This article was originally posted with an explanation that the ruler of this world was actually death. But there is so much apparent scriptural opposition to this that I removed the article in order to correct any problem with it. It has not been conclusive. But I would like to present this as a theological experiment, and will do so progressively because it is lengthy and I am typing it all. So please revisit here to get all of the article, Thanks.
1/To try and resolve this, I am writing this as an exploratory thing. The title of this could alternatively be called, “What is wrong with me” or “Is something wrong with me” or “Who am I”. It has strong connection with the Romans 7 issue.
It comes back to DESIRE. Its rightness or wrongness, and its origin. Now Paul spoke that he had the DESIRE to do what was right. He said this amongst his expressions of concern that he was actually doing what was wrong. (By Paul wanting to DO right, he probably meant he wanted to BE right. [And to FEEL right].
It is said that “By one MAN sin entered the world, and death through sin”.
The ORIGIN of things we call an IDEA. Animals have an idea, but they usually cannot separate the idea itself, from control over that idea, or any conception of what it might mean to have had that idea in the first place, or any control over whether or not that idea should or should not be put into operation (to act on it) and we call this sort of operation “instinct”.
Man however, is able to evaluate the idea, to isolate it an examine it as to whether or not it should proceed further. He is able to change it or modify it, or to veto it completely, after evaluation of it has yielded a logical result in terms of its possible benefit and to whom, its inherent problems in terms of safety or causing vulnerability, and his possible accountability for the outcome.
Fundamental to this is WHY the idea popped up in the first place.
A scriptural passage says “Why have you CONCEIVED this thing in your heart?” [heart can be considered as the closest raw material to the truth and reality of things, as distinct from the evaluative mind, which may be where things of the heart are dismissed or covered up, or explored further.]
We have to remember that things hard to understand are often relegated to some form of rationalisation (or simplification), with this being more often the case in primitive times, or superstitious times, and from this we get the appearance of “things” being given personalities or identities which may not be real, but by which the principle of it can be grasped.
In the Garden of Eden, we have the appearance of a snake. Once the snake has fulfilled his role as portraying the identity of the instigator, the originator, of the “idea” that filled Eve’s mind (HEART), he disappears from the scene, albeit having been “sentenced” to slide on his belly from that time on. This indicates that he was originally “upright” in 2/some way. But in giving this snake this identity, (as a snake), and having him slide off into the distance, he is identified as a SNAKE, not a spiritual invisible creature.
So was this simply an IDEA that arose in Eve’s mind. One of the critical things here is that the “idea” did not arise until God had spoken and issued a commandment not to touch the other tree.
As a principle, it is easy to demonstrate how the presentation of an idea, especially in the form of a PROHIBITION, can provoke a reaction caused by the first idea being subjected to scrutiny. The obvious reaction is to consider the OPPOSITE of the idea presented. In other words, an idea being presented by “another” (person) will be examined for validity and value. It is examined for aspects of danger, firstly. But then it presents itself as a possible “launching platform” for a new idea, which may seem of high value because it is an ORIGINAL idea, IE it was MY idea.
It speaks of ONE-UP-MAN-SHIP so to say. We see this in people who are very “self” orientated. Everything you say or do, they have to go one better.
As an explanation of the original innocence of the first humans, and their vulnerability to stimulation towards variation of the status quo, it fits the bill very well. We know that when we tell children “not to touch”, they often do that very thing they have been told not to do. It is a natural inherent feature or built in “desire”, which seems to be an advantageous thing because it carries with it the high probability of LEARNING. And therefore, ADVANCING.
Now God had told them to “stay where they were”, that there were dangers outside of his leadership, guidance, loving environment. But the NATURAL REACTION to this stimulus was to seek to learn what God meant, to advance in personal achievement, and to grow into something more like God himself.
Scripture has it that “When they saw that the fruit was DESIRABLE to make one WISE, they ate it. Of course in the story, it is a little more sinister because it says that the logic which accompanied this idea and suggestion, insinuated that God was not being completely truthful, that he was hiding something, and that was that they would grow in wisdom to be like God. This though, is simply a further extension of the thinking logic of the analytical process, and goes further, beyond simple analysis and questioning, to drawing sinister conclusions to the reasons, thus accusing God of evil. They were accusing God of the very thing they had now “invented”, which was GUILE. [trickery, subterfuge, treachery.]
This mental process they underwent was the SIN ITSELF. It was not, in itself, the disobedience, it was the disobedience that had LED to the thinking process, but it was the END RESULT of that process which was the inherently sinful thing. What I mean to say, is that it was this thinking process that was the FRUIT that was talked about. We speak of the “Fruit of the Spirit”. There is good fruit and bad fruit. Depending n the process it came from. [flesh or Spirit].
