Everyone today seems to believe that Man is basically a good creature at heart. That there is good in the worst of us – even if there is bad in the best of us. Most people believe that if Satan weren’t around to influence and “make us bad” we would revert to our natural good state.
Many health philosophers go so far as to say that when man is healthy, crime disappears. To quote them “if the body is pure, the mind will be pure also”. But Man is not good. Not a bit of Him is good. That is, if you believe God. But what does He know!
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful ABOVE ALL THINGS, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
God said that Man’s heart – that is, YOUR heart – is deceitful. But not just deceitful! Deceitful above ALL THINGS! God says that NOTHING in the universe is more deceitful, and desperately wicked, than YOUR HEART!
Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
God says that your mind is God’s ENEMY! That your mind isn’t subject to His laws, which literally define “Good”, and furthermore that your mind CANNOT be subject to that law, and therefore CANNOT be good!
Matthew 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
Now that’s a far cry from “cleanse the body, cleanse the mind”. You’re not evil because you’re sick. You’re not evil because you’re under stress, and you’re not evil because Satan is coercing you to sin. You’re evil… because you’re evil.
But while that condemns you, it condemns you so harshly that people are tempted to say “Oh, well, yeah, I guess I just can’t HELP being evil!” – But God has heard that answer before!
Romans 9:19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
If God made man Evil, then who has gone against what He said? We’re just doing what God made us to do, what does He have to gripe about?? But God has NOT made man Evil!
Ecclesiastes 7:29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man UPRIGHT; …
See, man WAS good once. God made Him upright – Just like Job was.
Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and UPRIGHT, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
Man was created in the same state that Job was – PERFECT, and UPRIGHT. But you might say, “well doesn’t that mean Man is basically good?” And on the contrary – it proves the exact opposite!
Ecclesiastes 7:29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; BUT THEY HAVE SOUGHT OUT MANY INVENTIONS.
Man, despite having a PERFECT start in life, SOUGHT OUT EVIL! Because Man’s nature PREFERRED to do Evil! Because as I quoted up front, Man’s heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked!
See, God created Man perfect. He didn’t make man Evil, He made Man pure. That’s why He stood back in the Garden after creating him and said “it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). This included man and everything else He’d made on Earth in those six days.
But God made man ABLE to sin. God gave man the free moral agency to CHOOSE to do right, or to do wrong. If God had made man incapable of sinning, He would have had to destroy the very thing He wanted most to create – independently righteous, incorruptible beings, with free will who would CHOOSE to obey God.
But man chose not to do so, of his own free will. This is what makes man basically evil.
Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
But man didn’t just decide one day “I want to lie and steal and kill my fellow man”! Oh no – it was nothing like that. Man was just selfish. Take a newborn child for example; without any other impetus from the outside world, it’s basic state is selfish. It cries because it wants ITS own way! It wants fed! It wants held! It wants a blanket! It quite literally COULD NOT CARE LESS ABOUT YOU!
It doesn’t care if you’re tired! IT doesn’t care if you are hungry, IT IS HUNGRY, AND THAT COMES FIRST! Now that isn’t – specifically – evil. At least, not in the sense that we think of evil, as targeted sadism. It isn’t specifically malicious towards its parents. It just doesn’t care! It will, metaphorically, drive over any obstacle to get what it wants, when it wants it – and it doesn’t care how many people it has to drive over and leave suffering and dying along the way.
As it grows, it is forced by society to curb some of that selfishness. The law of the jungle prevails and the fact that its brothers and sisters are bigger than it is forces its carnal, selfish nature into subjection. But not subject to any higher law, just subject to people who are bigger than it is – waiting for the day when IT is bigger than they are so that it can enforce ITS WILL and get ITS OWN WAY!
I’m sorry, but that’s all we humans are at heart. Like I said, it isn’t malicious to begin with, it’s just selfish. But it BECOMES malicious just as soon as someone stands in our way! THEY become the enemy blocking us from our desire and THEY must be removed by whatever means necessary!
