“This series attempts to answer the questions ‘why are we alive?’, is there meaning and purpose to our lives, the problem of sin and selfishness, where our security comes from. The 10 minute talks will establish our uniqueness as God’s children by arguing for God’s existence, order and design in the universe, historicity of the Bible, Jesus’ divinity and resurrection. This is the groundwork for all of reality which ultimately enables us to find true happiness, security and redemption through God’s individual love for each of us.”
Login to Keep Track of your View History -
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Analogy -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Analogy
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? That’s the question which we are discussing on this program at this time each
day. You know we’ve gotten as far as looking at some of the phenomena of our own personal lives to see if the
explanation of the meaning of life that we have been discussing these past months matches with those
phenomena. You can see that that is some kind of confirmation that we are on the right track. If, in fact,
your nose is made for breathing and you can find air to breathe, that is kind of a confirmation of the purpose
of your nose, or, if your nose is made for smelling, and you find that there are nice aromas around, that are
worth smelling, in a way that confirms the purpose of your nose.
Similarly, I suppose, if your nose is able to hold up glasses and you find glasses that they can hold up, then
to some extent that is some kind of confirmation of that ancillary purpose of your nose. On the whole, the
philosophical concept is valid, that “if something is true, then it will work”.
Now, the pragmatic concept, that “if it works it’s true”, is not, of course, correct. But if a thing is true,
then it is reasonable to believe that it will meet the needs and answer some of the problems that you face in
your everyday life. That’s the point that we have reached. We have been discussing for some time now, the
particular explanation of reality and the explanation of the meaning of our lives and the purpose of our lives
that has come down to us from that remarkable individual that lived at the beginning of our era (that is, in
the first century), the man that we know as Jesus.
We’ve been discussing that for some months now. It’s time, I think, to look at our own personal lives and see
if His explanation of reality matches the phenomena or the experiences we have in our everyday life. Of
course, one of the phenomena that we mentioned yesterday, was the Jekyll and Hyde syndrome.
I don’t think that there is one of us here in life that does not know immediately the reality of the Jekyll
and Hyde syndrome. Even if you don’t know it by that terminology, you certainly know the reality of it in your
own experience: Jekyll and Hyde. You remember, the names come from a novel that was written by the same man as
gave us the wonderful story that we all read when we were children called “Treasure Island”.
You remember it’s that romantic story of pirates and doubloons and Long John Silver and Pegleg, one-eyed sea
captains and revenue men and buried treasure. It was written by Robert Louis Stevenson who was a Scotsman who
you probably recall spent most of his life on the desert island of Samoa, in the Pacific. Stevenson wrote many
famous novels that a lot of us read at school.
One of them, in particular, is an outstanding classic because it deals, as Sir Arthur Quiller Couch of
Cambridge said, with a perennial problem or a perennial issue in ordinary, everyday life and it deals with it
in memorable and vivid terms. That novel that has become such a classic is called “The Strange Case of Dr.
Jekyll and Mr Hyde.” It is a classic, not only because it deals with the subject in memorable and vivid terms,
but because it deals with an issue or an experience in human life that is perennial and is universal.
In other words, all of us have experienced something of what Stevenson talks about in that novel. You might
want, just for a moment, to recall the main outline of the story. Stevenson describes how one damp, cold
night, in a certain area of London, when there was a heavy fog obscuring the view of everyone so that it was
difficult to see too clearly two steps in front of you, Stevenson says he noticed a young girl wandering along
a pavement in this particular district.
Then he noticed that she was progressing towards a corner of the street and he was able to see the road that
came from the other direction that converged at that corner. Along that particular pavement or sidewalk, there
was rushing a hunchbacked kind of creature, that looked nevertheless vigorous and strong and very forceful in
It wasn’t long before Stevenson realized that as the two were heading towards that same corner there was going
to be a collision unless one of them changed course. But neither of them did. However, that was not what
surprised him. What surprised him was that when the hunchbacked character came into collision with the little
girl, instead of immediately lifting her up and dusting her off and asking her if she was alright, he lifted
his walking stick and began to beat mercilessly upon her head and body until he had beaten her to the ground.
Of course, at that very moment, with her cries, a crowd of people gathered and began to accuse him of trying
to murder the girl, whereupon he disappeared through the door of a certain building nearby and reappeared with
a check that he presented to the girl’s parents. He said, “Here is a hundred pounds to compensate you for any
hurt or pain that I have caused your daughter.”
The amazing surprise was that when they read the name at the bottom of the check that name was a name that
they knew well, the name of a well-known and highly respected philanthropist and friend of the poor and the
needy called Dr. Jekyll. None of them in the crowd, of course, could imagine how such a foul and degraded
animal could have any relationship with such a moral and upright man as Jekyll, unless blackmail of some kind
Then you will remember how the novel proceeds. In the ensuing months, this weathered, hunchbacked figure
became increasingly known on the streets of London for his brutal acts of assault on those people who wander
the poorer areas of the city late at night. Because he had more brushes with the law, he was forced to reveal
his identity and became known as Mr. Hyde.
Now, at the very end of the novel the mystery of Mr. Hyde’s identity is explained by the respected Dr. Jekyll,
of all people, in a letter just before he committed suicide. In this letter he outlined the life that he lived
in public, the life that everyone knew, the life of a respected, and kindly, elderly doctor who was a
philanthropist, who helped the poor, who treated those who could not afford to pay for medical treatment, who
was involved in helping the downcast, who attended church services and meetings to improve the social state of
the lower classes.
In every way he was a man who was filled with the heart of human kindness. He then goes on to explain that
along with those noble feelings of unselfishness and the desire to help suffering humanity, he discovered deep
within himself another set of feelings completely, the very opposite of these good motives and good impulses.
From within at times there arose passions of lust and hatred, of anger and resentment, of self-gratification
and temper that he could not control. He says he wasn’t really a hypocrite, because a hypocrite is one who
pretends to be what he isn’t. Dr. Jekyll said that he really was both these characters. He really was the
elderly, kind doctor, who organized church groups to help the poor and needy, but he also was really the
impatient, restless, licentious creature that resented others and lived only for his own satisfaction.
How did these two natures continue to exist in this one human being? Let’s talk about that tomorrow.
Our Inward Evil Nature -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Our Inward Evil Nature
by Ernest O’Neill
We’ve been talking for some months now about the meaning of life. Why you are here. Why I am here. What’s the
point of it all? What’s the purpose of this existence that we are involved in? We have discussed one
explanation of that reality. Now what we are doing is looking at some of the phenomena or some of the
experiences of our everyday lives to see if the explanation of reality that we have been discussing matches
In other words, does the explanation of reality that we are looking at meet some of the needs and problems
that we have in our everyday life. Because, of course, if there is a need that is answered by the explanation,
then it confirms that that explanation may well be the true one. Whereas, in fact, if the explanation of
reality or the meaning or purpose of life does not match the experiences and the situations that you and I
meet in our everyday lives, then it is questionable if that is reality.
So, pragmatism believes that whatever works is true, and certainly that seems to many of us an invalid
philosophy. Nevertheless, it does seem correct that if a thing is true, then it will also work. When things do
not work, normally you tackle the theory and you see that the theory is invalid. Rather than to say that the
theory is correct, but that the way it is being operated is wrong.
So, that is what we are doing. We are looking at some of the phenomena in our everyday life to match it up
with the explanation of reality that we have been studying and discussing and talking about together over
these months. One of the phenomena that we have just mentioned yesterday is the Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome. You
remember, we have been discussing the novel written by Robert Louis Stevenson where that Jekyll and Hyde
Syndrome is described so graphically.
We talked yesterday about how in the beginning of that novel Stevenson describes a callous, cruel hunchbacked
creature called Hyde, who begins to roam the streets of a certain area of London late at night, doing all
kinds of cruel and dastardly and violent deeds, and how he strangely enough connected up with a character that
is the very opposite of himself, a character called Dr. Jekyll.
On one occasion, when he was caught in the very act of mistreating a young girl, the crowd demanded
compensation. He produced check for one hundred pounds signed by a Dr. Jekyll, who was known throughout that
area of London as a philanthropic, kindly, elderly doctor who was in every way the opposite of Hyde’s callous,
cruel personality. As we begin to follow the story, we find that towards the end of the novel Dr. Jekyll
He left a letter explaining the reason for his suicide. In it, he first of all talked about himself as the
public knew him, a kindly, generous, elderly doctor, who spent a great deal of his time looking after the poor
and the needy. Then he goes on to explain that along with these noble feelings of unselfishness and desire to
help suffering humanity, he discovered deep within himself another set of feelings that were completely
different, the very opposite of these good motives and impulses.
Deep from within, at times, there rose up passions of lust and hatred, of anger and resentment, of
self-gratification and temper that he could not control. He says he wasn’t really a hypocrite, because a
hypocrite is one who pretends to be what he isn’t. Dr. Jekyll said he really was both these characters. He
really was the elderly, kindly doctor, who organized church groups to help the poor and needy, but he also was
really the impatient, restless, licentious creature that resented others and lived only for his own
Then he goes on to tell that as the years passed, the war between these two natures became unbearable and
began to so wear down the respectable Dr. Jekyll, that even his good actions and kind deeds were threatened by
the sheer weariness and effort of holding down the evil part of his nature. He found that, increasingly, as he
wanted to help people, and to love them and to show kindliness to them, there rose up within him these evil
thoughts and these unclean motives and these violent desires that he could not in any way express and yet
which he had difficulty holding down as the years passed.
At last he found the solution. In his laboratory, he devised a drug that was designed to separate the two
parts of his personality, and to give to each a physical body through which it could fully express itself,
without being held back or restrained by the other part. In other words, he theorized to himself that if he
could only give this ugly creature part of me a physical expression, then it can express itself freely. And so
in my normal times I’ll be able to continue to express my kindly, loving nature through my own physical body.
Thus, one night he drank the potion, the drug that he had made. Looking into the mirror, he saw the mild,
kindly features of the elderly Dr. Jekyll change into the young, brutal, cruel features and body of the
hateful and hated Mr. Hyde. You, of course, can guess the rest of the story, even if you have never read it,
because the story is true to human nature.
Anger, of course, does not diminish or disappear as you express it. That is a naive lie that some counselors
try to make us believe. In fact, whatever you express grows in strength. That’s what happened. Mr. Hyde grew
in strength and stature and shrewdness. Dr. Jekyll became more and more addicted to the drug as his alter ego
demanded release to roam the streets of London, first one night a week.
So the Mr. Hyde within him was satisfied to express himself just one night a week. Then twice a week. Then
three times. Then every night, until a hideous night arrived which Jekyll describes in his suicide note. One
evening at home, before he had even thought of taking the drug at all, suddenly the features of Dr. Jekyll
began to fade and the hideous, contorted features of Mr. Hyde began to appear.
He realized that he had now lost control and could no longer keep his good self uppermost, but was now at the
mercy of his evil nature, which could take over whenever it wished. At that point, the murdering and the
violence of his night life made it impossible for Dr. Jekyll to retain any separation between himself and Mr.
Hyde. Of course, you can see what happened.
The evil part of him got so used to expressing itself through a physical personality and appearance that was
appropriate, that it grew in strength increasingly as the years passed until the point where it became his
main personality and took over completely from the kindly, generous Dr. Jekyll that he had once been. That’s,
of course, the basic problem of human nature.
It’s put in different words in part of that old book which is called The Bible. It’s found in a piece near the
end of the Bible which was written to people in Rome near the end of the first century. (Romans, Chapter 7,
verse 15). It’s the expression of what Jekyll experienced. It says, “I do not understand my own actions. For I
do not do what I want, but I do the very thing that I hate.” That’s what Jekyll found.
I think you will probably agree, if you’re like me and the rest of the 5 billion of us on the earth. It’s
probably what you experienced, too. “I do not understand my own actions, for I do not do what I want, but I do
the very thing I hate.” In so many of us the Dr. Jekyll is being suppressed by the Mr. Hyde. Let’s talk a
little more about that tomorrow.
Mankind’s Evil Nature -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Mankind’s Evil Nature
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking on this program these days about one of the phenomena that all of us experience in our own
personal lives. It’s the Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome. I don’t know if you know immediately what that is, but it
takes its name from the famous novel written by Robert Louis Stevenson, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr
You may remember how Dr. Jekyll was a respected, loving, well-known doctor in a certain area of London who was
famous for his philanthropic treatment of the poor and the needy. Yet there appeared on the streets of London
at night, when people would roam the streets who were most vulnerable to this kind of creature, a creature
called Mr. Hyde who became known for his murderous and violent treatment of strangers in the street.
Of course, you remember how he in some way became connected with a Dr. Jekyll through having presented a check
for 100 pounds as compensation to one of his victims. You may remember how we discussed the suicide note that
Dr. Jekyll left after he had committed suicide at the end of the novel. In it he described how he had those
generous and kindly feelings that everybody knew him for, but along with those he had within him cruel, angry
feelings of violence and greed and selfishness and lust and hatred that he could not control.
So he devised a drug, you remember, that was intended to give a physical expression that was appropriate to
those angry, callous, cruel feelings. He would take that drug, you remember, at the beginning once a week.
Then his features would assume those of the cruel and violent Mr. Hyde.
But of course, he became addicted to the drug and as the years passed Mr. Hyde took over more and more of his
life until gradually, without any need of the drug at all, Mr. Hyde’s cruel and violent features would take
over from the kindly, elderly Dr. Jekyll’s. Hyde actually took control of the life completely so that Jekyll
had no more control of his own attitude or his own behavior.
What we have said is that most of us here have some experience of that in our own lives. Indeed, we mentioned,
you remember, a famous statement of that which you find actually in part of the Bible, towards the end of it,
in a book called Romans in Chapter 7:15. The words occur, “I do not understand my own actions, for I do not do
what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” That was exactly what Dr. Jekyll found.
If you’re like me, and many of the rest of us human beings, you’ve found that to be true in your own life. “I
do not do the good I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” In other words, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll
and Mr Hyde” has become a classic, partly because it describes a phenomenon that is universal in human nature.
The Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome is something that all of us know in our own everyday lives. We know the reality
of that conflict within.
We know that there are times when we want to be gentle with another person, and yet we find ourselves being
harsh and sarcastic. When we most want to be pure, we find lustful, licentious passions rising from hearts of
When we most want to be industrious and useful, we find ourselves overwhelmed with indolence and lethargy so
that our wills seem impotent to stem the tide of foulness and evil that seems to rise up from our hearts like
a flood tide. So all of us, I think, know the reality of that cry of, actually it was a man called Paul, who
said, “I do not do the good I want, but the evil I hate is what I do.”
Probably you’ve had the experience of going home at night, determined to give your wife, or your children, or
the person you live with, a beautiful experience of happiness and rest and relaxation. You determine that you
will be the best that you have ever been before. Then you find that your wife has not got the supper or the
tea or the dinner ready on time. Or, you find that the dog has got out and you have to go out and look for it.
Or, you find that your newspaper has been opened by somebody else and has been torn, and suddenly you become a
little irritable and as act follows act and word follows word, and you express your irritability and your wife
and your roommate or your friend responds in a certain way, you respond a little more harshly. Before you know
it, you’re in the middle of one of those disastrous evenings where the whole domestic unity has been split
apart and everybody goes to bed…fed up and insulted and tired of each other.
Most of us know the reality of that Mr. Hyde within us that comes out when it is least convenient for us.
What’s the answer to that? Suicide was the only answer for Dr. Jekyll. He and Hyde had become so entangled,
that the only way to get rid of one was to kill both. In a strange way, if you find no solution, something
like that will happen anyway. The evil part of you will finally have to be killed, or it will kill the good in
Though you still may appear somewhat good on the outside it’ll be a veneer. All your good will be shot through
with this old, evil creature that rises up in violence. So, in a sense, there has to be the destruction of one
or the other. In most of us, of course, as the years pass, there is. Gradually the evil part takes over more
and more. It just clothes itself in a more subtle form, so that we find ourselves doing good acts, but often
for evil motives or evil reasons.
We often find ourselves saying nice things to a person, but our attitude does not really mirror what we’re
saying to them. So many of us call ourselves hypocrites because we are what that word implies…someone who
looks like one thing on the outside and yet that is only a mask such as they wore in the old Greek dramas.
Inside is the real person. But really we’re not hypocrites, because we’re as really ourselves when we’re the
evil part as when we’re the good part.
It’s just that we like to think of ourselves better than we ought to think. So we like to pretend to ourselves
that the evil part is, of course, not really us. But it is us. How do you get rid of that? Drugs? Shock
treatment? Well, you know, they’re as temporary and as enslaving as Jekyll’s original drug. They merely deal
with the symptoms, but they leave the underlying case untouched — as most of us found who tried to treat
ourselves, however mildly, with some kind of drug.
The power of positive thinking? Will that answer it? Self-discipline? Behavior modification? Most of us have
found that it’s like trying to tame a lion with cookies. It’s like trying to stop an overwhelming avalanche
with one shovel. It’s like trying to stem a tidal wave with a picket fence. The power and the force and the
complexity, and the depth of the evil nature that we find within us, is too powerful to be dealt with by such
tampering and tinkering.
So most of us find ourselves in the same position as Dr. Jekyll, except that we cannot find any answer or
solution to the problem. Of course, for most of us, it is a bewildering and a baffling problem. We wonder,
“Why does it occur?” “Why am I not, as Rex Harrison would sing, a most understanding man.” I seem in every way
to be civilized and sophisticated and kindly and understanding on the outside, and yet within me I find at
times this violent, ugly monster that I cannot control.
It’s just as Boswell said, who wrote the famous Life of Johnson…he said at times, “I can be sitting in
church, thinking the most holy thoughts and suddenly I can think of having a woman.” So most of us have had
that kind of experience…the experience of this apparent twin personality within us, this schizophrenia, this
ugly, cruel creature underneath that we cannot control. What is the explanation of that? Let’s discuss it a
little further tomorrow.
How do We Become Evil? -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
How Do We Become Evil?
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re discussing on this program these days the Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome. You probably know what that is in
your own experience, though you may not know it by that title. The title comes from Robert Louis Stevenson’s
novel, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. In the novel, you will remember, Stevenson describes the
life of a certain Dr. Jekyll who is well-known in a certain area of London as a kindly, generous
philanthropist who does all he can to help the poor and needy.
Inside his own heart and personality he discovers a different kind of creature exists. He discovers within
himself an attitude of lust and hatred and violence and selfishness that is utterly different than the Dr.
Jekyll that everybody knows about. You will remember how he decides to give real release to the ugly, cruel
part of his personality, so that he can relieve himself of the strain of holding it down and can therefore
have freedom and liberty to express the kindly Dr. Jekyll. He devises a drug that produces the kind of
physical appearance and experience and expression that is appropriate to this ugly, cruel part of his
character. This ugly, violent creature is known in that part of London as Mr. Hyde. He does, of course, all
kinds of violent deeds. His victims are in terror of his roaming the streets at night.
Then, you will remember that Dr. Jekyll eventually commits suicide, and describes how he eventually came to
possess this double personality. What we have been saying, of course, is that most of us know the reality of
that Jekyll and Hyde existence. The most respectable among us have experienced a dark side of our
personalities that probably Joseph Conrad is getting at in his novel, “The Heart of Darkness”.
Most of us have experienced a “heart of darkness” that even our closest friends and often our closest
relatives do not know. They experience part of it at times, when we lose our temper, or when we at times seem
to be out of character. But they don’t know the depths, and the strength and the force of that desire to do
evil at times.
You will remember that it was expressed by Boswell, who wrote the famous “Life of Johnson” in the 18th
century, and he said he would find himself sitting in church thinking most holy thoughts and suddenly it would
occur to him the idea of “having a woman” , as he says. Most of us have experienced within us an ugly, cruel
side of our personalities that seems to get utterly out of control.
Many of us have even entered into the extremes of the experience of Dr. Jekyll where we find that the unclean,
evil part of our personalities seems to take over completely from what we think of as the good and the normal
side of our personalities. Where does that come from? Because probably every one of the five billion of us on
this earth have experience of it.
Well, it does really come from the explanation of reality that we have been discussing now for some months.
You remember how we said that this man, Jesus, that lived in the first century explained to us that we were
created by the Maker of the Universe, who also is His own Father. We were made by the Creator of the universe
to love Him, and for Him to love. That’s why we were made! That’s why you were made!
You were made by the Creator of the universe to love Him and so that He could love you. That is the highest
experience that you and I are capable of. Loving! That’s why we were made. We were made, of course, capable of
love because we were given free wills. That is why the Creator of the universe gave us a free will, because
you cannot love unless you have a free will! You cannot love unless you are free to love or free not to love.
So He created us like Himself, in His own image, and with mind and emotions like He has, but He also gave us a
free will. Unless we had a free will, we wouldn’t be able to love. We would be just a bunch of robots that
loved because we were puppets and marionettes. So, He gave us a free will that enabled us to love Him or not
to love Him. But His intention was that we would live this life in a friendship with Himself.
In other words, that we would go through each day thinking of what He would like us to do, and trusting Him
for the ability and the strength to do it. In response to that, He, of course, would give us the love that a
Father would give His children. He would provide us with the food, shelter, and clothing that we needed as we
pursued the jobs and the occupations that He planned for us.
He would give us the sense of value and self-worth that comes from the Creator of the Universe knowing you
personally and from you knowing Him. He would provide the satisfaction and the happiness that a love
relationship with the one significant Other in the universe would provide. That was the plan that He had for
us. We were free, of course, to follow that plan or not to follow it. We decided, “Forget it! We’re not going
to depend on some invisible God. We’re going to get what we need from this world by our own power and our own
The amazing generosity which we find in Him is that He gave us the strength to do even that, even though it
wasn’t what He had planned. So, we determined as a race to concentrate on getting from the world itself the
kind of things that would have come naturally from His love for us.
We found that we did need to ensure ourselves of security, because after all, there were five billion of us on
the world’s surface, and there was only so much food for so many, so we had to ensure that we got our supply
of it. We began to be preoccupied with getting enough food for ourselves, getting enough shelter for
ourselves, the right kind of house, then trading it up to a different kind of house, and trading it up, so
that eventually we could have a vacation home as well.
Then we concentrated on getting enough clothing for ourselves, and that became a preoccupation with getting
not only clothing but with the right kind of clothing and, of course, getting the latest fashions so people
would not only see we’re well provided for as far as warmth and dry experience was concerned, but well
provided for as far as our reputation was concerned, because we had no sense of worth or self-esteem or value.
