.

Pilate responds with stability for the first time in this trial. Until now, Pilate has been manipulated emotionally by the Jews. Now, finally, he stands up to them. That is because his statement, for the first time, is based entirely in Teacher thought backed up by Server actions: “Pilate answered, ‘What [I] have written [I] have written’” (v.22). ‘I’ is added twice to the English translation for grammatical clarity, but this pronoun is implied and not explicitly stated in the original Greek. A more accurate translation would be ‘what have written, have written’. The act of writing gives stability to Pilate’s verbal understanding, and Pilate’s personal identity does not enter into the equation. The fact that Pilate finally, and for the first time, stands up to the Jews is another indication that his verbal understanding of The King of the Jews has turned into a TMN.

Stepping back and looking at the big picture, Jesus has managed cognitively to return to God the Father in Teacher thought, because his identity as King of the Jews is now widely known as a verbal theory. This verbal recognition may seem like nothing to a human being. However, Jesus is not a normal human being, but rather God the living Word made flesh. Over Jesus’ flesh is a public, unchanging, written inscription that recognizes Jesus as the Nazarene—a living young shoot; and the King of the Jews—the ruler over the subjective.

Letting Go of Human MMNs 19:23-30

Now that Jesus has reached the divine level of a general verbal theory in Teacher thought, the next step is to let go of his finite human MMNs. This letting go starts with the peripheral and ends with core mental networks. Verse 23 describes what happens to the outer garments of Jesus: “Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier.” The outer garment, or robe, would represent how Jesus interacts with his social environment. The soldiers succeed in separating the integrated mindset of Jesus into four separate parts. My best guess would be that these four parts would refer to the four basic modes of thought: Mercy, Server, Teacher, and Perceiver. An alternate interpretation would be how Jesus interacts with the spiritual realm, the human realm, the divine realm and the angelic realm. These two interpretations are actually equivalent because a human interacts with the spiritual realm primarily through MMNs, with physical reality through the actions of Server thought, with God the Father via the TMNs of universal understanding, and with the angelic realm through the powers of Perceiver thought. We know that all four of these were active in the case of Jesus because Jesus was continually being recognized by spirits and casting out evil spirits, he was living as a human in the physical world, he was continually talking with God his Father, and angels often came to give him assistance. The general principle is that Jesus himself may be integrated, but the world in general is not ready for integrated thought. However, these four aspects of social interaction continue to exist, even if this existence is fragmented.

The soldiers then turn to the inner tunic of Jesus and discover that it cannot be divided into parts: “and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece. As was mentioned previously, the language used to describe this tunic only makes partial sense when interpreted literally. A more literal translation would be ‘the tunic was seamless, out-from the from-above woven throughout the-whole’. The two words ‘seamless’ and ‘woven’ are each used only once in the Bible. Interpreted cognitively, this describes a totally integrated personal existence, in which every aspect is an expression of the character of God.

The soldiers deal with the tunic by casting lots: “So they said to one another, ‘Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be’; this was to fulfill the Scripture: ‘They divided My outer garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots’” (v.24-25). Both verse 24 and verse 25 talk about casting lots, but different Greek words are being used. The word cast lots in verse 24 means to ‘obtain by lot, cast lots’. In other words, as far as the soldiers are concerned they are dealing with this situation randomly.

But two different Greek words are used in verse 25 when quoting the Old Testament passage that predicts this. In verse 25, they are casting a lot. The Biblical dictionary explains that the Greek word ‘heir’ is derived from the word ‘a lot’. That is because the Israelites originally received their inheritance in the land of Canaan through the casting of lots (Joshua 14:1-3). The purpose of casting lots was to allow God to determine the outcome by guiding the supposedly random behavior. Putting this together, the soldiers thought that they were being guided by chance, but they were actually inheriting the integrated tunic that was ‘from above’ as a result of God influencing the lot from above.

There is also a difference in the two descriptions of the outer garments. In verse 24, it says that the “soldiers took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier.” Notice that the basic unit in this description is the part and not the whole. That is because the soldiers are naturally thinking in a fragmented manner, And the word translated to every means ‘each individual unit viewed distinctly, as opposed to severally as a group’. In contrast, the quote from the Bible in verse 24 says that “they divided my outer garments among them”. Here the soldiers are dividing the unified whole of the outer garments, and the word divided means to ‘divide up into parts, break up, distribute’. In other words, the soldiers are violating the essential unity of the outer cloak.

Jesus then turns his attention to the MMNs of friends and family: “But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene” (v.25). The name Mary was discussed when looking at the story of the raising of Lazarus. In brief, it has a double meaning. In Egyptian it means ‘love or beloved’, while in Hebrew it means ‘bitterness or rebellion’. If Egypt is a symbol of the world, and Mary represents the worldly loves that one leaves behind when following Christianity, then the natural tendency is to look back on these childish infatuations and see them either as rebellion against God or feel bitter that they can no longer be enjoyed. In the story of Lazarus, Jesus redirects Mary from looking back at what has been lost to looking forward to what will be gained. There are three Marys in John 19:25 if one includes the mother of Jesus.

The name Clopas is only mentioned once in the New Testament, and it comes from a Hebrew name that means ‘father’s brother’. Thus, the phrase actually reads ‘and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of his father’s brother’, which would describe two brothers marrying two sisters. Something similar happened in my family, because my dad’s sister married my mother’s brother. While this probably did not happen literally with Jesus’ family, there is a possible symbolic meaning. In essence, Jesus’ parents were trying to maintain cultural purity. Similarly, both my mother’s parents and my father’s parents owned a store in the same small farming town in Saskatchewan. I suspect that they were attracted to each other partially because they both came from a similar culture of entrepreneurship. The name Magdalene probably means ‘tower of God’, which conveys the idea of finding protection in God.

Putting this together, the implication is that Jesus did not emerge from a random family culture. Instead, his family culture 1) had left behind worldly pleasure in order to follow God; 2) was attempting to maintain a culture that was different from the surrounding society; and 3) viewed God as a protection from outside forces. This sounds rather insular and fundamentalist, and it probably was. But remember that we are looking at the culture from which Jesus emerged.

Going further, three women are being described, each with the name of Mary. Female thought emphasizes mental networks. If these three Marys are standing at the cross of Jesus, then this suggests an emotional mindset of ‘So this is what happens when you leave the world, build a godly culture, and look to God for protection. The world crucifies you.’ (The relationship between this attitude of Mary, the anointing of Mary, the crucifixion of Jesus, and the red heifer is explored elsewhere.)

In verses 26-27, Jesus redirects this mindset: “When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ From that hour the disciple took her into his own household.” The cultural MMNs that gave birth to Jesus are being connected with a follower of Jesus. (Looking at this literally, Joseph the human father of Jesus had probably died.) But this is not just an emotional reconnecting. Instead, two things are happening. Going one way, the cultural background of Jesus is being given male structure that follows Jesus and is loved by Jesus. Going the other way, the emotional focus of this male content is being directed away from Jesus to the culture that gave birth to Jesus.

Saying this more clearly, a concept of salvation (the name Jesus mean ‘salvation’) will come to birth within a conservative culture that is trying to protect godliness in a world that is abandoning God. But Jesus does not just conserve and protect. He transforms by going through a process of rebirth. Therefore, the mental networks of protecting what is holy and special against the world need to be transformed into mental networks of spreading what is holy and special to the world. Jesus does not abandon his cultural background. Instead, he reinterprets it as salvation rather than preservation. He does this by changing the content and redirecting the emotion. John will now take care of Mary, but John is being chosen because he is a follower of Jesus. John will now regard Mary as his mother, but John is being chosen because he loves Jesus.

Jesus has now finished making the transition from Mercy thought to Teacher thought: “After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, ‘I am thirsty’” (v.28). The word translated knowing means ‘seeing that becomes knowing’. And the word accomplished means ‘bring to an end, complete, fulfill’. In other words, Jesus has now finished his plan. But Jesus does not just know internally that the plan is done. Instead, Jesus can see physically at the level of Mercy experiences that his plan is finished.

The verbs ‘accomplished’ and ‘fulfill’ are almost identical in the original Greek. The first is teleo, which means ‘to finish’, while the second is teleioo, which means ‘to complete or perfect’. In other words, teleo takes the Mercy perspective of reaching the desired goal, while teleioo takes the Teacher perspective of completing the entire package. Thus, Jesus has finished the plan from a human Mercy perspective. All that remains is to place these Mercy experiences within a Teacher framework in order to bring completeness to a verbal Teacher theory.

We saw earlier that Pilate reached the level of a verbal understanding of the King of the Jews, and that this verbal understanding was backed up by writing that would not be changed: ‘What is written, is written’. Scripture is at this same level, because it too is an unchanging written text. This applies today to the Christian Bible, but it also applied in Jesus’ time to the Jewish Scriptures (the Christian Old Testament) because no new revelation had been received from God for several hundred years.

Jesus became flesh in order to teleioo this verbal revelation by ‘fleshing it out’. Jesus has teleo-ed his plan of living on earth as a human. What remains is for Jesus to place his physical life within the framework of verbal understanding. He does this with two words: ‘says thirst’ (‘he’ and ‘I’ are implied by the verb conjugation). ‘Says’ uses words to address Teacher thought. ‘Thirst’ indicates that Mercy thought needs help. This simple statement of need is sufficient because 1) Jesus has completed the transition away from Mercy thought to Teacher thought, and 2) Jesus is dying on a cross and has reached the stage where Mercy thought cannot receive help from any human source.

Verse 29 describes the human response to this request: “A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth.” The word sour wine is only used in the New Testament when describing this incident. The dictionary explains that it was a ‘low-grade, sour wine, given as a cheap painkiller to people condemned to crucifixion’. The word ‘hyssop’ is used twice in the New Testament, and the other occurrence is in Hebrews 9:19, which describes the purifying of the covenant of Moses. A sponge filled with the sour wine is then brought to the mouth of Jesus.

This suggests the following symbolic interpretation. The word Moses means ‘drawn from the water’. Thus, a covenant of Moses would describe a relationship with God that is based in the water of human experience. But Jesus is no longer based in human experience. He has completed the transition from the Mercy thinking of humans to the Teacher thinking of God. (I am not suggesting that all Mercy thought is corrupt and all Teacher thought is divine. Instead, humans grow up naturally with corrupt MMNs that need to be saved by the TMN of a concept of God.) Therefore, Jesus now finds the purifying rituals of the old covenant distasteful, which indicates that he has emotionally moved on at the level of core MMNs. The ministry of Jesus began in John 2 by turning water into choice wine at a celebration of life guided by his mother and accompanied by his disciples. The ministry of Jesus ends with Jesus being given sour wine at a spectacle of death and handing his mother over to his disciple.

Verse 30 describes the end: “Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” Death normally involves MMNs of human existence struggling to stay alive and then finally giving up. But that does not describe the death of Jesus. The word received means ‘to lay hold by aggressively accepting what is available’. Thus, Jesus welcomes the distasteful wine in Mercy thought. Jesus then says in Teacher thought that ‘It is finished’, using the verb teleo. In other words, his human identity welcomes the unpleasant experiences from the external world, knowing that Teacher thought will take over and finish the plan.

Jesus then bows his head, signifying that the situation has now left the realm of intelligent thought in order to enter the deeper realm of core mental networks. This is then followed by the final ‘delivered up’ of the story of Jesus’ trial and crucifixion. Ultimately, it wasn’t the Jews delivering up Jesus to Pilate, or Pilate delivering up Jesus to the Jews to be crucified, but rather Jesus delivering up ‘the spirit’. The verb ‘delivering up’ assumes being delivered up to someone. The recipient of this delivering up is mentioned in Luke 23:46, where Jesus explicitly says “Father, into your hands I commit My spirit.” This spiritual interaction occurs at a level of mental networks that is deeper than words. This kind of interaction is mentioned in Romans 8:26: “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Thus, Jesus can bow his head, deliver up his spirit, and know that it will return to God.

This is a hard transition for the Contributor person to make, who is conscious in the technical thinking of ‘the head’. (Christ is described several times in the epistles as the ‘head of the church’.) The difficulty of this transition is shown by Jesus’ struggle in the Garden of Gethsemane, where he prays fervently, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Jesus sweats drops of blood and has to be strengthened by an angel from heaven. Thus, I suggest that the death of Jesus should be viewed in the context of Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, because when Jesus submitted his personal identity to God the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane, this laid the foundation for Jesus submitting his personal identity to God the Father on the cross when he died.

Looking at this cognitively, mental networks function emotionally on the basis of content; a mental network will be emotionally attracted to other mental networks that have similar content, and repelled from mental networks that have dissimilar content. This is illustrated by the attitude of ‘us versus them’ that naturally emerges when people are governed by childish MMNs. When Jesus agreed to drink the cup of the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane, then the experiences which followed created mental networks within the mind of Jesus-the-man that were compatible with the character of God the Father at the most basic level of life and death. Thus, when it came time to die, Jesus could deliver up his spirit to God the Father with total confidence. In other words, Jesus consciously delivered up his spirit to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane, and this conscious choice made it possible for him to bow his head and subconsciously deliver up his spirit to the Father on the cross. The general principle is that the real choice usually happens before the visually obvious choice.

One might respond that Jesus did not have to worry about following these rules because he was God. But the very point of Jesus becoming a man was to live as a perfect human within the rules that had been set up by God. As Paul says in Philippians 2:5-6: “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” Paul describes the life of Jesus-the-man as an example for humans to follow and not just as a special case that does not follow normal human rules. And the word attitude ‘essentially equates to personal opinion fleshing itself out in action’, which is precisely what Jesus did when becoming flesh. The word grasped means ‘to seize, especially by an open display of force’, the word emptied means ‘empty, deprived of content’, while the word bond-servant means ‘a bond-slave, without any ownership rights of their own’. Putting this together, even though Jesus was God, Jesus did not use His power as God to avoid the rules, but instead emptied himself of this power in order to submit to the rules.

Ensuring Death 19:31-37

The Jews then ask Pilate to finish the process of crucifixion so that their worship of God can be ceremonially clean: “Then the Jews, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away” (v.31).

The day of preparation is ‘the day before the Sabbath’ on which one prepares for the Sabbath. This preparation must be done before the Sabbath because Jews are forbidden to work on the Sabbath. The upcoming Sabbath was not a normal Sabbath, but rather a ‘high day’, and the word high means ‘large, great, in the widest sense’. Looking at this literally, this describes the Great Shabbat immediately before Passover. Deuteronomy 21:22-23 provides one reason for removing the bodies before Sabbath: “If a man has committed a sin worthy of death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance.” Passover celebrates the people of Israel being saved nationally from the land of Egypt. Therefore, the Jews would probably be especially sensitive to a warning about ‘your land’ being defiled.

If one looks at this request cognitively, one comes to the conclusion that the Jewish leaders have no conscience. They have just intrigued through the night and day in order to overrule law-and-order so that they can get an innocent man murdered. This would normally lead to some pangs of conscience making it difficult to focus upon God during the high Sabbath. But out of sight is out of mind. If the Jews no longer see the physical bodies, then they will not think about the evil deeds that they have done. This motivation can be seen in the specific words used by the Jews. They do not want the bodies to remain on the cross on the Sabbath, and ask for the legs to be broken so that they might be taken away. No mention is made about ending the suffering of the victims.

