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Christian Duality: Our Two Natures

Updated on January 27, 2018
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Among his varied other writing interests, Richard Parr aspires to creating interesting and inspiring stories about life.

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For what our human nature wants is opposed to what the Spirit wants, and what the Spirit wants is opposed to what our human nature wants. These two are enemies...

— Galatians 5:17

There Exists a Duality of Nature in Man

A key theme presented early in the bible is man's divided nature. Yet it is not unique to Christianity. Almost every religion, culture and philosophy acknowledges that there exists a duality of nature in man. Where they differ is what this duality represents. Is it the wholeness of man, or the brokenness? Does it promote balance, or bring chaos?

Christianity defines those opposing natures as that which trusts God on the one side, and that which trusts elsewhere on the other.

From a position of intimate unity, Christian scripture portrays man's descent into disharmony with his creator and the perpetual results of that fall.

And it all began with a choice.

...in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die...

— God - Genesis 2:17

Like a child coming to realise that trust and obedience of parents is a choice, not a compulsion, so Adam & Eve came to realise the same of God. Choice was always there. To believe God, or not. To trust God's words as truth, or not. To elevate God's will as supreme, or something else.

And so, in a singular instance of decision, the bible presents our earliest parents choosing something else. And the concussions of that single choice have reverberated through every human life since.

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The Fall of Man in a Nutshell

The Bible tells that shortly after creation, the first man and woman were forbidden but one thing by God, don't eat from this tree. The couple, tempted to question God's command, disobey. Their sin dramatically alters mankind, tainting their connection with God.

...Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and so death death spread to all men, because all sin...

— Romans 5:12

The premise is, of course, that to not believe God at his word is to accept delusion. Not unlike the child mesmerised by captivating flames, who refuses to believe the parents fire warning and gets burnt.

So too, failure to take hold of what God says is to embrace harm. And the bible says ever since Adam, man has suffered the same failure.

An Important Note About Adult Adam And Eve: Comparing Adam and Eve to culpable erring children can be misleading. Adam & Eve were not simple children. They had the full capacity of adult reasoning and an uniquely intimate connection with God. The analogy rather serves to emphasise the child-like foolishness of trusting our wisdom over God's.

...You will not surely die...You will be like God...

— Satan - Genesis 3:4

Adam & Eve Believed in God, They Just Failed to Believe God

But why?

Because they allowed the seed of a lie to germinate in their hearts.

A lie remains inert until given the warmth of a man's attentions. Once given, it sprouts, blooms and fruits; dispersing its seed to the soil of other hearts also.

The fruit that it bares? Spiritual Death.

Fallen from alignment with God's truth, oriented now to believing lies, mankind was trapped ...but there was hope.

Ironically, It Takes Truth to Create a Lie

Somewhat ironically, it takes truth to create a lie. Just as it takes a commandment to create a sin. As the apostle Paul wrote, 'For I would not have known it was wrong to covet unless the law had said, "You shall not covet." (Rom 7:9; Jn 15:22)

But does that mean God creates lies & makes people sin? No.

It is illogical for God to will to create that which is in opposition to his will. In creating beings with free-will, the potential for evil came into existence. Not because it was created, but because God has a will. An analogy might be a parent and child. The parent has a will for the child, the child chooses to ignore the will of the parent. We would agree that the child has been naughty. Did the parent create their naughtiness?

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Orientation is not a choice

Whether personal tastes, personality traits or sexual preference, we hear much today regarding orientation. Many believe we are who we are largely as the result of influences outside our control.

The bible also speaks of this

We are oriented, it says, to trusting our carnal (fallen) nature as being a reliable guide. This orientation, however, is not the result or dictate of Gods will, but rather our earliest ancestors choice to ignore that will.

It is illogical for God to will to create that which is in opposition to his will. In creating beings with free-will, the potential for evil came into existence. Not because it was created, but because God has a will. An analogy might be a parent and child. The parent has a will for the child, the child chooses to ignore the will of the parent. We would agree that the child has been naughty. Did the parent create their naughtiness?

Interestingly, though the bible confirms we are without choice in regards our inclination to trust lies, it does not excuse us when we do so. Rather it calls us to acknowledge the weakness, and overcome it through consciously (by choice) putting our trust in God's word.