Once we gave up respecting Him, we lost then the sense of His love. We started to find a substitute for that
love in other people’s opinions and we gradually came under enslavement to the opinions of our peers and to
the praises and the criticisms of our colleagues. So we gradually changed from being a people that depended on
the love of the Creator of the Universe to people who depended, strangely enough, on the love of the world.
The love of the world of things that we use to try to establish our security, the love of people for an
opinion and a sense of self-worth to establish our sense of significance, which of course, we would have
received far better from the love of our Creator. And a sense of experience of happiness from circumstances
which we were meant to get, of course, from a love relationship with the one significant other in the
So we changed from being a people who depended on the love of the Maker of the Universe to people who depended
on the love of the world of things and people and circumstances. So right there is the basis for this Jekyll
and Hyde experience. Let’s talk about how it is worked out in our lives tomorrow.
Jekyll and Hyde Illustration -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Jekyll and Hyde Illustration
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking on this program each day about the meaning of life, what the purpose of life is, why you’re
alive. We have been talking about a possible explanation of that reality and we’re now trying to apply it to
our own experiences. And particularly to some of the baffling and bewildering experiences we have as human
beings. One of those is the Jekyll and Hyde syndrome.
We’ve been talking about how, you remember, Robert Louis Stevenson in his novel, called “The Strange Case of
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, describes in vivid detail the experience that Dr. Jekyll has of a growing, ugly,
unpleasant side of his nature that eventually begins to express itself under the influence of a drug which he
himself invents in the personality of Mr. Hyde. As Dr. Jekyll is a kindly, generous, philanthropic doctor
who is always ready to help the poor, so Mr. Hyde is the very opposite.
He is a selfish, violent, unkind and cruel creature that exists at first inside Dr. Jekyll’s own heart, in
secrecy, and then, through the influence of the drug, expresses himself outwardly in a physical manifestation
that is suitable to his inner feelings. What we have been saying is that that novel became a classic partly
because it deals with a perennial, universal problem all of us have.
There probably isn’t one of us that is listening today who doesn’t know of that heart of darkness within him
that lurks there with all kinds of lust and hatred, and selfishness, and pettiness that is never seen by our
friends on the outside or even by our dearest relatives. Yet it is there, inside. At times, when we are
determined to be kind and to be understanding and to be patient and to be quiet, we burst out in anger and
irritability and hostility.
We cannot understand why that is so, but it seems there is a lion within us that is ready to destroy the
things we so often labor ourselves to create. One writer put it this way, “There is something in mankind
that after he has built a beautiful, crystal palace, suddenly thinks, why don’t I kick the whole thing to
There seems to be within us a desire to hate and to torture alongside the desire to love and to be kind. You
know it in your own personal experience, probably. You know how often you have designed a beautiful evening
for those at home and determined to be on your very best behavior and then some little incident occurs that
sets you off. Before you know it, by irritability and bad temper, you have utterly destroyed the evening.
You could cut the atmosphere with a knife and everybody goes to bed in misery, and tired of each other and
hostile, more hostile. That’s what we mean by the Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome. Where does it come from? It
comes from the very nature of reality. Reality, you remember, we have shared is that there is a Creator of
this universe. There has to be, and there in fact is one who has an infinite mind, is intelligent beyond
anything you or I can describe, but also He has a loving heart.
And He is indeed the Father of that man Jesus of Nazareth that lived in the first century. That Creator made
you and me to live in a loving friendship with Him. He gave us free wills so that we could choose to do that
or we could reject it if we wished, because He knew that love was only possible if there was free will. You
could only love if you were free to love. Otherwise, you would be, in fact, a constrained and a controlled
So He gave us free will so that we were free to love Him and depend on Him or we were free to love the world
that is such a passing, material, transient thing, and to depend on it. Of course, we as a race have chosen to
depend on the world. We are without the love of our Creator and so we are without the sense of security that
that brings us. We’re without the love of our Creator, so of course we’re without the sense of value and self
worth that He alone can bestow on us by His love.
We feel just one of 5 billion others. Then we lack the happiness we would have had in friendship with an
infinite Person. So we endeavor all the time to try and get happiness for ourselves. So, in that experience of
reality, you can see there is already inherent the two personalities, or the two drives within us. There is
one part of us that really still yearns after what we were intended to be.
There is part of us that still wants the peace of Walden Pond, coupled of course with the excitement of “the
Arabian nights”. There is part of us that wants that combination of peace and dynamic excitement that can only
be found in the love relationship that we were planned to experience with the Creator of the universe. There
is part of us that yearns for that and yet there is part of us that tries to get that from pleasant
In other words, there’s part of us that yearns for the eternal sense of knowing and being known by an infinite
person like the Creator of the universe. Then there is part of us that tries to find a substitute for that in
the circumstances and the experiences through which we pass in this present world. So that begets in us the
Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome in regard to our happiness.
There is part of us that wants to loves our wives, to be faithful to our wives, and to have a meaningful and
real relationship with them, and to know them intimately, not only from a physical viewpoint, but from an
emotional and a mental and a spiritual standpoint.
There is part of us that wants to know them intimately and to experience, not only that sense of being totally
possessed and that sense of standing still that comes in a physical orgasm, but above all that sense of
standing still and of being known and being utterly possessed that comes with absolute trust in another
personality, absolute trust in another person and in their trust of you and in their love of you, and in the
sense of them fully and completely knowing you and yet still loving you.
There is part of us that yearns for that, because that is a shadow of the happiness that we are meant to
experience with our Creator. We are meant to be known by Him and to know Him and to know that He knows us
absolutely, loves us completely and trusts us completely. But, there is also a part of us that has started to
live the way the rest of mankind lives, trying to get a substitute for that happiness in the circumstances and
experiences through which we pass.
We’ve tried to substitute for the exhilaration that we would have from a completely being-known relationship
with another person, trying to substitute the exhilaration that we have there with the exhilaration that we
get from skiing down ski slopes at a very fast speed, riding a motorbike and rolling it into corners as fast
as we can, driving a car as fast as we can possibly can accelerate it from zero in the famous 10 seconds,
doing anything we can to get experiences that give us the exhilaration that we were meant to have in a
relationship with the Creator of the universe.
And so that Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome is built into the two ways that we can live life. The one way that we
were intended to live it, and the other way that we have, in fact, chosen to live it…trying to get from
circumstances, from the right set of circumstances, the happiness and exhilaration and peace that we were
meant to get from a relationship with the one significant other in the universe. Let’s talk a little more
tomorrow about why we have this Jekyll and Hyde experience.
Why Do We Do Evil? -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Why Do We Do Evil?
by Ernest O’Neill
We are talking about the meaning of life, and we are discussing at present the experiences which we have in
our own life that fit in with the explanation of the reality of life that we have been discussing over these
months. One of these experiences, of course, is known as the Jekyll and Hyde syndrome. It can easily be
illustrated if you think of some of the evenings you have experienced yourself.
You know the kind of thing. You are going home for supper or dinner or tea, either to a roommate or your
partner or your family. You buy flowers or ice cream because you think “I really love them and I want to make
them happy tonight.” You get home. Nobody is there. You have a cup of coffee, turn on the TV. Your tummy
rumbles. You nibble a potato chip. You have another cup of coffee. Your tummy rumbles again. Right alongside
the good desire to make them happy there rises another feeling, “What on earth is keeping them?!”
They arrive home at nine-thirty. They forgot to tell you they were going shopping. But by that time you are a
raving lunatic. You blast them with every error they have committed over the centuries. You end up telling
them how they have utterly spoiled your evening. As you stalk off to bed, your eye catches the flowers or the
ice cream with which you were going to give them a happy evening.
The details may vary, but all of us human beings find within us two strong urges that perpetually conflict
with each other: an urge to do good, to be unselfish and to love others. Opposite to that, an urge to be bad,
to be selfish, to love ourselves at the expense of others. There seem to be in us not one person, but two. One
is Dr. Jekyll, who wants to be kind and loving and giving. And the other is Mr. Hyde who wants to be cruel and
hate and get for himself.
The world, of course, is filled with books and techniques that try to lessen the conflict, or modify it enough
to live with it. There are all kinds of writers, both Christian and non-Christian, who try to show us how to
strengthen the good side of our temperaments so that the bad side will be virtually eliminated. But
“virtually” is the word.
Many of us have tried such tinkering and tampering and have discovered even the good side only holds down the
bad side as long as it wants. But even the good side seems shot through with weakness and evil. The two sides
of our personality seem inextricably mixed. They cannot be separated. It seems the only answer is to destroy
them both so you are sure you’ve got rid of the evil. Then you start again.
What is the explanation of this paradox that at the very moment I want to do good, I actually do evil? At the
moment I want to be patient, I am irritable. At the very moment you want to love, you hate. At the very moment
we want to keep our tempers, we lose our tempers. At the very moment I want to be pure, I’m impure. Well, the
truth is the generous urges within us, those desires to help another person and forget ourselves completely,
those come from the influence of what is left of God’s own heart inside us.
His plan was that we would live like Him and so He made us like Himself with many of the desires that He
Himself has. He made us with a desire to love Him and to trust Him. That is what your conscience is always
guiding you to, guiding you back to reality, back to the conviction that there is a God, there is somebody who
made this world. There is somebody that is looking after it and there is somebody that cares about you and
there is somebody that gave you life and heart, and blood circulation and all the other things you have,
because He loves you.
Your conscience is always clinging back to that and stretching towards that and saying, “That’s so!” Our
Creator Himself is extravagant in His generosity. Everywhere you look, you see it. Spring mornings, one bird,
then two, whole hallelujah choruses and orchestras of birds chirping and singing. That is what you hear when
you get up in the morning. Water? One lake? Two lakes? No, here, there, two thirds of the world’s surface is
covered with the stuff.
There’s enough salt in the water so that we can deluge the French coast with oil and that mighty ocean keeps
washing and washing until it is all cleaned up in a matter of 3 years. It is amazing … the generosity of the
love of this Creator who has covered hillsides with hordes and hordes of daffodils, not just with a few
daffodils. Colors? The ocean bed is full of colors never seen by human eyes. That is the kind of generosity He
has. That is the kind of generosity He has actually built into us.
That is the Dr. Jekyll part of us that keeps trying to get out. Our Maker is pure love. He made you unique.
There is nobody like you in the whole world. He gave you unique abilities and sent you here to his earth to do
certain work in it that would express His love and His life through you. As a result of your working close to
Him like this, you would sense His love for you. That would be reward enough in itself.
But, as you fit it into His whole economic plan for this world, you would also find you had all the things you
needed. You would go to bed each night content and at peace in the knowledge that your Maker loved you and was
looking after you. Something of the security and the significance and the happiness of this original plan
survives in you from time to time and sends up the good outgoing and loving desires that you feel.
Years ago our forefathers rebelled against our Creator’s plan and resolved that they would not be in a
subordinate position, however intimate the father-child relationship was to be. They decided they would be god
of their own lives and live by their own directions, choose their own jobs, get their own security and make
their own happiness.
This resistance to the loving life-spirit of the Creator within them urged them not to depend on Him, but on
the world itself. It urged them to live independent of their Maker, to be their own boss, to get things their
own way, to assert and defend their own rights that they felt often rising within them. It is an attitude that
has been bred into our whole race of mankind for generations, by this particular use of our free wills.
Of course, on top of this there developed a tragic flaw in the human personality. It was made by our Creator
to work the same way as He does, from the inside out, receiving His life and love from His Spirit. All the
security we needed from Him, all the significance and identity we needed, all the happiness. And then we would
pour that out to others. But, suddenly, our personalities had to start operating the other way, from the
We rejected God and cut ourselves off from the source of life, so now we had to use the world and each other
to get our security. But the other 5 billion people were trying to get the same things. So we had to beat them
out for the food, shelter and clothing that they needed. We had to beat out a few hundred of them and persuade
them to treat us as important and significant.
Perhaps the greatest tragedy is to use our most intimate relationship not to give love, but to get it. To get
happiness first and then give a little, if there’s time left. Today the remains of the influence of God’s
image tries to get out to others through you and me in kindliness and love, but finds that all of this urging
is frustrated and imprisoned by a personality that is enslaved to what it can get from the world of nature and
the world of human beings.
The pure fresh water is available from God, but it cannot escape from the reservoir, because the pipeline now
runs uphill and is constantly being filled with dirty drain water from the surrounding hills. The only answer
is a complete destruction of this flawed personality and a completely new creation. That’s part of the
explanation of this Jekyll and Hyde personality that all of us share.
There is within us the memory of what we were made to be and there is inside us the remains of the nature of
our Creator. There is within us a thing called conscience, a kind of gyrocompass that keeps urging us to live
the way we were meant to.
All this is constantly being suppressed and oppressed and repressed and frustrated by the personality that we
have developed, and that our forefathers and our grandfathers have developed over the years: a personality
that depends not on the Creator for His love, but upon the world for its love. Let’s talk a little more about
Our Evil Nature -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Our Evil Nature
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking on this broadcast each day about the meaning of life and the real purpose of your being here at
all. I don’t know if you’ve sorted it out yourself, but it is a very important question to be able to answer.
Why are you here? What is the purpose of life? Why are you driving this car day after day? Why do you get up
and eat breakfast every day? Why do you keep on going? What’s the point of it all?
We’ve been discussing for some months now several explanations for our presence here on this earth at this
time. What we’ve been doing quite recently is to look at some of the experiences through which we all pass and
find out if that explanation of reality contributes anything towards our understanding of these experiences.
The experience in particular that we’ve been considering is the experience of the Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome
that most of us know so well. That is the experience of a different personality that expresses itself at
inconvenient moments and utterly contradicts the personality that we think we have and that our friends and
relatives have become accustomed to.
In other words, it’s that situation you’ve probably found yourself in, where you want to be understanding and
loving to the person that you’re going home to. But some little thing occurs that sets you off. Before you
know it, there is rising up within you an anger and an irritability that cannot be controlled and the whole
evening, instead of being a beautiful experience, ends up a disaster area. That is what we mean by the Jekyll
and Hyde Syndrome.
It’s the experience of the kindly, generous, loving Dr. Jekyll being suddenly overtaken by the hideous,
violent, cruel Mr. Hyde that started as a personality within him. What we’ve been sharing is that it’s
important to find out why that is so. Of course, what we have said is that one of the reasons for the presence
of those seeming opposite and contradicting personalities within your own life is that there is something
within you that keeps trying to remind you of the way you were meant to live.
In fact, the way you were meant to live was a beautiful way. It was a way of relaxation and rest. It is
expressed very clearly by that man that lived in the first century when he talks about His Father who made the
world and who made you. He says this, “I tell you. Do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat, or
what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on.
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air. They neither sow
nor reap, nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing?
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow.
They neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will
He not much more clothe you, O man of little faith? Therefore, do not be anxious about what you shall eat or
what you shall drink or what you shall put on, for everybody seeks these things and your heavenly Father knows
that you need them all.” (Matthew 6:25-32)
That’s the way we were meant to live. We were meant to live here on this earth and do what the Creator had
fitted you to do and enjoy doing it, and then trust Him. Now if you say, “Oh, lie back and do nothing?” Of
course it doesn’t mean that. The economy of the world was planned by the Creator on the basis of your doing
what you are good at.
Whatever you are good at, whether you are a carpenter or good as a secretary or whether you are good at
brushing floors, or whether you’re good at cleaning sinks, whatever you’re good at, His plan was that you
would exercise your abilities and fulfill yourself in doing those things. But, His plan was that you would
actually have a close personal trust in Him and that He would, by means of that, supply you with everything
He would supply it sometimes via your salary, also sometimes through your wages, sometimes through gifts,
sometimes through Him controlling your cash flow so that, in fact, your liabilities did not exceed your
assets. Sometimes through controlling your accounts receivable so that they didn’t overwhelm your accounts
payable, or your accounts payable didn’t overwhelm them, but whatever way He did it, He would provide for you.
You would be trusting Him and depending upon Him.
That was the way the Creator wanted you to operate. There was something in you, especially in your conscience,
that keeps making you move in that direction. There is in most of us something of our childlike trust that we
had of our parents when we were children. There is in most of us a kind of abandoned, enjoyable, exhilarating
readiness to just trust ourselves to the wind.
There is in all of us that exhilarating sense that when we look at a bird and see it soaring into the air we
feel we were made to soar. When look at a baby, one of our own children, and see how absolutely trusting they
are of us, and how they’re not all worried about where their lunch is coming from or where their winter coat
is coming from.
We have a sense that there is something of that that is meant to be in us. Of course, that’s what old
Wordsworth meant, you remember, in his poem “Ode on Immortality”. He wrote, “Heaven lies about us in our
infancy. Shades of the prison house begin to close around the growing boy. At length the man perceives it die
away and fade into the light of common day.”
He was saying that there is in us when we were children some of that bright and delightful trustfulness that
you see in a little child of its own father. That is a hearkening back to what we were intended to trust for
our security. We were intended to trust not even Margaret Thatcher [Prime Minister of the United Kingdom], and
not the government, and not the economy, and not even the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street — not the Bank of
England — or the Bank of America, not Citibank, or Barclay’s Bank, nor were we meant to trust our
inheritance, or our parents making the right kind of will, or our company or our salary.
We were meant to just trust the Creator of the world, who is the one that put us here via our mother’s womb.
Actually, there’s something in us that makes us want to do that and makes us not want to worry or not want to
be anxious, or not want to grab at other things, or not want to covet or not want to fret, or worry and try to
manipulate all day how we will make another dollar or another pound.
There is the side of us that has been trained for generations to try to get our security by amassing enough
money, enough possessions, enough property, enough stocks and shares, enough pension funds, enough homes —
enough children, even — so that we will know we will be able to keep ourselves until we die and, after that,
to keep our wives and our children. There is a part of us that depends constantly on things and puts its trust
in things for its security.
That is the “Hyde” part of us that rises up and makes us covet and plan at night and worry at night how to
make an extra dollar or make an extra pound. That is where the “Hyde” comes from. The “Jekyll” in us comes
from that part of us through our conscience that reminds us of the way we were meant to live, that wants us to
live depending on the Creator of the world.
The “Hyde” part of us makes us want to depend on the world itself and the things in it to get us our security.
That is part of our explanation of Jekyll and Hyde in our life today. Let’s talk a little more tomorrow about
Are You a Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde? -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Are You a Dr. Jekyll or a Mr Hyde?
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? Why are you alive? That’s the kind of question we’re discussing on this broadcast
at this time each day. One of the parts of life in particular that we have been questioning and discussing is
the part known as the old Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome. You remember Dr. Jekyll was the generous, kind doctor that
was everyone’s friend, described by Robert Louis Stevenson in his novel.
Mr. Hyde was the hideous, violent, cruel hunchback creature that roamed the streets at night and turned out to
be Dr. Jekyll’s alter ego or the unpleasant, dark heart of Dr. Jekyll that he was never able to show, but was
always there underneath the pleasant, kindly exterior. The Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome is a name we sometimes
give to the double mindedness that all of us experience at times — the schizophrenic, the split personality,
the tendency to want to lose our tempers and kick everything to bits, in face of the fact that our best part
wants to go gently and peacefully and construct.
There seems a destructive thing inside us that wants to tear apart the thing that the good part of us wants to
construct. That’s what we mean by the Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome. We’re talking about the reason for it and
saying that it is found in the very basis of our creation and the very beginning and origin of life here on
earth. We were made by a personal Creator.
You remember how we discussed the reasons for saying that when we looked at the order and design that is
present in our world and the personableness of us as people. We concluded that in order for that to come
about, since it couldn’t come about by time plus chance or by an undirected evolutionary process, it must be a
process that is directed and designed by a personal intellect that is as least as personal and as least as
intellectual as we ourselves are.
Then, you remember, we progressed from that to examination of history, particularly the history of the first
century when a remarkable human being, that appears to us to be far more than a human being, since he had
control over death and was able to overcome it and come back to life even after He had been crucified, we
discovered that that remarkable human being had to be the Son of the Creator of the universe.
Unless you could designate Him as a legend or a lunatic or a liar. You had to accept that He was what He said
He was. From that point we began to discuss the kind of explanation of reality that He has given us and that
He has handed down to us. Of course, that connected up for us with the explanation that we get in the early
books of that old book, and that old collection of books that we know as The Bible.
So, we’ve been discussing the experiences that we have in this present life in the light of that explanation
of reality to see if the expression of reality does express truth about those experiences, and particularly
does it answer the problems that we come up against in our present life? One of those problems is, of course,
this Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome.
What we have been saying is that we were meant by the Creator to know that He loved us. You were meant to know
that He loved you. You are meant to realize that you are a unique personality. There is nobody like you.
Nobody. Not even your identical twin is exactly like you. Moreover there never has been anybody like you.
Never in the whole world has there been anybody like you. The amazing thing is there will never be anyone like
you. You are one of a kind. You are an original.
The Creator made only one of you, because He wanted to express part of himself through you in a way that He
can express Himself in no other human being in the whole world. So you are unique and He really loves you —
and He loves you differently from the way He loves me, and differently from the way He loves everybody else.
You are really different and He loves you. He thinks the world of you.
He has made you so that you will know you are, in fact, unique. Actually you do know that. Deep down, in an
egotistical kind of way, you feel you are the only one that can think the kind of thoughts that you think.
Though there may be many that put in electrical outlets like you, there may be many other electricians — or
though there may be many other singers who can hit the kind of notes that you hit, yet, you have the feeling
deep down that nobody does it exactly the way you do it. It’s interesting that you have deep down within you a
kind of conviction that you are unique.
So it’s interesting that you have deep down within you a kind of conviction that you are unique. Of course,
you are. That sense of your uniqueness is part of an expression of your conscience trying to let you know that
there is a Creator that has made you unique, and that does love you and that thinks of you in a different way
from how He thinks of everybody else. You are meant to have a quiet sense of value, of self-worth, of
self-esteem that depends only on the attitude of your Creator to you.
In other words, the one Significant Other in the universe knows you’re unique and He loves you and thinks the
world of you, so it really doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks of you.
But you, of course, have not lived like that. Nor have I. We have decided that we’re not going to depend on
the love of our Creator and we’re not going to depend on the fact that He thinks of us as unique. But we’re
going to depend upon the world itself.
We’re going to depend upon the opinion of other people and we’re going to try to get them to see how unique we
are so that we can establish our uniqueness on our own by our own effort, in virtue of our own goodness. Most
of us have long ago stopped thinking of what the Creator thinks of us. We don’t really care what He thinks of
us. As a result, we have a dreadful loss of identity, a dreadful problem with our own identity — with who we
are, with where we fit into things.
