Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Divine Principle 1: General introduction - The contradiction in man of good and evil desire

Good and Evil

Good and evil

Text from Divine Principle, General Introduction, first set of paragraphs:
Everyone, without exception, is struggling to gain happiness. The first step in attaining this goal is to overcome present unhappiness. From small individual affairs to history-making global events, everything is an expression of human lives, which are constantly striving to become happier. How, then, can happiness be attained?

Every person feels happy when his desire is fulfilled. The word "desire" however, is apt to be misinterpreted. This is because everyone is now living in circumstances which can drive desire in the direction of evil rather than in the direction of goodness. The desire which results in unrighteousness does not come from the "original mind of man"; that is, one's inmost self which delights in the law of God. The path to happiness is reached by overcoming the desire which leads to evil and by following the desire which pursues goodness. Man's original mind knows that evil desire will lead only to unhappiness and misery. This is the reality of human life: man gropes in the shadow of death as he searches for the light of life.

Has any man, by pursuing evil desire, been able to find the happiness in which his original mind could take delight? The answer is no. Whenever man attains the object of evil desire, he feels conscience-stricken. Would parents teach their children to do evil, or a teacher instruct his students to pursue unrighteousness? Again the answer must be no. It is the nature of man's original mind to hate evil and to exalt goodness.

In the lives of religious men we can see an intense and relentless struggle to attain goodness by following the desire of the original mind only. Yet, since the beginning of time, no man has completely followed his original mind. For this reason the Bible says, "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands, no one seeks for God." (Rom. 3:10-11).

The apostle Paul, who was faced with such wretchedness of heart, said in lamentation, "For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am!" (Rom 7:22-24).

There is a great contradiction in man. Within the same individual, the power of the original mind, which desires goodness, is at violent war against the power of the wicked mind, which desires evil. All life, all matter is doomed to destruction as long as it contains such a contradiction. Every man who contains such a contradiction within himself lives on the brink of destruction.

Can it be that man was created with such a contradiction? The answer again is no. Nothing could ever have been created with such an inherent contradiction. The contradiction, therefore, must have developed in man after the creation. In Christianity, we call this development the "Fall of Man".

Due to his fall, man is always near the point of destruction. For this reason, he makes a desperate effort to remove the contradiction by following the good desire of his original mind and repelling the evil desire of his wicked mind.

There is a contradiction in man. This essentially is the contradiction between the desire to do good and the desire to be self-centered. This contradiction is plaguing every single person. The desires of our heart are torn between wanting to do good and wishing to take it easy and to pursue selfish goals.

Each person who is honestly researching the depth of his or her heart will recognize this inconsistency. There is in each individual the original mind who wants to do good, but there also is the mind that wants to do wrong.

At the deepest level this contradiction must be sought at the level of the heart of love and desires. It is in our heart where we desire to do good and where we also desire to do what is wrong. Our thoughts and feelings result from these desires.

The problem needs to be solved at the level of heart and desires, otherwise the mind and body will always again be infected and polluted by their source, which is to be sought in the motivation why we do things.

The problem of evil can only be solved when it is done at this deepest level of desires and motivation. We could say that this level can be found in the human heart. It is through our heart that we relate to God the Creator, but it is also through our heart that we may connect to evil desires.

These evil or self-centered desires do not come from the Creator. They come from sources or a source that is called 'Satan' in many religions. Satan is thought to be a spiritual being, or better said: 'Satan is a word that refers to the combined force of evil as generated by all beings living in the spiritual world who deviated from God's ways.' Although these influences from 'Satan' do originate in the spiritual realms, they also have their effects and working in the physical world.

The problem of selfish motivation can be studied in the heart, mind and body of man, and it can also be understood on a spiritual level. One main reason why it is so difficult to overcome the tendency to be selfish is that it again and again is stimulated and reinforced by evil spiritual influences.

The contradiction between good and evil in ourselves is apparent. It needs to be solved in order that we all can attain our happiness as purposed for us by God the Creator. The problem must be solved in ourselves by investigating and cleansing our heart of desires, our mind of feelings and thoughts and our body of actions. It is also necessary to solve these problems at a spiritual level by overcoming the influences that come to us from egoistic spiritual forces.

The next blog in these Divine Principle series

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