sermon: Human Nature: Good or Evil?
We Create Our Own Nature
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Given 07-Jul-12; Sermon #1110; 77 minutes
Richard Ritenbaugh, reflecting on the recent observation of Independence Day, suggests that this event should furnish us with an opportunity to reflect on the philosophies and ideas of the Founding Fathers, including their beliefs about human nature. The Founding Fathers shared the belief, for the most part, that human nature was depraved, shaped by the Calvinistic Protestant doctrine of total depravity and Augustine's notion of original sin, positing that all humans are affected by depravity, and that even the good things in our nature are tainted by evil. Because the Founders knew that government consisted of power, they placed checks and balances in order to protect the electorate against tyranny, with varying lengths of tenure for members of the three branches. The Founding Fathers realized that power corrupts and that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Unfortunately, the checks and balances that the Founding Fathers had instituted have severely eroded; carnal human nature has taken control. The secular progressives mistakenly believe that human nature is perfectible, guided by the parameters of evolution. Conservatives tend to believe that human nature is evil and that the best anyone can do is control it. The Bible takes a rather dim view of carnal human nature; we struggle against it until our death. Satan, in the Garden of Eden, turned the minds of our parents against God and onto serving ourselves. We absorb sinful attitudes from our parents, siblings, and the world. The spirit in man is receptive to Satan's negative spirit. Our flesh is essentially selfish, making us vulnerable to carnality. We are commanded to fight against self, society, and Satan through the power of God's Holy Spirit, submitting ourselves as a sacrifice to God, transformed to God's way of life and image, designed to function this way since creation. God cannot create godly character by fiat. Hence, He has given us free moral agency so we can make choices. This factor—the ability to improve or corrupt nature—is controlle
Adam and Eve Bastille Day Bias toward self Checks and balances Debased mind Declaration of Independence Deuteronomy 30:15 Ecclesiastes 7:20; 9:3 Ephesians 2:1-2; 4:23-24 FDR I Peter 4:3 Flood Free moral agency Free will Galatians 5:16-18 Genesis 1:26-27; 2:16-17; 3:1; 8:21 Goodness Hostility to God House of Representatives Human nature Independence Day Isaiah 1:4-6; 59:1-2 Jeremiah 17:9 Madness Mark 7:20-23 Matthew 7:9-11 Neutrality of human nature Numbers 15:29 Original sin Overcoming Pocket Constitution Progressives Proverbs 14:12 Psalms 14:1-3; 51:5 Reprobate mind Republic Romans 1:18-28; 3; 12:1-2 Sanctification II Corinthians 3:15 Senate Separation of powers 1776 Tainted by evil Titus 3:1-7 Total depravity Transformation Tree of the knowledge of good and evil We the people
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