And in order to meet that need and that emptiness and that vacuum within us, we try to establish our identity
in the eyes of other people. So we at times lord it over our employees. We don’t just tell them what to do,
but we try to make them see how important we are. We try to get them to respect us, not only as their
authorities, but as people that are worth respecting in themselves, that have an inherent value of their own.
So we endeavour to get our employees to treat us with the respect that we feel we are due, but we never seem
to get enough respect from them. We try to do the same with our wives and with our children. We endeavour to
persuade them that we are pretty well right all the time, very rarely wrong. We are usually right and we are
the source of all wisdom, and all strength, and all security. But somehow we are never seem to be able to get
them to see it the way we see it.
We were constantly frustrated by the fact that our wives don’t respect us sufficiently and children don’t
respect us sufficiently. All through our lives, right from the very early days of primary school or elementary
school, when we tried to write our letters better than everybody else so that not only our teacher would give
us a gold star, but our parents would think we were the best students in the class — right from those
earliest days, right up from those days when we tried to do well at school, tried to do well at sports so that
the girls or the other guys would look up to us, right up through when we got to university and tried to show
off by the way we wore our scarf or the way we got our examinations, right up until we found our career and
our job and discovered that there we also tried to get the keys to the executive washroom by doing well, so
that other people would look up to us and respect us — we have all along been trying to establish our value
and self worth in the eyes of people, rather than in the eyes of our Creator.
The result is that there has grown up within us a Hyde that gets annoyed and gets envious and jealous of
people that seem to be more important in others’ eyes than we are. That Hyde constantly tries to destroy the
peace that Dr. Jekyll has when he realizes the truth of those words, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny
and not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s will, but even the hairs of your head are
all numbered. Fear not, therefore. You are of more value than many sparrows.” In fact, you are of more value
than many sparrows to the Creator that made you. Let’s talk a little more about that tomorrow.
Look to God for Security -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Look to God for Security
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking on this program at this time each day about the meaning of life, about why we are here, what
you’re doing here, what the purpose for the education and all the working, and the eating, and the sleeping,
and the marrying and the having children…what is the point of it all? What we have been sharing is an
explanation of that reality that we have heard from the most remarkable human being that ever lived, the man
that lived in the first century of our era.
Particularly what we have been doing in the past few weeks is matching that explanation of reality up
with some of the bewildering phenomena that we have come across in our own personal lives. One of those
is known as the “Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome.” It takes its name from the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson about
the respected, and kindly, elderly, generous doctor Jekyll who was the friend of the poor and needy in a
certain area of London.
That is, he was a friend of the poor and needy until he began to discover within himself certain urges to
anger, and hatred and selfishness that he had never believed had existed within him at all. Gradually, this
alter ego so took control of him that he became weary in trying to suppress it so that he could keep his good
side uppermost. At last, he invented a drug, you may remember, that gave a physical expression to this alter
ego that would give him at least freedom from the strain of suppressing it.
So was born that character known as Mr. Hyde, an ugly, violent, hunchback man who roamed the streets of
London, and murdered and assaulted the poor and needy. Eventually, the Mr. Hyde character took over from the
Dr. Jekyll character completely, so that Jekyll had no alternative but to commit suicide. What the story, of
course, does is highlight an experience that all of us have had ourselves, because there isn’t one of us
listening today who hasn’t had an experience of an ugly side to our nature which we cannot possibly explain.
When we most want to be kind, and gentle and understanding and loving to our relatives and our friends, we
find within us often a surging up from deep down in the darkest parts of our hearts an ugliness and a hatred,
and an anger and a selfishness that we cannot control. Indeed, many of us wonder if we are not going
insane, so strongly does this temper at times rise within us. We cannot believe that it is us at all.
On occasion, we wonder whether we are not actually schizophrenics, if we’re not actually split personalities,
so strong, so violent and so contradictory is this character or this lion within us, that rises up at times
and is most inconvenient to us. Probably all of us have felt that even when we haven’t allowed it to express
itself as Jekyll did. We have felt a motive life that is murky and that is very selfish compared with the
outwardly generous attitudes that we express in our words.
So that is a phenomenon that is quite difficult to explain. What we have been saying is that it comes from
the very heart of the reality of our creation and our origin. We have been sharing that the Creator that made
us (and of course there has to be a Creator; we’ve discussed that over the months and if you want to hear
those discussions, by all means write and ask me, and I’ll send you some cassettes of those early broadcasts),
but we have discussed the origin of the world in the light of the fact that we are such personable people.
We have said that an animal cannot make a person. Or, an impersonal process cannot produce a person. There
has to be somewhere back of the universe, a mind and an intellect that is at least as personable as we
ourselves are. The suggestion that there is an intellect behind the universe comes from the fact that
there is so much design and order built into our universe right from the occurrence of the seasons regularly
year after year to the more complex structure of the DNA molecule.
There is evidence all around in the chart of the elements, and the orbiting of the stars and the planets, that
the whole thing was designed and planned and has not come about by time and chance. We’ve been sharing how the
man that lived at the beginning of our era, the man called Jesus, explained that the Creator of the universe
was actually His Father. He created you because He loves and He wanted to love you and He wanted you to love
He wanted you to live in a friendship with Him and to live your ordinary, everyday life in personal
relationship with Him, trusting Him for the things that you needed in this life. Of course, Jesus and His
followers (indeed, His predecessors in the old book that is called the Bible), explained how we as a human
race rejected that whole idea. We didn’t like the idea of living in dependence on some invisible Creator. We
determined we would use the world for our own purposes in our own way.
We determined we would substitute for the love that we now missed from this Creator — we would substitute for
it the attributes that we felt that love had. We would substitute ways to meet those attributes and to
reproduce those attributes from the world. Of course, any of us who have had a good father and mother know
that if they love us, we have a great sense of security. We have no trouble at all wondering where our next
meal is going to come from. We knew they loved us and would provide it.
Nor have we any problem with thinking we’re important, because they make us, of course, as the very apple of
their eye. We immediately had a sense of identity and self worth. Nor have we much trouble with finding
happiness, because our greatest happiness is to be with them and to be in a real relationship of love and
trust with them. So, those were the attributes that the love from our Creator provided for us.
We would have a great sense, of course, of security, because the Father of us all was the Creator of the
universe. He owned the cattle on a thousand hills. He owned all the daffodils and the tulips, and all the
gold in the gold mines and the coal in the coal mines. So, we would naturally have a great sense of
confidence that He would look after us. If we did what He put us here to do on the earth, then He would
certainly take care of us.
We, of course, would obviously have a complete sense of identity. We would know exactly who we are because of
His love. When we realized the hairs of our heads were numbered by Him, we would have no trouble with whether
anybody thought much of us or not. If the one significant other thought the world of us, what did we care
what anybody else thought of us? So that was the way our Father planned for us to live. When we rejected this
whole idea, we had to find substitutes, so, we turned to the world of things.
We tried to get from things that are in the world the security that the Father’s love would give us. We have
tried to amass enough things to give us a sense of security. We tried to amass enough money, so we would have
sufficient food to last us to the end of our lives. We’ve tried to amass enough money to provide us with good
shelter, good home; good clothing that would make sure that we continued in this life satisfactorily until we
We have begun to depend on our jobs and our salaries, on the way our bosses treat us, on the way the economy
goes for our security. All of this is, of course, very unreliable, as we have seen. That is part of the
problem we have. When we find that we are about to lose our job, we find surging up within us a Mr. Hyde
that will do anything to keep the job. If we find someone scrambling over the top of the heap over us, there
is a jealousy and an anger rises up that, of course, expresses that uncertainty we feel. Because we are
beginning to depend on the world instead of the Father’s love for our security.
We’ve discovered that a great deal of this Jekyll and Hyde experience comes from the fact that we are now
living in dependence on the world of things, and people and circumstances, instead of on the love of the
Creator Himself. Let’s talk a little more about that tomorrow so it may shed some more light on your own
behavior and experience.
Deliverance from our Evil Nature -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Deliverance From our Evil Nature
by Ernest O’Neill
We’ve been talking for some months now about the meaning of life and particularly about the meaning of one of
the unusual experiences all of us have in our present life: the Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome. That is that
dreadful discovery that most of us make that underneath this kindly, apparently good and generous exterior
that we try to present to our friends and our relatives, there lies an alter ego or an old self that seems
determined to do the very opposite of what we would like to do.
There is one part of us that wants to be loving, wants to be kind, wants to be generous, but there is another
part within us that wants to slash out at other people, to be selfish, to be angry, to lose its temper, to get
its own way, to insist on its own rights whoever it has to tramp over the top of to get those things.
What we have been talking about is the origin of that dual personality. We’ve tied it back to the early days
when we were created. We’ve shared, you remember, how this man that lived in the first century told us that
the maker of the world was not only a personal intellect, but was actually His Father. And He had made you to
love Him. That’s why He made you.
He made you to love Him, to live in friendship with Him. Indeed more than that, He made you so that you would
deep down in your heart depend upon Him for the things that you need. You would just naturally conclude,
“Well, now the Creator who put me here on earth knows I’m here. He has numbered the very hairs of my head and
He certainly knows how all the economy works and He knows what kind of job He wants me to do here.
So, if I do that job properly, He certainly loves me and He will provide whatever money I need and whatever
food and clothing I need, perhaps at times through my salary and at times apart from my salary.” Moreover, you
would naturally know that if He loved you the way your father loves you, then, of course, you were important
to Him. This would satisfy your deepest longing for a sense of self-esteem and self-worth.
Your desire for happiness would be satisfied by a real sense that He was your friend — that you were walking
through the universe with the owner of the universe beside you. Now, of course, we as a race have not lived
that way. We have in fact determined we will not depend on this Creator for these things; we will get the
substitutes for these things that His love would provide for us from the world itself.
So we looked at the world and we decided, listen we can use this world to get the attributes that His love
would give us or the benefits His love would provide. We can get them for ourselves from the world. We can use
the resources of the world as long as we grab enough of them for ourselves; we can ensure our own security.
As long as we grab enough gold, or enough money, or enough wheat or enough corn we can ensure we’ll have
enough food to eat for the rest of our lives.
As long as we grab enough clothes we can ensure that we’re well clothed. As long as we make enough money from
other people then we can have good homes. We similarly look the same way at our own need for self-esteem and
self-worth. We determined if we can get more of these clothes or more of this money than everybody else, then
everybody else will think we’re important or we’re better than them. That will give us a sense of self worth
and self esteem.
Of course, what has happened through the years is that there has not been enough to go around to satisfy us
all. We have at times all wanted these things at the same time. There has, therefore, risen up within us an
ugly monster that gets irritated, and angry and impatient when it can’t get enough of the money or enough of
the food or the clothing, or enough attention to satisfy itself. There have developed within us two directions
inside our personality.
There is the memory of the one direction that we were meant to follow: that direction from the inside of our
personalities to the outside. We were meant to trust the Creator of the universe for our security. We were
meant to trust the love of the Creator of the universe for our sense of self-worth and self-esteem. We were
meant to trust the Creator of the universe for our own happiness.
But instead of that, instead of living from the inside trust that we have in Him, and expressing that out to
other people in a fully integrated personality that was content and at home, and satisfied with itself and its
own life, we have, in fact, begun to live from the outside in. We try to get from the outside of us — from
the things around us, from the circumstances, of our experiences, from the relationships with people — we
tried to get the security that we need and the sense of self-esteem and worth and value that we need and the
sense of happiness that we need.
So there has developed an outside-in direction in our personality that has produced a monster of a Mr. Hyde
who seems to want to do the very opposite of what we would like to think we want to do ourselves. That’s why
we end up in that position that was described in a certain line in that old book called the Bible. It’s in
Romans 7:15. It runs, “I do not understand my own actions, for I do not do what I want but I do the very thing
Many of us know that experience in ourselves. We want in some sense to live the way we were meant to, to
trust the Creator for our security and to trust Him for our sense of self-esteem and self-worth, but there is
developed inside us a whole direction in our personality which prevents us doing that. A whole part of us
that has become habituated and accustomed to depending on what other people think of us in our self-esteem and
We’re dependent on what our bosses think of us, to what our peers think of us, to what our colleagues or our
fellow students think of us. And when they don’t seem to think well of us, then we are cast down. We are
disappointed and then we get envious of the people that are receiving their appreciation and approval. We get
jealous of them and we find rising up within us a monster of jealousy and envy that we cannot possibly
control. That is the Mr. Hyde within us.
That is living on dependence on what the world thinks of us and what the world can provide for us rather than
the Dr. Jekyll, who has a memory that he should be depending on the Creator of the universe, and should be
trusting in the Creator of the universe for his security, and for his self-worth and for his happiness.
So, the existence of this monstrosity within us, this dual personality in which two characters apparently
contradict and fight each other within us, comes from two ways to live this life. The way we were meant to
live in gentle, kindly, spontaneous trust of our Father who made us, is the way that produces the Dr. Jekyll
who is kindly, who can live with other people, who can live in harmony with others, free from envy of them and
free from jealousy of them, free from anger that they are getting more than we are…..freedom from
irritability that they are not doing what we want them to do, freedom from resentment that they’re not
treating us the way they should treat us. We should be filled instead, with a sense of contentment in knowing
that the Father of the universe thinks the world of us and therefore, it doesn’t matter what anybody thinks.
We are content that the Father of the universe, even in the worst moments in the economy, will continue to
provide enough food, and shelter and clothing for our needs.
And yet, there is that other Mr. Hyde within us that gets irritable because other people are not letting us
get what we want. They’re not giving us the attention that they should give us. They’re not giving us the
things — the clothes, the food, the shelter, the care — that we feel we ought to have. So there develops
within us an unbearable strain, a Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome that prevents us doing what we really want to do in
the best parts of our personality.
How do you get free from that Jekyll and Hyde personality? There is a way. That’s what we’re going to talk
about during the next two weeks. So please do join us at this time tomorrow.
Seeking Self-esteem -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Seeking Self Esteem
by Ernest O’Neill
Have you ever found yourself in this kind of situation? You’re going out to a party and you determine in your
own mind you are going to concentrate on making everybody else happy at that party. You are really going to
concentrate on ensuring that your wife and your friends enjoy themselves. One of the ways you can do that, of
course, is to show an interest in them.
So, you get into the car and you drive to the home where the party is and you go in and you begin to talk and
you have some refreshments, and you get into conversation and the jokes fly backward and forward. The
experiences fly back and forward. Then suddenly you find yourself pushing your own experiences and your own
jokes forward. Suddenly you find yourself drawing attention to you in the midst of the conversation. Before
you know it, you’re trying to better the other person’s joke.
You’re subtly trying to turn the conversation around to the things you’re good at, and that you’re interested
in. In a matter of half an hour or so, you have everybody listening to you and concentrating on your life.
Suddenly you catch somebody’s eye and you see that glazed look as they listen to yet another one of your
stories. You stop talking, because you realize that all your great resolutions about making everybody else
important and treating everybody else as the center of attention have been overthrown by something inside you
that you cannot understand.
Have you ever had that kind of experience, where you determined that you would make everybody else the center
of conversation and yet before the evening was through, you had ended up drawing people, in all your conceit
and all your pride, to attending to you and making a great deal of you and making you feel you were the
important one? You realized that there’s something inside you that you cannot control.
There’s some part of you that almost, like a disease, draws attention to itself. It’s something that you don’t
seem able to restrain. It’s a part of you that is just determined to make itself the center of attention.
There’s something in you that wants other people to give attention to you even if you have resolved to give
your attention to them. It’s some part of you that seems almost alien to you. It seems like another person
inside yourself that you actually are not able to control. Yet it does the job again and again.
So most of us have discovered that there are these two drives inside us. One drive is a kind of generous,
unselfish drive that makes us want to give other people our attention and make them the center of
conversation. Inside us, there is a yet stronger drive that works, despite ourselves, to draw attention to us
and to make us the center of conversation. What we have been discussing on the program for some months now, is
the explanation of that; almost that Jekyll and Hyde personality that you have.
That nice, loving side of you that you yourself espouse and then that ugly, monstrous side of you, inside,
that seems to be the one that really rules your life. We’ve been talking about how it connects up, actually,
with the explanation of reality. We’ve been talking about the fact that there is obviously a Creator because
of the order and design that we see in the universe and the amazing phenomenon like the chart of the elements,
where those of you who know a little about science, will remember how the elements just fit into that periodic
chart beautifully in a way that only an intellectual mind could create and design.
We’ve looked at the way the seasons run and the way they come regularly year after year. We’ve looked at the
regular orbiting of the planets and the stars and we’ve come to the conclusion that there has to be a personal
intellect behind this universe that we live in. We’ve said that He must be a personal intellect, because He
must be as personable as we are in order to design us persons.
Then, you remember, we talked about whether that Creator had ever shown Himself here on our earth. Then we
discussed the amazing character that lived 1900 years ago…absolutely different from Mohammed and from
Zoroaster and from Confucius and from all the great so-called religious leaders that we have seen. This man
said that he was the son of the maker of the universe and he actually lived like that. He lived a perfect life
— a power over nature, a power over sin. He was the only man that even his enemies said had done nothing
evil. This man was, of course, the man that we know as Jesus of Nazareth.
Among other things, he described to us how our Father, his Father, our Creator, is actually one who loves us
— who loves you. Who actually is your Father. Your own earthy father is only a shadow of that real Father
that you have. Your Creator made you and He made me so that we would live our lives in daily trust in Him.
That is, treating Him as a real Father. Just looking to Him for the things that we needed, especially for
guidance in what we should think in certain situations and trust Him that if we did what He had put us here to
do properly, then He would supply all our needs for us. Sometimes through our wages. Sometimes through our
salary. Sometimes through the way He controlled our cash flows. Sometimes by mysterious means that we
ourselves would not understand.
But the important thing that Jesus explained to us was that this Creator had numbered even the hairs of your
head. That’s how important you are to Him. He has counted even the hairs of your head. You actually get your
sense of self-esteem and self-worth from His attitude to you. But, of course, Jesus explained that we have
given up that stuff as old-fashioned and we’ve decided that we’ll do without his love.
So there has appeared in our lives a great vacuum, a great emptiness, because we lack his love. So we have to
substitute what we can for that love. One of the qualities that that love gave us, of course, was this great
self-esteem and self-worth, this sense of identity and sense of value. When we turned against this whole idea
of depending on His love, of course we lacked that self-esteem. What we have tried to do is get it from other
That has, in turn, contorted and perverted our whole personalities so that we now have personalities that are
absolutely dependent on the praise of other people and the approval of other people. That’s why you end up
drawing attention to yourself at a party, at which you have determined that you will give attention to other
people. It’s because your very personality and nature has been perverted and twisted through the years, so
that it is no longer what our Creator made it.
So the reason you do that, the reason you end up making yourself the important person in the midst of
conversations and parties, is because your own personality, your own nature, has become perverted — not only
through the years that you have lived, but actually through the years that your grandparents, your
great-grandparents, and all your forefathers have lived. That nature this man Jesus called an old nature. It
was our old nature.
It wasn’t the nature that we were made with. It is an old nature that we have produced by our own actions and
the actions of our forefathers down through the years. That’s the thing that prevents you being what you want
to be. Let’s talk a little more about some of the other effects of that old nature and how to escape from it
tomorrow at this same time.
Our Personality is Like Mr. Hyde -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Our Personality is Like Mr. Hyde
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking about a very simple phenomenon that most of us have experienced at some time in our lives. We’re
going to a party and we determine that we are not going to draw attention to ourselves; we’re not going to
make ourselves the center of all the excitement and interest. We are going to concentrate on making our wife,
and our friends, and the others at the party feel important.
We are going to give them a sense of enjoyment by listening to their jokes, by laughing at their jokes, and by
taking an interest in their experiences — instead of, as usual, drawing attention to our own selves with our
own jokes and by our own stories. So, we go to the party with that determination. Lo and behold, a matter of
half an hour after we have been at the party, we suddenly find that we are at it again.
We are suddenly talking like mad, telling the jokes, drawing attention to our experiences, drawing the
conversation subtly and shrewdly around to the things that we’re good at, and before we know it, we can begin
to see that glazed look in the eyes of our hearers as they listen again to yet another one of our jokes and
they listen yet again to one of our experiences, and we begin to see that nobody else is as important as us in
the midst of the party.
Why does that happen? That’s what we are discussing. What we have been saying is it happens because of a real
twist and perversion that has taken place in our own personalities. We were meant, by our Creator, to live in
dependence on His good opinion of us. That’s why we were made. You were created by your Maker to love Him and
to trust Him. You were made for His approval. That’s it! He really thinks a lot of you.
He has numbered even the hairs of your head. That’s what His Son told us, “Even the hairs of your head are
numbered.” Even your mother has not counted the hairs of your head, and certainly your dad hasn’t, and your
husband or wife hasn’t. But your Creator who made you has counted even the hairs of your head. He knows your
name! You are very dear to him! There is nobody like you in the whole universe. There never has been anybody
like you, and there never will be anybody like you. You are unique!
You are an individual! You are one of a kind. You are the only one! You’re a “Limited Edition” that the Maker
has made. To Him you are very special and very dear. You are meant to get your sense of self-worth and
self-esteem from that love that He has for you. That’s the way He intended you to live. (cid:9)But, of course, what
we men and women have done is throw all that stuff over as old-fashioned religion. We have said, “There is no
God! There is no Creator! There is nobody who really cares for me besides myself.”
So we have ended up with a great gap or vacuum in our lives, caused by the absence of the Creator’s love. We
find that somehow we have to fill that gap and that vacuum. It was made to be filled by the love of an
infinite Person. But, of course, we have given up belief in that infinite Person, and so we have a great need
for love and attention.
That, in its turn, has forced us to try to get that attention from the other people in the world, to try to
get their approval, to get their attention, to get their acknowledgement, to get their praise. And in so
doing, to create a sense of self-worth and self-esteem in ourselves. As a result of this, we have over the
years, forced our personalities into all kinds of hideous contortions. Our little eyes dart out, looking for
the smile from our boss.
Our little ears are perked all the time listening for some word of praise. Have you ever noticed how as
someone is talking about you, you’re listening all the time for the moment when they will say something in
praise of you, or something that shows they think a lot of you. It’s because of our personalities, down
through the years of our lives, as we’ve looked out continually for other people’s praise in order to make up
for the lack of praise that we no longer have from our Maker.
We have twisted and perverted the way our emotions work, the way our intellects work, the way our body even
works, the way our eyes and our ears work, so that together with the perversion of our personality, we have
added, actually, the perversion that has taken place down through the centuries and centuries. For the
amazing thing is that our whole race has been doing this for centuries.
