Website owner:  James Miller

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The higher nature and the lower nature of man in perpetual conflict

   The Bible speaks of man having two natures, a higher nature and 
   a lower nature, in conflict with each other.  I think this 
   concept is a very important one, one very fundamental to a 
   correct understanding of the human heart.  It is an astute and 
   accurate description of the nature of man.  It certainly 
   describes my nature.  I know that.  I have a higher nature that 
   is good, idealistic and high-minded.  And I also have a lower 
   nature that is low-minded and lustful.  And these two natures 
   are always in continual conflict.  Life is a struggle --- a 
   struggle between the two natures.  The high nature gives me 
   good motivations and high, idealistic ideas and makes me wish 
   to help suffering, downtrodden people, etc.; and at the same 
   time my low nature, which is really nothing more than the 
   nature of a rake, presses me toward a life of pleasure.  If I 
   were to let myself go and follow the promptings of my lower 
   nature I would just abandon myself to pleasure and sleep with a 
   different woman every night.  As it happens my higher nature 
   gets support in its struggle against my lower nature --- from 
   my Intellect.  My Intellect says that the promptings of my 
   lower nature are self-destructive and, if followed, would take 
   me to my ruin.  That is a powerful argument and, as a 
   consequence, the combined forces of my higher nature and my 
   Intellect have always held my lower nature in check.  But my 
   lower nature never gives up, the inner struggle always 
   continues, the lower nature is always trying to break free from 
   the restraints put on it, and there is always the possibility 
   that in some circumstance of fleshly opportunity and temptation 
   Intellect and high ideals could be overpowered.  For how long 
   the lower nature might hold power is another question.  But one 
   moment of weakness, one improper action, can lead to a lot of 
   misery, guilt and unhappiness.  I know my own heart well enough 
   to know how extremely powerful a force lust and desire can be.  
   The best defence against them is to be quick to run away --- to 
   flee the opportunity and temptation.

   The human heart is complicated and tricky due to these two 
   underlying natures.  Impulses and motivations can come from 
   either of the two natures and it is not always certain from 
   which nature they may be coming.  The human heart can be 
   deceitful and deceptive.  An apparently good, high-sounding 
   idea may also have a very strong appeal to the lower nature.  
   One is not always sure himself what his true and real motive 
   is.  A very good idea may also provide a very good opportunity 
   for the flesh.  In pursuing a high-minded project one might 
   fall right into the Devil's hands to his own undoing.

   It has been said that we all have a spark of divinity within 
   us.  I think this is true.  It is our higher nature.  But we 
   also have a spark of Evil within us.  Our lower nature.  And 
   the Good and the Evil within us are in constant conflict.  Our 
   natures are the battlegrounds of struggles between Good and 
   Evil.  It is true that in some people, such as in the case of 
   the profligate, there doesn't seem to be much of a struggle.  
   The side of Evil has won out and is in total control.

   Aug 1986

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