ST. PAUL'S NEW DEFINITION
OF KNOWLEDGE

   The Apostolic Church at the time of Saint Paul not only went beyond the previous philosophical thought of classical Greece, but also developed a highly sophisticated psychological science, which is little understood even today.  In the following pages, we give glimpses of some of the key insights of that era, and how they relate to modern thought.

¢ One of these reveals how Saint Paul's definition of ˜a God Who can be known' transcends Western theory of knowledge.

¢ A second provides a basis for teaching control of attention in many people.

¢ A third provides a means of establishing integrated activity of the adult human psyche.

¢ Together, these can point to a new way of thinking in the West.

   Even to approach the idea that we might come to know God, we need to discover our ˜other mind', the non-sensory, indescribable inner perception that can reveal little-known knowledge found within the enigmatic complexity of our own psyche. Through that, we need to learn with it what only it can disclose to us of the Creator of all that we experience. 

   Today, it is almost entirely forgotten that In the earliest days of the Church in Greece, Saint Paul clearly took the philosophy of the famous pre-Christian philosophers a step forward.  He was the first of the 'Fathers of the Church' to form a true science of the psyche “ an ˜inner science' which at the same time described the nature of the psyche and the part that the psyche played in the pursuit of salvation.

   In the Christian world, the parts of our Christian psychology which did not begin with the Gospel could be said to have begun with Saint Paul.  He introduced to the Early Church two different kinds of knowledge, human and divine, which could be known by different means.

   The first, which everyone has, is mainly known through the senses, reason, and through written descriptions. About the second, the divine energies experienced by spiritually-developed people can be considered as divine ˜energeia', that intangible action by which - so the early saints tell us - the 'unknowable God' is known.  This includes indescribable knowledge gained through equally indescribable illuminations.

   Saint Paul described this in Acts 18:22-31, when he spoke about ˜knowledge of an unknown God'.)  To him, opinion, which seems to be knowledge but frequently arises from unsupported thought, was unable to transmit the truths of spiritual life.

   Yet today's intellectually-based theology draws heavily on opinion, and this is why the ancient therapeutic inner-science can only be rediscovered by combining retranslation of the original with personal experiment.  This, Saint Paul refers to as Theoria, knowledge obtained from outside the created world.  This teaching by Paul was the first resolution  found in European history that answered the uncertainties of the greatest of the Greek philosophers, including Plato and Aristotle.   But this discovery has been ignored by Western philosophy.

   Each of these 'ways of knowing' must be learned beside the other, in much the same way that technical skills are learned today in apprenticeships that combine theory and practice.

   In those early days of the Church, though, the special skills were largely therapeutic, and the traces they left were in the human psyche, and in its inmost heart or kardia. 

   Their manuscripts dealt with how Christians might come closer to God, and their actions usually made less disturbance in the physical world.