Posts Tagged Orthodox

What are “First Thoughts”?

First Thoughts appeal to our intuitive conscience and have the aire of genuine authority.  First Thoughts reveal Christ, have a sense of permanence, dispel and diminish our sense of unbelief, and sit well in and satisfy our conscience.  First Thoughts, as opposed to Afterthoughts, are relatively few in number and invariably address life and conduct from the standpoint of godliness.  First Thoughts do not address subjects which the human mind can figure out for itself.  First Thoughts break into our consciousness to teach us universal and timeless divine knowledge.  For example, this quote from Job 28 contains First Thoughts; “And he said to man, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding”.  First Thoughts are best when there is one step between premise and conclusion.  First Thoughts reflect the profound yet simple nature of Jesus and His teaching. If a thought conforms to our intuitive sense that “God is love” and “God is good and doeth good”, it is likely a First Thought.

Excerpts from the book “First Thoughts

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“First Thoughts” of God; “Afterthoughts” of man


Understanding the ideas of the First thoughts of God and the Afterthoughts of man provides a baseline from which we can assess current Christian theology, understand how and why it got where it is, look at alternatives and perhaps figure out what an optimal model might look like.

I have been searching for the theology that animated the spirit-driven, miracle working primitive Christian Church for 40 years.  In that quest, I have read dozens of books ranging from early Christian writings, the New Testament itself, as well as associated commentaries, textual criticisms, and books on theology.  In the course of reading a rather obscure 19th century book on theology[1], I came across the idea of the First Thoughts of God and the Afterthoughts of man from its author, 19th century English cleric and theologian, John B. Heard.    While discussing the starkly contrasting paths of “the way of life” and the “way of death” contained in the early Church writing called the Didaché (Gr. didaxή, “teaching”), Heard observed:

“A lifetime has taught me the same sharp contrast between two theologies, the one setting out with the first thoughts of God, the other with man’s interpretation of these thoughts which I describe as second thoughts or afterthoughts.  The first thoughts, which are God’s thoughts, all address themselves to the conscience – they enter in, and they lodge there.”

His insight struck a chord of truth and intrigued me.  It made increasing sense to me the more I thought about it and tested his ideas mentally and spiritually.


[1] Alexandrian and Carthaginian Theology Contrasted by Rev. John B. Heard, T.& T. Clark, Edinburgh, 1893

Excerpts from the book “First Thoughts

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