Saying this more clearly, Perceiver thought builds internal connections between MMNs, and these internal connections form the glue of conscience, because these connections create the knowledge that one emotional situation is like another. For instance, conscience will make me feel bad about killing someone, because that person is a human like me, and I do not want to be killed. If MMNs are not connected internally, then unwanted MMNs will remain silent as long as they are not triggered by the physical environment. For instance, 20% of American troops in Vietnam during the Vietnam War were addicted to heroin. When these troops returned to America, then only 5% of the addicted troops continued to take heroin. That is because taking drugs was associated with the physical environment of Vietnam, and the environment of America was so different that it did not trigger these MMNs of addiction. Going further, mysticism by its very nature suppresses Perceiver thought. Therefore, when it came to worshiping God, the Jews would have no conscience, because conscience requires Perceiver thought and mysticism destroys Perceiver thought.

In fact, killing a religious enemy can lead to strong feelings of mysticism, because one is destroying someone who is standing in the way of the Teacher overgeneralization that ‘All is One’. For instance, Hebrews 7 describes Abraham having a mystical-like encounter with Melchizedek when returning from the slaughter of the kings. Notice that this encounter happens after the slaughter when the mental context has changed. Looking at this cognitively, Teacher emotion comes from order-within-complexity, when many items fit together in an integrated manner. Overgeneralization explicitly ignores any complexity but it is still driven implicitly by a need for order-within-complexity. Thus, a mystical experience usually occurs when one turns one’s back upon the complexity of reality in order to contemplate the Oneness of everything. If the Jewish leaders were secretly practicing some form of mysticism, then they probably would have learned this principle, and they would want the ‘complexity’ of the religious imposter to be absent on the high Sabbath so that they could focus fully upon the mystical Oneness of God. We know that the Jewish leaders were at least partially aware of this principle because the one law that they state is that any man who makes himself a son of God should die.

This does not mean that mysticism kills all conscience, because the Teacher overgeneralization of mysticism coexists with the rational thinking of normal existence. Thus, mysticism is usually accompanied by a strong sense of social order, illustrated by the coexistence of Buddhism and Confucianism in Asia. What will be missing is a sense of conscience based in the character of God.

The physical purpose of breaking the leg bones was to hasten the death of the victim. But a deeper meaning emerges if one examines this symbolically. Bones are solid objects which define the Perceiver facts of personal identity. The leg bones would represent the facts upon which personal identity rests, because the legs hold up the physical body. The Romans broke the legs so that a crucifixion victim could not hold himself up.

Verses 32-33 explain that “the soldiers came, and broke the legs of the first man and of the other who was crucified with Him; but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.” The word crucified with is a single word in Greek that is used five times in the New Testament, three times to describe the two criminals were crucified with Jesus, and twice by Paul to describe the old nature being crucified with Christ. Thus, the crucifixion of the criminals is described as a byproduct of the crucifixion of Jesus.

The ultimate goal of Jesus was to return to God in Teacher thought. Because his kingdom was not of this world, he felt no need to defend himself. In contrast, anything that is crucified along with incarnation would feel a need to defend itself, because it is not guided by Teacher thought. It is not being crucified because it is incarnation but rather because it is associated with incarnation. Thus, killing what is associated with incarnation would require attacking the Perceiver facts that hold up these associated concepts and practices.

For instance, I have experienced significant opposition over the decades. But I have consistently chosen not to respond to this opposition by using facts to defend myself. I have done this for two primary reasons: First, I have been too busy making progress in Teacher thought to waste time trying to defend myself against adversaries. Second, I have a gut suspicion that God is allowing this opposition in order to push me through to a new level of personal existence. When I have tried to defend myself, then circumstances have consistently turned against me, reinforcing this gut feeling. Therefore, I have concluded that if I defend myself against existing opposition, then God will simply arrange circumstances so that I experience more significant opposition.

In contrast, those who are in Christian apologetics go to great lengths to defend the Christian faith against opposition. Most of the arguments being made by Christian apologists make sense and are consistent with the theory of mental symmetry. But even though apologists have some positive results, the overall trend has been for the worldwide juggernaut of mystical oneness to turn its full fury upon these individuals in order to break their bones so that they will die more quickly.

Verse 36 describes the positive benefit of stepping out of the way and not defending oneself: “For these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture, ‘Not a bone of Him shall be broken.’” This phrase is a quote from Psalm 34, which talks about God saving those who focus upon him. When one focuses continually upon defending the truth of Scripture, then one becomes emotionally driven by MMNs of rebellion against God. In contrast, when one seeks to build an understanding of God, then one becomes emotionally driven by a TMN of God. Speaking from personal experience, I have found that as long as my TMN of general understanding continues to grow, I can maintain a positive attitude and avoid becoming emotionally twisted by opposing MMNs.

The verb translated ‘broken’, ‘broke’, and ‘break’ in verses 31-33 is different than the verb translated broken in verse 36. The first means ‘break’ while the second means to ‘break in pieces by crushing’. Looking at this cognitively, the overgeneralization of mysticism may be opposed to all Perceiver facts, but it is especially opposed to Perceiver facts that involve the practice of mysticism itself. Therefore, if Jesus the incarnation were to defend himself, then his bones would not just be broken but rather crushed to powder. Similarly, whenever I have started to defend myself, I have felt as if I am awakening some deep emotional beast that would do its best to crush me to into powder. Therefore, I have been strongly driven to avoid any conflict and instead do my homework, in order to prepare for the time when it comes to face this beast. And I suggest that the word ‘beast’ is appropriate, because when the great dragon, otherwise known as “that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray” (Revelation 12:9) is successfully cast out of heaven, then this leads to the backlash of the system of the beast described in Revelation 13.

Returning to the two verses that we skipped, verse 34 says that “one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.” It was standard practice to impale crucifixion victims with a spear to ensure that they were actually dead. The most likely physical explanation for the appearance of ‘blood and water’ is that the spear entered the region surrounding the heart, causing the internal pooling of water-like pericardial fluid to flow out with the blood. This provides strong evidence that Jesus actually died and did not just swoon and be revived later in the tomb.

Continuing with this viewpoint, the author John is saying in verse 35 that he saw this with his own eyes and therefore knew that Jesus actually rose from the dead: “And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe.” This may describe John telling his readers that he knows from personal experience that Jesus really died. But I suggest that there is also a deeper symbolic meaning. Water represents normal experience, while blood represents MMNs of personal identity. When a person ‘makes himself a god’, then it is very difficult to separate MMNs of personal experience from the TMN of a general understanding. A similar problem emerges whenever some person comes up with a new theory. How does one distinguish the person from the theory? How does one know that the theory is based upon truth and not just upon the opinions of that person?

Verse 35 describes four stages in clarifying this confusion. The first step is to distinguish between personal identity and normal experience at an experiential level: “And he who has seen has testified”. A cult leader will control the environment of his followers to ensure that his personal identity leaves its imprint upon everything that they experience. In contrast, a true discoverer of general understanding will step back at an experiential level allowing followers to experience both blood and water. This stepping back goes beyond words to experience. A founder of some general theory must allow followers to have independent experiences that have nothing to do with the personal identity of the founder—water that is separate from blood.

That brings us to the second step: ‘And his testimony is true’. If a general theory is really based in universal truth, then it should be possible to discover the same truth both with the founder and apart from the founder. In contrast, if a founder is simply imposing his personal opinion upon his followers, then he dare not allow them to evaluate truth independently of him. If followers are allowed to experience both blood and water, then their testimony will be based in truth. Instead of saying, ‘Follow our founder’, they will say, ‘Our founder is discovering truth, because I have found that the principles that he teaches apply elsewhere.

The third step is to become independent of the founder: “And he knows that he is telling the truth”. The word translated knows means ‘seeing that becomes knowing’. Instead of ‘knowing’ that something is true because the founder spoke it, a follower will know that he is speaking the truth because he has seen elsewhere that this truth is valid. Notice that the follower is now himself a source of truth. The leader of a cult will not allow followers to become independent sources of truth, because he must ensure that he himself continues to put the ‘correct’ spin upon truth. In contrast, a discoverer of universal truth welcomes his followers talking independently about truth, because they will come up with new insights that help him to expand his understanding of universal truth.

The final step is to spread the message further: “So that you also may believe”. The word translated believe means to ‘be persuaded’. A cult leader wants to attract more followers who will focus upon him as a person and gain their truth directly from him. In contrast, a discoverer of universal truth will want others to be persuaded about the facts. When this final step is taken, then a transition has been successfully made from the personal Mercy identity of the founder to a general Teacher understanding based in universal truth. And this transition starts with allowing followers to experience life independently by distinguishing between blood and water.

In the same way that two different Greek words were used for ‘broken’, two different words are also used for ‘pierce’. The verb pierced in verse 34 means to ‘prick, pierce, stab’, while the verb pierced in verse 37 means to ‘pierce through, transfix’. The phrase “They shall look on him whom they pierced” is a quote from Zechariah 12:10. The beginning of that chapter prophesies that Jerusalem will be besieged by enemies and then defended by God, who will “set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem” (v.9). This describes a major transition from the kingdoms of men to the kingdom of God, as we have seen portrayed in the trial of Jesus.

This is then followed in Zechariah 12 by a period of intense national mourning: “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn” (v.10). Notice this mourning is for an ‘only son’ and for a ‘firstborn’. The reference to an only son is reminiscent of Jesus being described as the only begotten son of God. And the original Passover was a time of intense mourning for those who lost their firstborn. Looking upon whom they have pierced tells us that they tried to kill someone but he did not go away; he was pierced, but he remains to be seen. These two halves of the chapter fit together, because Jesus is the firstborn who had to die to make possible the transition from the kingdom of men to the kingdom of heaven. The piercing happened because people did not want to let go of existing MMNs and they lashed out at their Savior who was telling them to pursue a higher path. The only reason that they eventually chose this higher path was because the very existence of Israel was at stake. And the piercing of the savior enabled this higher path, making national salvation possible. The mourning comes from realizing that they too have acted as the enemies of their savior. The nations may have attacked Jerusalem, but they have attacked the savior of Jerusalem. Looking at the two verbs ‘pierced’, the outside powers who attacked Jerusalem have pierced Incarnation, but the defenders of Jerusalem have transfixed Incarnation. This transition happened at a spiritual and divine level during the trial of Jesus, but it could not happen at a physical level because science had not been discovered, and it could not happen at a cognitive level because the lack of scientific thought made it impossible for people to understand what was happening.

Removing the Body 19:38-42

The Jews asked for Jesus to be taken away in verse 31. Verse 38 describes who actually removes the body of Jesus: “After these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. So he came and took away His body.” This is the third time that the verb take away has been used in this chapter. The first time was in verse 15 where the Jews cried out ‘away with him’. The purpose there was to get Jesus away from the context of rational thought, represented by the pavement stones. The second time was in verse 31, where the Jews asked for Jesus’ body to be taken away from the cross. Jesus was crucified within a context of solid mindlessness, represented by the place of the skull. In order to achieve total mindlessness, even the body of Jesus had to be removed. This is similar to the way that experts in mysticism emphasize that the method of achieving mysticism must itself be put aside in order to truly achieve mysticism. The third ‘taking away’ happens in verse 38 where the body of Jesus is taken away in order to be buried.

Burying a body it is done cognitively by placing some dead movement factually within its historical context. This happens naturally when the founder of some movement dies, because that person is no longer capable of coming up with new ideas. Instead, what has been said and written by that founder will be collected, collated, placed within a historical context, and labeled with an appropriate tombstone. A dead body can be treated as an object. Similarly, a dead movement can be evaluated dispassionately as an objective collection of facts.

This viewpoint can be seen in the name Joseph of Arimathea. The name Joseph means ‘he increases’, while Arimathea comes from a Hebrew word that means ‘height’. This represents a mindset that adds to the body of knowledge by viewing the facts from a higher, more general perspective. In verse 31, the Jews did not want ‘the bodies’ to remain on the cross and asked that ‘they’ might be taken away. Thus, the focus was upon getting rid of all personal content in a generic manner. In verse 38, Joseph asks to take away the body of Jesus, indicating a focus upon the specific person of Jesus. One often sees this sort of academic focus upon some dead expert in modern research. For instance, Dallas Willard was a world-renowned expert in the philosophy of Husserl, while my first cousin John Glenn Friesen is a world-renowned expert in the philosophy of Dooyeweerd.

Joseph of Arimathea is described as “a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews”. In other words, a modern expert will probably study some dead individual because of being personally attracted to the teachings of that individual, but this discipleship will be expressed in a manner that maintains academic and/or religious respectability. This is much easier to do when studying the thinking of some dead individual, because dead people cannot defend themselves. It is then possible to shape, filter, and re-interpret what that individual said in order to make it fit into what is currently acceptable. (Or it may also be possible to describe more accurately what the dead expert wanted to say but could not say openly because it was not acceptable at that time but now has become more acceptable.)

Joseph of Arimathea is assisted by Nicodemus: “Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight” (v.39). The writer John is referring back to the meeting between Jesus and Nicodemus in John 3. The name Nicodemus means ‘victorious among his people’. Thus, Nicodemus represents a mindset of being a winner. Nicodemus was introduced in John 3:1 as ‘a man of the Pharisees’, ‘a ruler of the Jews’. Using modern language, he was a member of the Jewish intelligentsia who was ‘victorious among his people’. Both John 3:2 and John 19:39 say that Nicodemus came to Jesus by night, and the same four-word Greek phrase is used in both verses. Night represents the absence of a sun of general Teacher understanding. When the TMN of a general understanding is present, then one can become a victorious intelligentsia by expanding upon the body of knowledge, but when a general paradigm is missing, then knowledge will be held together by the MMNs of acknowledged experts, and one of the primary ways of being ‘victorious among one’s people’ is by becoming a world-renowned expert about some important historical individual. (We will see in a moment that there is a probably a further aspect to Nicodemus.)

Nicodemus brings with him a mixture of myrrh and aloes. Spices are used because of their smell, and smell will trigger mental networks. Looking at this neurologically, the sense of smell is wired directly to the orbitofrontal cortex, which is the brain region where the emotional component of a mental network is stored.

Myrrh smells sweet, and was probably one of the ingredients of the consecrated incense of the Temple. It was also ‘used as an ointment and for embalming’. Myrrh is produced by ‘piercing the body’ of a tree. Quoting from Wikipedia, “When a tree’s wound penetrates through the bark and into the sapwood, the tree bleeds a resin. Myrrh gum, like frankincense, is such a resin. When people harvest myrrh, they wound the trees repeatedly to bleed them of the gum.” Thus, myrrh may represent the mental networks that result from responding to the personal attacks of others. Myrrh smells sweet, which implies that one is responding in a positive fashion to personal attack.

Aloes refers to ‘the strongly aromatic, quick drying sap of the Aquillaria’ tree, and is only mentioned once in the New Testament. Wikipedia explains that aloe “is formed in the heartwood of aquilaria trees when they become infected with a type of mould (Phialophora parasitica). Prior to infection, the heartwood is odourless, relatively light and pale coloured; however, as the infection progresses, the tree produces a dark aromatic resin, called aloes or agar... in response to the attack, which results in a very dense, dark, resin embedded heartwood. The resin embedded wood is valued in many cultures for its distinctive fragrance, and thus is used for incense and perfumes.”

