MAN AND THE ORIGIN OF EVIL
By Winkie Pratney
|This diagram represents, in a very limited way, the unique being of MAN.|
The Bible also ascribes to the soul blessing (Ps. 103:1, 2, 22, 35, etc., 146:1; Gen. 27:4), waiting ability (Ps. 33:20; 62:1,5; 130:5,6); rest (Ps. 116:7; Matt. 11:29); preservation (Ps. 86:2; 97:10; 121:7; 25:20); restoration (Ps. 23:3; 35:17; 41:4;147:3; Jer. 30 17; 3:22); and of course ability to be saved or redeemed (Ps. 6:4; 17:13; 19:7; 22:20; 33:I9; 34:22; 35:3; 49:8,15; 69:18; 71:23; 72:13,14; 116:4; 119:81; 2 Sam. 4:9).
Scripture shows man can make his own choices and is responsible for them: Gen. 3:11 Deut. 11:26-28; 27:1;10, 26; 28:1-2; 28:15, 45-48, 58; 30:15-20; Josh. 24:15; 24:20-24; I Sam. 7:3 8:7; 1 Kings 18:21; Isa. 1:19-20; 66:3-4; Jer. 18:7-10; 21:8; 36:3, 7; Ezek. 5:11; 20:7-8; Matt. 23:37, Lk. 10:42; 19:14; Jn. 1:11; 3:36; 5:40; 7:17; Acts 7:51; Rom. 6:16-18; Heb. 11:25; 1 Jn. 2:17.
God has entrusted man with the SAME ability of free choice that He Himself has. The great importance of this cannot be stressed too much. It is this freedom that makes man "moral".
Scripture distinguishes between the HUMAN spirit and the HOLY Spirit. Man is not just the puppet of the pull of his flesh and the tug of the Spirit of Cod. God has given of His own Being to man, to form a life-link from His Creation to Himself, the Creator. This spirit, formed WITHIN MAN (Zech. 12:1-- yatsar--to mold into form) though a distinct entity from the Holy Spirit, is a God-born faculty that connects us with the spiritual world, and returns to the Creator at death. (Rom. 8:16; Eccl. 12:7; Lk. 23:46) The Holy Spirit takes up His home in the human spirit when a man is converted to Christ; without God, a human spirit can become the habitation of demonic forces. The human spirit is NOT merely the "animating factor" of the soul and body. The Bible uses both soul and spirit to describe any INVISIBLE power. or work, which is at times translated "wind" or "breath"; but in the following scriptures they cannot be used to translate "pneuma" or "spirit": Mk. 2:8; 8:12; Lk. 1:47;10:21; Jn. 4:23; 11:33; 13:21; Acts 18:5; Rom. l:9; 8:6; 1 Cor. 2:11; I Cor. 5:3, 5;14:14;14:15;14:32; Heb. 12:23. Man's spirit has this function of:
Before conversion, the spirit of man is cut off from God and often seems to function no differently from his soul, since it is completely controlled and directed by the soul. (Gen. 41:8; Judg. 8:3; (DBY) Prov. 14:29 17:22; Isa. 29:24; 65:14; Dan.5:20; etc.) God's way is for direct the soul, while itself under the direction of the Holy Spirit of God. But it is not the spirit of man that is the center of morality; his spirit is again simply a tool to put him in touch with the spiritual or supernatural world, and has no morality in itself.
Neither are emotions or feelings moral in themselves. Some have confused feeling for an object with the actual choice of that object, making the two equivalent; to feel like it is to do it. Man has however. not only the ability but the God-given responsibility sometimes to make a choice in direct opposition to his feelings, when to gratify such desires would run contrary to the law of God reason and conscience. It can simply be shown that there is no single feeling that cannot be applied in either a right or wrong situation. The desire or "feeling love" for any object of gratification, whether it be of food, sleep, sex, stimulation, exercise, or of pleasure, power, money, worship, philanthropy, patriotism or religion has NO MORALITY in itself. Any man who is controlled by one or more of the above feelings has no right to call himself "good" because the "feeling" is usually associated with good. There are no intrinsic "goo'' feelings in the Bible; all desires are to be measured in relation to the control of the Spirit of God over the man's choices. It is even possible to "love" God with the feelings and have no morality or goodness at all! (Isa. 58:1-2; Ezek. 33:32; Rom. 7:22) Emotion is amoral.