So there has been bred into our racial personality a desire for the praise of men and for the approval of
women that has perverted our own emotional and intellectual and physical natures so that now we can now no
longer live above this desperate need to get everybody to give us attention. That is why we end up at a party
doing the very thing we swore we wouldn’t do.
We swore that we wouldn’t draw everybody’s attention to us, but we end up doing it, because our very personal
natures are a Jekyll and Hyde nature. That is, on the outside of us there is a Dr. Jekyll who wants to be
generous to other people, who want to give other people attention. Inside there is a Mr. Hyde nature, a
monster, that wants everybody to give attention to it. In fact, it’s a side of us that actually wants to be
God. That’s it. We really want to be worshipped.
We really want everybody to give the worship to us that they would want to give to themselves or they’d want
to give to their Maker. That’s why we end up with this impossible nature inside us that can never be
satisfied. In fact, that’s what we find, don’t we! We’re gluttons. We just cannot do without more praise and
more praise and more praise.
It doesn’t matter how much attention we get at one party — we find ourselves playing the “old comedian act”
again at the next party to get attention. It doesn’t matter much how we determine to go home and give
attention and praise to our wives, we end up dragging and drawing and sucking praise into ourselves as hard as
we can, before we realize what we are doing.
Now, that has taken place, because we were meant to look to our Creator, but instead of doing that we looked
to other human beings here on this earth for the praise and attention and sense of value and self-worth that
only He can give us. The tragedy of this whole thing is that it has become part of us. So that you know you
try to change the habits of a lifetime, but it seems just impossible. It seems that your very nature has
Here’s the way one man put it in that old book that we call the Bible. It really takes its name from “Ta
Biblia”, the Greek word, meaning The Books. It’s the Books, of course, that tell of that remarkable man,
Jesus, who lived in the first century. One of his followers is called Paul. He wrote a letter to people who
lived at Rome. In Chapter 7, verse 15, he writes like this. He says, “I do not understand my own actions, for
I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now, if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law
is good. So then, it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. I can will what is right, but
I cannot do it. So I find it to be a law, that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.” Then he says
an interesting thing. “For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law
at work with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members.”
It’s interesting, isn’t it!? Most of us find that. We find that we approve of the things that people say God
approves of. We think we should be unselfish. We think we should be loving. We think we should be free from
envy and pride. We think we should give attention to other people, and make them feel good. But we find almost
a law inside of us that makes us operate the other way, so that we end up giving attention to ourselves and
drawing praise to ourselves.
It’s as if there is one part of us that wants to live the way our Maker made us to live, dependent on His
love. There’s another part that has developed over the years and the centuries that wants to depend on people
and what they think of us. So we find that our nature, the very nature that we have (the Bible happens to call
it our “old nature”) prevents us living the way we were meant to live.
There is an escape from this. That’s what I would like to share with you and talk about. So let’s talk a
little more tomorrow about this nature and how it is like us ourselves. It is as if we ourselves are that
nature. We’re not. We’re really another nature. But let’s talk about that tomorrow.
Dealing with Anxiety and Worry -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Dealing With Anxiety and Worry
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking about a phenomenon that most of us have experienced first-hand in our own lives. It can be
illustrated by this situation which you have probably found yourself in. You are about to engage in some
business enterprise. Or you are about to spend some money with some other people to buy a house, or you’re
going to buy a car together, or you’re going to buy a stereo together.
You determine in your own mind you are certainly going to pay your way, and even be generous in the situation.
You’re not going to be petty. You’re going to pay, if anything, a little more than everybody else if that’s
necessary. Then it comes to the actual moment of laying down the cash, or writing out the check.
Despite all your generous desire to be more than fair in the payment of your part of the purchase, you find
growing within you a kind of protective trade attitude that is making you be conscious that you don’t want to
risk too much money on this. You don’t want to give more than anybody else. You certainly want, finally, to
get away with giving as little as possible and yet be part of the enterprise.
There come moments in the whole experience when you wonder, “Why does this happen? Why is it that I set out at
one moment to be more than generous, and to pay more than my share of this enterprise, and then when I come to
the actual moment when I have to write out the check or lay down the money, I find working within me a kind of
petty, selfish, worried, anxious part that doesn’t want to give more than it can get away with giving?”
Why do we find ourselves on the one hand wanting to be generous and unselfish, and on the other wanting to be
protective, and petty, and anxious about our resources? It’s the same when you get into difficulties with your
bank account. You run into overdraft and you begin to worry and fret and be anxious. You turn over in bed at
night. Your tummy is tied up in knots. You’re strained and filled with stress.
Then at last, of course, you know the outcome. Eventually, you fight your way through it, one way or another.
It comes out usually in ways that you least expect. So the next time that this ever happens you will relax.
You will just trust to whatever that force is that enables you to pull out of the most disastrous financial
situations. You will depend on just that principle that everything works out all right in the end, and you
know that from your last experience.
Then, you come to the same situation all over again. Your overdraft is through to you in the mail and before
you know it, that night, you’re fretting and anxious all over again. You’re twisting and turning. Your stomach
is churned up. You’re unable to sleep. So, you keep on repeating this pattern. There seems to be within you
one side of you that says, “Things are going to come out all right. It will come out all right.
I did before. There’s somebody looking after me. There is some guy up there who is keeping an eye on things.
There is some force of providence that works and makes everything turn out all right in the end. So, I’m not
going to worry. I’m not going to fret. I’m not going to get anxious.”
Yet, there’s another part of you, that when the moment comes, it forces you it seems to get worried and to get
anxious so that your mind goes back and back over the figures. You go over them and over them in your head,
trying to assure yourself that it’s going to work out alright.
Now, why does that take place? Why is it that you, that one part of you, your mind it seems, can see the
thing as it really is, and can depend on the thing working out? It’s as you somehow commit your security, your
material and your financial security, into the hands of general providence. You believe that as it has worked
out in the past and as you’ve come through all kinds of things in the past, so it will happen in the present.
Yet there is another part of you that gets worried and anxious and frets so that you cannot control it. It is
as if there is another being inside of you. Like Robert Louis Stevenson’s Mr. Hyde, that dwelt in the
generous, loving Dr. Jekyll. Inside him there was this violent Mr. Hyde. It’s as if you have two
Of course, this ties up exactly with the explanation of reality, and the creation and existence of our own
lives, that has been passed on to us by that remarkable man that lived in the first century — that man Jesus
of Nazareth. He pointed out that we were made to depend for our financial security on our God, on the Creator
that made us.
That His Father had put you here on earth to do something that only you can do. He had so arranged the economy
of the world and of this nation, that you would be able to meet all your needs with the finances and the
material provisions which He would make for you. That was the way you were meant to live, depending on the
Creator, who is your Father and who loves you, for all that you need. So your mind has the memory of that.
Indeed, your conscience actually continues to draw you back into that kind of attitude.
That’s the part of you that says, “It’s going to work out all right in the end. It’s going to come out all
right. It has done in the past; it will do in the present.” You may not know it’s God. You may not talk about
Him as God. You may say, “Well, the man up there”, or you may say, “It’s providence”, or “The force is with
me.” You may ascribe it to all kinds of things, but there is something inside of you that says. “It’s going to
work out all right; don’t worry. Don’t be anxious.”
But, then, what we human beings have done over the centuries is, we have determined that we would not live
that way. We would not depend on this Maker and this Creator to supply us with all that we needed. We would
live our lives our own way and we would get what we needed ourselves. As a result of that, of course, the
Creator could no longer supply for us and provide for us. We became very worried and anxious.
We saw that there were five billion of us in this world and there were only so many resources, so we had
better get as many of them as we can. It was then that we began to see that we have to establish our own
security and our own material prosperity by our own efforts, by grabbing as much of the money, as much of the
food, as much of the shelter, as much of the clothing of this world as we can.
That’s why our parents passed on to us this view: they said, “Now, listen, nobody will look after you but
yourself, so you had better look out for yourself.” So, there developed in us human beings an attitude that
thought we were responsible for providing always for ourselves, and that nobody else would if we failed. So
there developed down through the centuries a race of mankind that continued to feel that it was dependent on
itself for grabbing from the world what food, shelter and clothing it needed to keep itself alive.
That nature, that personality, was bred into our forefathers, and our grandfathers and our great-grandfathers
for years and years and years. It’s that personality that has been passed onto us from even our good Dads and
Moms. We have a nature that is twisted, that is perverted. It doesn’t live the way that it was meant to live.
It doesn’t live the way it was intended to, depending on the provisions of an infinite Father who loves us and
takes care of us.
It became a nature that depended on the world of things and of grabbing as many of those things as it possibly
could. That’s the nature that you and I are faced with. So, even though we hear the words of that man, Jesus,
when He says, “Therefore, I tell you do not be anxious about your clothes, what you will put on, or about your
food, what you shall eat. Look at the lilies of the field. They do not sow, nor reap, nor gather into barns,
and yet your Heavenly Father has clothed them. Are you not of much more value than they?” Even though we hear
that and we believe that that is possibly true, our nature prevents us depending on that and prevents us
having the peace that we were meant to have in regard to our material security.
Are there any other ways in which this nature, this old nature spoils our lives? (The Bible calls it an old
nature. Sometimes it calls it an old self.) But are there any other ways in which this old, perverted nature
spoils our lives? Yes, let’s just talk about one more tomorrow, and then discuss the way out of this — the
way of escape.
Happiness and Illusion? -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Happiness an Illusion?
by Ernest O’Neill
What is it that makes happiness so illusive? That is, why is it so hard to be happy all the time? It is,
isn’t it? In fact, most of us would say that where we used to think of unhappiness as an unpleasant,
unexpected interlude in an otherwise continual stream of happiness and happy experiences, many of us have now
turned the whole story right around. And we would say that the happy interludes are the unusual experiences.
Unhappiness is more the normal experience of our everyday life.
Why is that so? Why is it so hard for us to be happy? One of the phenomena that is most bewildering is that
you can determine as you lie in bed at night that tomorrow is going to be a happy day. You can say to
yourself, “I am going to be happy tomorrow. I am tired of this sadness. I am tired of this depression. I’m
tired of this worry and this anxiety. I am just going to be happy tomorrow, the way I used to be when I was
seven years of age.”
You get up in the morning and look out at the grey sky, and the rain pelting down, and immediately your heart
goes into your boots. It seems as if all happiness disappears, and all thought of happiness disappears.
There is something within you that automatically moves into depression, moves into feeling down in the dumps.
It seems as if you can do nothing about it.
Why is that so? Why is there a part of us that feels that we should be happy and feels we want to be happy
and tries to be happy, and yet there is another part of us that seems to be governed almost by strings like a
puppet or a marionette from outside? Why is that so? You must admit that you would tie the unhappiness so
often to the things that happen. That’s what somebody has said. Happiness seems to be satisfaction with what
happens to you — that’s what “happiness” is.
Unhappiness is dissatisfaction with the things that happen to you. Most of us would agree to that. We would
say, “Yes, the weather has an unbelievable influence on whether I’m happy or unhappy. If it’s a bright sunny
day, I feel entirely different inside. If it’s a rainy, cloudy day, I feel just as if I’m depressed, and more
depressed than I’ve ever been before in my entire life.”
It’s the same way if it’s the weekend. If the weekend is close by, if it’s Friday afternoon, we feel
happiness. “Good. Tomorrow is Saturday, and we’ll be off work. And the next day is Sunday, and we’ll be able
to do all kinds of things.” Whereas, if it’s Sunday night, and we’re in bed, we suddenly think, “Tomorrow.
Monday morning! Monday morning.” There seems to be a pall of grayness and gloomy blackness that descends upon
It happens to many of us as we come to September. If we’re involved in the academic world, in many ways
September is a stimulating time, and yet, in many ways, it’s the beginning of the old grind again. So for
those of us who have vacations, just the day before our vacation we are so happy, because we are looking
forward to the things that we think will happen to us. But, as we come to the end of vacation, you know the
almost overwhelming depression that begins to settle in upon us, so that we have to grit our teeth in order to
get back to work.
Now, why is there that dichotomy within us about happiness? Why is it that there is part of us that feels we
were made to be happy and filled with laughter and filled with smiles and filled at least, with peace and with
some excitement? Yet there is another part of us that gets continually gloomy and sad? What we have been
sharing over these months is that this problem, this phenomenon of this part of us that wants to be happy and
this part of us that wants to be so sad, reflects exactly reality.
Because there is a Creator behind this universe. There has to be when you look at the order and design of the
sky and the planets and seasons. This Creator has to be at least as personable as you and I are in order to
make up persons. Then you remember how we studied the life of that remarkable human being, who was more than
a human being in the first century of our era, the man called Jesus. He explained to us how the Creator was
actually His Father.
It was His Father’s will that we should be created and it was His Father’s will that we should live on this
earth. His Father intended us to do that so that we could enjoy His friendship, so that we could get to know
Him and He could get to know us, and so that we could live life together with Him so that it would be like
living it with the Owner of the Universe beside us.
If we did that, then there would be an immense sense of satisfaction and, indeed, joy that would come up from
within us. We would look at a flower; we would realize that our Father made that flower. He had control of us.
In the same way when we looked at a storm or anything that threatened us, we would think to ourselves, “Well,
our Father made that, so it cannot do anything to us that He does not think is good for us.”
So, there would be a whole attitude of happiness when we began to live our lives in fellowship or in
friendship with Him. So, we would experience all the excitement of the ski slopes because, of course, He
Himself is more exciting than the best ski slope. He is more exciting than the Matterhorn. He is more
exciting than the Rocky Mountains. He is more sensational than Niagara Falls. He is more gentle and peaceful
than the River Thames.
He is more happy, more joyous and delightful than the greatest comedian we know. The Creator is always more
than His creation. So, when you know the Creator, you know the heart of the real happiness that is in the
world. When you see a swallow and you see it soaring into the sky with absolute abandon, you see only a
little of the tremendous exhilaration that is in the heart of the Maker of the universe.
So, when you are close to Him and have a friendship with Him, then you share the happiness that He has. Of
course, we determined that we would not do that. We determined that we would live without His happiness, and
we would get happiness for ourselves. So, we began to look at the world of events and happenings and we
started to try to make them fall about in such a way that they would make us happy.
That’s why we want a faster car. That’s why we want a better motorbike. That’s why we want a faster boat,
behind which we can water ski. That’s why we have to get higher, if we can helicopter up to the top mountains
and get steeper ski slopes to go down, we’ll do it. That’s why we continually have to have a combination —
it’s interesting — of diverse events, different events and events that are the same.
We need something that is exciting and different, and yet we can’t stand too much of that. So, we need
something that is peaceful and gentle. That’s why so many of us go to the cocaine, or the crack or go to the
heroin. We need something to stir up our feelings, because we feel we were made to almost leap off a building
without hurting ourselves. We are always trying to reproduce that tremendous excitement that at times we have
felt in an orgasm; at times we felt when we’ve ridden a fast motorbike.
We’re always trying to reproduce that. That’s the side of us that is always trying to reproduce the happiness
that really can only be found in a living, dynamic friendship with the Maker of the Universe. Because He, of
course, can give us all the excitement of passing through space at immense speed. He can give us all the
wonder and peace of a Walden Pond just by the peace of our hearts is His. But because we have turned from Him,
we’ve had to try to find it in the world of events and happenings.
That is why we have now a nature that is almost enslaved to excitement, enslaved to happy events, a nature
that continues to desire more and more happiness and never somehow, can find enough. That’s part of the reason
why we find within us a Jekyll and Hyde nature. One part of us that wants to depend on God for our happiness
and another part of us that wants to depend on the exciting experiences that we can produce in this world for
Is there any way in which we can escape from this nature that has become part of us down through the centuries
and down through the years of our own lives? Yes, there is. There is an amazing event that delivered us from
that. Let’s talk about it tomorrow.
The Nature of Man -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
The Nature of Man
by Ernest O’Neill
We’ve been talking about the meaning of life, why we’re all here, why you’re here, why we exist at all, what
the purpose of this whole universe is and why this earth is spinning madly around in space at thousands of
miles an hour. We’ve been discussing why all that has taken place and, particularly, we’ve been discussing
some of the bewildering phenomena in our own personal lives. Particularly the phenomenon that we refer to as
the Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome.
You may remember Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel called “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. Mr. Hyde
was Dr. Jekyll’s alter ego, I suppose. Dr. Jekyll was a very generous, philanthropic doctor in a certain area
of London. He was used to helping the poor and needy, even giving them medical service without any cost to
them. He developed, of course, inside himself a character which was the exact opposite of what people knew him
There developed inside him a character that was violent and filled with greed and selfishness and anger, a
character that always wanted its own way, whatever agony or pain it cost other people. Eventually, of course,
this Mr. Hyde burst out with the help of some drugs that Dr. Jekyll invented, and began to roam the streets of
London doing all sorts of violent deeds. Robert Louis Stevenson, of course, was pointing out that most of us
have the same experience in our own personal lives.
Jesus was the only religious leader that was able to overcome death. Mohamed or Zoroaster, or Confucius, or
Buddha never did that. So it is reasonable to believe that He was indeed the Son of the Creator of the world
and that the things He talked about as being His Father’s attitude to us are probably true. When He said,
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your food, what you shall eat, nor about your clothing, what
you shall put on. Look at the birds of the air. They toil not; neither do they reap. And yet your Heavenly
Father feeds them.”
“Look at the lilies of the field. They do not sow, nor reap, or gather into barns, and yet Solomon in all his
glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now, if God so clothes the grass, which today is alive and tomorrow
is cast into the fire, will He not much more clothe you, oh ye of little faith?” (Matthew 6:25-30) Jesus
implied that if we did the things which we were meant to do, when we were put here on earth — if you fulfill
the function that God created you here to fulfill, and you did the job you have been given talents to do, and
did it faithfully — then He would make sure that your needs were met.
Sometimes by your salary, sometimes by your wages, sometimes by the way your cash flow worked, sometimes by
mysterious means. Jesus told us that the Creator would do that. Most of us feel, “Yes, there is possibly a
Creator like that. He probably will take care of us.” We do try to believe that and we try to trust Him for
that. But when the bank account goes into overdraft, we try not to allow the churning of our stomach to
dominate our worry and our anxiety.
We try to put our trust in God, and we try to say, “Yes, now, His son said that He would provide all that we
needed. We’ve been in this kind of situation before and it’s come out all right, so it will probably come out
all right again.” We try to do that, but there’s something in us, there’s a nature that has developed down
through the years of our own lives and down through the centuries of our forebears’ lives, that is used to
depending on itself and on the things that we can get from this world of material possessions that will give
us that safety and security that we were really meant to trust our Creator for.
So, there is inside us a dreadful battle that goes on, a terrible conflict between this Mr. Hyde within us,
this monster within us, this old self. Jesus and the Bible, that old book we so rarely read today, they called
it the old nature, or the old self. Sometimes they actually called it the sinful nature. You and I have a
whole wrong idea of sin. We tie sin to immorality and to crime. No. Immorality and crime are human concepts.
Sin itself is primarily living as if there is no God.
It is living depending on the world of people and things and circumstances for your security, your sense of
significance and happiness, instead of living on dependence on God for your security and your significance and
your happiness. That’s all that sin is. It’s just an independence of God. So, most of us find that there is
within us a nature that is full of sin, that is full of independence from God, full of dependence on people.
That’s why we have such “men fear”. That’s why we sweat when the boss doesn’t approve of us. That’s why we get
all worried when our teacher doesn’t think well of us. That’s why we are so anxious to be little “Uriah Heaps”
[character from a Charles Dickens novel] that try to please everybody. There is a nature inside of us that has
got used to living in dependence on people’s opinions, and people’s praise, and people’s approval, rather than
So we are afraid of people and afraid of their approval and afraid of their disapproval, and afraid of what
they think and what they criticize us as being. Instead of being dependent on our Father for His opinion, and
not caring what anybody else thinks, our nature has turned the other way. So, we find within us a sinful
nature, a nature that is full of sin, and full of a desire to depend on people and things and circumstances
for our security and our happiness and our sense of significance.
Of course, it is doomed to continual futility and frustration, because nobody thinks as much of us as our dear
Father who made us. Nobody thinks as much of us as our dear Creator, who gave himself for us. Nobody will
provide for us the resources we need throughout this life as He will do. Finally, the greatest banker in the
world can’t provide for us the moment after we die. Finally the kindest father in the world can’t clothe us
when we catch an incurable disease.
So our sinful nature, or our old nature, our old self, is a hideous thing, because it makes us want to depend
on the world of things and circumstances and people. Yet, it is never satisfied with those things. It can
never get enough satisfaction from those things, because we were made not to get our supply of significance
and happiness and security from those, but from God himself.
So the evil, old self-nature inside us has bent us so towards the world of things, and circumstances and
people, that we cannot live any other way. Yet it can never get enough satisfaction through those
intermediates as will satisfy us; satisfy the good nature, the real nature that the Creator implanted in us at
the beginning. Of course, that nature still draws us towards truth and reality.
There is a part of you that is delighted to trust to the wind. There is a part of you that is delighted to
just risk it, and to have the delight that you had as little children, and trust that things will come out
okay. There is part of you that kicks over the traces and says it doesn’t matter what they think of me. It
doesn’t matter if they criticize me to death. That doesn’t matter. There’s Somebody Else who thinks there’s
something about me.
There is a part of us that rises to truth and rises to reality. Yet, there is this miserable evil nature
within us that seems at times, as in Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel, to grow and grow and dominate the good
nature within us until almost all the good nature seems utterly suppressed, and only the evil, old,
self-nature seems to live. It seems as we go on living, that it just becomes more and more subtle within us.
We try all kinds of ways to get rid of it. How can you get rid of it? Well, there is a way. Let’s talk about
Humanity’s Evil Nature 1 -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Humanity’s Evil Nature 1
by Ernest O’Neill
What can you do about that thing inside you that continues to make you do what you don’t want? What can you
do about it — that part of you that prevents you doing the good thing that you want to do? Because if you’re
like me and like the rest of us, you’ve found that out already in your life. There’s part of you that wants
to live right, and there’s part of you that wants to prevent you living right. So, at times you feel it’s
almost a schizophrenia that you’re experiencing, a split personality.
There seems to be a part of you that wants to do good, and a part of you that wants to do bad; a part of you
that loves the good, and a part of you that loves the evil. There’s a part of you that wants to live the way
your Maker wanted you to live depending on Him to supply you with your needs as long as you did what He put
you here on the earth to do. That part wants to depend on Him and His love for you to give you a sense of
self-worth and self-esteem.
It wants to depend on your friendship with Him so that you enjoy skiing down the steepest ski slopes, so that
you enjoy skiing on the water and the lakes, so that you enjoy sailing and swimming in His world. There’s a
part of you that wants to enjoy those things, and then there’s another part of you that wants to get what you
want for yourself by your own effort, however much it costs anybody else.