Summarizing, myrrh is produced by a tree that is impaled by some life-threatening attack, while aloe is produced by a tree that is infected by some alien life form. In both cases, a pleasant fragrance results from the response to either personal attack or invasion.

This suggests an additional interpretation to the name Nicodemus. Nicodemus is not just becoming a ‘victor of his people’ by being a renowned expert in Jesus, but he is also becoming a ‘victor of his people’ by responding to personal threat in a positive fashion. However, his primary goal is not to be a disciple of Jesus, but rather to learn from how Jesus responded to personal attack in order to be a victor over his people. This is similar to the way that many Christian principles are taught in self-help seminars in order to help people to be economic and institutional winners. Quoting from one well-known self-help expert, “You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.” Similarly, Anthony Robbins teaches many principles that are consistent with the theory of mental symmetry, but what is missing from his teaching is the idea of submitting personal identity to the sun of a general Teacher understanding. Instead, principles of character development are being harnessed in order to help people to become ‘victors over their fellows’.

These academic and religious experts treat Jesus as an esteemed dead expert: “So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews” (v.40). If Jesus were alive, then his mental networks of life would transform Jewish cultural MMNs. But because Jesus is dead, Jewish cultural MMNs can be imposed upon body of Jesus. This is implied by the verb bound, which means ‘bind, tie, fasten; impel, compel; declare to be prohibited and unlawful’. The verb ‘bind’ is used four times in the gospel of John: 1) in John 11:14, Lazarus comes forth from the tomb bound hand and foot; 2) in John 18:12, the Jews arrest and bind Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane; 3) in John 18:24, Jesus is sent bound to Caiaphas; and 4) in John 19:40, the body of Jesus is bound in linen wrappings. Thus, one can see that Jesus is being approached in a controlled fashion that prevents him from fully expressing himself. Similarly, Lazarus means ‘God has helped’, and Lazarus being bound would represent a mindset of trying to control how one receives help from God.

The word linen wrappings is used five times in the New Testament (four of these times in the book of John) and describes ‘strips of linen cloth for swathing the dead’. Verse 23 described the integrated, seamless, woven-from-above undergarment that was worn by the living Jesus. This is now replaced by the standard linen wrappings of burial. The spices are mixed in with the linen wrapping, which would be standard burial practice. Looking at this symbolically, the social interaction of Jesus is being interpreted primarily from the odor of responding in a positive manner to personal attack. Restating this cognitively, the average person associates Jesus with an attitude of responding positively to personal attack. But the average person does not know that what makes this positive attitude possible is the Teacher joy of returning to God the Father. That is because the average person does not know about Teacher emotion, but only sees that Jesus somehow managed to respond to his crucifixion by saying ‘Father forgive them’.

I am not suggesting that it is wrong to respond to affliction a positive manner. On the contrary, personal growth will grind to a halt if one responds to hurt with bitterness, blame, or self-pity. However, having a positive attitude is only the first step in a long process of becoming mentally whole, and a person or group that emphasizes only this first step is typically practicing the religious self-denial that accompanies a mindset of absolute truth, or else teaching a positive response to personal setbacks as a tool for climbing the corporate ladder.

Verse 41 describes where Jesus is buried: “Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid.” I suggested in previous essays that a garden represents some region of fertile rational thought. In brief, it is solid, representing Perceiver facts, one can traverse this region of solid Perceiver facts using Server actions, and many forms of life are growing and living within this region of rational thought. Jesus was crucified at the place of the skull, and a skull is the solid container for a brain with all of the life removed. However, within this place of solid mindlessness can also be found a garden. I suggest that Orthodox Christianity provides an illustration of this juxtaposition. Mysticism is foundational to Orthodox Christianity, and yet Orthodox Christianity views its mysticism as a hospital for nursing people back to life. This juxtaposition works cognitively: mysticism is the simplest method of generating pleasure from a non-physical source; the mind discovers mysticism by transcending the content of physical existence; personal suffering will motivate a person to transcend the painful content of physical existence.

Verse 42 explains that this tomb was also a quick solution: “Therefore because of the Jewish day of preparation, since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.” Overgeneralization is quick-and-dirty, because one simply has to ignore the facts. Constructing a general theory out of facts is much harder. Sabbath is the day for focusing upon God. Burying Jesus in a nearby tomb provides a simple method of moving from the body of Jesus to worshiping God. And once this simple method is discovered, then it will tend to become the default, and when it remains the default for a long enough time, then it will become the established method, backed up by MMNs of respect for those who started using this method.

Looking at this in more detail, I have suggested that the mystical approach of Orthodox Christianity provides an illustration of a tomb for Jesus that is close by the place of the skull. Other branches of Christianity focus less upon mysticism, but if one probes more deeply, one inevitably finds the place of the skull nearby: ‘Do not try to understand the nature of God. God is utterly transcendent. Just practice simple faith. Do not fill your head with too much knowledge...’ In addition, it is very difficult to go against the stream of centuries of exalted Church fathers insisting with great religious fervor that God is ultimately incomprehensible. After all, if God revealed the New Testament to the apostles, then it makes sense that he also revealed some truth to the church fathers. A mindset of absolute truth will view this type of reasoning as obvious. And when a mindset of absolute truth becomes confused, then it will naturally turn to sources who are closer to the original source of truth. Thus, when the modern Christian thinker get confused, then the standard approach is not to leave the place of the skull but rather to return to the original faith as taught by the Church fathers. However, if one analyzes the Bible cognitively and then uses this same kind of cognitive analysis to look at the writings of the Church fathers, it becomes apparent that the latter is merely a faint shadow of the former.

Visiting the Tomb 20:1-10

The first visitor to the tomb is Mary Magdalene: “Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone [already] taken away from the tomb” (John 10:1). (‘Already’ is not in the original Greek.) This visit is while it is still dark, which tells us that the light of a general Teacher understanding has not yet arrived.

The three synoptic Gospels talk about the stone being rolled away. That is because the entrance to the tomb was covered by a large wheel-shaped stone that was rolled in front of the entrance. John, in contrast, uses the familiar verb taken away to describe the stone being moved. A stone represents solid Perceiver truth. We saw earlier that Mary represents the mindset of leaving worldly loves in order to follow God, while Magdalene means ‘tower of God’. Putting this together, those who follow Jesus and have lost or left behind physical pleasures are finding protection and security by the ‘tomb’ of Jesus. One can find this attitude, for instance, in the well-known hymn It Is Well with My Soul. Notice that it is a woman who is coming to the tomb. Thus, this method of finding comfort in Jesus is an emotional method that functions at the level of mental networks: I may not understand; I may not know all the details; my physical existence may be painful; but I will find comfort in Jesus. This attitude will lead to character development, and I am not attempting to belittle this method. In fact, Mary Magdalene is the first to see the risen Jesus.

But this method of finding emotional comfort in Jesus will eventually stop working. One will come to the tomb and see that the stone of Perceiver truth has been taken away. Looking at this cognitively, absolute truth will only survive as long as the source of truth is regarded as much more important than personal identity. If my life becomes too pleasant, or if society make sufficient progress, then this will automatically cause absolute truth to fall into doubt, similar to the way that a child naturally starts to doubt the statements of parents when entering the teenage years.

This inevitable doubting can be seen in the response of Mary, described in verse 2: “So she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.’” Mary uses the same verb ‘taken away’ that was used in verse 1 to describe the stone being taken away. Notice that Mary does not know who did this taking away, and the generic ‘them’ is implied by the conjugation of the verb. In verse 1, Mary saw that the stone had been taken away. In verse 2 Mary complains that the Lord has been taken out of the tomb. Looking at this cognitively, absolute truth ties these two statements together: If the stone of absolute truth has been taken away, then this means that the attitude of regarding Jesus as Lord has also been taken away. The inadequacy does not lie with regarding Jesus as Lord, but rather with why one regards Jesus as Lord.

The faulty thinking of Mary can be seen in the second half of verse 2, which is more literally ‘and not know where have laid him’, with the pronouns ‘we’ and ‘they’ implied. The word translated know means ‘seeing that becomes knowing’. This describes the first weakness of absolute truth, which bases its Perceiver ‘knowing’ in MMNs of externally generated experience. The average religious Christian may feel that he has great emotional respect for Jesus, but most of this emotional respect actually comes from years of solemn religious experience; it is a ‘seeing that has become knowing’. The second weakness of absolute truth is that Mary wants to know where the body of Jesus has been laid. Absolute truth thinks instinctively in terms of place. People may proclaim that the truth of Jesus applies everywhere, but they will act and feel as if the truth of Jesus applies more within a church building than it does outside of the church. The third weakness of absolute truth is that it focuses upon the body of Jesus. People may proclaim that Jesus is risen from the dead, but they study dead truth about Jesus that was written, set in stone, and buried 2000 years ago. Summarizing, Mary is complaining that the mechanism of absolute truth no longer functions, and she is trying to find out who to blame in order to bring back this method. She used to be able to find comfort and protection in honoring the dead Jesus, but this has stopped working.

Therefore, Mary goes to Simon Peter and John to complain. Simon means ‘to hear’, while Peter means ‘rock’. Thus, Simon Peter would represent verbal truth, the type of truth that one gets from hearing a sermon, or from reading the words of the Bible. In other words, when ‘Mary’ discovers that she can no longer find emotional comfort in Jesus, she turns to sermons and the Bible for help. Going further, the writer of the Gospel of John refers to himself as ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’, and John probably was a Mercy person, who focuses upon love. Symbolically, this would represent a devotional approach to Jesus, expressed by the idea of ‘asking Jesus into your heart’. (The name John actually means ‘the Lord has been gracious’, but the writer John does not refer to himself by name but rather describes himself as ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’.)

These two disciples respond by going to the tomb: “So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb” (v.3). This is then followed by a level of detail that does not make sense if interpreted purely from a literal viewpoint. Putting this into perspective, John devotes two verses to describing the crucifixion of Jesus (19:17-18), while taking six whole verses to describe who ran to the tomb faster and who looked in first (20:3-8). It almost feels at first glance as if a rendition of Who’s on First has been inserted into the Bible. Therefore, there must be more to the story.

Starting with verse 4: “The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first.” The impression I get from this verse is that the crisis of faith will be seen as both a doctrinal and a devotional problem, but addressing this problem will cause doctrine and devotion to get out of sync. Devotion will take the lead, causing doctrine to fall behind.

Verse 5 describes what John does when he arrives at the tomb: “and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in.” The word translated saw means ‘to see something physical, with spiritual results’. Interpreting this cognitively, devotion arrives at the tomb of Jesus and sees the fabric of religious ritual and custom. John stoops down, implying an attitude of reverence, but does not enter into the tomb, suggesting that devotion notices the fabric of religious custom but does not go any further. And John sees ‘physically, with spiritual results’, implying that this religious custom is being experienced physically and then interpreted spiritually. This describes the attitude of finding emotional comfort by attending a mass or church service. Saying this more simply, when a crisis of faith happens and people can no longer find a feeling of security at the tomb of Jesus, then an awareness of Jesus may no longer be present but religious ritual can provide an emotional substitute. This explains why some people who no longer believe in God continue to attend church, but the type of church that will be attended will need to have sufficient emotional content to make up for the lack of belief in God.

Verse 6 describes what Peter does: “And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there.” Peter is following John, implying that doctrine is trying to make sense of devotional experience. One can tell that Peter’s mindset is different, because the word translated saw means to ‘gaze on for the purpose of analyzing’. Peter enters the tomb, suggesting that this factual analysis takes a closer look, while devotion tends to stand back and observe the trappings of religion from a distance. As verses 5-6 explain, both Peter and John are seeing the same linen wrappings lying in the tomb, and the same three Greek words are used in the original text. However, the order of the words is different. In verse 5, John sees ‘lying the linen cloths’, while in verse 6, Peter sees ‘the linen cloths lying’. Thus, devotion tends to focus upon behavior rather than substance, while doctrine examines substance before behavior.

In verse 7, Peter notices something that John did not see: “and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself.” Looking at this literally, Peter notices that the face-cloth is lying in a different location than the linen wrappings. A cathedral in Spain claims to have this face-cloth, or suderium, while the shroud of Turin is supposedly the linen wrappings. If these two were lying separately in the grave, then this implies that the body of Jesus teleported out in some manner, leaving the grave clothes behind. Exactly how the image formed on the shroud of Turin is still a mystery, and one hypothesis is that it was formed through a release of energy.

Turning now to the symbolic interpretation, what matters is that doctrinal investigation uncovers a piece of fabric that is separate from the other fabric and related to the head. This implies that thinking has finally moved beyond the emptyheadedness of the place of the skull to an actual fabric of intelligent thought based upon truth, and this new fabric of intelligent thought is in a different place than the fabric of religious ritual.

Devotion led doctrine in the rush towards the tomb. But doctrine now leads devotion in entering the tomb. When devotion finally enters, the result is belief: “So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed” (v.8). The word translated saw means ‘to see with the mind’. And the word believed means ‘to be persuaded’. Looking at this cognitively, devotion started with physical experience leading to spiritual encounter. But when doctrine entered into the tomb and examined the situation, then this led to internal vision, backed up by rational persuasion. Looking at this historically, one response to the crisis of faith has been to focus upon religious ritual, while another response has been to start using rational thought and to base religious experience upon this rational thought.

But this is not enough. Verse 9 explains that “for as yet they did not understand Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.” The word translated understand actually means ‘seeing that becomes knowing’, and many translations translate it as ‘know’ rather than ‘understand’. Thus, this verse seems to be saying that the disciples may have had a verbal knowledge, but this was not backed up by experience. For instance, studying the theory of mental symmetry has given me a verbal knowledge of the cognitive structure behind Christianity. Going further, I have found that my life journey resonates with the verbal knowledge that I am discovering using mental symmetry. But this is still not quite the same as ‘seeing that becomes knowing’, because my theoretical knowledge is not yet backed up by extensive empirical evidence.

The word translated must means ‘it is necessary, inevitable’. And the preposition from actually means ‘out from’. Thus, what is being described here is not just faith but inevitability. One is not merely believing that Jesus died and rose again, but recognizing at an experiential level that it is inevitable that incarnation rises out from the dead. Saying this another way, one is recognizing at a gut level that some deep cosmic principle of cause-and-effect is at play. This type of inevitability is described in Galatians 6:7-8: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” First, this is a principle of cause-and-effect, or sowing and reaping. Second, one is reaping eternal life; one is experiencing the same kind of resurrection that Jesus experienced. Third, ignoring this principle is described as self-deception that mocks God. Thus, there is a deep cosmic inevitability about this principle.

