Description: Jesus' death dealt with the power of our evil nature
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.