Notes for my writing

This blog is made up of notes on the gospel as found in the only true and living church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This includes notes that are either excerpts from or ideas for books I either have in draft or may yet write.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The nature of man

Usually when we hear someone talk about the nature of man, they treat man as a being in isolation. It is as if he stands outside Eden, having been cast out, and then decides what to do.

Many think of the nature of man as being the principle thing that determines whether men will do good or evil. In fact, there has been much wasted effort on the question of whether man is naturally good, or naturally evil. Those who want to argue that man is naturally good like to point to the good works of great men. Those who want to argue that man is naturally evil like to point to the dark depths that wicked men have fallen into.

But the picture of man as a being in isolation is false. It gives us a wrong picture of the nature of man. 

Man is not a being in isolation, and we will always get a wrong picture of him if that is how we think of him.

Man is a being that is constantly, and frequently quite powerfully, enticed by two forces that stand in direct opposition to each other. The more fully a man gives way to God the more capable he becomes to do good works, the more clearly he can sense the light of Christ, or hear the gift of the holy ghost, and the more enduring his joy becomes. The more a man gives way to the adversary, the more power the adversary has to influence and pervert his behavior, to direct him in path that will destroy himself and those around him, and the more the adversary brings him to misery the depths of which we would never have imagined.

Any description of "human nature" that neglects these two facts will not get very much right.

God pulls mankind toward him through the light of Christ, and a man that repents and is baptized into his true church, will be given the Holy Ghost to direct that man to God.

When we ask about the nature of man in isolation, we are asking about that which never was and never will be. It is like asking what matter is like without positive and negatively charged particles, and without gravity. We can never get a true picture of a being in isolation from the forces that define that being.

No comments:

Post a Comment