The other aspect of this principle is that eternal life can only emerge out of death. When life is born, the original structure of this life comes from the environment, because life has to acquire its initial structure from somewhere. Applying this to humanity, all human children begin with minds based upon childish MMNs acquired from living in a physical body within a physical environment. This kind of life cannot last because it is parasitic upon its environment. If it is to become eternal life, then it must become independent of the environment, which means sowing to the spirit in order to grow a more lasting alternative, dying to the flesh of temporary existence, and then coming alive again from the spirit to eternal life that extends to the flesh. This principle also seems to apply to the universe as a whole because God initially created it as matter-over-mind and God will make a transition to the more lasting mind-over-matter when enough people have followed the example of Jesus by sowing to the spirit.

Verse 10 explains that what the disciples have experienced so far is insufficient to push them through to the other side: “So the disciples went away again to their own [homes].” (The word ‘homes’ is not in the original Greek.) Looking at this cognitively, their minds are still being held together by existing MMNs of personal identity, causing the disciples to return back to the fragmented states of their various identities. Looking at this historically, this summarizes the end result of responding to a crisis of faith either by pursuing religious tradition or by studying doctrine. In the end, there is no fundamental shift, and a society of faith will fragment into various camps, driven by various MMNs of personal identity. Saying this another way, a mindset of individualism has largely replaced the community of faith.

Mary sees Jesus 20:11-18

In contrast, Mary stays around crying: “But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb” (v.11). What remains is the emotional response of leaving the world behind in order to follow Jesus. She is weeping because her hope has died. She left the world in order to follow Jesus, hoping that this would lead somewhere, but it has led to a dead end. One sees another Mary in a similar emotional predicament in the story of Lazarus. Lazarus means ‘God has helped’. But Lazarus died; God did not help; Jesus deliberately stayed away to ensure that Lazarus would die (John 11:6). However, Jesus rises out from the dead, and Mary is expressing at an emotional level the type of death out of which Jesus can rise.

As she is weeping she does what John did in verse 5, which is stoop down and look into the tomb, but what she sees is different than what John saw: “and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying.” The word angel means ‘messenger’ and my general hypothesis is that angels are finite creatures who live in the abstract realm of words and messages. The word translated saw is to ‘gaze on for the purpose of analyzing’. Thus, Mary is not taking the physical viewpoint of John but rather the analytic viewpoint of Peter. As a female, she is still thinking in terms of living mental networks, but these mental networks are now intelligent and abstract; they are angels.

The face cloth was described as being in a separate ‘place’. However, the location of the two angels is not described using the language of place but rather with respect to the body of Jesus; one is towards the head, and the other is ‘towards’ the feet where the body of Jesus had lain. Peter saw two sets of grave clothes; Mary sees two angels. My best guess is that this signifies a shift from Mercy thought to Teacher thought. Speaking from personal experience, I grew up in a strict Mennonite household where I was taught that it was my Christian duty to turn my back upon the pleasures of the world in order to follow Jesus. (It was not all doom and gloom, because we often went on trips to enjoy other countries and other cultures.) Going further, I have made several major choices over the years that have reinforced the feeling that following Jesus means giving up a normal life and career. But as I have stooped to look into the ‘tomb’ of biblical Christianity, I have not seen either the grave clothes of religious culture or the head cloth of theological doctrine. Instead, I am increasingly seeing the angelic realm of process, function, and message. Place and context are losing significance in my mind, because I keep seeing similar processes, functions, and messages in different places and contexts.

Feet appear to be symbolize fundamental mental networks of identity because they support the weight of self. In contrast, the head probably symbolizes technical thought, because it uses intelligence to control the body, and Christ is described as the head of the church. If there is an angel at both the head and the foot of where the body of Jesus has lain, this implies that one is taking an angelic perspective to both the ‘feet’ of mental networks and the ‘head’ of technical thought.

The angels are described as being ‘in white’, and the preposition in means ‘inside, within; in the realm of’. White symbolizes purity and light. White is also the color that is produced when all of the colors of the rainbow are combined. Similarly, my study has increasingly led to a deep desire to function within a culture of purity, wholeness, unity, and completeness. This same adjective ‘white’ is used to describe the appearance of Jesus’ clothing during the Transfiguration.

The angels ask Mary an emotional question: “And they said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’” This is the type of question that Teacher thought will naturally ask Mercy thought. Teacher thought thinks emotionally. Therefore, when Mercy thought emotes, then Teacher thought will be drawn to the situation and want to know why, because Teacher thought wants to come up with an understanding that can explain the situation. This desire for general understanding can be seen in the way that the angels refer to Mary. Instead of referring to her as a specific person, they regard her as a specific example of the generic category of ‘woman’. And their goal is not to help Mary but rather to understand. The angel sitting at the head of where Jesus was does not say, ‘I am sitting on a handkerchief. Here, Mary! Dry your eyes with this handkerchief.’ Instead, the angels ask for an explanation about the emotional state of the specimen of woman standing in front of them.

Mary responds with the language of humanity: “She said to them, ‘Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him’” (v.13). Again one finds our familiar verb taken away being used. The word translated know is the same ‘seeing that becomes knowing’ that was used in verse 9. The disciples did not know the Scripture that Jesus must rise out from the dead. Similarly, Mary does not know where the Lord has been taken, and the word where tells us that Mary is thinking in terms of human location.

Mary’s statement in verse 13 is almost identical to what she said back in verse 2, with two differences: In verse 2, Mary said that they have taken the Lord ‘out of the tomb’, While in verse 13 she says that they have taken the Lord ‘of me’. And in verse 2, Mary says that ‘we’ do not know where they have laid him, while in verse 13 she says that ‘I’ do not know where they have laid him. Thus, a transformation has happened from following a dead Lord in a tomb to following my Lord, and the confusion is now being experienced personally and not just as part of a group. Mary is no longer trying to re-establish the historic Christian faith. Instead, she is now struggling to find personal faith.

Mary then turns around and sees Jesus: “When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus” (v.14). The word translated saw means to ‘gaze on for the purpose of analyzing’. In other words, Mary is not having a mystical encounter with Jesus but rather using rational thought to analyze what she is seeing. The word translated know means ‘seeing that becomes knowing’. This means that what Mary is analyzing using rational thought is not lining up with her experiences of Jesus. Similarly, as I continued to do research in mental symmetry, a concept of incarnation gradually emerged in my mind which I now realize is the same as the Jesus described in the Bible. But this emerging concept of incarnation did not line up with the knowledge of Jesus that I had acquired from my experiences of attending church.

Instead, this concept of internation initially interacted with me using the mindset of Teacher thought. Similarly, in verse 15 Jesus first interacts with Mary by repeating the same question that was asked by the angels: “Woman, why are you weeping?” But Jesus also asks a further question: “Whom are you seeking?” The pronoun translated ‘why’ and ‘whom’ is actually the same pronoun in the original Greek. The word seek means ‘to seek by inquiring’. The implication is that Jesus does not just want to know more, but rather wants to use technical thought to know more. Cognitively speaking, incarnation adds technical details to the general understanding of Teacher thought. Similarly, as I continued to do research in mental symmetry, I did not just want to understand personal emotions in Teacher thought, but I also wanted to use technical thought to gain an understanding that was more rigorous and more detailed.

Mary responds by viewing Jesus as some sort of technician in charge of maintaining the garden of rational thought: “Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, ‘Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away’” (v.15). The word translated supposing means ‘forming an opinion or a personal judgment’. This means that Mary is constructing a mental concept of Jesus. The word gardener is only used once in the New Testament and means ‘gardener, garden keeper’. Ground represents rational thought; a garden is a plot of ground with plants and animals, which would represent intelligent life emerging from rational thought. Incarnation uses technical thought, but extends beyond technical thought to include living mental networks. Thus, Mary is constructing an accurate concept of incarnation, but does not yet realize that this mental concept describes Jesus.

Instead, Mary thinks that this concept of incarnation has replaced Jesus: “If you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him’. This is then followed by the final occurrence of the verb ‘taken away’ in the book of John, because Mary says that she ‘will take him away’. However, the personal label that Mary uses indicates that her emotional priority has shifted. In verse 13 she says to the angel “they have taken away my Lord”, while in verse 15 she says to the gardener, “Lord, if you have carried him off...” (The NASB says ‘Sir’, but the original Greek word is the same ‘Lord’ that was used previously.) The body that was taken away, which Mary previously referred to as ‘my Lord’, is now merely ‘him’, while the gardener is being addressed as ‘Lord’. Looking at this literally, Mary is probably using the polite language that a woman of her day would use to address a male figure of authority. But we are trying to examine the underlying message that is being conveyed by the ultimate Author behind the author John. Similarly, as I continued to use mental symmetry to analyze Christianity, I found that the concept of Jesus that I really obeyed was the concept that was emerging from mental symmetry and not the Jesus that I had experienced growing up in church. However, Mary still considers that it is her duty to rescue the church Jesus from this new concept of the gardener: “Tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”

This is when the light goes on and Mary realizes who she is really talking to: “Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means, Teacher)’” (v.16). The recognition happens when Jesus addresses the personal sacrifices that Mary has made in order to follow God, as represented by the name Mary. This is when Mary’s religious concept of Jesus changes, because she turns, representing a change of mind, and addresses him in the religious language of Hebrew.

The title that she uses is an intellectual title which can be translated into secular language: “...and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means, Teacher)” (v.16). However, Rabboni actually means more than just teacher. Rabbi, with the ‘-i’ suffix means ‘my teacher’ in Hebrew, while Rabboni means ‘my head teacher’. In the secular realm, Jesus is merely a source of knowledge—a teacher. But in the religious realm, Jesus is a source of knowledge that is above other sources of knowledge in Teacher thought as well as a teacher who instructs me personally in Mercy thought.

The resurrected Jesus has now extended to the level of personal identity in Mercy thought. The temptation is to cling personally to this form of resurrected Jesus. But this kind of personal Jesus is not enough to bring universal salvation. The resurrected Jesus still needs to ascend to the level of universality in Teacher thought. This is described in verse 17: “Jesus said to her, ‘Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, “I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.”’” The word translated clinging means ‘touching that influences’. In other words, even though the resurrected Jesus extends to MMNs of personal identity, one must not use personal MMNs to shape the concept of a resurrected Jesus. Instead, the resurrected Jesus needs to be based in the TMN of a universal God. One does this by applying the message of a resurrected Jesus to many related concepts: “go to my brethren and say to them”. In each of these concepts one should use the resurrected Jesus to connect their concept of God the Father with the concept of a universal Father God: “I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.

For instance, I suggest that evangelical Christianity has been guilty of this sort of clinging to a personal Jesus. The emphasis is upon ‘asking Jesus into your heart’ in order to have ‘a personal relationship with Jesus’. This is good, but it does not allow Jesus to ascend to the Father. Instead, the same mental concept of Jesus that the evangelical Christian asks into his heart needs to be allowed to ascend to God the Father in Teacher thought by recognizing that Jesus-the-man was guided by universal principles that apply to everyone.

The goal of Jesus-the-man was to return to God the Father in Teacher thought. Jesus initially had to do this through personal suffering, encouraging Pilate’s concept of the King of the Jews to ascend to the level of universal verbal theory. Now that Jesus has risen from the dead, Jesus-the-man can return to God the Father in a more complete fashion through the lives of his followers—if they stop clinging and allow him to do so. Notice that ‘my Father’ is mentioned before ‘my God’. This suggests that the ascending is a two-stage process that starts in the subjective realm with a personal relationship with a ‘Father in heaven’ and then extends to become a relationship with the God of the universe who created everything.

So far, the resurrection of Jesus has happened within the female realm of mental networks. Similarly, one notices in Hebrews 6 that when the first elements of mind-over-matter start to emerge, then the initial expression is also within the female realm of mental networks. In verse 18, the message spreads to male thought with its technical thinking: “Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord,’ and that He had said these things to her.” The word translated announce means to ‘report from, which focuses on the original source shaping the substance of what is announced’. Mary announces first that she has had a subjective experience of ‘the Lord’. The word translated see means often ‘to see with the mind’, indicating that she has not just had a physical experience but rather an internal realization. She then passes on the things that Jesus told her. Thus, the starting point is mental networks but it then spreads to verbal factual content.

Meeting the Disciples 20:19-23

The first encounter of the disciples happens on the evening of the same day: “So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you’” (v.19). If a day represents a period of time illuminated by the sun of some paradigm in Teacher thought, then this implies that the risen Jesus will be experienced at the level of mental networks for a period of time, and will then be extended to the content of male thought when this initial expression starts to fade. Saying this another way, there will be an extended charismatic renewal and people will think during this period that encountering the risen Jesus means experiencing God through some form of Pentecostal spiritual gifts. One can see this happening literally in the first few chapters of the book of Acts. The implication is that following Jesus more authentically does not necessarily mean returning to the kind of church that is described in the book of Acts.

During this initial phase: 1) The disciples are together, indicating that male thought is interacting. 2) The disciples are behind a locked door, which means that those who use male thought to follow incarnation are doing so in private, apart from the wider world. 3) The disciples are in fear of the Jews, telling us that the MMNs of religious and academic experts still rule society as a whole. But this is the last time that the Jews are mentioned in the Gospel of John, which means that their dominance is about to come to an end.

Jesus then appears suddenly ‘in their midst’. The same Greek word ‘midst’ is used in Matthew 18:20, which says that “where two or three have gathered together in my name, I am there in their midst.” There is a further parallel between these two passages because both Matthew 18:19-20 and John 19:23 talk about the disciples being given the authority to forgive and retain sin. We will examine this in a moment.

The general principle is that incarnation cannot appear out of nothing. Cognitively speaking, incarnation is based in Contributor thought, which builds connections between Perceiver facts and Server sequences. Thus, Contributor thought can only emerge in areas where Perceiver facts and Server sequences exist. This explains why incarnation appears in the midst of the disciples meeting together. Going further, the technical thinking of Contributor thought is always limited to some context. This limited context is illustrated by the disciples meeting together in a room behind locked doors. Finally, Contributor-controlled technical thought is always driven by some emotional bottom line. Thus, the mental networks of female thought provide the motivation for technical thought. In the current system of matter-over-mind, the technical thinking of science starts by observing Perceiver facts and Server sequences from the physical universe. An implicit emotional motivation then emerges whenever technical thought continues to be used either to understand the universe in Teacher thought or to exploit the universe in Mercy thought. My guess is that the death and resurrection of Jesus lays the foundation for the transition from matter-over-mind to mind-over-matter. With mind-over-matter, the starting point would be female mental networks, which would then extend to male technical thought, as described in the latter half of John 20.

When Jesus appears he says, “Peace be with you”. The word peace means ‘wholeness, when all essential parts are joined together’. This describes Teacher order-within-complexity, as illustrated by all the parts of a machine functioning together in harmony. When Jesus appeared to Mary, his first words were an expression of angelic Teacher curiosity, applied to the emotional personal state of Mary: ‘Woman, why weeping?’ When Jesus appears to the disciples, his first words are an expression of angelic Teacher functioning, applied to the personal well-being of the disciples: ‘Wholeness to you’.

Jesus then shows the disciples his wounds: “And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side” (v.20). Why would a resurrected Jesus want to retain the wounds of crucifixion, let alone show them off? That would be like dead people in heaven showing off their hospital scars to each other. Many Christians throughout history have focused upon the wounds of Jesus, exalting MMNs of human suffering almost to the level of a deity. In contrast, Revelation 21:4 says that in the new heaven and earth, “there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things are passed away.”