Center Of Morality - The Heart Of Man
Many factors INFLUENCE the choice of the will, but these only serve as OCCASIONS, or opportunities for a finally sell-originated decision. These pressures do not CREATE the choice but only provide the mind and feelings with influences on which the will must make a decision. The BODY gives man influences from the material world around him, it may be affected by pain or pleasure, and is inherited from parents containing the seeds of physical weakness, sharpened desires or appetites in certain areas, and age death. It is thus PHYSICALLY depraved, where depravity is a failure to conform to original laws of life. The body we inherit has material failure, directly traceable to the sin of our first parents, but this is not sin itself. This failure of physical renewal and health is the result of sin (ours or our parents) and is a strong pressure on the will to surrender. Ps. 103:15; Ps. 103:16, Matt. 26:41, Rom 6:19, 8.3, 8.23, 2 Cor. 4:11; 5:2-4; 12: 7; Gal. 4:13-14; Phil. 3:21.
The HEART, or inner moral choice of man, determines his moral character before God. It is the SUPREME CHOICE of a man's life, and can be fixed on serving either God or self. Deut. 5:29; 8:2; I Sam. 12:20, 24; 16:7; 1 Kings 8:61; 9:4; 2 Kings 20:3 I Chron. 28:9; 29:9; 2 Chron. l9:9; Ps. 7:9-10; 26:2; 32:10-11; 36:9-10; 101:1-5; 119:7; 125:4, i39:23, Prov. 4:23; 17:3; 21:2; Jer. 17:9-10; Dan. 1:8; Matt. 6:21 (21-24); 11:28-30; 12:33-35- 15:7-9; Lk. 8:15; 16:14-15 Acts 2:46-47; 4:32; Rom. 6:17, I Cor. 4:5; 2 Cor. 9:7; Eph. 6:5, 1 Thess. 2:4; I Th. 3:11-13; Heb. 13:9;4:12;13; Rev. 2:23. Our supreme choice determines our ultimate motive, for good or bad .
It is primarily this ability that sets Man as distinct from the rest of his Maker's creation. He has the power to CREATE CHOICE, to respond to the surrounding influences of his great Creator and to originate his own actions. In this he is distinct from the physical universe with its fixed laws of science, and the animal kingdom with its force laws of instinct.
All actions of the will are not of equal importance, but all are related. The vast majority of daily choices a man makes are based on a few major sub-choices of life, and these are in turn based on the supreme choice for which a man lives. This can be seen in the following diagram:
|What I am doing now as part of my daily tasks.|| |
Resultant or executive choices to further choices below.
|What I am doing now as part of my daily tasks.|
|Daily tasks, dress, eat, etc...
Which I do to build my career, marriage, home.
Daily patterns of living, done by habit. These are everyday choices.
|Daily tasks, dress, eat, etc...
Which I do to build my career, marriage, home.
|Career, marriage, home...
In order to serve the Lord Jesus better.
Means to further the ultimate choice. These may be any major choice in life.
|Career, marriage, home...
