Friday, February 09, 2007

Human Nature

Discussing today's Gospel at Bible study, we talked about James and John's bold-faced request to "be seated at the right hand of Jesus in his glory." Someone mentioned it was just one more example of human nature. I attribute (blame) a lot of things on human nature, myself... and I got to thinking (again) about just how difficult it is to live up to, (let alone maintain) the standards Jesus sets for life in Him.

How radically opposed to human nature his teachings seem, how radical his example was.

The word radical is overused these days; it barely raises an eyebrow.
rad·i·cal [rad-i-kuhl]

To some of us, the word implies: extremist, uncompromising, drastic... generally in the negative sense. To others the word describes fundamental reforms, whether political, economic, or social, and compromising methods be damned. Some see radicalness as an evil, others as the highest good. (Taking the "right" side and pummelling anyone on the "wrong' side also seems to be very much in our human nature.)

And yet the word radical (like Jesus) has meaning beyond all our own labels: for it comes from both the Middle English and Latin words for radish or root. "Going to the root of origin" is the very first definition listed in the unabridged dictionary. So... if his radical example was really at the core of who we are, of who God is... then why is it always so hard to do what he says? Maybe that's a rhetorical question, for the obvious answer is "sin".

But then that only proves the point of those theologians who point to mankind's "sinful" nature as being the reason (and excuse) for things being the way they are. There has to be more to it than that.

1 comment:

J.T. said...

There probably is more to it, but it's part of the mystery. We don't understand it. "Sin" is the theological explanation of a mystery. It may not be the complete truth, but it helps us understand what the complete truth is. The truth is our nature is imperfetct. Our faith tells us we can be "better than this" if we continually move toward our union with God. Sin is how we explain the imperfections that keep us from God. What that imperfection actually is and how it came about, and what really makes it tick, that's the mystery!