I suggest that one can find an explanation for the behavior of the risen Jesus both in the nature of Contributor thought and in the context of this passage. I have mentioned that Contributor thought is built on a foundation of Perceiver facts and Server sequences, and motivated by mental networks in Teacher and/or Mercy thought. The typical male Contributor person likes to think that he is a ‘self-made man’, who comes up with his own ideas, develops his own skills, and is driven by his own desires. (The typical female Contributor person is not as prone to this self-delusion.) But that is not true. Instead, Contributor thought excels at improving, developing, and marketing the content of others. Therefore, what typically happens is that these male Contributor persons will steal their ideas from others, copy the skills of others, follow like lemmings after the current infatuations of society, and then act as if they are self-sufficient ‘gods’ who do not need anyone else.

The wounds of the risen Jesus indicate at the deepest level of personal existence that Jesus will not function like the typical male Contributor person. Hands represent the object manipulation that is done by Perceiver and Server thought. If Jesus’ hands have nail-holes, then this means that Jesus is recognizing that Contributor thought has a fundamental weakness when it comes to Perceiver facts and Server sequences. And the risen Jesus is not keeping this weakness hidden, like the typical Contributor person does, but rather sharing this openly with his followers. This weakness has nothing to do with sin, but rather is a recognition of the inherent limitations of Contributor thought. Male Contributor persons have fooled current society into believing that Contributor-controlled technical thought is the only valid form of thinking. The resurrected Jesus is starting his ministry by admitting that technical thought depends upon other modes of thought for Perceiver facts and Server sequences.

This dependence is described explicitly in verse 23: “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.” The word translated forgive means to ‘let go, release, permit to depart’, which is similar to the verb loose used in Matthew 18:18. Similarly the word translated retain means to ‘seize hold of, put under control’, which is similar to the verb bind used in Matthew 18:18. Looking at this cognitively, Jesus is delegating to his disciples the task of extending or not extending the salvation of incarnation to some realm. This idea is explained more explicitly in Matthew 16, which talks about Jesus giving ‘the keys of the kingdom of heaven’ to Peter. In other words, the disciples can either release people from bondage to childish MMNs by extending the salvation of Jesus to some new context, or else leave people in bondage to childish MMNs by viewing this context as separate from the salvation of Jesus. Using a partial illustration, the salvation of Jesus was written in the language of koine Greek, and the followers of Jesus can control where this salvation spreads by choosing which languages they will translate the salvation of Jesus into. Cognitively speaking, this translating and connecting is done by Perceiver and Server thought, as illustrated by the type of connecting that we are doing in these essays.

Moving on, Jesus also shows the disciples the wound in his side where he was pierced by a spear. This wound represents a deep emotional vulnerability at the level of blood and water. Physically speaking, the soldier pierced Jesus with a spear in order to ensure that he really was dead, and the flow of blood and water proved that this was so. By showing the wound in his side to his disciples, the risen Jesus is recognizing that technical thought acquires its emotional bottom line from another source. This is an eternal principle, because the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, is guided emotionally by the plan of God the Father in Teacher thought and the love of the Holy Spirit in Mercy thought. Going further, we interpreted the separation of water and blood as distinguishing cognitively between experiences involving the leader and experiences that are unrelated to the leader. Contributor thought can only function if these remain distinct because Contributor thought uses factual information to channel emotional desires.

In verse 22, Jesus explicitly extends this eternal emotional vulnerability to his interaction with his disciples: “And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” The word translated breathed on them is only used once in the New Testament and means ‘breathe into’. Air represents Teacher thought. Thus, breathing into the disciples would represent handing over some direct interaction with God the Father to the disciples. The risen Jesus is not going to pretend that he controls motivation in Teacher thought. Instead, he will allow this Teacher motivation to function in the minds of his disciples independently of his control. Jesus also asks that his disciples will receive the Holy Spirit, showing that he will allow Mercy motivation to function in the minds of his disciples independently of his control.

Finally, the risen Jesus explicitly tells his disciples that they will interact with him similarly to the way that he interacted with God the Father: “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (v.21). The word translated as means ‘according to the manner in which’, which means that God’s interaction with Jesus sets the pattern that God the Father will follow when interacting with the disciples. Patterns are recognized by Perceiver and Server thought, because Perceiver thought will notice that one situation is like another, while Server thought will notice that one situation functions like another. As the disciples recognize and apply these patterns, they will extend the release of incarnation to new contexts. But ‘sent’ and ‘send’ are not the same in the original Greek. The word used to describe God sending Jesus means ‘sent on a defined mission by a superior’, while the word used to describe Jesus sending his disciples means simply ‘to send’. God sent Jesus to earth on a specific mission of atonement and salvation. Jesus will be sending his disciples in many different ways, and not just on some specific mission. Jesus-the-man opened up the path to the kingdom of heaven; the followers of Jesus will be extending the kingdom of heaven in many different ways. However, both Jesus and his followers will be following similar cognitive principles; they will be sent in the same way.

Looking now at the passage as a whole, the normal response to someone teleporting into the middle of a room would be either fear or amazement in Mercy thought. When an angel appears in the Bible, then the angel usually says ‘Fear not’, addressing the Mercy apprehension of the human audience. Jesus, in contrast, says ‘Peace to you’, indicating a focus upon Teacher wholeness. Similarly, the disciples respond with the Teacher emotion of joy: “The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord” (v.20). They recognize that he is in charge, but because he shows them that he needs them to make him complete, they can respond with the Teacher emotion of wholeness.

Jesus then repeats his statement of wholeness, and follows it with the principle that he is sending his disciples like his Father sent him. Jesus has set the pattern, but the wholeness will come as others follow this pattern. In both cases, Jesus follows his statement of ‘be whole’ by making it possible for his disciples to interact with him in an attitude of wholeness. This foundation of wholeness makes it possible for them to receive the Holy Spirit, as described in verse 22. Without the wholeness of verses 20-21, Jesus’ interaction with his disciples would be guided by the spirit of this world with its MMNs of personal control. But placing both the ‘hands’ of Perceiver and Server connections and the ‘side’ of personal mental networks within the context of Teacher wholeness makes it possible for the disciples to receive the Holy Spirit rather than the spirit of the world. The statement about forgiving and retaining sins comes at the end of this sequence in verse 23.

This means that the disciples are not receiving the authority to forgive sins on the basis of a chain of MMNs of personal status that extends back through the exalted apostle Peter to the even more exalted Jesus. Instead, Jesus is describing the reality of the kingdom of heaven. The original Greek does not talk about Jesus giving authority to his disciples, but rather describes what will happen. The followers of Jesus automatically have the power to forgive or retain sins by deciding how and where they will translate the salvation message of Jesus, and this translating extends beyond translating the words of the Bible into some new language to translating the patterns of the kingdom into some new context.

Doubting Thomas 20:25-31

John 20 finishes with the well-known story of doubting Thomas. The obvious interpretation of the story is that it is better to believe in Jesus by faith without having to be shown physical proof. This is a valid interpretation, but it may be possible to go further.

Thomas was discussed previously when looking at John 14. Thomas is mentioned 11 times in the New Testament, generally as an afterthought. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Acts each state the name Thomas once—in a list of disciples. Only the Gospel of John says anything about Thomas as a person.

First, in John 11:16, when Jesus announces that he will go to Jerusalem, then Thomas proclaims “Let us also go, so that we may die with Him.” This essay has been trying to view the trial and crucifixion of Jesus from the Teacher vantage point of returning to God the Father, rather than from the Mercy viewpoint of personal suffering. In John 11, Thomas is taking the Mercy perspective of identifying with the death and suffering of Jesus.

Second, in John 14:5 when Jesus says that he is going to heaven to prepare a place for his disciples, Thomas responds “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” We have seen in this essay that Jesus is emphasizing the Server sequences of heaven, while his human audience is continually trying to reduce heaven to some Perceiver place. Thomas is committing this same cognitive error in John 14, because he is asking how one can know the Server way of heaven if one does not know in Perceiver thought where heaven is.

These same two cognitive fallacies can be seen in John 20. The words of the disciples are not enough to convince Thomas, and he was not present when the other disciples responded with Teacher joy to Jesus’ message of wholeness and similarity. Instead, he insists that he will only be convinced by an experiential encounter with the hard, brutal facts of crucifixion: “Unless I see in his hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” (v.25). The word translated imprint is used only twice in the Gospel of John, both times by Thomas in this verse, and means ‘the mark of a blow, then a stamp struck by a die’. (The second occurrence is not translated into English in the NASB.) Jesus told the disciples that he was sending them like the Father had sent him. Thomas is also following a pattern—the pattern that the nails imprinted upon the hands of Jesus. The disciples are responding to the pattern of the Father by choosing where they will extend the kingdom of Jesus. Thomas, in contrast, is responding to his pattern by placing his finger within the mark of the nails. Going further, he will only be convinced if he puts his hands (the original Greek is in the plural) into Jesus’ side. If hands represent Perceiver and Server thought, then Thomas wants to build his system of rational thought upon the emotional foundation of exploring the personal suffering of Jesus. The disciples talk about seeing ‘the Lord’. Thomas has no concept of Jesus as a person but rather is fixating upon the wounds of some impersonal ‘him’.

The name Thomas means ‘twin’, and this definition is given explicitly in the text. A twin is a carbon copy. Siblings are like each other; twins are identical. (There are also fraternal twins, but when used symbolically, the word ‘twin’ is probably referring to identical twins.) I suggested in the previous essay that Thomas is probably regarding the spiritual and supernatural realms as carbon copies of physical reality. Saying this more simply, Thomas is confusing similar with identical. There is a cognitive reason for this. Teacher thought thinks in terms of general principles. Therefore, when one is guided by Teacher understanding and notices that one situation is similar to another, one will look for general patterns of similarity. The two situations may not be identical, but there is an underlying similarity. Mercy thought, in contrast, thinks in terms of specific experiences. Therefore, when one is guided by Mercy experiences and notices that one situation is similar to another, then instead of concluding that one situation is similar to another, one will conclude that one situation is identical to another—a ‘twin’ of the other. One will then use Perceiver thought to explore this identicalness. Applying this to Thomas, instead of responding to the sight of Jesus’ hands and side with Teacher joy, and then being told that he will be sent in a way that is similar to the way that God the Father in Teacher thought sent Jesus, Thomas wants to poke his fingers into the holes in Jesus’ hands so that he can explore the relationship between the mark of the wound and the shape of a nail, and then he wants to stick both hands into the hole in Jesus’ side in order to generate a Mercy experience that has sufficient emotional intensity to create Perceiver belief.

I suggest that one can find the thinking of Thomas in the way that the Catholic church has historically treated the death of Jesus. The mass is celebrated every week and is believed to be a renewal and perpetuation of the crucifixion of Christ. The Five Holy Wounds of Jesus have been a subject of adoration for many, while the piercing of Jesus’ side is celebrated by devotion to the Sacred Heart. Symbolically speaking, this type of infatuation goes beyond poking one’s finger into Jesus’ wounds to plunging both hands into the gaping wound in his side. More generally, Catholicism places a great emphasis upon the sufferings of Jesus. I am not trying to minimize what Jesus endured. It was both real and extensive. But I suggest that it is vital for Christianity to start from an understanding of the character of God in Teacher thought rather begin in Mercy thought with the physical suffering of Jesus-the-man. If the emotional starting point for Christianity is the suffering of Jesus, then one is actually building Christianity upon Satan, because Satan means ‘adversary’.

Going further, the underlying Catholic belief is that the bread and wine are identical to the body and blood of Jesus, and not just similar. And the primary goal of participating in the Eucharist, or adoring the Eucharist, is not to become more similar to Jesus but rather to become one with Jesus. Quoting from “When we eat physical food, it becomes united to us—it is changed into our own substance and becomes a part of us. In Holy Communion something analogous happens to us spiritually, but with a great difference: in this case it is the individual who is united to the Food, not the Food to the individual. The lesser is united to the Greater. We become one with Christ. This sacramental union of ourselves with Jesus is more than the mere physical union between our body and the Sacred Host which we have swallowed. More importantly, it is a mystical and spiritual union of the soul with Jesus. This is produced in the soul by our physical contact with the sacred Body of Jesus.” This describes the mindset of mysticism, which identifies in Mercy thought with an overgeneralized concept of God in Teacher thought. Catholicism goes beyond mere mysticism, because it teaches that Jesus Christ bridged the gap between the transcendent God and finite fallible humanity. But when one follows the mindset of Thomas the twin and believes that the spiritual is identical to the physical, then one is still practicing a form of Teacher overgeneralization by jumping directly from specific Mercy experience to universal Teacher understanding. And this intuitive jumping from specific to universal leaves mysticism mentally in charge. Mysticism plays less of a role in Catholicism than it does in Orthodox Christianity, but it still seems to play the defining role.

I am not suggesting that Thomas represents the Catholic Church, because that would also be a case of equating specific with general. Instead, the general principle is that when the starting point is mental networks, then it is natural to attempt to add technical thought through some form of ‘proof by example’, in which one uses intuitive thought to jump directly from specific to universal. The fundamental doctrines of the Catholic Church were developed in an era during which this kind of thinking was dominant.

Eventually, Thomas also sees Jesus and hears his pronouncement of wholeness: “After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, ‘Peace be with you’” (v.26).

Nothing is mentioned in this second episode of being scared of the Jews. Cognitively speaking, it is natural to focus emotionally upon the sufferings of Jesus when one is also being persecuted by the authorities. However, the emotional focus has now shifted from being scared of the Jews to being excited about seeing Jesus. But the disciples are still meeting behind closed doors. In other words, the disciples are being guided emotionally by a new set of mental networks, but are not yet building Perceiver and Server connections between their new emotional focus and the thinking of society in general.

In this second encounter, the only interaction that is mentioned is between Jesus and Thomas. Jesus does not tell Thomas to stop fixating upon his wounds, but rather tells him to act out his words: “Then He said to Thomas, ‘Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing’” (v.27). The word translated be actually means ‘come into being’. In other words, Jesus is telling Thomas to follow a path that will lead to ‘being convinced’, rather than one that will lead to ‘not being convinced’. So far, Thomas has been unwilling to be convinced, because he responded to the disciples’ words by demanding physical evidence.

Thomas responds with words of devotion: “Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’” (v.28). Thus, when Thomas encounters Jesus in person, he is unable to stick his hands into the wounds. Instead, he makes an intuitive leap from specific experience to universal God. Translated literally, he says ‘the Lord of me and the God of me’. ‘Me’ is mentioned twice and nobody else is included in the statement. In contrast, the other disciples say in verse 25 to Thomas: ‘[We] have seen the Lord’. Unlike Thomas, the disciples are not trying to take personal ownership of God. Instead, they recognize that God is a universal being who rules over ‘us’, and the pronoun ‘we’ is not explicitly mentioned but rather implied by the conjugation of the verb. This does not mean that personal devotion to God is wrong, but rather that it needs to be placed within the context of a truly universal concept of God. Saying this another way, intuitive leaps are fine when intuition is guided by rational understanding. And this is backed up by the sequence of events in John 20. Initially, the disciples see Jesus but not Thomas does not. It is only later that Thomas sees Jesus within the context of being with the disciples.