In order to serve my self better.
|GOD is the supreme choice in your life.|| |
(Heart Of Man) Only one supreme choice can be made. Either to serve God or self.
|SELF is the supreme choice in your life.|
To discover the origin of morality, we cannot stop at the "What?" of immediate choices, nor at the "How" of routine choices and not even at the "Why?" of the basic sub-choices of man. We must see where God sees, and He looks upon the SUPREME CHOICE of our lives: "Who?" "WHO?" are we living our lives ultimately FOR? When we run out of "Why?" questions, we will come to the real reason for which any man lives. It is this final choice that determines the morality of man. Just like his marvelous Maker, man has been given the mysterious element of self-decision, beyond which there are NO reasons for his choice. Thus a man may use his reason, his emotions and his intuition in collecting data on which to base his decision, but the final choice will flow out of his own being, with no other directive other than his own self-decision. Man is, in the final analysis, an un-programmed being; it is this element that sets him in the image of his Creator, and makes him a responsible being.
This creative act of choice can only function in one direction at a time. The will cannot choose partially to decide and partially not to decide at the same time. The will may be likened to an on-off switch, but not to a rheostat! Man cannot choose in a half-right and half-wrong manner at the same time. The Bible shows moral character cannot be mixed: In or out of God's life: Eph. 4:18; 2Pet. 1:4,1 Jn. 5:12; Jn. 16:3; 17:3;Jn. 8:44; Matt.6:32; Jas. 4:2 4:4; 2:23; Col. 2:13; Rom. 8:6; Rev. 3.17; 1Tim. 6:6; Lk. 9:24;1 Cor. 10:20; 1 Jn. 1:3; In moral darkness or light: 1 Jn. 1:5; Matt. 6:22-23;1 Jn.; 1:6-7; 2 Cor. 6:14; Jn. 8:12; Jn. 3:19; Eph. 5:8; Bad or good: Matt. 7:15-20, Matt. 12:33-35, In. 3:20-21; 2 Cor.- 6:14; Heb. 3:12--Lk. 8:15; Jas. 3:11-12, Obeying or disobeying God: Matt. 7:21-23;1 Jn. 2:15-17; Rom. 6:16-18; Eph. 2:3; 1 Pet. 1:14; 2 Thess. 1:8; Heb. 5:9; 1 Tim 1:9; Jn. 3:20-21; Rom. 2:8; 1 Pet. 1:22; Living for time or eternity: 2 Cor. 4:18; Matt. 6:19-21; Matt. 6:24; Col. 3:2; 1 Jn. 2:15; Rom. 12:2; 2 Tim. 3:2; 1 Pet. 1:15, Rom. 8:6, Rom. 8:13, 2 Tim. 3:4;1 Cor. 2:14-15; 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 4:22-24, Rebellious or repentant: Rom. 2:4; Rom. 2:5; Eph. 4:32; Acts 7:51; Heb. 12:9; Jas. 4:10, 2 Tim. 3:8; 2 Pet. 3:9: 2 Tim. 4:4; Matt. 11:15; 2 Thess. 2:10; 1 Thess. 2:13; Jas.. 4:6; Matt. 7:15; Jn. 10:4; 1 Pet. 2:25, 1 Thess. 1:9, Lk. 18:11-13; Foolish or wise in life: Matt. 7:24-27; Matt. 25:1-12; Rom. 1:14; Tit. 3:3; Matt. 24:45; 2 Thess. 3:2; Rom. 12:1; Eph. 5:15; Defiled or pure inside: 1 Jn. 1:8-9; Tit. 1:15; 2 Pet. 2:20; 1 Pet. 2:20; 1 Pet 1:22; 1 Cor. 6:11; Rev. 22:11; In bondage or delivered from sin by God's grace: Jn. 8:34, 36; Rom. 6:17-22; In faith or unbelief: Jn. 3:36: Mark 9:22-23; Matt. 8:8, 10, 13; Mark 11:23; Matt 28:17; Rom. 4:20; Heb. 11:6; Jas. 1:6. This very extensive study of comparative passages shows man always acts as a unity in decisions. He is in only ONE of two ultimate options: serving God supremely or serving himself.
