The Law of the Psychical and the Spiritual
1 Corinthians 15:46
However, that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

It is in the history of the individual man that we find our best illustration of St. Paul's law. As babes and sucklings, our life is animal and instinctive, we are a mere complex of appetites — appetite for food, for warmth, for sleep: the mind is dormant. Soon however we begin to take notice, and to respond to notice; to imitate sounds; to pry into the nature of the things around us and their relation to us. Then we learn to name them, to speak about them, to like and dislike them. Intellect awakens; we master our first abstractions; we learn to put words for things. Our schooling commences; perception, imagination, memory, understanding are developed: all the intellectual facets of the soul are polished: and still we carry into this new stage of our life many of the animal and instinctive qualities of the earlier stage. After, and in much blended with, the intellectual comes the passionate era. We rise into that fine frenzy in which we live in another heart, in which we prefer, or fancy we prefer, another's good to our own. With love comes the long train — desire, envy, jealousy, hatred of rivals, indifference to former affections, ambition to shine and to please. It is the passionate stage of our existence. In and through all these earlier stages there may be the rudiments of spiritual life. We may have formed some conception of God, of His goodness; we may have felt some love, some trust in Him. But, as a rule, the proper life of the spirit is kindred within us, or becomes regnant within us, only after we have passed through the intellectual and passionate stages of our course. The spiritual is not first in us, but the psychical. Nay, however early we may begin to think of God and to love Him, it is obvious that we must have learned to think before we can think of God. that we must have learned to love before we can love God.

(S. Cox, D.D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

WEB: However that which is spiritual isn't first, but that which is natural, then that which is spiritual.

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