What is the Meaning of Life
Destruction of the Evil Nature
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WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? Program 124 Destruction of the Evil Nature by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking on this program about the double nature that most of us have experienced in our present lives. That is, we have a good side to our personalities, but we seem to have this evil side that seems to rise from time to time. We like to think that it’s from time to time, except that as the years pass by it seems to become more frequent.
You may say, “Oh, no. I’m getting more control of it!” We get clever at repressing it. Repression is, of course, unconscious suppression. We get better at repressing it, but from time to time, it bursts out and we find our temper and anger worse than ever it was before. Some of us find our unclean thoughts of lust stronger than we ever experienced before. Some of us find our sarcasm and our caustic comments more vicious than we ever knew them to be before.
So, that evil nature is something that, even though it appears to be tamed a little more, it’s simply repressed a little more. But it still creates tremendous strain in us. It still makes us feel that we’re really hypocrites underneath. What we have been saying is that that double nature comes from two attitudes to the world. One attitude is that there is no Creator; there is no God. So we are on our own here and all we can do is look out for ourselves in the best way possible and get all that we need by the strength of our own will.
The other attitude is that there is a Creator, someone who has made us and someone who really cares about us and is a dear Father and knows you by name. We can trust Him. We don’t need to depend just on people, or circumstances, or things for our security, and our significance and our happiness. We can actually depend on Him and our friendship with Him. That brings, of course, a great relaxation and a great rest, a great trust. Of course, it produces all the good motivations that form the good side of our nature.
What we have said, of course, is that understanding these two explanations doesn’t enable us to live always by the good side of our natures. Indeed, it seems the more we understand about the evil side the stronger the evil side becomes. The reason for that is that this evil nature has been bred into the human race since the beginning of time. In other words, for generations many of us men and women have lived as if there is no Creator, as if we’re utterly dependent on ourselves for getting whatever food, shelter and clothing that we need.
So, we have bred into our children and they have bred into their children and into their children’s children, until it comes right down to you a tremendously insecure neurosis that lives as if it is a fiddler on the roof, that lives as if there is nobody to look out for me but myself and that lives in constant fear that the other guy will get the drop on you.
So, we have built into us that fearful anxiety, that angst, that makes us fear some imminent disaster is about to fall upon us. Even when we seem to have plenty of money in the bank account, this evil, selfish nature inside us causes us to wonder if we have enough in order to meet some imaginary problem that may come up. So, we find ourselves incapable of controlling this evil, selfish nature. That’s because it has been bred into us through generations.
You remember that we have often talked about good breeding and about certain people’s breeding. We’ve talked about a good strain in a certain family that creates certain attitudes to life. Well, whether that can be
defended psychologically all the way or not, the fact theologically and philosophically is that there is bred into us certain tendencies. They’re tendencies. They are not certainly evil in themselves. They are strong tendencies, which we, in fact, have to submit our wills to and align our wills with, in order to practice in our own life. But they are there very strongly.
In other words, we find it easier to be selfish than unselfish, even though we all keep saying we should all be unselfish. We find it easier to be selfish than unselfish. We find it easier to lose our temper, rather than keep our temper — even though we all argue that we should keep our temper. We find it easier to be impatient than to be patient, even though we all admire patience.
We find it so often easier to be unloving than to be loving, even though we all praise lovingkindness as something we ought to possess. It’s because this sinful, or self-nature, this evil nature inside of us is older than the race itself. It certainly is as old as the race itself. It is something that is much older than you yourself. That is why you find it so impossible to do anything with it.
What we have said is, that’s why the only one that can do anything about it is the Maker Himself. It is so radical and so inherent a flaw in the human race that the only one who can fix it is the one who made the human race. It’s like a manufacturing process that develops a certain flaw in it, and that flaw continues to grow and increase little bit by little bit until eventually it is so built into every product that the only thing you can do with the product is to recall it (bring it back to the factory), destroy it completely and remake it — without the flaw.
That’s what the Creator of the universe has done. That’s what all this talk about Jesus and his death, and Calvary, and the cross, and all that stuff that we talk about as the Gospel, that’s why all that took place. The Creator of the universe foresaw that you yourself would develop that flaw, that you would develop within you a nature that you could not control. He foresaw that, from before the beginning of the world He foresaw that. He recalled you and put you into His Son Jesus and destroyed you there.
His son bore all the pain of God’s wrath destroying that old self-nature of yours. He recreated you as He raised His Son from being dead. You, actually, this moment, are able to live this moment, if you choose, in the unselfish, pure and clean nature that God has given you in His Son. That is a fact! That is a cosmic fact.
In other words, the big issue is not so much Jesus’ death in 29 A.D. That is just the temporal expression in space and time of the miraculous event that took place in timeless eternity before the world was. There’s no problem, of course, in that when you consider that the infinite mind of the Creator is able to see time as one great, present moment. That’s why you were really remade again before you ever appeared on this earth. Let’s talk a little more tomorrow about that amazing fact.