And THAT IS EVIL!
If you have ever thought about yourself or any other being before, you CANNOT have missed that behavior. Man is not basically good, and if left to himself he would not continually get better, constantly “evolving upward” into a better and better person. Rather, he would follow the law of entropy, which says that all things tend towards a state of decay; from order to chaos, never spontaneously from chaos to order. Never from Evil to Good, only from Good to Evil.
So where does that leave us?
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
If there is good in the world, and good in any of us, then it came from God. If not directly by inspiration, then indirectly through a society which He has periodically touched.
But what about the aforementioned people who claim purify the body to purify the mind? Well, it does. Sort of. Remember, evil is just a outpouring of selfishness – if we don’t get our way, we will break the commandments to get our way. Regardless of the needs of anyone or anything else.
And so a sick, tired, poor person is often going to be very angry, hateful, vengeful, and evil. Simply because they’re not getting their way, so they will be more inclined to kill, steal, and pillage to get it. And even if you for some reason WANT to do so, it can be HARD to think or care about anyone else when you’re hurting, hungry, and destitute.
On the other hand, when everything is going your way, who WOULDN’T be easygoing? Evil stems from selfishness, specifically with what a selfish person does to get their own way and fulfill their own lusts. If those lusts are satisfied, we don’t need to be Evil!
But that doesn’t mean that man is basically good. It just means that if you don’t cross him, he probably won’t kill you. Unless he is bored and finds that entertaining. So yes – a pure mind will tend towards a more pure body, but only because life is easier for people who are healthier, more prosperous, and have their wants fulfilled.
If the Emperor Nero was entertained by Christians being used as torches in his garden, and if that kept him amused so he was in a cheerful mood… would that make him “good”? If all of his selfish impulses were satisfied so that he was not, at that second, going to hurt anyone else… does that make him good? Of course not. And so a healthy, happy person who doesn’t currently need to steal or hurt to satisfy their lusts is not “good”. They’re just “full”. When they’re hungry again, you may be certain they will be evil again. Because that is Man’s basic state.
So how can we change that?
Romans 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
After telling us that our carnal nature is God’s mortal enemy, Paul tells us how to kill it. Because make no mistake, this is a battle to the death. Our carnal nature and God’s nature are polar opposites. They cannot be reconciled, and they cannot compromise. Your basic state is evil, all factors being equal, and if you don’t realize that… you know nothing about yourself at all. Or about God, for that matter.
Your body does what your spirit tells it to do. Now you have two options; your spirit, no matter how good you think it is, leads to death. So you can either kill that spirit, or try to kill God’s spirit. One must die. Our first instinct, once we meet it, is to kill God’s spirit. Because our way sounds better to us!
“Not lying?? But sometimes lying can be a GOOD thing! What does God know, I like MY way better!”
But since the wages of sin is death, that way – the way that, let’s face it, sounds good to all of us (who can’t come up with an example of a “good lie”??)… leads to death. Just like Proverbs said…
Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
And that way – people making THAT choice – is what causes all suffering, all pain, all death in the world.
James 4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
Those LUSTS that war in your members are the SELFISHNESS and GREED and ENVY and all those other nasty traits you don’t want people to know about, that are running around inside you, warring against God’s law! And if you removed God from the equation, those lusts would WIN! They don’t need Satan’s help, they would win by themselves!
So the only way to counteract that is to kill them. Mortify the works of the flesh – the deeds of the body – whatever you want to call it, KILL anything that doesn’t do what God says. And once it’s all dead, and the only thing left is what wasn’t a part of us to begin with… THEN we’ll be basically good.
1 John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
And no man ever born has yet done that. And so no man ever born was “basically good”. And no amount of yoga or meditation or health can restore Man to a state where he never was to begin with. Only killing the man who is evil and building in him a new soul from the ground up, with God’s nature as a pattern, can ever make man good.