There’s a part of you that wants to impose yourself on other people so that you force them to respect you, and
to look up to you and to give you that self-esteem and self-worth that you really were meant to get from your
Maker, who loves you and thinks of you as the unique limited edition that He has produced of you alone. There
is part of us that wants to live in trust of our Maker and there’s part of us that wants to live in trust of
There’s part of us that wants to depend on our Father who made us and on His provision of the food, shelter
and clothing that we may need. There’s part of us that wants to get that from the things that we possess, from
our stocks and shares, from our home and our mortgage, from the bank account, from all the money that we have
invested. There’s part of us that wants to depend on the Maker, the one significant other in the whole
universe, and what He thinks of us and His approval of us.
There’s another part of us that wants to depend on what our peers think of us, what our boss thinks of us,
what our wives think of us, what our children think of us, and come under men-fear because of that. There’s
part of us that wants to depend on our friendship with our Maker, and on the thrill of knowing the heart of
the One who has made the Rocky Mountains, and on the heart of the One who has made the Amazon River.
There’s part of us that wants to get happiness from the things that happen to us, the circumstances that
surround us, from a sunny day as opposed to a rainy day, from a vacation as opposed to a day when we’ve come
back from vacation, from a Friday as opposed to a Monday morning at 8:00 a.m.
So, there seems to be within us a nature that opposes living in dependence upon God. Yet, there’s part of us
that wants to depend upon Him. I mean, as we outlined it to each other over these months, you must admit it’s
a much more attractive life to live with a dear Father who cares for us so that we can reproduce the liberty
and the delight and the freedom from worry that we used to have as children.
It’s a much more attractive life than that old life, you remember, that one of our poets talks about, “In
tears, and in sweating, we lay waste our days.” We wear away our days. “In headaches and in worry, vaguely
life leaks away.” Isn’t that the way one of the poets put it? “In headaches and in worry, vaguely life leaks
away.” So, for most of us, that’s the way life goes. “In headaches and in worry, vaguely life leaks away.”
The life that we are meant to live in dependence on our Creator is a much more attractive life than that.
There’s part of us that rises to that, and wants that, and delights in it. We glimpse that at times when we
see a comedian who is really laughing or really makes us laugh. For a moment, we feel that. When we see a
little baby just born, for a moment we see all the beauty and the gentleness of life.
When we see our own children, when they’re young, trusting us implicitly for all that they need, we catch a
glimpse of what Wordsworth talked about when he said, “Heaven lies about us in our infancy. Shades of the
prison house begin to close around the growing boy. At length, the man perceives it die away, and fade into
the light of common day.”
So, most of us know that there’s a part of our nature that rises to what God intended us to do and the way He
intended us to live. Yet, there’s this other part of our nature that seems more truly us, somehow, because
it’s been bred into us through the years of our own choices, and it’s been bred into us through the centuries
of our forbears, so that we have this evil, sinful, old selfish nature that rises up, and loses its temper,
and gets angry and kicks over the traces, and destroys friends and relatives alike for its own sake.
How do you get rid of that? Most of us have tried all kinds of ways. We’ve tried power of positive thinking.
We’ve tried reading the books that teach you how to control your temperament. We’ve tried thinking good things
about other people. We’ve tried all kinds of tricks. But, the truth is that this nature seems untamable. It
seems irrepressible. You control it for a while by reading this book or by reading that book, and suddenly it
pops up again.
You get some kind of control of your selfishness, and you think you’ve won the battle over that, and so you’ll
move on to your pride. After you’ve worked on your pride for a while, you find your selfishness is striking
up again. It’s like a person coming to visit you and you have a huge St. Bernard dog. You know that this
person hates dogs. So, you want him to feel that there’s no dog in the house, so that he won’t have any
allergies as long as he just comes in and visits you.
So you put the St. Bernard dog in a huge wooden chest and you sit on top of it to keep the dog down. You
welcome your friend into the living room, and begin to talk to him. Of course, the old dog is trying to get
out, and from time to time, he bumps up against the door of the chest. Of course, you’re popping up and down,
trying to pretend that there’s no dog there at all.
It’s often like that with this old nature. It pops up again at the most inconvenient moments. It tries to
force its way up into open action whenever it can. Most of the time, we manage to keep it down. We manage to
keep the anger covered. We manage to keep the envy and the pride covered when we’re complimenting somebody.
We manage to keep the resentment and the criticism covered when we’re smiling and being apparently outwardly
friendly with a person.
But, from time to time, it manages to burst out and to express itself outwardly. It seems as if it is
impossible to do anything about that nature. It seems it cannot be trained. It cannot be tamed. It cannot
be repressed. It cannot be psychoanalyzed. It can only be temporarily ameliorated. Then, it seems to come
back stronger than ever.
So, most of us who have lived many years on this earth would testify that though we have appeared to gain
some kind of control of it, yet we know that it has just become more subtle in its expressions. But, it still
is there, this old selfish nature that we cannot seem to control. There seems no answer to it. Indeed, most
religious people say there’s no answer to it. They say the only thing is to get forgiveness for it. But you
really can’t do anything about it. All you can do is keep on trying.
But, there is no way out. There is no way out of living a defeated life that is from time to time overcome by
this old selfish nature within. So, most people feel that that’s what we’re condemned to in this life. The
truth is, that that nature is incredibly powerful. You’re foolish if you think that it’s just you. It’s not
just you. It’s a whole independent attitude that our human race has developed through the centuries.
It’s an attitude that has been bred into us for years. It’s not just your mum and dad that have said to you,
“Look, if you don’t look after yourself, nobody else will look after you” We’ve been saying that to our
children for generations, so that it’s bred into us. Our very nature has become twisted and perverted. So,
when you deal with that old selfish nature, it’s not just something that you’re producing in your life. It’s
something that has been bred into us for centuries.
It has a supernatural power to it. That’s why when you try to control it, you’re trying to control something
that is bigger than your own human nature.
Is there anyone that can do anything about that? Yes, there is. Let’s talk about it tomorrow.
Humanity’s Evil Nature 2 -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Humanity’s Evil Nature 2
by Ernest O’Neill
We are discussing the phenomenon known as the old selfish nature. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.
It’s that part of you that pops its ugly head up when you determine to be complimentary to someone, and you’re
just in the middle of a nice compliment to them and there crosses your mind the thought that they are the most
critical people that you have ever met.
Or, the thought crosses your mind, “Look at the dress she’s wearing,” and in the middle of the compliment
there is something that comes up from the depth of your nature that expresses the exact opposite of what your
lips are saying. That’s what we mean by that old selfish nature. Of course, that’s a mild expression of it
compared with some of the hideous things it produces in your home, because there are moments when you lose
your temper and you cannot believe it is you.
You cannot believe it’s you losing your temper. It is so hideous; it is so violent. It is so absolutely
insensitive to the loved ones you care most about that you think to yourself, “I’m becoming insane. This is
like another person inside me.” That is what it seems to most of us. There seems to have developed in most
human beings a nature within our nature. A nature that is evil, and old, and selfish, and cruel and is
something we don’t like at all.
Yet, as the years go by, it takes over more and more control in our lives, so that we often come into the
same situation as Dr. Jekyll in Stevenson’s novel. We find it more and more difficult to be ourselves. This
old, evil nature within us seems to have taken such control of us. What we shared, of course, yesterday is
that that’s because it is part of the race itself. It is part of the human race.
It is not just that you have behaved in a selfish way for a number of years. It is not just that for several
years of your life you have lived as if there was no Creator and no God and therefore, lived with no trust in
Him at all, and therefore had to depend utterly on what you could grab by the power and energy of your own
hands and the cleverness of your own mind.
It’s not just that you have lived that way and have, in fact, twisted and perverted your own personality. It
is that the whole race has been living like that for generations. For generations we as a human race have
said, “There is no God. There is nobody to take care of us, so we better make what we can out of this earth,
whatever it costs us, and whatever it costs anybody else among the other five billion that are here.”
It’s that we have been saying that for generations. For generations, we human beings have been saying, “We’re
five billion people. I’m one. I feel I’m unique but nobody else seems to see I’m unique, so I have to make
them see that I’m unique. I have no longer a belief in my Creator. I have no longer any sense that He thinks
I’m unique and that that’s the only approval, or the only acknowledgment that I really need.”
“I have no belief in that, so I have to establish my own self esteem and my own self worth from the approval
of other people. I have to force these other five billion to look at me and notice me. That’s why I want to
be an outstanding singer. That’s why I want to be a rock star. That’s why I want to be successful, famous and
wealthy, so that other people will give me a sense of self esteem which I know I need to have.”
It’s because for generations we’ve been living like that. It’s that nature, that old nature, that old self,
that old sinful nature, because that’s what it is. It’s not just sin. Sin is not just drinking, or alcohol or
homosexuality or those things. Those certainly are sinful acts and thoughts. But sin itself is not a matter
of morality or immorality, of crime or not of crime. Sin is living independent of God.
It’s living as if there is no God. It’s just practical atheism. It’s living as if you are dependent on
yourself alone to establish whatever security and significance and happiness you can in this world by using
the things, and the people and the circumstances in this world just as you please. That’s what sin is.
That old nature that is full of that sin, full of that independence, has been bred into our race for
generations. This is why it is so difficult for us to control. It is like a wild animal inside of us. That’s
why you have such trouble keeping your temper. That’s why you have such trouble avoiding critical thoughts.
Have you ever tried to avoid critical thoughts? It’s very difficult, because that old racial nature is part of
you and has been bred into you and has been passed on to you by your parents and by your grandparents and by
your great grandparents.
It has a spiritual force and power about it that is almost demonic. You must admit you’ve thought that at
times. You’ve thought when you’ve lost your temper, you’ve thought, “I could kill. This isn’t me. I don’t
normally feel like this. This is like something demonic inside me.” And so it is with most of us. When we
see this thing working inside us, we feel this is something that is beyond our control. And it is.
It is beyond the control of an ordinary human being. That’s why the power of positive thinking books don’t
work. That’s why all the psychological books only serve to ameliorate the situation. They only are a means of
tampering and tinkering with something that needs more radical treatment than any human being can give it.
What is that treatment?
Well, our Creator is not dumb. He is a very wise, intelligent being. He is infinitely wise. He has a mind
that is better than the greatest mainframe computer that Cray, Honeywell or Control Data ever have or ever
will produce. His mind is greater at foreseeing contingent possibilities than any computer, or any set of
computers or national economist ever will be.
He was able to look into our natures and see that if He had given us free wills, which He had to do so that we
would be able to come to love Him because nobody can love unless they have a free will, He saw into our
natures and saw that these free wills were free to do what they wanted. We were utterly and absolutely free to
depend on Him for the things that we needed, for the sense of value that we needed, for the sense of happiness
Or we were free to depend on the world of things, the world of circumstances, the world of people for those
instead. He saw that we were free to do that and that once we began to do that, we would begin to pervert our
very nature so that it would become bred into our natures. We would align ourselves with the powerful spirit
forces in the universe that have rebelled against Him already.
He knew that. He knew we would develop natures that would be incorrigible, that would be untamable, that
would be unchangeable. When He saw that He knew He had to make some provision for us. Otherwise, we would not
be free to exercise our free wills, because this nature would so dominate us we could not do what we wanted.
You know that’s what most of us cry out. Most of us say, “I don’t do the good I want to do, but the very evil
I hate, that’s the very thing I do.”
Our Maker saw that that would be the situation. So He arranged a mighty act in the depths of eternity.
Eternity is timelessness, you know. Eternity is not everlasting time. Eternity is timelessness. Actually,
reality is timelessness. You probably realize that. Time is just a human invention to make life possible here
on this earth. But eternity is actually timelessness.
And in the depths of timelessness, our Maker did a mighty work that changed that evil nature of ours and made
provision for us to be delivered from it. In other words, in the first second, if you can talk about the
Creator in terms of time, He conceived of our creation. In the second second, He conceived of our rebellion
against Him and our using our free will to produce a perverted nature. And in the third second, He conceived
of a way to change that nature and to make it possible for us to be delivered from it, if we so chose.
That was what the Creator did for us in the timelessness of eternity, even before the world was created. What
was that thing that He did? Well, let’s talk about it in greater detail tomorrow.
Humanity’s Evil Nature 3 -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Humanity’s Evil Nature 3
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking on this program about the impossibility we often find of keeping our temper. We determine we
will act wisely and in a balanced fashion. We will exercise patience and gentleness. Somehow we find ourselves
overcome completely by a wild anger and temper that rises up from it seems a Neanderthal depth within us. It
seems to us very easy to believe that we were once cavemen, so violent is this reaction. That’s what we’re
We’re discussing what we have begun to talk about as an old nature inside us that seems utterly opposed to our
ordinary nature. There is a part of us that wants to live the way we were meant to live. There is a part of us
that wants to live in a civilized fashion, in a kindly way, that wants to be free of fret and anxiety and
worry, that wants to be free from anger and jealousy and pride. It’s a part of us that wants to live in a
loving way with our wives, children, fellow workers and our colleagues. It wants to believe that there is a
Maker of the world that looks after everything, that takes care of us also, that thinks of us, loves us and
cares about us.
There’s another part of us that doesn’t want to believe any of that and seems to rise up and make us behave as
if there’s nobody to look after us but ourselves. Unless we grab everything we need by our own power, we won’t
get anything. Unless we force everybody to think the world of us, nobody will treat us with any respect or
give us any sense of value or worth.
So, we find within ourselves a nature that we have called an evil nature it seems. It seems at times opposed
to all good. It’s an old nature because it seems so old. It seems as old as the race itself. Indeed, that’s
what we’ve been saying. It IS as old as the race itself. That old nature that is within us, that is like Mr.
Hyde, that Robert Lewis Stevenson describes in “The Strange History of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, that old
nature is as old as the race itself, because it started from the very beginning of the creation.
We men and women determined, “Forget it. We’re not going to depend on a Creator, even if He’s there. Why
should we depend on Him to give us what we need in this world? I’ll grab it for myself. I know how to grab
more of it than He would probably give me. Why should I depend on Him and His approval of me? What does it
matter about His approval? I’ll get all these other folks down here to think the world of me. I’ll become
famous. I’ll become wealthy, or I’ll become powerful and I’ll make them think the world of me and then I’ll
get all the self esteem that I need.
So, from the very beginning of creation we human beings have for centuries lived like that. We’ve bred this
kind of nature into our children and our children’s children down through the years. That’s really the nature
that you and I have inherited. So strong and powerful is it that it’s impossible for the power of positive
thinking or for psychological fiddling to do anything about it. It’s a nature that has to be dealt with by
someone more powerful than that nature itself. That’s who did something about it!
When you have trouble with your vacuum cleaner you fiddle around with it for a bit. If you can’t do anything,
you know what you do? You send it back to the maker. That’s exactly the situation here. The Creator, when He
conceived of us, conceived us with free wills. You can think of Him back there in eternity, though I point out
to you that eternity is not “back there”; eternity is timelessness.
Albert Einstein himself showed us very clearly that time doesn’t really exist. It is not a part of reality.
Time is just an accommodation that we have been given to enable us to live on this earth without going insane.
Time and space are purely temporary phenomena. Timelessness is the final reality. In timelessness, which is
above and beyond all that we’re experiencing here, our Creator, if you can think of Him doing anything
sequentially, conceived of our creation. He conceived of us having free wills, so that we would be able to
love Him. Only free will people can love.
Then, He conceived of the possibility that we would use the free wills to — instead of looking to Him for our
security, significance and happiness — look to things, people and circumstances for our security,
significance and happiness. He conceived of us doing that. He conceived of the results of that perverted
nature that we would pass on from generation to generation, until we came to the point where that nature was
so powerful that we couldn’t even use our free wills to oppose it. As He conceived of all that in one second,
He conceived of the need to take us back to Himself, to destroy that nature that we would create, and create a
new one, completely whole and able to do what our free wills wanted it to do. He conceived of all that in a
So, when He made us at the beginning He made us in fact twice. He made us, first of all. Then He made us again
a second time. In other words, our Creator conceived of the life that you would live. He foresaw that life. He
is better able to do that than the greatest computer that we have on earth. Even our computers are able to
foresee what kind of evil we’ll face in the year 2000. How many people will be alive in the year 2030? So, our
Creator is much more able to foresee all contingent events and contingent circumstances. He did that. He
foresaw the life you would develop. He foresaw the nature you would develop. Then in the timelessness of
eternity He put that nature of yours into His own son, His son Jesus.
It was by His son that He made you. It was by His son’s power, by the life of His son that He made you and He
put you back into His son. He destroyed you in His son. He destroyed your old nature completely and
absolutely. He made you alive again in a new way in His son. That’s the significance of Jesus’ dying on
Calvary. Jesus’ dying on Calvary is just a temporal expression in time and space of the massive miracle of
death and recreation that the Creator worked in your old nature, before the creation of the world itself took
That’s what God did. That’s why there’s a piece of the Bible, if you ever want to look at it, in the book
called Romans, in the New Testament, in Chapter 6, verse 6. It runs like this, “For we know that our old self
was crucified with Him, so that the sinful body might be destroyed and we might no longer be enslaved to sin.”
That’s what it says. “We know that our old self, our old nature, this old nature, that will not do what we
want it to do, was crucified with Christ…not just on the cross in 29 A.D. That’s just a physical expression
in time and space of the event that took place in timelessness, before the world was.
That’s the amazing statement that’s made in another book in the Bible, in Revelation. This verse says “the
Lamb”, which refers to Jesus, “who was slain from before the foundation of the world.” The creation was
preceded by a mighty act of our Creator, when He took the old, sinful, evil self nature that you would develop
and He knew that you would develop, and which He put into His son and destroyed it there. He made you over
again new. That’s why you are conscious of a good nature in you. There is a shadow of the good nature and
there is a shadow of the old, evil nature. You are able to choose which is going to live in your life today.
By the power of our Creator, it is possible for you to live according to the new nature. Let’s talk a little
more about it tomorrow, so we can understand it a bit more.
Freedom from our Evil Desires -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Freedom From Our Evil Desires
by Ernest O’Neill
We are talking about the great problem that all human beings face — the problem of living an integrated life.
We are discussing, especially, the great cause of our problem in living that integrated life: the existence
within us of a nature that seems to oppose what part of our nature wants to do.
It seems, at times, that there are two natures inside of us. There is part of us that goes home one evening
wanting to give our wives the most pleasant evening she has ever had in her life. We buy the flowers. We take
the chocolates. We look forward to being the best husband that she has ever known. Yet, something goes a
little wrong. We get the car stuck in the gateway, or we drop a favorite pen we have and break it.
The supper or the dinner is not quite ready. Suddenly there lashes out from inside us anger and violence such
as we never knew existed before. It’s that nature that we are discussing and the existence of that nature.
What we have been sharing, of course, is that that nature comes from, not just the years of your life where
you yourself have chosen to try to get what you can of love from the people around you, rather than from the
Creator who made you. It comes not just from that. It comes from centuries of inbreeding.
For centuries our human race has lived as if there was no Maker. Of course, as we lived as if there was no
Maker, we found ourselves faced with impossible situations. We found ourselves, all four or five billion of
us in the world, all trying to get enough food, clothing and shelter, to do what we wanted — despite all the
others trying to get the same things for themselves.
We found that five billion of us thought we were unique individuals and yet, nobody else treated us as unique
individuals. So, we discovered that all kinds of people were trying to get the same attention that all the
rest were. So, as we did that, we began to get more and more frustrated. We found that there had developed
within us a frustrated nature, a nature that was always trying to get things that it could not get,
satisfaction that it could not possibly obtain.
We found ourselves wanting an affection and an attention and a respect that all the people in the world seemed
unable to give us satisfactorily. We found we wanted a security financially and physically and medically that
we seemed unable to get with all our money and with all our position that we got in our company. So, we
discovered that there was a frustration and a futility in life that we could not overcome. Of course, that
produced in us a nature that was never satisfied. We found a nature of selfishness that would strike out
against other people when it didn’t get what it wanted.
Now, that nature has been bred into the race for generations. It’s for centuries that our race has lived as
if there was no God, as if there was no Maker, trying to get from all the rest of us poor finite beings what
it was meant to get from its God and from the Creator of the world. Trying to get the security from us that it
could only get from believing that the Maker of the world was in fact faithful and, in fact, cared for it.
So, there developed in us a nature that we could not control, an evil nature that Robert Louis Stevenson
talked about in Jekyll and Hyde, a nature that is stronger than we human beings are. You remember we
discussed the problem with that. Here we were faced with a nature that was stronger than us ourselves, and
yet we were trying to overcome it by psychological tools, by social tools, by counseling toolsâ€¦
… by reading temperament control books, by giving each other a good education, by trying to use music or
trying to use conversation, or trying to use group psychology and therapy. Somehow, it was like trying to
train a wild lion with a little stick of candy. It was just impossible. Because, in fact, this nature that we
have within us that runs alongside our good nature, this nature is part of the human race itself.
Actually there is only one person that can do anything about it. We have discussed how our Creator, our Maker,
when He conceived of the creation of the universe, conceived of us having free wills. Immediately when He
conceived of us having free wills, He conceived of the possibility that we would use these free wills to
depend on the world of things and circumstances for our security and for our happiness, instead of on Him.
The moment He conceived that, He conceived of the possibility that we would then go on, because of the way He
had made us, to exercise our free wills to produce emotions and intellects and physical bodies that were
increasingly unprepared and unfitted to live the way He meant us to live, and were increasingly perverted and
twisted in themselves. These natures would, in turn, prevent us exercising our free wills the way He wanted us
to exercise them.
So, in order that we would be able to retain those free wills, He conceived of the need (all in one great
moment, because the Creator does not operate sequentially; He operates in timeless eternity, above time and
space)… but in that great one second, He conceived of the need to destroy us and to remake us. He did
exactly that. That’s what a certain verse in the old book, called the Bible, means.
There is a verse there in Revelation (it’s the last book of that Bible), in Chapter 13 and verse 8. The
sentence is, and it’s really an adverbial phrase of time, an adverbial clause of time, “The Lamb that was
slain before the foundation of the world”.
The Creator actually conceived of you, conceived of the possibility of you living your own life according to
your own ways and of creating within yourself, through your own actions and through the actions of all your
forefathers, a nature that would be utterly opposed to Him and that would prevent you exercising your free
will in alignment with His, even if you wanted to. Now, at that moment, He put you into His Son Jesus, and
destroyed you there in timelessness.