Looking at this more generally, Thomas asserts that he must personally explore the wounds of Jesus in order to believe, but does no exploring when faced with the actual living person of Jesus. Similarly, I suggest that doctrines such as transubstantiation can only be believed as long as they are not true. Suppose that the bread and wine at a Eucharist really did turn into the actual body and blood of Jesus. The emotional intensity of communing with the Son of God at such an intimate level would overwhelm the mind, causing the worshiper to pull back and declare ‘my Lord and my God’. However, as long as one is dealing with merely bread and wine and the real Jesus does not show up in full, living force, then a doctrine of transubstantiation is quite effective for generating feelings of mystical unity with God. I am not suggesting that there is no spiritual reality behind the Catholic celebration of the Eucharist. Rather, I am suggesting that a doctrine of transubstantiation can survive some spiritual reality, but it could not survive the spiritual intensity of encountering the living Jesus. Stated succinctly, a doctrine of transubstantiation could not survive a full expression of the doctrine of transubstantiation. It can only be believed as long as it is primarily false. (It appears that the seven bowls of wrath use a similar strategy to defeat mysticism by turning up the heat of divine encounters until the emotions are too intense to bear.)

Jesus points this out in the next verse by saying that Thomas is following an inferior path: “Jesus said to him, ‘Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed’” (v.29). Notice that Jesus is not impressed by Thomas’ declaration of personal devotion. Instead he tells Thomas that it is better to believe without having to see. Notice also that Jesus responds to Thomas’ declaration of personal devotion with a general statement regarding personal well being. Instead of jumping from specific Mercy experience to universal Teacher statement as Thomas does, Jesus makes a general Teacher statement about personal Mercy thought.

Jesus’ statement can be interpreted two ways. The obvious interpretation is that seeing is not believing. It is better to believe without seeing. But the Greek word translated ‘seen’ and ‘see’ actually means ‘see, often with metaphorical meaning: to see with the mind’. Thus, what is being contrasted is not visible Mercy experience versus invisible Mercy imagination, but rather Mercy images versus Teacher words; Perceiver place versus Server sequence. It is better emotionally to start from a Teacher understanding of the ways of God then it is to start with religious Mercy experiences and associated Perceiver facts.

This better starting point is described in verses 30-31: Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”

A sign is ‘a sign, typically miraculous, given especially to confirm, corroborate or authenticate’. In the presence means ‘before the face of, in the presence of, in the eyes of’. Stated cognitively, Jesus inundated the minds of the disciples with impressive Mercy experiences. But John did not think that it was important to write these stories down. That is because John did not want to base his verbal concept of God in a plethora of transcendent Mercy experiences.

Instead, John included what he did to convince the readers that ‘Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God’. Christ means anointed one or Messiah, and refers to the divine side of incarnation. Instead of jumping intuitively from miraculous Mercy experience to universal Teacher statement, John wants to make a transition from the human life of Jesus to the divine life of Christ. Instead of ‘knowing’ that ‘I am one with Christ’ based upon some ecstatic experience, John wants people to be convinced that Jesus is the Christ, based upon what has been written in the Gospel of John. Going further, John wants people to recognize that the Christ is the Son of God. The starting point should be a concept of God in Teacher thought, with Jesus Christ the Incarnation being defined as the Son of God in Teacher thought. After all, that is what John said in the very first verse of the Gospel of John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Instead of starting from personal experience, one ends with personal existence: “and that believing you may have life in His name” (v.31). Thomas starts with the emotional Mercy experience of exploring the wounds of Jesus. In contrast, Jesus Christ the Son of God builds a structure within which one can have lasting, personal life. The preposition in means ‘in the realm of’, while the word life refers to ‘both physical (present) and spiritual (particularly future) existence’. This life is based upon the name of Jesus Christ in Teacher thought, and not upon Mercy experiences of the wounds of Jesus Christ.

Going Fishing 21:1-14

John 21 contains the famous story of Peter and the disciples going fishing, catching nothing, being told by Jesus to fish on the other side of the boat, catching 153 fish, and then coming ashore where Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves him, corresponding to the three times that Peter betrayed Jesus. This story opens with two verses of biographical detail which are normally viewed as incidental, but if names have symbolic importance, then this detail actually provides a context within which to place the story.

“After these things Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and He manifested Himself in this way. Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together” (v.1-2). The first phrase ‘After these things’ tells us that what we have examined in John 20 lays the foundation for what will happen in John 21.

John is the only one to use the name ‘Sea of Tiberias’. The other Gospels use the term ‘Sea of Galilee’, and John also uses this name in John 6:1, but then explains that ‘Sea of Tiberias’ is an alternate name for the Sea of Galilee. Then, John 6:23 talks about small boats coming from the town of Tiberias after Jesus walked on the water. The name Tiberias refers to the river Tiber which runs through the city of Rome. If a river represents the flow of society, then the river running through the capital city of the Roman empire would represent the official, government-sanctioned, flow of society. A sea represents MMNs of society and culture. Thus, the Sea of Tiberias would represent societal MMNs that naturally emerge in some governed society, as opposed to the open sea, which would represent a society ruled by societal MMNs.

One can add more detail to this interpretation by looking at which disciples are present. Simon Peter is mentioned first. Simon means ‘hearing’ and Peter means ‘rock’. This combination describes verbal truth. This combination used to apply to Western society, but we now live in a world that is post-truth. The second person mentioned is ‘Thomas called Didymus’. This tells us that Catholic-type Christianity, with its equating of physical and spiritual, is also present.

The third person mentioned is Nathaniel of Cana in Galilee. Nathaniel comes from the Hebrew name that means ‘given of God’. John is the only gospel writer to mention the town of Cana. He uses the name three times in connection with the miracle of turning water to wine at Cana, and once in this verse when talking about Nathaniel. The name Cana comes from a Hebrew word that means ‘stalk, reed’, which implies a small, vulnerable, living plant. Finally, Galilee was the Jewish province that was regarded as less spiritual than the environs of the holy city of Jerusalem. (Even today, the city of Haifa is regarded as less spiritual than Jerusalem.) Putting these pieces together, people are starting to see God working in some new living manner in an environment that is somewhat spiritual.

The final reference is to ‘the of Zebedee’ (the word ‘sons’ is not explicitly given), and this is the only time that the word Zebedee is used in the Gospel of John. Matthew 4:21 tells us that James and John were the two sons of Zebedee, and the name Zebedee means ‘Yah has bestowed’. This reinforces the idea that people are starting to experience some blessing from God.

The story opens with an announcement by Simon Peter: “Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We will also come with you.’ They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing’” (v.3). Looking at this cognitively, Teacher emotion comes from order-within-complexity; Teacher thought feels good when a simple explanation applies to many specific situations. When a general Teacher theory comes from the words of some holy book, such as the Bible, then it becomes difficult to increase the generality of that theory. One cannot add to the words of the book, because the book was written and finished long ago. And one cannot apply the words of the book to normal life because the book is regarded as holy and separate from normal life. The only way to extend the generality of the theory is to get more people to believe in the words of the holy book.

Going further, fishing catches fish from the sea. Symbolically speaking, it catches people who swim within the sea of culture. Jesus makes this symbolic connection in Matthew 4:19, where he sees Simon Peter and his brother Andrew fishing and says to them “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”. Thus, when Simon Peter is in charge—when verbal truth is dominant—then there will be a natural tendency for Simon Peter to say ‘I am going fishing’ and it will be natural for the other disciples to come along. Saying this symbolically, there will be a strong drive for missionary activity.

However, this missionary activity will not be successful. (One might object that Western missionary activity has had some success. However, I suggest that most of this success is the result of ‘fishing on the other side of the boat’. Many of the first Western missionaries had no converts. I also think that current Western society is only a partial example of John 21. But as a partial example it illustrates the principles that are involved.) The primary reason is that the disciples are fishing at night, and night represents the absence of a general Teacher theory. Saying this bluntly, a holy book may feel like a general theory, but it is not the same as a general theory. Looking at this in more detail, a verbal Teacher theory takes many words and places them in a simple, structured, verbal package. A book does this physically by taking many words and placing them into a single package, organized by chapters, paragraphs, and verses. If this book is then given great emotional status within Mercy thought, then Teacher thought will notice the package of the book, sense the emotions that are associated with this book, and conclude that the book contains a general theory, regardless of what the book actually says.

I am not suggesting that the Bible lacks Teacher order. On the contrary, we are seeing in these essays that the Bible contains extensive Teacher structure. But the average missionary is only partially aware of this Teacher structure and teaches the Bible primarily as a holy book and not as a source of general understanding. This lack of understanding is also illustrated by where the activity is happening. The goal is to catch fish from the sea. In other words, missionaries are primarily trying to catch the fish of society who live immersed within MMNs of culture, rather than focusing upon the land of rational thought that surrounds this sea. Saying this more clearly, if the missionaries really had a Teacher understanding of the Bible, then they would go to the universities to proselytize. But because most missionary activity is being directed towards the down-and-out of society and the unreached tribes of the world, this makes it clear that Teacher thought is being guided primarily by the feeling of a general Teacher theory that is being generated by treating a specific book as holy. This type of missionary activity will not tend to be very successful because it is teaching theory that has nothing to do with the real world, to an audience that lives in the real world which knows nothing about theory. Stated simply, it is feeding birdseed to fish. Stated symbolically, Simon Peter is going to fish in the lake.

Jesus eventually shows up: “But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus” (v.4). If day is breaking, then this means that a general Teacher understanding is starting to emerge. Jesus does not appear on the boat but rather stands on the shore. The word shore means ‘seacoast, sandy beach; shore of a lake’. This would represent a collection of Perceiver facts that emerge at the edge of the sea of Mercy experience. The disciples do not know that this is Jesus. The word know means ‘seeing that becomes knowing’, which tells us that the disciples are seeing some form of salvation (the name ‘Jesus’ means salvation), but they are not internally connecting the salvation that they see with their mental concept of Jesus.

Saying this more clearly, they are busy trying to catch fish—trying to get more people to believe in the verbal truth of Simon Peter. There is some life from God in what they are doing, because Nathaniel of Cana in Galilee is present, but the attitude of Thomas the twin is also present. Because a true general understanding is not present, the missionaries do not see a connection between their fishing and the personal salvation that is appearing on the shoreline. Stated simply, there is a cognitive disconnect between verbal truth and practical salvation.

The first step in integrating these two is recognizing that the fishing is not working: “So Jesus said to them, ‘Children, you do not have any fish, do you?’ They answered Him, ‘No’” (v.5). They themselves do not recognize that they are getting nowhere. That is because a mindset of absolute truth will naturally feel that it is one’s duty to ‘suffer for Jesus’, which includes continuing to fish faithfully even if there are no results. Instead it is Jesus, standing on the shore whom they do not recognize, who points out to them that they are not catching any fish. Jesus refers to them as children, which means ‘a child under training’. They have been fishing for men, guided by the feeling that they possess verbal truth. But Jesus standing from the sidelines addresses them as little children who have a lot to learn.

Something similar has happened recently to missionary activity. Psychology and sociology have emerged from the sea of culture and are attempting to bring practical salvation to people. (I am not suggesting that all psychology and sociology is godly, and these fields are now becoming submerged by the waves of political correctness, but many experts in these fields have discovered significant principles of personal salvation.) Social science is observing missionaries at home and abroad attempting to spread a message of personal salvation and pointing out that church congregations are shrinking, because the fish are not biting. It makes this observation with the attitude of a parent to children, implying that missionary activity could learn a lot from psychology and sociology.

The word translated fish in verse 5 does not actually mean fish, but rather is a word that is used once in the New Testament, which refers to ‘anything eaten with bread, especially fish or meat’. In other words, the fishermen have bread, but they do not have any fish to eat with this bread. Looking at this symbolically, the missionaries have the bread of the Bible, but they do not have any other solid food to go along with this bread. That is because there is a cognitive disconnect within their mind between the verbal truth of the Bible and the practical experiences of culture.

Jesus does not tell them to stop fishing, but rather tells them to change their method: “And He said to them, ‘Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find [a catch]’” (v.6). (As the NASB indicates, the word ‘catch’ is not in the original Greek, and the verb find means to ‘discover, especially after searching’.) I have found that references to left and right in the New Testament make sense if interpreted in terms of brain hemispheres. The right side of the body is controlled by the left hemisphere of the brain. Thus, casting the net on the right hand side of the boat would represent adopting a left-hemisphere strategy. The traditional focus of Protestant missionary activity has been upon believing the truth of the Bible and having a personal relationship with Jesus in Mercy thought, while the traditional focus of Catholic missionary activity has been re-creating the Mercy experiences of Christian rituals using ‘Christian’ Perceiver objects within a ‘Christian’ place. Both of these strategies represent the right-hemisphere thinking of fishing on the left-hand side of the boat. A left-hemisphere strategy, in contrast, follows Server procedures and teaches Server skills. Applying this to current society, being a missionary who is dedicated to God in Mercy thought is no longer regarded as enough. Instead, today’s missionary is a trained professional who has been taught the methodology of being an effective missionary. This focus upon methodology can be seen in the phrase ‘and you will find’, because this phrase does not mention fish but rather talks about the process of discovering after searching.

This new methodology is effective but it also overwhelms the ability to process converts: “So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish” (v.6). The ultimate goal is not just to catch fish but also to haul in the fish out of the water. Applying psychological methodology succeeds in catching fish but it also overwhelms the ability to pull the fish out of the water of culture. Saying this more bluntly, seeker-friendly churches may gain large audiences, but many of these fish are still swimming in the sea of secular culture and have merely been corralled by the net of the church.

This problem is described in the next verse: “Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’ So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea” (v.7). John tells Peter, ‘It is the Lord’. Saying this cognitively, the successful Mercy experiences convince Perceiver thought that this methodology is from God. Verbal truth then acquires a new source, because it listens to the stories of successful missionary activity. Notice the precise progression. John says ‘It is the Lord’ to Peter, indicating that experience is determining truth. But Simon Peter does the hearing, telling us that the truth of Peter has now made a transition to the Simon of listening. Following psychological advice led to successful missionary activity, this success defined truth, and this truth is now being preached as Gospel Truth.

The response of Simon Peter is rather strange. Until now he has been stripped, wearing only his undergarment. The implication is that raw Perceiver truth is being shared with people without any sense of appropriateness. But when Simon Peter realizes that this new methodology comes from the Lord, then he feels the need to clothe himself in an outer garment of social appropriateness, and the word translated outer garment, which means ‘coat, outer wrap or tunic’, is only used once in the New Testament. Stated bluntly, when the missionary realizes that psychology works in attracting converts, then the missionary will feel ashamed of his biblical truth, and feel a need to clothe his truth in some mantle of social respectability.