3/But all of this was INITIATED by God when he spoke the prohibition. Did he not know the result? Of course he did! What is represented here then?
We could venture into the inherent godliness in every man as being the author of our sense of justice, of inherent knowledge of right and wrong. What IS evident though, is that this process was the inevitable outcome of having brought into existence a creature who had “freewill”. With this freewill, he sought to be FREE. Autonomy was born, separation from God had occurred, man was “on his own”. The knowledge of good and evil had taken effect.
The problem with that was that man then recognised himself as evil. By going through the process of good and evil, right and wrong, man had proved that the only evil thing in his world was himself. There was no other evil outside of himself before he “fell”. Evil was originated by man. All of the “paraphernalia” of evil spirits and angelic beings, are an invention (though based on truth) to engender and provide a means of understanding the situation. This is because of the inherent complication of the “spiritual world”, IE the spiritual impact that man’s presence causes on God’s world, excludes us from being able to understand it.
Evil is relegated to such terms as “the spirit of the air”, and Satan’s presence from “going back and forth in the land”. Revelation lumps them all together as dragon, satan, devil. Satan is a word that simply means “adversary”. I think you will find it has been used to describe both God and people at various times. It probably means the thing that results from the action of the “diabolos”, the “evil thinking”. Other than that it actually has some meaning, which is one who opposes, it could have been the word “potato” or any other word to which some cultural meaning was attached.
The point is, that the REALITY of these things, as they affect man and his destiny, are so important, so “severe”, that they need an identity to emphasise and polarise the principles of good and evil. The outcome of these realities are so severe, so important, that they have to be conveyed in some apprehensible way. I think there was a lot of mental illness in the Middle East, and there still is as we can see by world events, and this illness such as Schizophrenia was explained in those days as “demon possession”. (The kind of mental illness that is at loose in the world may be inherent in certain peoples of Middle Eastern origin, it would be the equivalent of Baptists killing Lutherans or Methodists for EG).
But I have wandered off the track and brought out the very things by which I may be ostracised for daring to speak out about.
“The corruption that is in the world through lust”. Now there are right and wrong desires, as shown by Paul in Romans 7 with his “desiring to do what is right”. Lust may be seen as strong desire, or the development of that desire so that it takes on its own nature so just the contemplation of that desire and dwelling on it, gives “pleasure”. It is of course all about SELF. Self-satisfaction. It comes from the progression of man’s “freedom” into the pursuit of all things in order to satisfy SELF.
4/So we are talking of desires, and chiefly, WRONG DESIRES. We see how it was Eve’s wrong desire that instigated corruption in the world, and death resulted. [spiritual death brought physical death. Jesus spiritual health brought his physical health (immortality)]
So it says “every man is tempted when FROM WITHIN, by HIS OWN DESIRE, he is tempted and led…” this temptation, when allowed to follow its natural course, leads to sin which is death.
So we should note it comes from WITHIN. We should also note that it is his OWN desire, and we should also note it is his DESIRE that leads him, by which he is LED. (instead of led by the Spirit). He is led by his FLESH.
Of course, we have such scripture that says “The devil having put into his heart…” and suchlike. It does not say that the desire is in there and then the devil comes and leads us BY our desire, which is what the accepted thing is, it says we are led BY that desire. Otherwise the fact that it says the devil put it in the heart, then includes the further necessity to add that he then further led them as well. We are not led by the devil, we are led by the desire. It is where that desire came from that is in question.
Having established his own kingdom, it is easy to see that further extensions to that kingdom will all be self centred, for the benefit of self. There are not, or were not, too many worldly kingdoms that were/are not based on self serving, to the detriment of others. Even those worldly kingdoms whose religions led them on the false premise of destroying their spiritual enemies AKA the “Crusades” etc.
So lust is really wrong desire. It says that the woman’s desire would be for her husband. Paul says that young widows who….have worldly desires should marry. Man’s desires arise from his self interest. There are various forms of feeling good. One of those is to not be in pain. Another is by the release of endorphins or whatever that stimulate the brain with chemicals that make the brain feel good. The common form of this is sexual pleasure. So often lust is associated with sexual satisfaction.
But the simplicity of desire may be that through living in a corrupted world, desire is just a matter of some form of survival. It becomes a natural matter of course to seek one’s own welfare and benefit, and to seek or desire that which makes one feel good. This may in reality emerge in some good ways like looking after your children, loving your wife etc. But predominately we are talking about the overall state of man who has lost connection with God and whose preoccupation seems to be avoiding the subject of god and of death.