He crucified that old self of yours, that old nature, in His son and He remade you again as He raised His Son
from the dead. He expressed all that in time and space in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in 29 A.D. in
Palestine. But that is only the outward physical expression in time and space of the event that God Himself
did before the world was ever created. That is the mighty act that the Creator has done.
That is why, you see, you have two natures. They are both shadows of parts of reality. There is the good
nature that is part of the shadow of the new nature that God has given you in His Son Jesus. There is the old
nature that reminds you of what you would be if you exercised your free will against Him and chose to depend
on the world rather than on Himself. So, the existence of those two natures is partially an expression of what
happened in timelessness.
Now, if you say to me, what is the real nature? Well, the real nature is the new nature, undoubtedly. The
real nature is the new nature. The Creator has destroyed all that your old self will produced. That is, in
fact, in destruction, in timelessness. If you say, “Why is it still alive in my life?” It’s because the
Creator allowed you to see the consequences of your actions. That’s what this life is.
It is one mighty experiment by the Creator to give us free wills, to let us see what our free wills would
bring about in our lives if they were exercised against Him and yet give us the chance to think again. He gave
us a second chance to do it all over again. That’s what the Creator has done. It is a mighty and a beautiful,
So, this present life that you have is a life of opportunity. It’s a life when you can choose to turn your
back forever on that old self-nature. It’s an opportunity for you to live the way the Maker wanted you to.
Let’s talk a little more tomorrow about that.
Overcoming our Evil Nature -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Overcoming Our Evil Nature
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking on this program about the meaning of life. We’ve got quite far in our discussion, so if you find
that some of this is too difficult to understand, I do encourage you to write to me and I’ll send you some of
the cassettes of the previous broadcasts. It’ll help bring you up-to-date to where we are today. The point we
are discussing now is the old evil nature that all of us find rises within us from time to time and which
makes us lose our temper.
We’re discussing how that came about. We’ve been saying that it came about, because most of us live as if
there is no God, as if there’s no Maker. Most of us live as if the only way we’re going to get any attention
in this world is if we force other people to give it to us. So, we’ve become absolutely dependent on other
people’s approval or other people’s criticism. The result is this leads us into “man fear” and that, in its
turn, leads us into envy and jealousy of other people who seem to be getting more attention than we are.That,
in turn, leads us into pride, when we do get a little attention.
It’s the same with our financial and material security. We are utterly dependent on what we can grab of the
material possessions in this world for our security. We’ve given up believing that there is a Creator who
looks after us as he looks after the birds and the lilies of the field.
So, we get irritated and we get greedy when we don’t get enough of these possessions. As a result, we have
developed within us an old nature that is absolutely opposed to the nature that wants to believe in the
Creator of the universe. It’s this nature that rises up in futility and frustration, because it doesn’t matter
how many possessions we get, it doesn’t matter how many people’s approval we get, we never seem to have as
much as the Creator of the world would have given us Himself.
So, we find ourselves with this old nature rising up in frustration and futility and bad temper and
irritability and impatience when it doesn’t get from the ordinary, poor human beings around us the attention
and the praise and the satisfaction that it really can only get from the infinite, one, Significant Other in
So, this nature has developed within us and we seem unable to control it. You know that. When you lose your
temper, you feel that it’s an animal within you. You can’t recognize it even as yours. At times you say, that
couldn’t be me. I couldn’t say those things. I couldn’t feel like that. But you do. It seems impossible for
it to be you, but it is you. It’s part of you.
What has been done to deal with that? What we have shared is that the Creator himself, the Maker of the
universe, knew that you and I would exercise our free wills as we have.
If you say, “Oh, how did He know that?” He has an infinite mind. He can see further than the greatest
mainframe computer that we have or ever will create. He could foresee all the contingent circumstances and
contingent decisions that you would make with your free will. He was able to see that we would develop within
ourselves as a human race, a nature — an evil, old, selfish nature — that would actually prevent us from
exercising our free wills to depend upon Him.
We would come into a position where we were no longer free. You must admit that you know that yourself. It
seems at times that you’re not actually free to do good. You’re not free to do what you think you should do.
That’s why you call out at times, “I can’t do it; I don’t understand my own actions, because I don’t do what I
want, but I do the very thing I hate.” So, we do. We at times do the very thing we don’t want to do.
It’s because it’s this old nature that has become so strong that our wills are no longer free. The Creator
knew that would happen. So, at the beginning of the world — and you remember that there is no such thing as
time — outside this time-space world, even old Einstein showed us from a human point of view, just from the
basis of intellect, time is just a temporary creation for this time-space world; timelessness is real
eternity; timelessness is reality; timelessness is one great eternal moment.
And that’s really what we are in. It is one great eternal moment. In that one great eternal moment, our
Creator conceived of our creation, conceived of us having free wills so that we would be able to love Him,
conceived of those free wills being used to depend on others rather than on Him, conceived of the evil,
contorted, perverted nature that that would produce in us, conceived of the fact that that nature would
prevent us, in turn, from exercising our free wills any longer, …and, at that same moment, conceived of the
destruction of that free will and of that old nature in His Son in a mighty act of destruction before the
world was ever made and the recreation of a completely new nature with a completely new and free, free will.
That is the one we were born with into this world.
If you say to me, “Well, why is this old nature so rampant and so alive?” The Creator made available to us the
two natures. That’s why you feel some good things at times. That’s why you actually do good actions at times.
That’s why even the cruelest men, even the Hitlers of the world, even the Stalins of the world, do some good
The Creator allowed some of that good nature to be expressed through us to enable us to know that it was
there, available for us, if we wanted it. But He also allowed that old, evil nature to continue within us so
that we would see what the results of our free choice would be if we continued to choose in that way. So, it
is a miraculous situation that we find ourselves in this present life. We find ourselves not only able to make
the choice, and to choose to depend on our Creator, rather than this world of things and circumstances and
people, but we are also able to look at what the results of that choice of something other than God would be.
We can see it all around us. You can see it. We can see it in our present world. We can see all around us the
results of choosing the world of circumstances and people and things, rather than God for trust. We can see
that all around us. So, it is a wonderful expression and a wonderful scenario, a wonderful experiment in which
we can see the results of choosing one way and see the results of choosing another…and yet gloriously be
free to make the choice once more for ourselves.
If you say to me, “Well, how could that be? How could that evil nature continue?” Very easily! You know that
some of the light we see as stars are not stars at all. The stars have died centuries ago. The light is just
travelling towards us; it’s on its way. The star actually was destroyed centuries ago. And so it is with your
old, bad-tempered nature, your old selfish nature. That has been destroyed centuries ago. It is dead and done
for. That’s why it brings such sadness.
It brings the sadness that reflects the fact that God has condemned it to death. It is dead, but yet the light
of it and the effects of it are still travelling in your life in this part of the universe. But actually it
itself is dead. The moment you agree with that and the moment you depend on that and the moment you live
according to that, actually it is dead in your life. No more of those shadows continue.
It’s a little like the situation in Hiroshima, you remember. You remember the situation when the first people
went into the streets there in Japan after the explosion of the bomb. They saw a person standing in the
street, apparently completely alive. They went up to them, and touched them and suddenly the thing just
disappeared. It was like a cinder. They had been burnt so suddenly and so instanteously, that they had been
burnt to a cinder, yet the cinder retained the shape of a person. But the moment you put your finger upon it,
the whole thing sank into ashes.
That’s what it’s like with your old nature. It’s already destroyed. It’s been destroyed by your Creator in His
Son Jesus from before the foundation of the world. The moment you believe that, the moment you act accordingly
to it, that moment the whole cinder appearance of that evil nature disappears and is overcome and destroyed.
That’s why it’s possible to live the way we were meant originally to live, because of the mighty act by which
God destroyed our old self in His Son Christ.
That’s the meaning of the expression of that death in Calvary in 29 A.D. It’s the truth that is expressed in
the Bible, you remember, in Romans 6:6, “We know that our old self was crucified with Him.” That is so with
you. You can actually live free from that nature, because of what the Creator has done in His Son Jesus for
you. You can begin this very day. Let’s talk a little more tomorrow about it.
The Mr. Hyde Personality -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
The Mr. Hyde Personality
by Ernest O’Neill
One of the most wearing things for most of us is summed up in a sentence that comes from the heart of most men
and women today. It’s a verse from a well-known, old book that we were taught to respect in our childhood
days. The statement runs like this, “I do not understand my own actions, for I do not do what I want, but I do
the very thing I hate.” I think most of you listening today know that experience in your own life.
We plan to have a beautiful evening with our wives. We plan to have a wonderful Saturday outing with the
children. Then, either our wife says something that offends us or the children do something that we didn’t
expect them to do and before we know it, these peace-loving, Gandhi-type individuals that we thought we were
have turned into raving monsters that create a hideous war that ends up the day in a tragedy instead of in a
delight. I think all of us know that experience.
Probably you, like me, have determined that you would be most understanding and most kind to your wife on a
certain day, and yet something crops up. Some letter comes through the mail or someone says something about a
certain situation that you were not prepared to receive and before you know it, you’ve either lost your temper
or all your good resolutions have gone to the wind. You end up making the person that you say you love
That is what we have termed the “Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome.” That’s what we have been talking about for really
the past two weeks or so on this program. The title of the program is, “WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?” and we
have been looking at some of the phenomena of life itself that might help to give us understanding of the
meaning of life and its purpose and why we are all here.
What we have been sharing is the various experiences that all of us have in this Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome. You
remember, “Jekyll and Hyde” was the novel that was written by Robert Louis Stevenson about the respectable
Doctor Jekyll who, in the evenings, turned into a hideous monster called Hyde who was guilty of all kinds of
violence and hateful actions.
That’s why we call it the Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome, because most of us seem to have an experience of a hideous
monster inside, a monster that seems to be filled with selfishness and filled with a desire for its own way
and that contrasts with the civilized veneer that we wear on the outside. Now, the problem with most of us is,
we really don’t believe that that hideous monster is the real us.
Nor, of course, can we say that the real us is the civilized, respectable side that we would like to think is
us. We suspect that the true “us” lies somewhere between these two personalities. Of course, our constant aim
in this life is to make the good overcome the evil. That’s what we’re hoping all the time to do. That’s what
we spend our whole lives doing, starting from when we were children.
Our teachers encouraged us to be self-disciplined and to be self-contained and self-controlled, right up to
the time when our parents encouraged us to be loving and understanding, right up through the time when our
college professors encouraged us to let the classic virtues of self-control and of truthfulness and honesty
predominate, right up through the present experience that we have in our particular careers or our trades
where our employers or our employees encourage us to be upstanding and to be kindly and generous in our
dealing with them.
Yet, all of us face the impossibility of getting the good to predominate. Part of the problem is, we don’t
really face the fact that this monstrosity inside us is us. That’s part of our problem. We don’t realize or
accept that, partly because we don’t know how to get rid of it. We feel that if we admit it’s there, then we
are faced with an impossible defeat for the rest of our lives.
So, most of us spend our days walking around this monstrosity of self, or reading books on how to control your
temperament, or how to think positively or how to be a better person. We feel all the time that we are trying
to tame a roaring, hideous, evil lion with a piece of candy. We feel that we are trying to tame something that
actually cannot be tamed. Of course, most of us have had that experience. We’ve encouraged our good side a
little and tried to discourage our bad side.
We think that we are beginning to get on top of it when suddenly the bad side breaks out into another hideous
display of temper that blows our whole family life and domestic life apart or that creates in us that desire
to be the most ugly and lustful creature we could ever imagine. We feel at times that we are just beginning to
overcome the evil in us and suddenly it breaks out again worse than before.
That’s one of the incredible and ironic and impossible signs of this old self within us. That is, it seems to
get stronger the more years we pass in this world. It seems to get stronger and more subtle. It doesn’t seem
to get weaker. Indeed, what seems to get weaker is, as in the case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the Dr. Jekyll
seems to get weaker. The respectable, civilized, moral side of us seems to get weaker and get more worn out as
the years go by.
Part of the problem, therefore, that most of us face in this life -â€“ it’s probably the biggest problem that
we face — is how to get rid of this evil side or how to make the good side predominate. This problem becomes
acute in a situation like alcoholism, or drug addiction, or homosexuality, or lesbianism, or really, the other
things that are equally as great: constant dishonesty, constant boastfulness, a tendency to lie or to veil the
truth, or to speak half truths, a tendency to criticize or to be sarcastic with other people. These particular
vices are what destroy not only our own lives, but the lives with whom we live and work.
So, that phenomenon is a very real one that probably you know intimately yourself. What we have been talking
about is the origin of that phenomenon, and why it seems so impossible for us to overcome it or to tame it in
any way. You remember, what we have said is that it ties up directly with the two ways that we have of living
life here in this world. We can either live it as if there is no Creator, as if there is no Originator behind
the sky and the clouds, the wood, the steel, the automobiles, the air, the wind, the ocean, the rivers. We can
live as if there is no Originator behind all those things.
It’s as if there is no personal Creator, as if those things came about by some wild chance of time plus an
evolutionary process that had no direction in it. We can either live that way, believing that and living that
way, in which case we are left pretty much on our own. Or, we can live as if there is an Originator, as if
there is a personal Creator behind all this and as if He is actually the one that lives behind our life. We
can live as if it is Him and His friendship that we really need.
So, we can live one way or the other. We can either live as if there is a Creator, or we can live as if there
isn’t a Creator. If we live as if there isn’t a Creator, of course we are in pretty tight straits, because
there are five billion of us now in this universe, there will be ten billion by about the year 2030. But there
are about five billion of us now on this planet. Everyone one of us thinks we are important and thinks we’re
Yet none of the rest seem to believe that. So, all of us are trying to get everybody else’s attention to see
how unique we are. That creates an awful lot of egos to be satisfied. That drives us to jealousy. It drives us
to pride. It drives us to ambition.
It’s the same with the material possessions that are available in this world. There are five billion of us
striving to get enough of them to keep body and soul together. That means an awful lot of people trying to get
an awful lot from whatever material possessions there are here in the world. That means a great deal of greed,
a great deal of covetousness, a great deal of grabbing what we want, whatever it costs anybody else. That
produces the tremendous, monstrous, selfish drive within us that we talk about as the Mr. Hyde.
There are, of course, the remains of the Dr. Jekyll in us because, actually, there is a Creator. It makes
sense that there is a Creator behind the order we see around us and the personalities that we all have. There
is in us a similar drive towards trusting that Creator. That’s briefly the explanation of where these two
sides of our nature come from. Let’s talk tomorrow a little more about them and how to be delivered from one
into the other.
Freedom from our Evil Nature -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Freedom From Our Evil Nature
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking about a certain problem that almost every human being in the world faces at some time in their
lives. The problem is getting the good in our natures to overcome the evil in our natures. In other words,
most of us have experiences of sitting and thinking some very good and holy and generous thoughts. Suddenly,
without warning, there comes right into our mental horizon a thought of lust or evil or hatred that is so
wretched and rotten that we can’t believe it comes from us.
Yet, most of us have that kind of experience. We’ve all tried, on occasion, to be very, very good, and found
that there seems to be a tide of bad that rises from our very hearts that we can’t possibly understand. It is
the kind of experience that was talked about by Joseph Conrad in his novel “The Heart of Darkness”. We hate to
travel inside our heart of darkness and find it so dark, but some of us have done and have been incredulous.
We cannot believe that such an evil exists within us. So, we have been talking about where that comes from.
What we have been saying is that it ties up directly — these two sides of our nature, this good side and this
bad side — with two views of life. If you view life as having come about by time plus chance, by some
impersonal evolutionary process that just has taken place and has no meaning or order to it, then you’re in a
position of great loneliness and desolation.
You realize that there are five billion other people in this world and they are all trying to get what they
need for food, shelter and clothing. It’s up to you to grab what you can and they are all trying to grab what
they can. So that makes for quite a competitive situation commercially and financially. That produces
tremendous covetousness, greed and anxiety on our part from the point of view of our possessions.
It produces in us, of course, a great desire to get what we want, when we want it, whatever it costs anybody
else. That is what produces, at times, the anger and the greed, the covetousness and the grabbing attitude
that we find rising within us. Now, on the other hand, if there is behind this universe, with all its
carefully ordered orbiting planets and with its DNA molecules and with its chart of the elements so carefully
arranged in order and with these personalities that we have,
… and with the seasons that come and go so regularly year after year — if there is an intelligent, personal
mind behind this universe who made us because He really cares about us, and he loves us, and he can be trusted
by us, then that produces in us a great relaxation and a great restfulness. You begin to realize that you’re
not at the mercy of the other five billion in this world, but the one who put you here knows that you’re here.
He has planned for your subsistence and your survival as carefully as He has planned for the survival of Mars
Then there can come into your life a great deal of relaxation and a great deal of peace and a great deal of
ability to think of the other person before yourself and to provide for the other person before yourself.
That produces many drives and many tendencies that are not selfish, just as the other attitude, where there is
no Creator,(and therefore “you have to look after yourself, Jack, whatever the cost”) that produces selfish
drives and a whole selfish attitude and motivation.
So, what we have been saying over these past weeks is that the two attitudes that we find within us, the
desire to do good and the desire to do evil, ties up with two views of life. One regards the world as the only
thing we have to depend on — the things that we find in it, the circumstances that we have in it, and the
people in it — those are the only phenomena that will produce in us the security and the significance and the
happiness that we know we need. That view of life produces a drive toward selfishness and towards indifference
On the other hand, the view of life that regards this creation and us ourselves as being cared for by a loving
Creator who is also our Father and whom we can trust, produces in us a sense that He will provide for our
security. He will provide for our significance. He will provide for our happiness, whatever all the rest of
the people in the world do or don’t do. So, the two attitudes in us come from two views of life.
One is a practical atheism. That is, it is a living day by day as if there is no God. The other is a practical
theism. At least a theism, a practical belief that there is a dear Creator who does know if a sparrow falls to
the ground and who has counted the hair of our heads. That’s where those two attitudes come from. But what we
have been saying, of course, is that an understanding of that alone simply intensifies the agony of our
It’s too easy to find yourself in the same situation as that illustration that is used of a psychiatrist who
treated a man for many months, because the man was beating his wife. One day the man came into the
psychiatrist’s office and he looked so happy. The psychiatrist said, “Have you stopped beating your wife?” The
guy said, “No, I haven’t, but I’m happy because I now know why I’m doing it.”
So we can end up in that situation where our position is worse than before, because we know the situation, we
understand why we’re like this, but we can’t make any change in our behavior. Many of us are like that. Even
if you have not heard the explanation of the problem before, you are able often to understand some facets of
it, but that is not the difficulty. The difficulty is not knowledge. The difficulty is not understanding. The
difficulty is how to get free from that monstrosity within you, that other self, that old self, that creature
inside you that is like Mr. Hyde to your Dr. Jekyll.
How do you deal with that? That is what we have been talking about. We said that many of us have tried
psychological treatment. We have tried psychoanalysis. We’ve tried reading the right books on the power of
positive thinking or on controlling your temperament. We have attended sensitivity groups. We have done all
kinds of things. We have used all the tricks of the trade… the cold showers in the morning, the thinking of
the good things that we can think of about the other person in our office.
We’ve tried all those tricks, but we have ended up still in a worse situation than we were at the beginning.
The old self, this old monster of evil and lust and anger inside us seems to burst out all the more vehemently
all the more we understand it. Of course, what we have been saying is the reason for that is that this is not
just something you have created in your own personality during the years of your present life.
This, in fact, is known throughout philosophy and theology all down through the centuries as what we call an
old, evil nature. It is not just human nature. Human nature is not in itself evil. Human nature, of itself, is
fairly neutral. This evil nature is something that we have had bred into the human race from the very
beginning of time. In fact, it’s as old as the human race. From the beginning of the history of the human race
a group of us men and women began to live as if there was no God.
So we created among ourselves tremendous neuroses that were connected up with the realization that if there is
no God, then we have to look after ourselves; if we have to look after ourselves, then we have to beat out
everybody else in order to get what we need. We bred into ourselves and into each other and into our children
down through the years an attitude of insecurity, an attitude of distrust, an attitude of desperation that has
become part of you and me down through these centuries of our human race.
So, what you face is something that is as old as the race itself. That’s why it is so stupid to try to deal
with it through sensitivity groups, or through a little psychoanalysis or a little encouragement through a
sensitivity group. This is something that is as old as the race itself. It is something that has to be dealt
with radically by a power that is greater than your own mind and your own will.
That’s why your own will is so impotent when it comes to dealing with it. So, that’s what we have been
sharing. Let’s talk tomorrow about what has been done about it and what we can do to experience deliverance
God’s Remedy for Evil in Mankind -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
God’s Remedy for Evil in Mankind
by Ernest O’Neill
You come into the office and it’s a beautiful, sunny morning, and the whole world seems to be smiling upon
you. You think to yourself, “What a day! What a great day!” As you come through the door your colleague says
to you, “By the way, Bill, I told the boss that you forgot to put that sales slip in as you promised last
And suddenly, there rises inside of you an anger and a resentment that you cannot believe. You burst out at
your friend and before you know it, you’re into a verbal scrap that destroys the whole day for you. Has that
ever happened to you? Or, have you ever been sitting at home and your little guy of three or four years of age
is playing on the floor and you think what a lucky dad or a lucky mother you are? You just have a little angel
Suddenly, he pulls down on a tablecloth and brings it onto the floor, crashing that vase that your mother or
your father left you when they died. Before you know it, you’re up, you’ve hit him and he is crying and you’ve
destroyed the peace of that domestic scene. Have you ever had that kind of experience where you find rising
within you a temper and an anger and a hatred that you cannot believe exits inside your own breast? That’s
what we’re talking about.
We’re talking about that monster of self that most of us know about and most of us manage to keep down and
cover over with a civilized veneer of mannerliness and thoughtfulness for others. What we have been talking
about is the explanation of that. It seems like such a strong urge within us that it’s more than just a matter
of understanding it and correcting it.
Most of us do understand it and most of us have tried to correct it. We found that it is stronger than ever
now that the years have gone. The problem is, where does it come from and how, on earth or in heaven, can we
get rid of it? What we have been saying, is that it comes from an attitude to life that we have.
In this life you perhaps take the attitude that what we have around us has come about by evolution plus time.
That’s it. It’s just the result of protons and neutrons colliding with one another and some kind of evolution
taking place, and this resulting order about us coming about by chance. If you believe that, of course, you
realize that you are on your own…absolutely. If there is no one who originated this universe around us, if
there is no one who planned all this, then we are absolutely on our own.
That’s a hideous situation, because there are five billion others in this world, and they’re all trying to get
enough food, clothing and shelter for themselves. What we have to do is make sure that we get our own share.