After Peter puts on his outer garment, he throws himself into the sea. This is a strange response, but something similar has happened with missionary activity, because psychologically equipped missionaries with socially acceptable Perceiver truth seem to be plunging themselves into the water of the down-and-out, the homeless, the sick-and-dying, the hungry, the inner cities, the prisons, the unreached tribes, and minority cultures. I am not suggesting that this activity is wrong, but rather asking why all these missionaries are throwing themselves into the sea. The best answer I can come up with is that absolute truth needs to be validated by emotional Mercy experiences. Therefore, the Mercy experience of plunging into the water with the fish who are in the net is providing Perceiver thought with the assurance that biblical truth is true. But the missionary who plunges himself into the water of culture will find repeatedly that a psychologically enhanced Christian message is attracting fish, which will lead to a knowledge of truth that is based in repeated connections in the real world. The missionary who saves the down-and-out may be drawn initially by the emotional intensity of the experience, but then comes over time to a knowledge—based upon repeated observation—that the Christian message works. Absolute truth that is based in the emotional intensity of helping the needy will gradually be transformed into universal truth based in the repeated sequences of successfully helping the needy.

I suggest that this mental transition from absolute moral truth to universal moral truth will happen primarily to those who throw themselves in the sea of ‘the helpless and the needy’. That is because helping the needy has implicit moral content: The needy know that they need help and they want to be restored to the level of normal society. In contrast, preaching a psychologically enhanced Christian message to the average pew-sitter will tend to lose moral content, because the average person is convinced that he is above average and does not really need help.

Meanwhile, the other disciples stick with the boat and drag the net of fish to the land of rational thought: “But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but about one hundred yards away, dragging the net full of fish” (v.8). This brings to mind a question that I have often asked myself regarding short-term mission projects. Who is the missionary and who is the mission field? On the one hand, the missionary is saving others with a message of salvation from the Bible. But on the other hand, the missionary is also being saved by others through the experiences of applying the Christian message in a strange foreign culture. Similarly, the other disciples bring in the fish, but the process of dealing with the fish also brings the other disciples to land; they are catching fish but they themselves are also being brought to land. The general principle is that true education is always a two-way street: Students learn from the teacher, but the teacher also learns from the students.

When the disciples arrive at land, they see a fire burning: “So when they got out on the land, they saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread” (v.9). The word charcoal fire is only used twice in the New Testament, and means ‘a heap of burning coals’. The other occurrence is in John 18:18, right after Peter denies Jesus for the first time. (Romans 12:20 uses the related word for ‘coal’ when talking about heaping coals of fire on someone’s head.) Coal is solid, dead, organic material. Cognitively speaking, it represents the absolute Perceiver truth of some society that was initially revealed by the founders of that society. Warming oneself in front of a charcoal fire as Peter did in John 18 would represent a conservative mindset, which finds the warmth of life in the traditional truths of society.

The disciples also see that there is already bread and fish. The implication is that a psychological approach can have both theoretical and practical results. But psychology by itself is not sufficient. That is because it is built upon a fire of coals. Psychologists are discovering principles of salvation because they are building upon an assumed foundation of conservative truth that comes from a Judeo-Christian heritage. A fire of coals will last for a long time, but like any fire it will eventually go out, and the Judeo-Christian heritage will turn into a post-Christian world. That is why Jesus tells the disciples in verse 10 to “bring some of the fish which you have now caught”. Speaking from personal experience, I have found that secular research is like a doughnut: It contains good food but the middle is missing, and that middle needs to be provided by the Christian message that comes from the verbal truth of Simon Peter.

The word translated fish in verses 9-10 means ‘a small fish’. In contrast, verse 11 says that Peter draws to land a net full of ‘large fish’. A different word for fish is being used and the adjective ‘large’ is explicitly added. Notice that the small fish from the boat are combined with the small fish on the charcoal fire first, and then the net that is full of large fish is pulled onto the ‘land’ of rational thought. The implication is that a combination of psychology and biblical truth can become very effective if it is applied within the context of rational thought. Verse 11 adds that “although there were so many [fish], the net was not torn.” The implication is that this combination of psychology and Christian message will not threaten the integrity of the Christian message. The verb ‘torn’ is used one other time in the book of John, in John 19:24, where the soldiers decide that they will not tear the tunic of Jesus but rather cast lots for it.

While this combined rational method is effective for catching fish, it only leads to some food and some understanding: “Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ None of the disciples ventured to question Him, ‘Who are You?’ knowing that it was the Lord” (v.12). The word translated breakfast refers to any meal eaten before the main meal of supper. Thus, something more will be needed for the main meal of the day. A literal rendition would be that none of the disciples ‘am bold, have courage’ to inquire or examine thoroughly’ who are you? Because they have ‘seeing that becomes knowing’ that it is the Lord.

Stated more simply, this success is not explicitly placed within an integrated Teacher understanding. Instead, the Mercy experiences of success are defining Perceiver truth, while Teacher thought is not driving the mind strongly enough to demand an integrated verbal understanding. This combination is consistent with the suggestion made earlier that verbal truth is generating the feeling of an integrated understanding through a holy book, but the mind is not being ruled by the TMN of an actual integrated understanding in Teacher thought. What is growing is a practical understanding of incarnation as the source of personal salvation, because verse 13 says that “Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and the fish likewise.”

Do You Love Me? 21:15-19

Jesus asks Peter his famous three questions after the meal: “So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter...” (v.15). These questions are usually viewed as rhetorical questions, but I suggest that they are valid questions to which Peter could respond one way or another. Looking at this cognitively, free will is maximal when the mind contains contradictory mental networks, because a person is then forced to choose between these mental networks. Simon Peter has gone out in a boat to catch the fish guided by a mindset of absolute truth. But he experienced success when he listened to the voice of the unknown Jesus calling from the shore. And he just had an intellectual meal which has combined the fish of Jesus and the bread that Jesus provided with the fish that he caught and the bread provided by absolute truth. He must now choose which of these two options he will pursue. Will he follow incarnation or will he re-embrace fundamentalism and religious devotion?

The three denials of Peter were discussed earlier when looking at John 18. In brief, I suggest that these three denials correspond to three decisions that Christendom has made since the discovery of science. This starting point of science is significant, because science and technology are a partial expression of a concept of incarnation. In the same way that incarnation combines the word of God with the flesh of human existence, so science combines the word of mathematical understanding with the flesh of natural processes and physical experiments. Peter represents truth. If Peter is denying Jesus, then this means that truth is denying any relationship to incarnation.

The first denial occurred when science first emerged and Christendom chose to continue the mindset of scholasticism with its study of absolute truth based upon MMNs of personal authority rather than embrace the new thinking of science held together by the TMN of an integrated understanding.

The second denial happened at the level of Perceiver facts. As scientific understanding continued to learn facts about the natural world, Christendom chose to ignore these universal facts about reality and hold instead to absolute facts about God and religion.

The third denial involves the very existence of truth itself. As science and technology grew to the point where all absolute truth began to be doubted, Christendom has chosen to embrace spirituality without truth, following a path that leads to mysticism rather than incarnation. I am using the word Christendom deliberately in order to paint with a broad brush. Many Christian groups and Christian individuals have not followed this path of denying incarnation. However, this has not been sufficient to turn the overall tide heading in the direction of denying incarnation. Using another fish metaphor, some fish have been swimming against the stream, but the river of Christendom itself has flowed inexorably in the direction of denying incarnation.

Each of these three denials is more fundamental than the previous one. Using an analogy, the first denial refuses to construct a house out of Perceiver bricks, the second denial rejects the use of factual bricks, while the third denial insists that there is no such thing as a brick. Therefore, these three denials have to be reversed in backwards order.

When the fishermen on the boat listened to the advice of the unknown Jesus on the shore and cast their nets on the right side of the boat, this reversed the third denial. Saying this more clearly, when missionary activity follows advice given by fields such as psychology and business, then the missionary is acting as if rational truth exists.

Moving on, when Peter throws himself into the sea, then this reverses the second denial. The premise of absolute truth is that truth is revealed in holy MMNs that must be kept separate from the MMNs of society. When Peter throws himself into the sea, then this is like taking the wafer and wine of the Eucharist and dumping them into a bathtub, which would be regarded as blasphemous because it is plunging the holy into the secular. Despite this, most missionaries who embrace the needy on the fringes of society find their faith strengthened and not weakened. That is because they are continually surrounded by examples of what happens when one violates moral truth, and what happens when one embraces Christian faith. Absolute truth is turning into universal truth. One will ultimately believe not because it is stated in the Bible but rather because violating biblical principles does not work while following biblical principles does work.

Finally, when Peter draws up all the large fish onto land, then this reverses the first denial. Stated bluntly, a mega-church or large para-church organization leaves the realm of personal faith and enters the realm of Teacher order and structure. Whether the leadership like it or not, they are forced to deal with Teacher principles of maintaining order-within-complexity.

I am not suggesting that psychological principles, ministry to the down-and-out, and mega-church represent the epitome of of God’s kingdom of heaven-on-earth. Instead, I am suggesting that they face Christendom with fundamental choices that involve the very nature of truth and incarnation. The juxtaposition of traditional Christianity with psychology, social work, and para-church is not stable. But it is this very instability, this mixing of oil and water, that gives free will to Peter and turns Jesus’ three questions into legitimate questions that require making real choices.

The mindset of Peter is reflected in the name that Jesus calls Peter, and Jesus uses this same name each time he asks the question. John means ‘God has been gracious’. Jesus gave Simon the new name of Peter back in John 1:42, but instead of moving forward from the words of Simon to the solid Perceiver truth of Peter, Simon has been moving back to focus upon his source of truth in the ‘graciousness of God’; instead of moving forward to believe that the words of the Bible describe solid principles that apply to all of existence, people have moved backwards to insist that the words of the Bible are special and different because they were revealed by God.

Jesus poses his question at the emotional level of core mental networks: “Simon, [son] of John, do you love me more than these?” (The word ‘son’ is implied.) Using cognitive language, Jesus is asking Simon if he will go beyond everything that has happened in the beginning of the chapter to a love of incarnation.

Looking at this question in more detail, all the disciples are convinced that the huge catch of fish came because of Jesus, but none of the disciples has the guts to ask if it really is Jesus. Similarly, everyone in the modern successful church is convinced that the growth is coming because of following Jesus, but almost no one has the guts to explore the relationship between the Jesus of the Bible and all of the psychology, social work, and organizational structure. This needs to be asked. And the answer will not be found in a few proof texts from the Bible but rather will require exploring in detail the relationship between secular principles and the incarnation of God. Ultimately, this question needs to be explored at an emotional level. What does one love more, catching all the fish, or learning more about the person of incarnation?

Peter replies at the level of brotherly love: “Yes, Lord; you know that I love You’” (v.15). As many sermons have pointed out, Jesus’ question uses the word agape for love while Peter’s answer uses the word philos. In other words, Peter does not grasp the meaning of agape love, because he does not have a mental concept of incarnation descending from God in Teacher thought. The word agape means ‘love which centers in moral preference’. This kind of moral love emerges when one has the TMN of a concept of God that is translated into reality through a concept of incarnation; one loves the universal principle and one also knows how this universal principle applies to the specific situation that one is facing right now.

Jesus responds by telling Peter, “Tend my lambs” (v.15). The word translated tend means to ‘feed, pasture’. Sheep are social creatures whose behavior is driven by MMNs of personal identity, emotional status, and social interaction. Thus, there is a cognitive similarity between fish and sheep, because fish live within the sea of cultural MMNs while sheep are emotionally driven by MMNs. A fish lives within the water and cannot exist outside of water. This would represent following cultural MMNs at an instinctive level that is not self-aware. Instead of catching fish, Peter is supposed to feed lambs. Peter knows how to feed the lambs because of all the psychological principles that were learned when catching the fish. In other words, many churches and para-church organizations now teach psychological principles and basic life skills to the lambs of society who are struggling to survive within society because their minds are being driven to and fro by childish MMNs. The underlying assumption of all this teaching is that rational truth exists.

Jesus repeats his question in verse 16: “He said to him again a second time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’” This repetition is identical to the first time except that Jesus does not say ‘more than these’. In other words, now that Peter has recognized that rational truth exists, how far will he take this new recognition? Will he continue to love incarnation by viewing truth as something that can be applied in the real world to save people and not just as words revealed by God that one verbally asserts? Jesus responds by saying, “Shepherd my sheep”. This goes beyond teaching basic life skills to acquiring the wisdom that is needed to guide and guard MMNs of social behavior. The process of ‘shepherding the sheep’ will teach universal Perceiver principles of moral cause-and-effect, helping Christianity to make the transition from absolute revealed truth to universal principles. But it is essential for everything to be held together emotionally by a love of incarnation—a desire to take the Word of God and turn it into the flesh of real life.

When Jesus repeats his question for the third time in verse 17, he uses the verb phileo. Peter responds with grief: “Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’” The word translated grieved means ‘to experience deep, emotional pain’. The traditional interpretation is that Peter is hurt because Jesus no longer talks about the highest form of love. This may be true, but there may be more to the story. Jesus is not pointing out to Peter that he does not have agape love, but rather asking if he does have phileo love, a love that is based upon brotherly interaction. In other words, Jesus is asking Peter if there are any brotherly connections between them. An attitude of absolute truth assumes that it is impossible for humans to love Jesus in a brotherly manner, because absolute truth will only survive if God and Jesus are regarded as far more important than humans. Saying this another way, those who call Jesus ‘my friend and buddy’ usually show very little respect for the truth of Scripture. But universal truth is based on precisely these brotherly connections, because it builds a general understanding of God in Teacher thought by looking for connections that appear everywhere.

This transition can be seen in John 15:12-15. In verse 12, Jesus says “This is my commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” The word for love here is agape, but the word just as means ‘according to the manner in which’. Thus, Jesus’ love establishes a pattern that one is supposed to follow. After describing the willingness of agape love to sacrifice for others in verse 13, Jesus then makes a transition to a new kind of brotherly interaction in verse 15: “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.” Jesus was interacting with his disciples on the basis of dominance and submission, characteristic of absolute truth. But he is making a transition to friendship. (Friend is philos, which is the noun form of the verb phileo.) And this new form of friendship is based upon a common knowledge of what God is doing in Teacher thought.

Adding phileo love to agape love would affect Peter at the core of his emotions because it would alter Peter’s definition of truth. Peter at the core of his being would have to make a transition from absolute truth to universal truth, and that is an emotional transition, because it means letting go completely of esteemed religious sources in Mercy thought and clinging emotionally to the TMN of a concept of God in Teacher thought.

Jesus responds by saying ‘Feed my sheep’. In other words, a Teacher understanding makes it possible to go beyond teaching the down-and-out how to return to the norms of society, or gaining the skills to guard and protect the norms of society, to teaching sheep how to go beyond the norms of society.

Jesus then tells Peter how he will make the transition from absolute truth to universal truth: “Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.” Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God” (v.18-19).

This is usually interpreted as Jesus telling Peter in an oblique manner that he will be crucified when he is old, because a person who is being crucified will have his hands stretched out and will be led where he does not want to go. And historical evidence suggests that Peter was crucified about thirty years later.

However, the focus of this passage is upon how Peter’s death will ‘glorify God’. If God resides in Teacher thought, then one glorifies God by extending a concept of God in Teacher thought. The word what kind means ‘of what sort’, which means that John is not just predicting that Peter will die but rather is focusing upon the sort of death that will glorify God. In other words, Peter could die in many ways, but most of these deaths would not extend a Teacher concept of God. In contrast, this sort of death will glorify God. Looking at this cognitively, Perceiver thought can die in many ways. For instance, we now live in a post-truth society in which Perceiver thought has officially died. But for the average individual, this kind of Perceiver death has not glorified God.