Effect Of A Wrong Choice On the Personality
Abuse of the personality by persistent gratification of feelings contrary to intelligent and self-disciplined action under God can develop all kinds of unnatural cravings of feeling. The Bible uses the word "desire" to describe this, commonly translated "lust". It uses:
The Bible uses the word "flesh" to describe man's concentration on gratifying his feelings. It covers a very broad spectrum of will-Slavery to the senses by choices Since the word "Soul" is to describe man's relationships with his world and fellowmen, stressing his own experiences and reactions in these relationships, the natural man is the man who has let these govern his life It is common for a sinner to gratify one set of desires by denying himself another: the athlete may deny himself pleasures for applause and fame; the scholar may deny himself food and friendship for his doctorate and distinction; the businessman may deny himself luxuries for the power and privileges of wealth, and so on. "Flesh" describes the whole orbit of slavery to feelings and emotional perversion. It is used in five different ways in Scripture, usually describing abuse of human relationships.
In summary, every moral being has four facilities: emotion, reason, free will and ability to direct correct data to the will. Man begins to retreat from reality; a habit begins to form right from wrong, or moral light. In man, the first three facilities are those of his soul, and the essential control of his whole personality is resident in the will. The fourth faculty of distinguishing between that which is valuable and that which is not comes direct from the Infinite-Personal Spirit of God, Who alone may judge the ultimate worth of any particular choice and through the intuition and conscience pass this judgment on to man. This judgment may be suppressed by philosophical reasonings from a darkened mind and a defiled conscience of default, begins to use his mind to argue away his responsibility. (Rom. 2:14-15) This long as a man remains moral at all. (Rom. 1:18-20; Acts. 17:28; Col. 2:8; 2 Tim. 4:4) Man perceives moral light through his spirit, and also information of the material world through his five senses, operating in his physical body. He is under obligation to choose that course of action which will be most valuable in itself, in obedience to the command "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. ..and your neighbor as yourself. " He is to obey this law of love--to unselfishly choose the highest good of God and His Universe, according to their perceived true, relative values. When a man disobeys this law of love, he commits sin.
Because man is truly FREE, he is held to be responsible for his choices. He knows he is free to choose. He also must have the desire to exercise his freedom in independent action. Every man who is free wants his own way. As long as he has his freedom, he must feel this. But no man can be safely allowed to have his own way, without taking into account the general good of God and the whole Universe, or this freedom would degenerate into anarchy and turn the universe into Hell. Man cannot know what is ultimately best, for he is finite. For this reason, he needs government. More specifically, man needs someone who DOES know the best course to take in any choice and who can direct him to this choice GOD has the right to be such a Governor, because He is best qualified for the task. For man to live independently from his Creator by making selfish choices simply to gratify his own being without due regard to the happiness of his wonderful Maker is thus the essence of sin. Man s free moral choices must be governed by the direction and wisdom of God. If any moral being uses the power of creative choice to bring into being a volition contrary to God s law THAT BEING CREATES SIN. Sin is therefore a creative but destructive selfish choice that originates out of the very being of any moral agent. This is the basic reason for the origin of evil in the Universe.
Such an explanation solves the age-old problem of how Satan, a perfect being, sinned. The Devil simply made a self-originated selfish choice in direct opposition to all he knew was right and valuable. The angels who sinned followed his example. Our first parents Adam and Eve did the same. We have all, in the language of Scripture, "turned every one to HIS OWN WAY" and rejected the loving direction of God. Every sinner is original in his sin, for this reason he is held responsible for his life and destiny, and not shown as "helpless".
Such an abuse of responsible action sears man s spiritual perception, and his mind is hurt in its often with terrifying power. He becomes the willing slave to his desires and, being accused by his is true of all men, regardless of race, tongue or creed. Even when strong moral light is shed on such a mind, the slavery of sin is so strong that no mere human efforts can break its iron chains that a man has woven over his own will. No one better describes the struggle between a morally enlightened mind and burned-in "Law" or habit of sin, than the Apostle Paul, who cried in total defeat--"Who shall deliver me from this body of death?" (Rom. 7:24) Only Christ Jesus can love men away from the origin of evil!