That results in tremendous drives: drives of ambition, drives of anxiety, drives of hunger, drives of
covetousness, drives of jealousy and all kinds of desires and fears that we may not get what we need in the
way of material possessions.
That produces a tremendous selfish urge within us. It is that that lashes out at others. On the other hand, if
you believe that the order you see around you in this world, the grass that you see, the beauty of the
flowers, the design of the daffodil, the amazing grace of birds that were not designed by Boeing or by British
Air or by Caledonian or anybody else — if you think of the mind that is not designed by Cray, or my Compac,
or by IBM — you conclude there has to be an intelligent mind behind all this and He must be as personable as
we are in order to make us persons — then, of course, the situation is entirely different.
Then it means that He planned all this and He planned your existence. Therefore, He has provided for you, as
He said, through the Man, you remember, that we studied who existed in the first century of our era and said,
“Look at the lilies of the field. They toil not, neither do they reap, yet Solomon in all his glory was not
arrayed like one of these. If God so clothes the grass of the field that today is alive and tomorrow is cast
into the fire, will He not much more clothe you?”
If you believe that there is a personal Creator, then you have to come to the conclusion that he knows you’re
here and that He’s going to provide for you and He’s going to provide for you at times through your job and at
times despite your job. That brings a great restfulness and relaxation into you, and a freedom to actually be
concerned about other people because you know He will take care of you.
That, we have been saying, is where those two attitudes come from, where that tremendous selfish urge comes
from and where that unselfish urge comes from. If you’re like me, you have both. At some times, you are very,
very nice. At some times you are very, very bad. When you are nice, you are very, very nice and when you are
bad you are horrid. Most of us are in that situation.
The explanation is that that comes from a nature that is within you that is known in theological and
philosophical circles as the evil nature. Sometimes it’s the sinful nature. The big thing is it’s as old as
the race itself, because some of us men and women from the very beginning of time have lived as if there is no
Creator. So, we have bred into our children a sense of fearfulness.
We have encouraged in them the feeling, “Look, son, nobody will look out for you but yourself. There is nobody
in this world, in heaven or in earth to watch out for you but yourself, so you’d better take care of
yourself.” That has been bred into us generation after generation after generation. Moreover, as we have
begotten each other, we have begotten people with our own fears, and our own agonies and our own neuroses.
Down through the centuries there has come into you an evil or a sinful or a selfish nature that is as old as
the race itself and far, far older than you. That explains why you find it so impossible to control that
temper, so impossible to control that covetousness and that greed that you find within yourself. It’s
something that is almost superhuman in its demonic intensity. It’s not only a drug addict that feels it. It’s
not only an alcoholic that feels it.
It’s not only a homosexual that feels it. It’s not only a lesbian that feels it. It’s not only a constant,
mendacious liar that feels it. It’s not only a lustful prostitute that feels it. It’s YOU! You feel an almost
demonic intensity within you that makes you criticize, be sarcastic, be angry, be resentful, in a way that
frightens you. Indeed, at times, you feel you’re going insane because the urges are so strong.
It’s because you’re dealing with a power and a nature that has been bred into you down through the centuries.
You have actually inherited a sinful nature, a nature that is built on the premise that there is no God and
therefore, you had better ensure your own security, your own significance or self-importance or value, and
your own happiness by the power of your own will and the insistence of your own right arm. So, that is what
rises within you.
Now, what we shared some weeks ago was this…there is a Creator. There is a Maker of this world. There is a
dear God who is your Father and who did create things like the chart of the elements and who did create the
DNA molecules and who did create the protons and the neutrons and who did create the universe and the orbiting
stars and the seasons and the sun and who did create the birds and the animals and the rivers.
He actually loves you. He knows you’re here and He knows your name. He has actually counted, as His Son said,
the hairs of your head. He foresaw that you would be at the end of this long line of human beings who were
dominated by this sinful nature. He foresaw that. He foresaw that we would use our free wills to refuse to
trust Him and to trust ourselves instead. To refuse to depend on Him and, instead, depend on the things that
we have in the world for our security… the opinions of people for our reputation and our self-worth…the
circumstances that we enter into for our happiness.
He foresaw all that. Actually, from the very beginning of the universe, indeed the old book called the Bible
says, from before the foundation of the world, He put you and me into His Son Jesus and He destroyed that old
nature of ours and He recreated us new with only the good nature that we originally had when He made us. He
did that. That’s a fact.
That is the basis of our deliverance. Let’s talk a little more tomorrow about that incredible event.
Destruction of the Evil Nature -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
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
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
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
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.
How to be Free from Selfishness -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
How to be Free From Selfishness
by Ernest O’Neill
You decide you want to stop smoking and you have every desire to stop smoking and you really believe there is
nothing within you that does not want to stop smoking until you try to stop smoking. You know the struggle.
You cannot believe the lack of discipline and almost self destructive urge that makes you want to have another
cigarette, another pipe or another cigar, whatever it does to you. Whether it burns up your lungs or shortens
you life or whether it leaves your wife and children destitute, you want to smoke.
It’s the same with alcohol. I don’t know how many of you have thrown out of the car window how many bottles
of whisky, half empty and resolve to never buy another one. Yet, there is something in you that seems to act
almost in direct opposition to what your best desires are. Most of us, even those of us who aren’t concerned
with specific habits like smoking or drinking or drug addiction or whatever, most of us know so well that side
of our natures that seems to oppose everything our good side wants.
What we’ve been talking about is the explanation of that. You remember, we tied it down to two attitudes to
life. One attitude is that there is nobody behind this universe at all. It’s just the product of time plus
chance, and there is no Creator anywhere near and we are on our own. Of course, that produces in itself
tremendous neuroses. If we are only one in five billion, then we have to scramble for ourselves.
That brings great “angst” into anybody, when you realize it’s you against five billion for whatever food,
clothing and shelter you need in order to survive. All the while you know that finally you won’t survive. You
will die like everybody else, and be buried like a dog. That produces a tremendous fear inside and despair,
but above all great greed, covetousness and selfish ambition and a desire to wipe everybody out of the way in
order to get everything you need.
It’s the same with the whole preoccupation of your own value or self-worth, because you know you are unique.
You know you are different from everybody else. You are. There’s nobody quite like you in the universe. There
never has been and there never will be. But all the other five billion think the same. All of us are striving
to be “numero uno”. We’re all trying to be number one.
We are all trying to make everybody else see how different we are from them. That means a great deal of envy,
a great deal of striving, a great deal of struggling for praise and for acknowledgement and for recognition
and a great deal of resentment for people who criticize or who put us down. So, all that attitude is based on
the fact or on the idea that there is no Creator and that we are on our own. That creates the strong, selfish
urges inside our nature that we are not able to control.
On the other hand, if you have the attitude that there is a Creator, who actually not only made you, but knows
you intimately, and who has counted the hairs of your head, and knows your name, and knows why He put you
here, has a job for you to do while you are here and is going to do as His son promised — add everything else
on to you that you need — then, of course, that brings great trust and restfulness inside your own nature.
It’s brings a great deal of a generous attitude, because you have time to look after everybody else because
you know He’ll look after you.
That produces that good side of your nature. Now what we’ve been saying is understanding the two sides of your
nature and being able to explain them both simply makes the situation worse, because it doesn’t change
anything. All of us have found the impotence of knowledge. It is not enough to know the truth and then we
will see it. We won’t like the truth when we see it.
We have often had the truth explained to us and we still don’t like it and we rebel against it, because there
is something in our nature that has been bred into us down through the generations. That’s the real reason for
our problem. The difficulty you have controlling your temper is not just because it’s your temper but because
it’s a temper that’s been bred into the race down through the centuries.
From the beginning of time some men and women have lived as if there was no God and have bred that into their
children and bred the “angst” into their children, and into their children’s children until for centuries and
centuries, we have had bred into us a selfish, insecure nature that is now resident inside you. What we’ve
been saying is that there is no one that can change that, except one. You certainly can’t change it. What you
are trying to do is change generations of people, because you are the result of generations of breeding.
The only thing to do with a fault that begins to occur inside a manufacturing process is to recall all the
products that are flawed. The manufacturer has to bring them all back to the factory, has to destroy them all
and remake them completely. That’s exactly what happened with us, before you were ever created, before you
were ever made, when you were as they say “a twinkle in your father’s eye”, but more than that, when you were
a twinkle in God’s own eye.
The moment He conceived of you…(He is an infinite being, brighter than Einstein, able to conceive more
precisely than Einstein the unique, one moment, present, now nature of time and space), and the Creator in one
second conceived of you. In the second second (if you can talk about His mind even working sequentially like
that), in the second second He conceived that you would live independently of Him and would not trust Him.
In the third second, He conceived that that would breed in you a nature of selfishness and insecurity that
would be such a strong tendency within you that you would not be able to resist it. In the third second, He
conceived of the need to destroy you and to recreate you whole as He originally made you. That’s what the
Creator did. He did that in His Son, Jesus. That explains that incredible verse I mentioned to you several
It occurs in that old book, the Bible, that really, you haven’t probably read for a long, long time. It’s in
the last book of the Bible in a book called Revelation, (which you’ve probably heard of) It’s in chapter 13.
If you have a Bible, you should probably look it up sometime. It’s in verse 8. Verse 8 reads, “Everyone whose
name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the lamb that was slain.”
That’s the Revised Standard Version. It’s a certain translation. But actually it’s not true to the Greek. The
Greek actually places the adverbial phrase of time in a different position in the sentence. The sentence
should read the way it reads in the old-fashioned King James Version of the Bible. “Everyone whose name has
not been written in the book of life of the lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world.” In other
words, the lamb, Jesus, was slain before the foundation of the world.
You were destroyed in Him before the foundation of the world, and you were made new in Him before the
foundation of the world. If you say, “Impossible!” No, not impossible — because time is only an
accommodation that God allows us to experience so that we could live in this material world. There is
actually no such thing as time and you know it yourself.
If I asked you, could you remember what happened twenty years ago and could you remember what happened
yesterday. You know some of the things that happened twenty years ago are as vivid to you as things that
happened yesterday. Time really doesn’t exist. You know, again and again you say, “Oh, I can’t believe the
time is passed.” You can’t.
When things are going well on a holiday, time goes quickly. When things are going badly on a Monday morning,
time goes slowly. Time is only a relative thing. There is no such thing as time. We are living in one great
eternal present moment… one great NOW. That’s the way the Creator sees it. He is able to conceive of all
this in a moment and make it all take place in a moment. Then He gives us time to live it out and express it
outwardly. All of us have come into this world with actually only one nature that is real: the good, true,
unselfish nature that we were given in our recreation in Jesus.
And that nature is the one that is real. The one that is unreal is the one that so many of us have been
living in during this life. The Creator arranged it that way. He arranged it that way so that we would have a
real choice, so that we would be able to exercise our free wills, not only exercising them in faith, but
exercising them by almost sight, knowing the two consequences of the two choices.
It was like Him saying to us, “Now, look, if you live as if I don’t exist, if you simply ignore me and reject
me and live as if you alone are the God of this world, then the kind of life that will result is the one that
you are living now. Things like anger, and envy and jealousy and pride will overcome you constantly. On the
other hand, if you live as if I really do exist, trusting me and depending on me, this is the nature that I
have given you in my Son and this nature is yours the moment you believe it.”
That is the meaning of this death of Jesus. There’s a verse in this old book called the Bible that puts it
very clearly. It’s found in a book called Romans, chapter 6, verse 6. It runs, “Our old self was crucified
with Christ.” Our old self was destroyed with Jesus. Let’s talk about that a little more tomorrow.
God’s Answer to Selfishness -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
God’s Answer to Selfishness
by Ernest O’Neill
Have you ever looked at your son or at somebody younger than yourself and thought, if you only knew what I
know now? Or have you ever thought about yourself, if I had known at fifteen years of age what I know now at
thirty-five, my life would have been entirely different and much wiser. Of course, we all say that with a
kind of wishful note in our thoughts, because we feel there’s probably no way in which we can ever experience
that kind of an advantage.
Because it would be great if you could possibly know beforehand how things were going to turn out. Or if you
could see life stretched out before you, and see all of its consequences, and if you chose certain things, and
then if you look at another picture of your life and see the consequences if you chose different things.
That’s what we have been saying the Creator of all of us has managed to do for us.
We’ve been talking about the evil, selfish part of us that all of us know so well. That part of us that wants
to lose its temper, that wants its own way, whatever it costs anybody else, and that constantly opposes the
good part of us, the part of us that wants to be kind, wants to be generous, wants to take care of other
people before ourselves. We’ve been saying that those two natures — the one a good nature, the one an evil
nature — the one a selfish nature, the one an unselfish nature — comes from two attitudes to life.
The selfish one comes from the attitude that there is no Creator behind the Universe, and that we’re on our
own. We better grab what we can from all the other four billion people as fast as possible. Otherwise, we
won’t have enough food, shelter and clothing. We won’t have a sense of value or self-worth. We won’t have
any happiness unless we grab what we can, whatever it costs anybody else. That produces in us an evil nature,
because it has been practiced down through centuries and has been bred into the race from the beginning.
Now, on the other hand, if you believe that there is a Creator, and that He is not only one who knows you and
made you, but who is a loving Father and will take care of you and provide for you, and knows why you are here
and has a job for you to do, and will look after you while you are doing it, THEN you find a very unselfish,
loving, thoughtful, kindly, generous, motivational center created inside you.
You realize because He is going to take care of me, then I have all my life to take care of everybody else.
So, those two natures come from two attitudes to life. What we have been saying is, our Creator sees time as
one great, eternal, present moment. He doesn’t see it as past and present and future. Even you and I don’t see
it that way. Even you and I know that there is something inside us that is exactly the same as we were thirty
There is a self-consciousness, a consciousness of ourselves, that is exactly the same as it was when we were
six years of age. So even we are able to perceive in some vague sense that there is no such thing as time.
There is no such thing as past, present and future. Time is one great eternal moment. Eternity is not going
on forever and ever. It is time-less-ness. It is a lack of time. It is just one great, present, eternal
What we’ve been saying is the Creator, therefore, sees everything as occurring in one second. The moment He
conceived you and me, the moment He created you and me, the moment He conceived that we would use our
free-wills to either acknowledge Him or to ignore Him, the moment He conceived that if we acknowledged Him, we
would live in trust in Him and therefore have a motivational center that was filled with unselfishness and
… and if we distrusted Him, we would have a motivational nature that was filled with selfishness and
preoccupation with our own wishes, the moment He conceived all of that He conceived at the same moment, that
He would need to be able to correct the erroneous personality that we would develop as the centuries went on
and our forefathers and our grandfathers chose for themselves. He foresaw the kind of perverted personality
that we would end up with at the end of centuries of breeding.
That same moment He conceived of the need to destroy us and re-make us. That is, to destroy the nature that we
would become if we chose to ignore Him. That’s what He did in His Son, Jesus. That’s why that verse in the
book called Revelation, which is the last book in the New Testament in the Bible, that verse in Romans 11 in
verse 22 or 24 says, “The Lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world”. That is, WE were destroyed
in Jesus from before the foundation of the world.
That’s why both of us (and by the way, that’s Revelation 13:8) that’s why all of us have the experience of
almost two lives. We do. We have a sense of almost two natures, haven’t we? The one nature is the one that
the Creator has allowed us to live freely like the rest of the people in the world, as if there was no God, as
if we have only ourselves and as if we have to look after ourselves and take care of ourselves because nobody
That nature has developed the evil, selfish, resentment that rises up in us at times and loses its temper with
other people. THAT nature He allowed to develop. The other nature, the unselfish nature, the generous nature
that He re-created in His Son, Jesus, from before the foundation of the world, that also shows itself at
times. So that there are moments, you know yourself, when on a beautiful spring morning when you smell the
cleanness of the air and you see the swallows soaring in the sky with the liberty and freedom of little
…that’s why there rises in at times, (if you haven’t got drunk the previous night or if you’re not filled
with cigarette smoke, or if you’re not filled with unclean thoughts) there rises in you at times a moment of
simplicity and innocence, such as you imagine the first man to have had at the very beginning in the Garden of
Eden. You experience for a moment, that bright happiness. There are moments when you rise to that in the
light of your children’s innocence.
There are moments when you see a movie, or you see a play, and you feel within yourself all those pure and
loving and kindly and trusting attitudes that you feel would be heaven itself if you could practice them day
after day after day. You experience that because that actually exists. That is the real you. The unreal you is
the unselfish, bad-tempered, critical, caustic, lustful nature. That nature has already been destroyed in
Jesus. That’s why that nature brings you such sadness.
That’s why you feel such despair and such guilt about it. It has already been condemned by our Creator in
Jesus, His Son, and been destroyed. It is actually a death nature. It is a nature that has ceased to exist,
that has been destroyed in the timelessness of eternity. The only nature that actually exists now in God’s
presence is the new nature that He gave you when He re-created you in His Son. That’s why that nature brings
such brightness to you and such reassurance to you.
You feel better, don’t you, when you’re good? You do! You feel better when you’re good! You may say, “Oh no,
I feel great when I lust.” No! You KNOW you feel better when you’re good. You feel better when you’re good
and clean. You feel better when you’ve had a wonderful time with your wife in purity and innocence, than when
you feel when you jumped in bed with somebody else’s wife.
You feel better when you’re good, because the Creator has made THAT nature the final nature. The other, old
nature is the one that He has destroyed in His Son. The amazing thing is, you can choose to live in the real
nature that He has re-created you to be in His Son, Jesus. You can do that by simply believing it and acting
in the light of it. You can! You can!
Now, I know that there are all sorts of things that cry out inside you that say, “No, I can’t! I can’t! I’ve
tried a thousand times!” Yeah, you’ve tried by your own effort. You’ve tried without faith. You’ve tried
without realizing that the Creator, Himself, has changed you. If you try by your own effort, it’s the same
old nature that got you into the trouble in the first place. That’s why the old nature can never deliver you
from the old nature. It’s independent of God.
The only nature that can deliver you from the old nature is the new nature, the belief that you have been
re-created in Jesus. That is what that verse in Romans 6:6 of the New Testament says. “We know that our old
self was crucified with Christ.” That’s actually true. Your old self, all the old nature that you have been
developing over these years has already been crucified in Jesus.
Now you may say, “Why, why does it exist now?” You see why, because of what we said at the beginning of this
discussion. The Creator wanted to show you what you would be if you refused Him, and to show you what you CAN
be if you simply believe in Him. He let that old nature work out the consequences that it has done in your
life so that you would have a true choice. So that you of all people would be able to say, I SEE what I will
become if I choose this, and I see what I CAN become if I choose that.
So, in reality, we have a wonderful opportunity here on earth. We have been given freedom to see what will be
the consequences of our choice. You can choose today. Let’s talk a little more about how to choose tomorrow.
Self Deception -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
by Ernest O’Neill
You’re sitting in the heavy traffic going home, and the line of cars is moving painstakingly slowly towards
those traffic lights ahead. Then, just as you’re thinking beautiful thoughts, thoughts of a philanthropic
nature, generous thoughts, loving thoughts, kindly thoughts, happy thoughts, looking forward to a quiet
evening at home, spreading the milk of human kindness wherever you go, the guy to your right cuts in right in
front of you, almost touching the front wing of your car.
There rises within you a lion of resentment, of irritability, of indignation, of righteous wrath, that would
burn him up if you could. If it weren’t for the cost to your insurance policy, you would sink your foot and
take the back-end of his car right off. Have you ever had that kind of experience? Most of us have. Most of us
have been absolutely and utterly amazed at the monster that hides inside these rather unsuspecting, congenial,
superficial veneers that we wear on our faces.
We cannot believe the monstrosity of evil temper and hostile feelings that seems to reside within us at
moments like that. Of course, that’s only one incident. There are many others that you could detail far more
vividly. You know that they have not grown less and less as the years have gone by; they have just become more
subtle as the years have gone by. That is, perhaps, the most concerning thing about this problem that so many
of us have with this double nature of ours.
We find that we don’t really become better. We just become more subtle at hiding what’s wrong inside of us.
Indeed, we become better liars. That’s why old Tennessee Williams, you remember, in “A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”,
in a preface to that play, said we are surrounded by mendacity, mendacity. Lying and deception. Everybody is
lying. Everybody is a hypocrite. They are all wearing masks and playing games.
That’s part of what causes the great distrust that we all feel for each other. That double nature of ours is
something that doesn’t seem to go away. It seems to get stronger and more virulent as the years go by. Of
course, the more we deal with it, it seems we drive it into our subconscious and the more subtle become its
expressions. Indeed, the more we oppose it, the more virulent it becomes, the more rebellious it becomes.
It seems almost as if when we ignore it, we have less trouble with it. That’s the amazing phenomenon that we
have called the “Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome”. It is that evil that seems to rise inside us and prevent us being
the good person that we feel we ought to be. What we have been talking about are the various techniques that
all of us use to try to overcome this evil within. We have found that very few of them work. Indeed, most of
us have found that, whatever they are, psychoanalysis or psycho-treatments or sensitivity groups or
“love-your-neighbor” techniques, none of them seem to work.
What we have said, of course, is that they don’t work, because that nature inside you is built into you down
through the centuries of the human race. In fact, it comes from an attitude that some of our forefathers
conceived early on in the age of the world. They decided that this world, this sky, these stars, they just
occurred by time plus chance. There is no such person as a Creator. We’re on our own here in this world to get
what we need as efficiently as we can, and at whatever cost it brings to others.
So, they determined that they would look out for themselves at all costs; they would be their own god.(cid:9)Of
course, this wasn’t true. In fact, there is a Creator. That’s the only way to explain the seasons and the
order of the planets and the existence of that phenomenon of the first century …Jesus. It’s the only way to
explain the DNA molecule and the protons and the neutrons, and the order that is built into the chart of the
Nobody really believes that the world came about by time plus chance. There is so much order in it that we
know we didn’t create, but that we are only managing to perceive. So in fact, there is a Creator, but early on
in the history of the earth, many men and women determined that there was no Creator and they would live as if
there was no Creator.
So, they developed within them a neurotic personality that was bred into their children and bred into their
children’s children, until it came down to you and me. It is filled with all the fear and “angst” that is
reasonable to expect if there is no Creator. Because if there is no Creator, then you are on your own. There’s
nobody to look out for you but yourself, so you’d better watch out for yourself. That’s what most of us do.
