of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
—I Corinthians 2:14
Another translation says, "because they are spiritually understood." If you understood the things of God and spiritual things with your mind, the natural man could understand them. But you don't. You discern them, or understand them, with your spirit.
The natural man is the unspiritual physical man. His wisdom is earthly; earthly means natural. James describes it:
14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, butis earthly, sensual, devilish (demonic).
The natural man is motivated by demons. He is ruled by Satan. Oh no, I'm not saying he is demon possessed. You see, all those who have never been born-again have Satan as their god and father. They are in the kingdom of darkness and they are more or less ruled by Satan and demons. Remember Ephesians 6:12 says, "rulers of the darkness of this world." So, the natural man is a Satan-ruled man.
7 Because the carnal mind (other translations call it "the mind of the flesh") is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. (This natural man cannot please God.)
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.
The natural man is the man that is motivated by the flesh; a physical man, not a spiritual man.
(I found out years ago it helped me in my studies in Romans, every place it says "flesh" to substitute the word "senses" or "physical senses." After all, the only way the flesh has any expression is through its physical senses. It will clear up a lot of thinking for you if you will do this.)Knowledge Contrasted: Revelation—Natural Human
The natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God for he cannot know them. You see, all the knowledge the natural man has is received through his five senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. His mind is actually governed by his senses. I call this natural human knowledge. Others call it sense knowledge. That's a good term. The way it comes is through the five senses. Sense knowledge, natural human knowledge, is all that the natural man possesses.
But born-again believers have a knowledge that is above the flesh, above the senses. It could rightly be called revelation knowledge. This knowledge is revealed to us in the Word of God. It's above the natural. The Bible brings you a revelation, or reveals knowledge to you, which your physical senses couldn't grasp. You couldn't understand it even after revelation comes. But thank God, it's there.
It is deeply important that every believer notice the contrast between natural human knowledge, or sense knowledge, and revelation knowledge.
Many modern theologians are not revelation knowledge men, but sense knowledge men. It's all in their minds. Most of the leaders of the church world assaved, they are not spiritually developed. Many aren't even saved, but just natural men. They are governed by their physical senses. That leads them to repudiate revelation knowledge, or to give it second place in their lives.
The natural man cannot understand "the things of the Spirit of God." They are foolishness to him. The Bible is of the Spirit of God. It is not natural human knowledge. Holy men of old wrote as they were moved by the Spirit of God.
"Brother Hagin, this is refreshing," someone said. "I am going to school and my professor said concerning the Bible, 'If you can't understand it and reason it out, forget it.' "
Can you understand and reason out God? Well then, forget Him, according to this professor's (?) advice. Can you understand and reason out with your little peanut brain Jesus, the Son of God? The virgin birth? (This professor had said, "The virgin birth is not reasonable. It didn't happen.") Can you understand and reason out the Holy Spirit? Can you understand and reason out divine healing? Can you understand and reason out the supernatural? No!
"Well then," he is saying, "if it doesn't make sense, forget it." This just proves what I am saying. He was motivated by the senses.You can always locate these people. "Now common sense will tell you...." I know, but where did you ever read in the Bible that we walk by common sense? You didn't. It says that we walk by faith and not by sight (II Corinthians 5:7). It says, "...as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Romans 8:14).
Natural man cannot understand the Bible because it is of the Spirit of God. It is in a realm he doesn't know anything about. Someone said, "What you're not up on, you're down on." The reason a lot of folks are down on a lot of things is, they're not up on them. If a man is a natural man and hasn't been born-again, he's not up on spiritual things. He doesn't know anything about them, so he is down on them.