So wrong desire leads to corruption. [and corruption leads to wrong desire]. It is this wrong desire situation that needs to be set right, so as to have RIGHT desires. It says that Jesus came to “destroy the works of the devil”. Now the name devil means something like “accuser”, or “false accuser”, which is the accusation towards God in the Garden of Eden. So it is the “works”, or the actions and results of this “devil” IE the conception, giving birth to, of ideas that spring from the original concept that God is not to be trusted, and 5/that you should go your own way, think your own thoughts, that is the problem. Desire is the wishing for a particular outcome, not evil in itself. It is evil desire that causes evil action, that which results in the “works of the devil”. [the temptation in the mind of the kind of adultery Jesus spoke about remains temptation until lust sets in].
Paul in Romans 7 expressed the problem of his inner nature being in conflict with his mind. It is amazing that this passage which exhaustively expresses the human condition and explains the scenarios involved where man produces good or evil, and obviously talks about the internal origin of the evil desire or thought, that he nowhere talks about “the devil”.
Paul expresses how he was once in a happy state as an innocent, he was “alive”, UNTIL “the commandment came”, the “prohibition”. At once he says that the good “command” killed him. “Sin sprang to life”. The life of sin (evil) that came to him because of his knowledge of the good “command” (good) KILLED him. He became “dead in sin”.
This is the same situation as in Eden. The “sin that sprang to life” is that origin, that giving birth to, the initiation of, the conception of, the thinking which is GUILE. Then Paul explores further in saying his knowledge of what is right he agrees with, but somehow the internal guile always pops up to spoil his hope of righteousness party. He wishes to do what is right, but it does not eventuate. The evil, the very opposite of that which he “desires”, results. Because the desire of his FLESH, his natural fallen nature, IS OPPOSED TO any production of righteousness.
Whence comes this opposition to righteousness? It is because of guilt, it is the fear of death that insists on keeping man’s thinking as far away as possible from thoughts of righteousness, because it is righteousness that delivers to him his pain, his guilt, and knowledge of his separation from God. And apart from this, man’s enlightened consciousness [law] demands justice, and he knows he is guilty. Release will mean something extraordinary will have to take place.
How is this “devil” to be killed off? Jesus came to do it, to stop the endless flow of bad desires which result in bad actions (works of the flesh, works of the devil).
He had to show that the problem was rectified, that there was no longer any guilt to be attached because of the original “fall”, and that all the “fallout” had been “accounted” for. His actions in revealing the awful nature of man’s inner sin condition, and in actually passing through death and in the process of healing his own body, revealed the love which God has for his creation, and put to death the lie by which man had been deceived all this time. In recognising the lie for what it is, and by rising in victory over the death state that this condition caused, and then by returning to man to convey to him this victory (HS) as a free gift by means of his own Spirit of love, man who wants to respond, can now do so.
Jesus went to battle with that internal devil and destroyed it within himself. By this (and by his righteousness) he was able to overcome death within himself and earned the right to the immortalised body. So who is “The ruler of this world”? Well death, yes, [fear?] but 6/more so this thing called the devil, who ruled us from within, who enslaved us by fear of the outcome, the result of our involvement with “him”. DEATH. Jesus destroyed the devil and death within himself, and abolished (the promise of) death for all men, but especially for those who respond and make it true in themselves, as he made it true in himself. By believing in Him, by trusting in Him, in his love for us, we VOLUNTARILY put to death the devil within us, it is destroyed in his love for us, and in our commitment to Him in return.
It is now our DESIRE to do good, as it says, “To purify for himself a people who are eager to do what is right”. And to SUCCEED in that desire.
Rom 5 Just as sin reigned in/through death, now righteousness reigns.
Because of death and the fear of death, sin was in control. [sin is also a strong contender for “the ruler of this world”?]
So ‘what was wrong with me’? Mistrust in God, and the outcome of that, sin and condemnation, is what is/was wrong with me. God has now proved his love for us by absorbing IN that love, in his own body, the reality of the death that sin causes.
So that was Him, his body, his death. What about our body, and our death? Our physical death is inevitable. It is the result of the sin condition as it has predominated over time, since Adam. Jesus was able to repair and redeem his own body, but he does not do that to ours. Our body is destined for the scrapheap, until he returns. That means we may have died before he does return.
The life He will give us will be based upon the trust we put in him, firstly in that his love not only is CAPABLE of forgiving and restoring us, but that he has DONE so in Jesus, for us. Yes he does it for all in that he “forgives” all, because that is who he is, what he does, as proved in Jesus. He provided the healing and immortality that Jesus took up. We are capable of receiving his love, to the restoration of our lives (some might say, “souls”) but based on trust, that is, that we trust in that which He has prepared for us even though we do not see it now and may not see it before we “die”.