That’s why we react against the guy that tries to move in on the line of traffic. We feel, if we let him walk
over the top of us, then the rest will walk over the top of us. There’s nobody to protect us, if we don’t
protect ourselves. It’s all based on the belief that there is nobody to look after us but ourselves. There is
no one! There’s nobody who cares about us, except ourselves, now that our mother has died. Of course, it’s a
In fact, there is a Creator. There is somebody who loves you and who has counted the hairs of your head and
who knows you’re in that car, and has been watching out for you for years. He is the one that has repeatedly
delivered you from things that you know would have killed you. You know that there were moments in your life
when you don’t know what stopped the oncoming car. There are incidents in your life that you cannot explain by
dint of your own brilliance.
This Creator has been looking out for you and He loves you. He cares for you. But He has allowed you to live
in the same way as this first group of people lived, to follow the tendencies that are within your own nature
to live as if there’s no God. He has allowed that so that you would see the consequences of that. That’s why
that double nature exists. You know there is inside you, too, a nature that is kindly and that is loving.
Just before that guy cut in front of you in the traffic, you were feeling wonderful thoughts. You were feeling
very generous thoughts. In fact, that’s because there is a good you.(cid:9)What the Creator did was, He created you,
conceived of your creation, gave you free will, and realized that if you used your free will against Him you
would develop a nature that was filled with selfish concern with itself. Then, He destroyed that nature in His
Son Jesus, even before the world was actually created.
He did all this in timelessness. He, of course, can see the past and the future and the present at one moment.
He destroyed that in Jesus and then allowed you to be born into this world with the nature that had been
developed by all the human beings that had lived independently of Him. He allowed that nature to work out the
consequences in your behavior, so that you now know the reality of living without a God. You know it!
Whenever anger and resentment rise inside of you, it’s because you really are uncertain whether there is a God
or not. You really feel there is nobody to depend on, but your own self. The Creator allowed that to develop
so that you would see the consequences of that line of choice. But He has also put within you the new nature
that He recreated in His Son Jesus. That is the only nature that really does exist. The other one is a lie.
The other one is a deception.
The one that is real is the new one that He has given you in His Son, when He recreated you in His Son Jesus.
That is what the death on Calvary and the resurrection is all about in Palestine. It’s not that it occurred in
29 A.D. that is important. That is only an expression in time and space so that we would know it. What really
is important is that that event occurred in timelessness before the foundation of the world and that your real
nature is a beautiful, generous, loving one that trusts God as its Father.
If you say to me, “Well, how do I experience that?” You simply believe that. You believe that. That’s what
faith is. It is believing that the Creator has recreated you in His Son and it’s living in the light of that.
The moment you do that, that moment you’ll find that all those tremendous passions and cruel attitudes no
longer exist within you and no longer have power over you. Let’s talk a little more tomorrow about how to
experience that in your own, everyday life.
Living Without God -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Living Without God
by Ernest O’Neill
You’re standing at the bus stop and the bus arrives. You move towards the platform to get on and then there
steps in front of you an old lady with a heavy shopping bag. Immediately, of course, you think of your mother
and you step right back and not only give her your place in the line, but you help her on. Then, as you’re
just preparing to step on yourself, a young guy steps right in front of you and pushes on.
Immediately, there rises up within you all the passions and feelings and attitudes that are exactly the
opposite of what you felt when you were helping the old lady onto the bus. You find that confusion and
contradiction within that most of us know so well in our everyday lives. That is, there is part of us that
wants to be kind and generous, but on our own terms, to the people that we choose. And there is another part
of us that wants to lose its temper, wipe everybody off the face of the earth, and get our own way, and look
after ourselves no matter what it costs anybody else.
Most of us know that. We know that reality of a double nature or of that hypocrisy within us, or of that alter
ego, or of that old self, or some of us call it our old nature, or our evil nature, or the bad self, or the
part of us that we don’t like. What we have been talking about is that double nature that we experience day by
day in our own, everyday behavior.
You remember, we’ve been sharing that the Creator of the universe saw that we could only come to love Him, if
we had free wills. But the moment He resolved that we had to have free wills, that same moment He realized
that we could choose to use that free will to live as if He didn’t exist. If we did, in fact, do that, He knew
we would feel like fiddlers on a roof. We would feel that we were on a space ship that was spinning around
through space thousands of miles an hour, with no visible means of support, with five billion other little
fleas on the surface of the earth at the same time,…
…that we would feel great, neurotic “angst” about our whole situation and as a result we would strike out
against anybody who threatened our security. We would live our lives in a constant fear and insecurity that
would produce an antagonism to others or a hostility and a preoccupation with ourselves that would create all
kinds of anger and resentment and covetousness and superiority and inferiority.
In that same moment, He conceived that that would be bred into the human race down through the centuries so
that when it came to your time and mine, we would find within us a nature that we could not possibly control.
That, of course, is exactly what we have experienced. You know that that nature that rises within you against
the young guy who stepped in front of you onto the bus, that nature is something you feel is far too strong
and powerful for you to control. At times you think it’s demonic.
It almost seems as if it isn’t a part of yourself, except that you know it is you. That’s because it’s as old
as the hills. In fact, it’s older than the hills. It is as old as the human race itself, because the first men
and women that lived took that attitude to the Creator of the universe. They conceived of the lie that there
was no God and that they had only themselves to depend on.
That produced in them an “angst” that they have passed on, generation after generation, until it has come to
you. It is a tendency toward evil, but is a strong tendency and the moment you align your will with that, of
course, it gets stronger. It is not true, in fact, that if you express impatience you lose your impatience.
You don’t. The impatience gets stronger. It’s not true that if you express anger, you get rid of it. The anger
gets stronger, because that is part of your own nature.
What we have been saying is that the Creator of the universe allowed that to continue to develop in us as a
human race so that we would see the full consequences of that choice. He wanted us to have a real choice. He
didn’t want us to have no choice. He wanted us to be able to see what would follow if we determined to live as
if there was no God, as if there was no Creator, as if there was nobody to depend on except ourselves.
So, He allowed that old nature to develop within us, and that’s why we have the chaos that we have in our
world today. It’s the Creator who is allowing us to see what would happen if we live as if He didn’t exist, if
we have to protect ourselves from each other and cannot trust Him to do it. And, so, we have today that
situation where we see what the consequences of living as if there’s no God are.
Of course, what you and I say is, “Yeah, but we’ve seen that now but how do we get free of this? How do we get
free of it? We’ve done our best to overcome it but we cannot. How do we get free of it?” Well, the truth is
that the Creator, Himself, is the only one who can get us free of it, because it’s built into our very
natures. It’s part of you. It’s not just that you’re angry at times. You are an angry man. It’s not just that
you’re impatient at times. You are an impatient man.
It’s not just that you’re vicious at times. You are vicious. It’s not just that you’re lustful at times. You
are lust. It has become part of you. You’re in the same situation as a vacuum cleaner that has developed a
flaw from earliest days. The only thing to do is to send it back to the factory and have it remade. That is,
in fact, what the Creator of the universe did with each one of us.
In timeless eternity, before the world was actually created, he foresaw all that would happen. Just as a great
Cray computer can foresee what the need of oil will be in the 21st century, so our infinite Creator was able
to see what you would become if you chose to live without Him. He put that into His Son Jesus…that evil self
that you have become. He destroyed it in His Son before the foundation of the world.
That’s what a certain verse in the old book called the Bible says. It says, “The lamb, Jesus, was slain from
before the foundation of the world, and that our old self was crucified with Him.” And so, that old nature
that seems so real in you is actually only a ghost of what was. It is like a star that ceased to exist
centuries ago, but the light continues to come toward our earth and we perceive the light with our radio
telescopes. It’s like that.
You perceive the dying embers of that old nature. But actually it has been destroyed. That’s why even the
perception of it brings with it such sadness and despair and guilt, because it has actually been destroyed.
The new you, the new self that has been recreated in Jesus, is filled with innocence and cleanness and a deep
trust in God and an ability to live free from anger and envy and jealousy and all the passions and lust that
stem from the fearful angst that results from believing there is no God.
The real you is a you that has been created new. There are amazing verses in that old book called the Bible
that state this clearly. One of them is found, if you ever want to look it up, it is found in a book called
2nd Corinthians. It’s in the New Testament. 2nd Corinthians, chapter 4, and it’s in verse 14. “For the love of
Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all, therefore all have died.” That’s the
Christ has died and all have died. You died with Him. The Creator of the universe put you into His Son, the
representative man, and destroyed you in Him. If you have any doubt that that can take place, you know there’s
no doubt. If your mother had died, you would not here now exist. You are in a sense in your mother’s womb from
before the foundation of the world. And it is so in Jesus. You were made by Him.
What the Creator did was put you back into His Son, destroy you and remake you. That is what the gospel is.
It’s a fact. It’s a fact in timeless eternity. Now if you say. “Oh, you mean it’s just an idea. If I believe,
it will have great dynamic power over me.” No, no. It’s not just an idea; it’s an actual fact. It’s a fact
that you have been destroyed and have been remade new in Jesus, clean and pure and whole, with an ability to
trust God instead of simply to trust yourself. It is a fact.
It’s not just a figment of your imagination. It’s not just an idea that has legs. It’s not just the power of
positive thinking. It’s a fact of history. That’s why Jesus died in history. He actually died in timeless
eternity, but he died in history to demonstrate to you and me that it was a fact that our Creator had
destroyed us and remade us in Him. So, the moment you set your faith on that — faith is simply believing that
and living in the light of it — that moment you begin to live in reality.
Now, if you say, “How does that become real in me?” I’d like to share that with you tomorrow, if you’ll listen
in, at this time on this program.
Deliverance from Selfishness -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Deliverance From Selfishness
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking on this program about one of the greatest problems and one of the most obvious phenomena of our
everyday, personal life: that of our dual nature. Our dual nature is the fact that there is a good part of us
and a bad part of us. There is a part of us that is loving and honest and kind and generous and approves of
all those things, and there is a part of us that is evil and selfish and unkind and resentful and
There is a further phenomenon that you have to recognize. That is that when we find it easier to be unkind
than to be kind, to be mean rather than to be generous, to be impatient rather than to be patient, to be
lustful rather than to be pure, to be bad rather than good — we find that there is connected with the bad
always a sadness, a despair. A sense of guilt, we call it.
When we are good or honest or loving or kind or generous or joyful or happy or peaceful or understanding, we
find a sense of approval. We feel good. Now most of us have tried to get rid of these feelings of guilt or of
approval by explaining them as “Victorian” and the result of religious backgrounds or old-fashioned ideas or
views, yet the fact is they persist!
It doesn’t matter how new our morality seems to become, it doesn’t matter how amoral our media seems to be. It
doesn’t matter how many surprises we have in the lives of those that we have respected through the years, we
still find (you must admit, you feel the same!), it doesn’t matter how much you brainwash yourself with the
old “Victorian” myth, you still feel bad when you’re angry. You do. You still feel bad when you jump into bed
and fornicate with somebody. You still feel good when you’re kind to somebody.You still feel good when you’re
generous to somebody.
Now why is this so? Why the dual nature and why the connection with guilt or with approval that we feel with
the respective natures that we express? What we have been saying to one another over these weeks is that the
two natures are a result of two views of life. The one nature comes from believing that there is no Creator,
that this whole thing around us is just the result of time plus chance.
In consequence, we are dependent wholly on ourselves for our own security. We’d better make sure we get it,
whatever it costs anybody else. The only way we can be sure of enough food, shelter, and clothing is to grab
it, and grab it fast. So at times, we feel the reactions and the responses that that kind of situation
warrants. We feel covetousness. We feel jealousy when we see somebody with more than we have.
We feel envy when we want something that somebody else has got. We feel fear when we think we’re running out
of our resources. On the other hand, if you believe that there is a Creator, that He is a dear Father who
loves you, who knows your name, who has counted your hairs on your head, and who knows why you’re here and has
put you here to perform a certain job for Him, and that He will take care of you as long as you take care of
what He has given you to do, then there comes a whole other set of reactions and responses that are connected
up with generous feelings towards other people, a concern for other people because you know the Creator is
going to take care of you, so you can be free to take care of other people.
Then we said that the fact is that our race has been taking one attitude or the other attitude for
generations. That’s why you find the evil nature so virulent inside you. It’s why you find it so impossible to
control, because even though you understand this intellectually, you know that you still are not able to
overcome that evil nature. Still, your temper is as bad as ever — just a little more subtle, a little more
repressed, but it’s still as strong as ever. Still your lust is as strong as ever.
Maybe you have a victory over your impatience, but your irritability is as strong as ever. It seems impossible
to kill this lion within you. The reason is, it’s as old as the hills. It’s as old as the human race itself.
It has been bred into us down through the generations. It’s known as the old self, or the evil nature. In
fact, there’s no way to get rid of it by power of positive thinking, or by psychological techniques, because
it is something that has become part of you.
You are anger. You are lust. You are envy. It’s not just that you have lustful thoughts, or you have envious
thoughts, or something quite apart from you. You know what destroys you is the feeling that this is you. This
is the real you. There is no way to get rid of it by human means. The only way to get rid of it is the way you
get rid of a vacuum cleaner or an automobile that has developed down through the years a fundamental flaw.
That is to send it back to the manufacturer and have it destroyed and remade completely.
That is, of course, what this thing called the Gospel is. The fact is that the Creator of the universe saw
that you would use your free will to live as if He didn’t exist, and that as a result of that, you would
develop all kinds of fears and phobias that would result in attitudes of anger, and worry, and anxiety, and
irritability, and resentment, and striking back at other people.
He saw that before the foundation of the world, because He was able to conceive what would happen to you and
what you would do. Even without making you do it. Just as our greatest computers are able to foresee what
we’re likely to do, He was able to foresee that. As He did that, in the same eternal moment as He conceived of
you and created you, He destroyed you in His Son Jesus, before the foundation of the world, and He remade you
That’s why you can experience two natures in this present life. Now you may say to me, “Well, it sounds as if
I may have to suffer both until the end of this life!” No! One has already been destroyed. The “old self”
that’s stated in that verse that we quoted from that book we call the Bible. It’s in Romans chapter six and
verse six. “We know that our old self was crucified with Christ.” That old self of yours was destroyed by the
Creator in His Son Jesus.
That’s why such despair and sadness and guilt is attached to it, because you know it’s a dying life. In fact,
it’s a dead life. In fact, it’s a crucified life. In fact, it’s a life that in timeless eternity and infinity
no longer exists. If you say, “Why does it exist here?” The Creator has allowed it to exist so that you would
see what would happen to you if you chose to live as if He didn’t exist.
But it actually doesn’t exist in timeless eternity. It has been destroyed. The Creator has already eliminated
it. That’s why whenever you take part in that thing that has already been destroyed, you have such a sense of
sadness, despair, condemnation — because you are registering in your human conscience the act that has taken
place in eternal infinity in the Son of the Creator of the universe.
So it’s a little like that example that we used some weeks ago of the bomb that exploded in Hiroshima. You
remember that if you walked into the streets immediately after the dreadful detonation, you would have seen
certain people appearing to stand there in the street. Except, when you went up to them and put your finger on
the body it collapsed in ashes because it was like a burned out cinder. The fire of the bomb was so intense
that they were burnt in a second and the cinder was left whole and complete, looking like a human being. But
it actually did not exist.
That’s what your old, selfish, evil nature is like. It has actually already been destroyed in eternity. But it
has been allowed to continue to manifest itself in this present life so that you would see what life would be
like if you lived as if there was no Creator. But the only life that really does exist, the only nature that
really continues to exist, is the new one that has been recreated in Jesus. That is what you experience when
you have moments of real delight in being generous, of real happiness in loving somebody else.
That’s why falling in love is possible. It’s the Creator of the world giving you the experience of selfless
love that is the only nature that now exists for you. You can see that all you have to do to continue to live
in that nature is to believe that that is the only nature that now exists, that your old nature has been
destroyed in Christ, and that the only nature that exists for you is that new, selfless nature.
It’s not your faith or your belief that creates that. It’s your faith that recognized that. But the moment you
recognize it and begin to live in the light of it, that moment all the strong passions and desires of the old
nature cease to have any reality in your life. Let’s talk a little more tomorrow about what is involved in
that kind of faith.
Faith and Miracles -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Faith and Miracles
by Ernest O’Neill
You’re in the office and the battle is roaring back and forth. There is a tremendous disaster that has taken
place in the company. Everybody is assigning the blame to all the participants. Everybody, of course, is
defending themselves like mad. In the course of the conversation a few arrows are shot in your direction.
Then, as you fail to respond to them, a few more arrows follow. Then, of course, a lot of stones. Then,
eventually, some heavy rocks.
There rises in you at that moment a tremendous sense of injustice and of righteous indignation. You feel this
has gone far enough. You’re going to wipe out at them, and you’re going to tidy up this whole business and
point out to them exactly who was responsible for what, and exactly how innocent you were in the whole
Then there rises inside you a very tiny, tiny, weak, little feeling that suggests, “Why not be quiet? Why not
just let it go and be quiet? There’s no point in confusing the thing by adding yet another series of
accusations. Let’s just be quiet and let’s see where it goes.”
But, of course, there is in you such a fear of what will happen to you if you let them continue to accuse you
wrongly and you let yourself become the scapegoat for the whole tragedy, there is such a fear in you about
what will happen to your job, your future, and, especially, what other people will think of you, that you
squash that little feeling of generosity and bravery.
You jump right in and continue to contribute to the general chaos and conflict of accusations. Of course, you
know how the day ends. It ends in absolute dissatisfaction for everybody, with everybody hating everybody
else, and you in a turmoil of feelings of hostility towards people who were your friends. Now, why are you
unable to respond to the little generous feeling inside of you? We’ve already stated it. It’s partly because
you’re scared of what will happen to your job.
You’re scared of what will happen to your own reputation. If you don’t defend yourself, they’ll mow over the
top of you and destroy you completely and take your job from you. That feeling comes from the fact that you
sense there’s nobody really to look after you in this office but yourself. If you don’t protect your own
rights here, nobody else is likely to protect you. That, of course, comes from the fact that you really live
like a practical atheist in that situation. You live like a practical atheist.
You live the life of a person who doesn’t believe that there’s any Creator or any God who will look after your
rights for you. Because of that, you have to depend utterly on yourself. That’s why you can’t afford to
respond to that little, generous feeling that you have. Where does the little, generous feeling come from?
It’s amazing. What we’ve been saying over the past few weeks is that it comes from your new nature, which the
Creator of the universe has made for you in His Son Jesus. That’s it.
Your old nature, that old self that doesn’t believe there is a God, that believes you have to stand up for
yourself and that if you don’t stand up for yourself, you’ll be trampled underfoot — that old nature was
crucified with Christ. That’s what the Bible says. Our old self was crucified with Christ. That old self which
you have developed from a basic disbelief in any Creator, and a belief that you have to depend on yourself
alone, that old self was crucified by the Creator of the universe in timeless eternity in his Son Jesus.
That was expressed in 29 A.D. in the death of Jesus on the cross in Palestine. But, the destruction of that
old self of yours actually took place in eternity where God foresaw that that’s the kind of a nature that you
would develop by choosing to live apart from Him. That old self has been crucified. It’s actually the sense
that that has been destroyed and that your Father will take care of your job and will protect you and will
stand up for your rights. It’s that that produces in you that tiny little feeling of generosity that you felt
in the midst of the conflict in the office.
But, of course, the other nature is stronger in you. The old self is something that you’ve inherited from your
parents and from your grandparents and from their forefathers and that has been the one that you’ve followed
for years. So, you have confirmed that and affirmed that again and again in your own life. It has become
But that old nature has been destroyed by the Creator in his Son Jesus. That’s why that nature brings you such
sadness and such despair and such guilt when you follow it, because actually you have within you a cosmic
memory that that has been destroyed by the Creator of the world and that it no longer exists. It’s actually
dead. It’s the sense of deadness that comes to you when you feel guilt.
It’s the sense that this has already been condemned and that it is non-existent that brings you such sadness
when you align yourself with it. It’s the conviction of your conscience that you’re aligning yourself with a
lie, with a star that has already died, and all that you’re aligning yourself with is the light that still
comes from it. Now, how do you actually allow that old nature to be destroyed completely in you? Well, simply
by being willing.
That’s part of what faith is. It’s believing that the Creator has destroyed that in his Son Jesus and being
willing for it to be destroyed in you. What does that mean? Well, it means being willing to act the same way
as He acted. You remember? On the Cross. I don’t know if you know the story. He was hanging on the cross. The
Roman soldiers were taunting Him. The crowd around and underneath Him were saying, “If you’re the Son of God,
call upon your God and He’ll send hundreds and thousands of angels, and they’ll destroy this whole place to
Well, actually He could have done that, but He refused to do it. He determined that He would let His Father do
what He wanted with Him. If His Father wanted to save Him, He would let Him save Him. If He wanted to let Him
die and then raise Him from the dead, He would let Him do that. But, He would trust His Father to defend His
rights and his job and his possessions. Actually, it’s the same with you.
If you are willing to take the same attitude as Jesus did to the limited powers that people have over your
destiny, then you will find that the Creator Himself will step forward and will actually defend you and will
protect your rights. Above all that, He will begin to infuse into you the same spirit that His Son had — a
spirit that begets a love for those who are actually attacking you, that begets a concern for those who are
actually trying to put you down.
The first step towards that miracle taking place in your life is a willingness to actually be crucified with
Christ, a willingness for that old, independent, stubborn, self-conscious, self-existent nature to be
destroyed in Jesus, and to bear the same things that He bore. In other words, it’s really a willingness to die
to what the world can give you.
It’s a willingness to die to the security that the things you can get on the stock market, or elsewhere, can
give you. It’s a willingness to die to the sense of self-worth and value that other people’s opinions can give
you, a willingness to die to the apparent happiness that satisfactory circumstances can give you, and a
readiness to trust God, your Creator and Father, to provide you with all the security, all the sense of
self-worth and value, all the happiness that He decides you should have.
How do you come into a freedom from this old nature, from this Mr. Hyde that wreaks havoc in your life? Just
be willing to be crucified with Christ. With Him, die to the things and the circumstances and the people of
the world and be content to depend instead on God, your kind and dear and faithful Father. That’s it. It’s a
willingness to depend on God, rather than on the world.
The moment you begin to exercise that willingness and to live it out in your own life, to commit your will to
it, that moment He begins to put into you a spirit and an attitude that is fragrant with a love of other
people and a love of God and a peace that passes all understanding. In other words, you commit your will; he
changes your heart. You commit your will to the action and the behavior that is appropriate to a person who
has been crucified with Christ, and God fills you with the love that Christ had for the Roman soldiers that
That’s how the miracle takes place. Willingness. Let’s talk a little more tomorrow about the amazing power
that makes all this real in your life today.