Going further, the word signifying means ‘signify, indicate, give a sign’ and is only used six times in the New Testament, three times in the Gospel of John. The first occurrence is in John 12:32-33, where John uses the same three-word Greek phrase ‘signifying by what kind of death’ to explain Jesus’ prediction that he ‘will be lifted up from the earth’. The second occurrence is in John 18:32 where the Jews hand Jesus over to Pilate to be killed, and John uses precisely the same three-word Greek phrase ‘signifying by what kind of death’.

This essay has examined the death of Jesus from a cognitive, symbolic perspective. If John uses the same Greek phrase to describe both the death of Jesus and the death of Peter, then this means the death of Peter also needs to be interpreted from a cognitive, symbolic perspective.

I believe that I know what this means, because I am a Perceiver person. I have been attempting to glorify God with the theory of mental symmetry, and developing this theory has required going through a form of extensive cognitive death.

Looking now at verses 18-19 in more detail, the word gird means to ‘gird, put on the girdle, especially as preparatory to active work’. Thus, the emphasis is not upon dying or suffering but rather upon useful, productive activity. Going further, the word translated walk is an intensified version of the verb that means ‘walk, conduct my life, live’. And wherever means ‘where, whither, in what place’. Putting this together, Perceiver thought thinks in terms of facts and place, and Perceiver thought functions associatively, jumping mentally from one place to another guided by Perceiver connections. This kind of thinking is most useful in areas where Perceiver thought has many connections. For instance, I like to think about computers and can do useful work with computers because I have many mental connections involving computers. Therefore, if I ‘gird myself and conduct my life wherever I wish’, then I will probably think about computers and work with computers, because I am trained as an electrical engineer and I know about computers.

Continuing with verse 18, Jesus says to Peter that when “you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish [to go]” (‘to go’ is not in the original). Looking at this cognitively, Perceiver thought will lose control to another mental strategy, because Peter is being ‘girded by another’. Some other cognitive strategy is guiding the productive activity of Perceiver thought. And this is bringing Perceiver thought where it does not want to go. Going further, hands represent Perceiver and Server thought. Therefore, ‘stretching out your hands’ would represent extending Perceiver thought to new areas.

This has happened to me in two major ways, first socially and then internally. I started doing research in mental symmetry by working with my older brother, a Teacher person, and we spent several years analyzing the personality traits that he had gathered from studying biographies. Generally speaking, my brother would come up with a theory and I would then try to poke holes in this theory. Teacher thought naturally finds it easiest to generalize in areas where Perceiver thought has the least facts. Therefore, my brother would continually come up with new theories in areas where I knew the least, forcing me to do productive activity in places where I did not want to go. I would then have to respond by stretching out my hands in order to learn some facts about this new and unfamiliar area. Moving forward, my recent research could also be described as being forced to do productive activity in areas where I would rather not go, but in this case I have been driven internally by the TMN of a general theory rather than externally by a Teacher brother.

When I initially worked with my brother, I thought that Perceiver thought was only good at finding contradictions in Teacher theories. However, this continual stretching out forced Perceiver thought to become reborn within my mind, and I have now discovered that I can also build general Teacher theories by finding connections between one context and another. But this higher form of Perceiver thought is only possible when Perceiver thought ‘grows old’, because Perceiver thought can only find similarities between one context and another if Perceiver thought has constructed connections within many different contexts. Looking at this personally, in order to become capable of building theory through common connections, I first had to become reasonably competent in a number of unrelated fields. And in order to become competent in these unrelated fields I had to repeatedly stretch out my hands, be girded by others, and be brought where I did not wish. The end result is a form of Perceiver thought that is capable of glorifying God by constructing an inter-disciplinary universal Teacher understanding.

Jesus finishes with one additional statement: “And when He had spoken this, He said to him, follow Me!” (v.19). Looking at this cognitively, using Perceiver thought in an interdisciplinary manner to come up with a general Teacher understanding is good, but it is not enough. Instead, one must place this understanding—and the search for understanding—within the context of following incarnation.

Looking at this more closely, abstract technical thought naturally specializes. Incarnation uses technical thought to build the TMN of a concept of God. Concrete technical thought naturally saves things. Incarnation uses technical thought to save personal MMNs. Speaking from personal experience, I have found that there are three primary aspects to ‘follow me’: 1) One does not just build an interdisciplinary theory but rather constructs a mental concept of God. 2) This abstract research must be combined with the Mercy goal of saving personal identity. Thus, one is not just trying to understand how the mind works, but also trying to become a person who is whole. 3) Technical thought needs to be respected. Perceiver thought finds it easy to come up with hand-waving connections. These connections need to be made more rigorous by taking the time to develop at least some technical thought in each area that is being studied.

What about John? 21:20-25

Verses 18-19 describe the relationship between Perceiver thought and a Teacher understanding of God. Verses 20-23 describe the relationship between Perceiver thought and personal identity in Mercy thought.

Peter turns his attention to John: “Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following [them]; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, ‘Lord, who is the one who betrays You?’ So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, ‘Lord, and what about this man?’” (v.20-21).

The verb translated turning around means ‘turn back to’ and is often translated as repentance or turning to God. The word translated saw means to ‘see something physical, with spiritual results’. And the word following (‘them’ is not in the original) means ‘accompany, attend, follow’. The writer John was a Mercy person, and this Mercy focus can be seen in the phrase ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’ which John uses to refer to himself. Putting this together, there is a close cognitive relationship between Perceiver thought and Mercy thought, because Perceiver thought learns facts by finding connections between Mercy experiences. If Perceiver thought becomes emotionally driven by the TMN of a general theory, then Perceiver thought will find that Mercy identity starts to follow. Looking at this personally, what began as trying to understand the mind turned into a personal journey of following Jesus.

Verse 20 then refers to a specific aspect of personally following truth: “the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, ‘Lord, who is the one who betrays You?’” Verse 20 could have referred to the disciple John in many different ways, but it specifically refers to John as the disciple who finds out who will betray Jesus. Looking at this cognitively, the Perceiver person is naturally aware of hypocrisy, which is a mismatch between the facts that come from the words that a person says and the facts that come from observing what a person does. When Perceiver thought follows incarnation, then Perceiver thought will become especially aware of hypocrisy in the area of following incarnation. In other words, Perceiver thought will become aware at a gut level of what it means to betray Jesus. And so Peter says to Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man?” I am not suggesting that Peter is asking if John will betray Jesus, but rather that Peter is asking Jesus about the aspect of following him personally that is aware of betraying incarnation.

Jesus responds by telling Peter not to get distracted: “Jesus said to him, ‘If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!’” (v.22). Looking at this cognitively, when Perceiver thought follows incarnation at this transformed level, then the hypocrisy and betrayal detector will be continually flashing ‘Red Alert!’: “Doesn’t God care about all the people who are betraying Jesus? When will God do something about all this apostasy? Is God asleep?” The temptation will be for Perceiver thought to lash out in judgment, or turn into a cynic and conclude that God does not care. But one needs to continue following incarnation while allowing the betrayal detector to continue flashing ‘Red Alert’.

Verse 23 warns that one may conclude from this that the situation will never change and that this feeling of ‘following Jesus amidst a context of people who betray Jesus’ will continue endlessly. “Therefore this saying went out among the brethren that that disciple would not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, ‘If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?’” In other words, the situation will eventually change, and the betrayal detector will eventually stop flashing. The important thing is not to get emotionally snared by feelings of devotion and betrayal in Mercy thought, but rather to allow these feelings to continue existing and permit incarnation to deal with them.

Verse 24 could be interpreted as the apostle John assuring the reader that he is telling the truth: “This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and wrote these things, and we know that his testimony is true.” But a deeper meaning emerges if one views this statement in the context of the preceding verses. Perceiver thought has gone through a rebirth that makes it possible to go beyond preaching absolute verbal truth to using universal truth to extend a Teacher understanding of God. When one breaks through to this new level of thinking, then one will feel very deeply that others who still think at the level of absolute truth are betraying incarnation. This Mercy feeling needs to be transformed. Instead of viewing ‘the disciple whom God loves’ as the one who knows who will betray Jesus, this disciple needs to be viewed as someone ‘who is testifying to these things’. Instead of feeling how hypocritical others are compared to me who is faithfully following Jesus, I need to feel what it is like to follow Jesus in truth. Using an analogy, instead of learning how to detect counterfeit money, I need to gain the experience of dealing with real money.

For instance, looking back in retrospect, I can see that much of my research has been guided by deciding not to repeat the three denials of Peter. First, my fundamental assumption is that all of Christianity can be placed within the theoretical framework of a rational understanding. This contradicts Peter’s first denial. Second, I have taken decades to extend this rational understanding by looking for universal facts that cross various contexts. This contradicts Peter’s second denial. Third, I have been attempting to show that there is no area where truth does not rule, and that rational understanding can be extended even to core aspects of Christianity, such as the biblical account of the trial, death, and resurrection of Jesus. This contradicts Peter’s third denial. Every theologian that I have read so far would ultimately disagree with the path that I have chosen. Thus, it is tempting to regard these theologians as betrayers of Jesus, especially when this feeling of betrayal continues for decades and intensifies over time. But I have discovered something else growing inside within Mercy thought that is more powerful than this feeling of betraying Jesus, which is the feeling that one can actually live in the new, testify to the new, write about the new, and know in Perceiver thought that this is truth and not falsehood.

Verse 25 is typically interpreted as hyperbole, but I suggest that the original Greek makes sense from a cognitive perspective: “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.” The two Greek words translated ‘in detail’, actually mean ‘one by one, successively, all in succession’. Thus, John is not talking about writing in detail, but rather about describing the sequence of events. Going further, the word ‘world’ is cosmos, which refers to the mindset that one acquires from living in a physical body in the physical world (defined in 1 John 2:16 as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the vaunting of biological life), while the word contain means ‘have room for, receive, contain’. Finally, I have mentioned that a book is a physical example of a general Teacher theory.

We have seen throughout this essay that humans think in terms of place and experience while the kingdom of heaven is based in behavior and sequence. John is not saying that all of the actions of Jesus cannot be written down in a book. Rather, he is saying that if one did write down all of these actions, then the resulting books would not fit within the cosmos. Saying this more clearly, if one took all of the actions of Jesus, viewed them as sequences, and translated these sequences into written words, then the resulting general Teacher theories would not fit within a materialistic, hedonistic mindset.

The word ‘book’ is used twice in the Gospel of John. The previous occurrence was in John 20:30, where John said that Jesus performed many other signs which are not written in this book. John 20:31 explains that John wrote his book ‘so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God’. Using cognitive language, John wanted to move from Jesus-the-man in Mercy thought to Jesus-the-God in Teacher thought. John 21 begins with Simon Peter, which means that verbal truth has become dominant. John 21 then describes the process by which Perceiver thought becomes transformed from absolute truth to universal truth. This transformation will turn the single book described in John 20:30 into the many books mentioned in John 21:25.

Saying this another way, the technical thinking of Contributor thought is naturally limited to some restricted context or specialization. Perceiver thought can extend technical thought by finding connections with other fields. But Perceiver thought will only do this if it is reborn as described in John 21. (This is described in 1 Peter.) For instance, theologians state that God is infinite and that Jesus Christ is the Word of God made flesh. However, this is invariably stated as a verbal truth that has no connection with reality. But the very nature of the entire physical universe reflects this concept of the Word of God being made flesh, because one can study the physical universe either by observing the ‘flesh’ of natural physical processes, or by manipulating the divine ‘word’ of mathematical equations. This similarity became apparent to me when I examined how the mind forms a concept of incarnation, compared this with how the mind functions when performing scientific thought, and then realized that the same kind of thinking is being used in both contexts. This type of connecting makes it possible to expand beyond a book to books.

But the resulting books will no longer fit within a materialistic mindset. For instance, mental symmetry began as a theory of the human thought, but developing this theory required gaining the ability to compare one kind of thought within other, which explains the name ‘theory of mental symmetry’. These connections make it possible to view the angelic world as a mirror image of physical reality, and the spiritual world as an externalization of internal mental networks. Going further, the book of Hebrews appears to describe the transition from matter-over-mind to mind-over-matter. The mental practice that I got internally exploring connections between different kinds of thought have made it possible for me to think rationally about what it would be like to live within the angelic realm, the spiritual realm, and mind-over-matter. The end result is a set of book-length essays that do not fit into a materialistic mindset. Using the language of John, there is no place within the cosmos for these books. Similarly, a person whose mindset is ‘of this world’ will also have no place within his worldview for such books and will naturally conclude that verse 25 is merely poetic exaggeration.

One final point. Our discussion of John 21 may have given the impression that this chapter applies primarily to the present time. I suggest that this is not the case. Instead, I think that the present time is only a partial fulfillment of John 21 and that a more complete fulfillment will happen in the future within mind-over-matter. On the one hand, John 21 does not make any mention of natural law, science, or physical reality. On the other hand, because the physical universe currently functions independently, it is possible to sidestep the three questions that Jesus asks Peter and retreat to a juxtaposition of objective materialistic rational thought and subjective irrational mysticism. This describes the path that Western civilization is following. Instead of making the transition from absolute to universal truth, society is rejecting all truth in favor of juxtaposing materialism with mysticism. However, if the same combination of elements described in the beginning of John 21 were to re-emerge within mind-over-matter, society would then have no choice but to face Peter’s three questions, because there would be no physical reality to fall back upon.

Looking at this another way, the cosmos is only mentioned once in John 20-21, in the very last verse. The cosmos describes the kind of thinking that emerges from matter-over-mind. A mindset of the cosmos has no place for the type of books that are needed to reverse the three denials of Peter. Therefore, even though John 21 applies quite well to current society, we probably will not respond in a positive fashion because the cosmos of matter-over-mind will cause us to instinctively reject the answers. However, when these same factors reappear in the future under mind-over-matter, then society will have no choice but to respond in a positive manner because there will no longer be any cosmos to cause people to instinctively reject the answer; there will then be a place for the books because the cosmos itself will be fading away.

That may sound rather depressing, but there is one possible alternative. Looking at this personally, I have done my best to reverse Peter’s three denials, but I have found that it is only possible to go part of the way within current matter-over-mind, because any attempt to follow God totally in an integrated manner with universal truth will eventually hit the facts of hard, cold reality. Saying this more bluntly, one can only follow a Jesus of personal salvation partially when one is trapped in a physical body that refuses to get saved but rather insists upon getting older and more decrepit.

One can respond to this discrepancy in one of two ways. One option is to view the current dispensation as a betrayal of Jesus—a message that preaches total salvation while delivering a juxtaposition of cognitive transformation and physical damnation. Or one can choose to live in the new and believe that God will reward those who diligently seek him by making it possible to live according to books that this cosmos cannot contain. Theologians treat verse 25 as poetic exaggeration. For me it has become a matter of life-and-death that verse 25 describes potential reality and not exaggeration. My experience so far is that God seems to answer my prayers when I need an answer badly enough. And if verse 25 describes potential reality for me, maybe it will describe potential reality for others as well.