Not human nature but divine sonship

"For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do." Rom. 7:19. Don't we all identify at times with this observation of St. Paul's in Romans? Even the best intentions would often seem lost in wrongdoing and selfish endeavor.

Much of modern thought supports this sense that people are governed by positive and negative wills in a state of constant conflict. Some label these battling wills or opposites as ego and id, others as the struggle and interplay of yin and yang. The Bible gets to the bottom of the belief in opposites when it allegorically describes the struggle in terms of the garden of Eden and Adam and Eve. Here, in direct contradiction to the first chapter of Genesis, where God makes man in His image and everything is "very good," creatures supposedly made from dust and rib are tempted by a talking serpent with fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The immediate results of eating the fruit of this tree are guilt and fear; the ongoing effects are constant temptation and self-condemnation, all ending in death.

Both concepts of creation—the one all good, the other combining good and evil—cannot be true. Paul offers us full escape from the allegorical tangle of contradiction when he says, "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." I Cor. 15:22. What does it mean to be alive to the Christ? Can it have practicality in the struggles of our daily lives?

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The healing effects of spiritual vision
August 4, 1986

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