Orientation, then, does not determine right and wrong, it just determines natural preference. And if natural preference cannot be trusted to guide us, we need to look outside ourselves for verification.

God made me this way...

This may shock some, but God didn't create you. You were procreated by your parents. As such, you have a heritage influenced as much by fallen ancestry as by divine blueprint.

Amazingly, it would seem God created a realm in which we have the power to contravene his will; though not without consequence. A place in which our input can work in accord with his to good, or against it to evil. However, creations design means that the consequences of such evil will play out.

See also: Christian Synergy

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.

— Proverbs 14:12

Where Do Good And Evil Come From

© 2013 Richard Parr

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    • moonfroth profile image

      Clark Cook 3 years ago from Rural BC (Canada) & N of Puerto Vallarta (Mexico)

      Long ago ("In a galaxy far away. . ."??) when I was studying Milton and Donne and Augustine and Aquinas and had semi=permanent scabs on my forehead from banging my head on the concrete walls of Christian theology, I came upon an article by a literary critic whose last name was Lovejoy. The article, which i remember these 40-some years later, was called, THE PARADOX OF THE FORTUNATE FALL.. The gist of his argument was simple enough: if Eve had NOT gone against the will of god, and if Adam had NOT suffered from Uxoriousness (great word, that one!), then the two of them would have worshipped, worshipped, worshipped for a long time, ascended to heaven, sat at god's side, worshipping............and that would have been that. No, I am NOT being irreverent or disrespectful--that was the PLAN. Had those two behaved themselves, we would have had no stories, no Bible, no Jesus Christ..........NO CHRISTIANITY. It isn't called Godianity, after the Top Gun--it's called after the Son who came down here because Adam and Eve SINNED. So a whole lot of folks should thank their lucky stars that this wonderful story began in Sin (hence the paradox), because without THAT, there'd be no Christianity at all. A Fortunate Fall, indeed!

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 3 years ago

      Hi parrster.

      Satisfying to the point that at the end of the article I was looking for 'to be continued...'

      Inexperienced as Adam and Eve were, they had first hand option talking to their 'only Father' and to enjoy approved things to do and 'grow up ,' doing right things right, an available access of the estrange 'children' back to the Creator. It has been said later " righteous shall live by faith" / trust, thus reestablish the original relationship and a dominion now granted by the redemptive work of Jesus the Christ.

      ..." we need to look outside ourselves..." there is the Holy Spirit , the gift of the Father to those who ask for...

      Voted very Interesting.

      Peace with us.

    • parrster profile image
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      Richard Parr 4 years ago from Australia

      @MsDora ~ A well worded comment. So true, our most diligent efforts to study and understand must still bow to the mysteries we can not know from this side of eternity.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Good presentation! The origin of sin and sinfulness continues to be a mystery. Your explanations make us think, but it is difficult to settle on an answer.

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      MOONFROTH 4 years ago

      OOPS!

      And best Christmas wishes to you and yours.

    • parrster profile image
      Author

      Richard Parr 4 years ago from Australia

      @moonfroth ~ went to check on your hub and realised I'd already read and commented on it.

      All the best over the xmas period.

    • parrster profile image
      Author

      Richard Parr 4 years ago from Australia

      Hey moonfroth. I'll aim to get to your hub ASAP, sounds intriguing. However, I do have a number of other things on the boil at present -including those pre-Xmas demands- so if I'm a bit delayed in responding please don't take offence.

    • moonfroth profile image

      Clark Cook 4 years ago from Rural BC (Canada) & N of Puerto Vallarta (Mexico)

      PARRSTER--I wrote a Hub awhile back--maybe a couple of years ago--called "God Created Evil--the Irreparable Flaw in Christian Thought" My argument is as simple-minded as the title is pretentious--if the Christian God is omnipotent, omniscient, and--by definition--incapable of error, he is then responsible for Evil, which he also created. That Adam and Eve would "sin" was known by God BEFORE he imposed that one injunction on them. Any action by any Being that goes against the will of God--whether it's Eve's fondness for apples or Satan's pride--is, ipso facto, EVIL. The usual escape clause is good ol' Free Will--Man had the choice to go for God or go for Evil.......but since God alredy knows the outcoe of the game beore it begins, what kind of a "choice" is that? If yo've got a few minutes, check out

      https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/God-Creat...

      Thanks Parrster. Look forward to your response.

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