Certainly, the restoration of our body is assured and is like “money in the bank”, and we need to live like that now. He gives us the Spirit of life, which we firstly have by faith, but which we gain in reality BY that faith. And HE is that reality, given to us as the Holy Spirit, and who by, as we indulge in the life He gives, have the assurance of that future inheritance. However, the reality is NOW, and we live in the promise of that future inheritance, but experience it NOW, for as we take hold of his promise of life, we inherit it in the NOW by the working gift and presence of Him who IS the SPIRIT OF LIFE.
So yes, He was the first, to whom we look for help to become, as others, who will become immortalised, and yes, his love suffered by our sin, both Father and son suffered the hurt of our hurting, and yes, though he does remove the sin of the world through his absorbtion 7/of it into his heart, causing him pain; but no, he did not remove our sin directly, but it is removed when we let go of it in trust of his sin absorbing love. Jesus suffered “once for all”. Whether that means that God also suffered “once for all” is unclear. But that his love absorbs the cost of all sin is the same as saying he has taken into himself the cost of producing this creation.
But we must cooperate, we must trust that whatever nonsense the “diabolos” may produce or seek to produce, that He has “got it covered”, that it ceases to exist in so far as its eternal ramifications for us, UNLESS WE FAIL TO COOPERATE, fail to believe and trust him, because it is in trusting that we destroy our own sin and sin producing mechanism.
Yes. Sin is destroyed regardless, because He is only looking for life, it is His only concern. The only way we can be found to be alive is to be found “in him”. The questions as to whether non-believers or those of other religions are to be”saved”, is answered by another question – “Can anything else, or anything less, produce the same level of righteousness that faith in Jesus can?”.
We have to start a new life, built over the failure of the old, built by his Spirit. The old life is death, and we are to consider it so. There is nothing salvageable, it simply serves as what NOT to do! And what to be avoided. But sight of the old life will be lost to us as we indulge in the newness of life as brought by his Spirit. We are to be led by the Spirit of this new life, and keep from returning to the old. “We were buried with him, and risen with him”.
He declares us to be nothing in ourselves, and everything in him. He wipes out the world by the fire of his Spirit, by which he gives life to us.
SO WHO IS THE RULER OF THIS WORLD? It was “coming” to Jesus, but “had nothing in him”. There was no sin in Jesus, but there was that within which was CAPABLE of causing sin. [“..he knew what was in man”] Therefore there was death in him, not because sin had produced any, but because it contained the mechanism by which it COULD occur [he could be tempted]. The DEATH PRODUCING MECHANISM had to be destroyed, the “devil”, the ACCUSER of God and his allies. This was to be by trust that God was for us, that he did love us, that his love would, does, and did destroy sin. But by denying the lie by which he became our enemy, we are restored to relationship with him.
As far as Jesus natural nature goes, he was exactly like us, except that he did not sin. Because he was like us, he was doomed to death as we are, by our faulty deficient nature as inherited through Mary. The perfect genetic structure cannot be said to be intact simply because his “sire” was God. The fact that his own personal “sin producer” had never resulted in sin was not the point. The point was that it was there, and was a faulty part which in any other man WOULD have produced death which would have been attributable to him.
That God “overlooks” sin may be true, but only on the basis that he absorbs that sin, that penalty, that cost, HIMSELF. It is not that he disregards it, even if scripture would seem to 8/say as much. The “overlooking” of sin is called GRACE. But don’t be misled, it is real and was accounted for in the body of Christ and in the heart of God..
Extra. The truth will set you free. The most freeing of truth seems to centre in the issue of the integrity of God. That the issue at hand is our internal problem due to the denial of God’s integrity, the belief that he is something other than he presents, is the lie that “we” [in Adam] believed. Knowing that this was the problem now frees us from it. When man fell, he not only brought sin into the world, he brought the lie also, because he could not face the truth, and he certainly could not be “in” it. He also could not face the fear of the unknown as he believed inherent in the lie regarding the accusation of the questionability of God’s nature. This lie is now also “put to death” by the demonstration of God as seen in Jesus, who brought god to us as a loving forgiving God who dealt with sin at his own cost. The end result is that sin is of no account, because his love always deals with it. He is only interested in the life that comes from one who trusts in his love, and relies on it at all times, past, present, and future. Past present and future “sin” is “dealt with” at the same level, IE it is the same thing. In the moment that we call the present, we are perfectly acceptable to him, just as we were at any time in he past, and will be into the future. Believing this is the truth, by which we are saved, disbelieving it is the lie, by which we will fail.
FAITH is simply a declaration of the truth which is, instead of the lie that was. We simply have to disallow the lie to have place in us, in our heart.
“ONLY BELIEVE”…. the end.