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Table of Contents

Part I

Part II

Part III


Part V

Part VI

Part VII



Part I: The Fall Was Down

Chapter 2

The Problem of the Will

     IT HAS SEEMED superficially at least, that while all men may have a potential for wickedness, some have more than others. Is there any truth in this? All men could be sinners, none being excepted, but is it true that some have more of the disease than others do, so that they are by comparison more wicked than their fellows?
     According to Eysenck in his Presidential Address to the Psychology Section of the British Association Meeting in 1964, there is a "constitutional" (i.e., inherited, physiological) element in criminal behaviour.
(45) This was a view held by Hooten, (46) and it has been held by others since. However, Eysenck suggested a new "mode" of action. He argued that part of the inherited structure of personality is the extrovert/introvert element, and that strong extroverts do not succeed as successfully as introverts in internalizing the constraints to good behaviour which society imposes on the maturing individual. Thus when these restraints are weakened, anti-social or criminal behaviour is likely to find expression more readily among extrovert types.
     In effect, introverts more easily form socially conditioned reflexes and thus have a carry over of good behaviour even when the normal restraints are removed. This led Eysenck to the view that "goodness" (in this sense) is not something that we inherit per se but rather a conditioned reflex resulting in an internalized response to society's demands for good conduct. It is goodness only in the sense that not being bad is a good thing.
     According to this theory, "the new-born child's conduct is completely asocial or criminal," and must be restrained by society. Extroverts do not inwardly adopt these restraints as securely, and therefore as effectively, as introverts do, and they are accordingly more

45. Eysenck, H. J., "Biological Basis of Criminal Behaviour," Nature, supplement, Aug. 29, 1964, pp.952-953.
46. Hooten, E. A., Why Men Behave Like Apes, and Vice Versa, Princeton University Press, 1940.

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likely, whenever the external restraints to behaviour are weakened, to yield to the bad side of nature which we all start off with. To this extent every baby born, even today, is, as Zimmern put it, "a Stone Age Baby," (47) and apart from the channelling effect of culture, man has accumulated no store of natural goodness over the millennia since Stone Age times. We are not really more sinful or less sinful, but more restrained or less restrained, i.e., more cultured or less so. In short, the concept of the innocence of childhood requires some careful re-definition, and if by such innocence is meant innate goodness, it is a mistaken view of human nature. The innocence of childhood results rather from lack of time and opportunity to realize the inborn potential for wickedness than from some natural tendency in the opposite direction. The potential for rebellion is evidently there from the start, dormant though it may be for a short while.
     The difference between "good people" and "bad people" is not therefore spiritual at all but cultural, and depends in a secondary way upon certain inherited factors in the structure of individual personality. "Goodness" is thus an accident, an accident that is in part circumstantial and in part genetic, part nurture and part nature. Goodness in no way inheres in human nature as though the process of growing up had the sad effect of destroying it; the effect of growing up is to reveal human nature for what it really is, not to destroy some supposed original sinlessness. Any chance appearance of goodness exists only because circumstance has contributed to the sublimation of its opposite. It is not that some men are good and some bad, but rather that some men are not so bad as others and by default of opportunity give the appearance of being what they really are not.
     Scripture simply says that there are none righteous, that "there is none that doeth good" (Romans 3:21). I do not think that we face up to this fundamental truth when we acknowledge its truth only with reservations by making it apply to some people but not to all -- least of all to ourselves.
     While it is perhaps true that a slum environment "breeds" crime, it does so because it provides more opportunity for inherently sinful human nature to express itself, social restraints being greatly reduced. The slum-born crook is no different essentially from the most cultured individual. In performance he may be very different, but not in his basic nature. David was, by nature, no different from Ahab. Both men coveted and ended up as murderers. Sin found expression in both because, being kings, they had all the power they needed, which is

47. Zimmern, Sir Alfred, The Prospects of Civilization, Oxford Pamphlets on World Affairs, Oxford University Press, 1940, p.23.

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another way of saying that social restraint was almost entirely absent in their cases. Yet David was the "best" king Israel ever had, and Ahab the "worst." There was a difference. David utterly repented, whereas Ahab did not really care. Yet this difference was due entirely to the presence of the Spirit of God in David's heart, not to any inherent goodness in David himself. (48)
     Without seeking to overdo this theme, it nevertheless seems essential to establish clearly what the real nature of man is. Only when this is done can we see how inadequate mere reformation would be. Erich Fromm, who at times has seen the hopelessness of the situation so clearly that it has driven him literally to distraction, said: (49)

     Freud has broken through the fiction of the rational purposeful character of the human mind, and opened a path that allows a view into the abyss of human passions.

     Kenneth Walker put the matter this way: (50)

     Freud's investigation of the contents of the submerged parts of the mind showed that these were of a very primitive nature. . . .  According to him, we are whited sepulchers and are only outwardly decent and cultured. We all carry about within us, locked in some dark cellar of the mind, not a comparatively respectable skeleton, but a full-bodied and lascivious savage. In spite of our efforts to isolate this unwelcome guest in his cellar, he rules our thoughts and actions.

     It appears that in a sense the most cultured among us is only accidentally so. Scrape off the veneer and underneath is the same basic material in all of us. Moreover, it is a common experience to find ourselves acting in shameful ways which we scarcely believed possible. Such experiences mortify us, for they reveal to ourselves what we really are. Those revelations are like the bubbles of marsh gas which ooze up now and then from the murky deeps to disturb the placid surface and remind us of what is hidden. Ernest White draws these thoughts together with brevity and clarity: (51)

     Investigation of the unconscious has brought to light evil and destructive forces which are held down by repression, itself an unconscious mechanism. In it lurks a shadow self, very different from the conscious educated ego with which we are familiar.

     It is clear that these men are speaking fundamentally of the depravity of man, and if virtually every impulse receives part of its drive from this fearful root, then every action is to some extent

48. 2 Samuel 11:2--12:15, and 1 Kings 21:1--22:37
49. Fromm, Erich, Escape From Freedom, Rinehart, New York, 1941, p.246.
50. Walker, Kenneth, Meaning and Purpose, Pelican, London, 1950, p.86.
51. White, Ernest, ref.20, p.15.

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infected, and man is in this sense totally depraved. It is not that we cannot do any good, but rather that in every good thing we do there exists this taint of evil.
     Napoleon, so it is said, observed that man will believe almost anything -- so long as it is not in the Bible. While scholarly dignity nods assent (albeit reluctantly) to these insights into the nature of human nature, it has been customary to overlook biblical statements on the same topic. But the Lord far antedated Freud when He declared (Mark 7:21-23):

     Out of the heart of men proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within. . . .

     This is acknowledged at times where one might least expect it. Thus David Lack, a Fellow of the Royal Society, admitted it: (52)

     The nature of the Fall has been variously interpreted in different ages. . . . Whether a more literal or more allegorical view is taken, the doctrine of the Fall is basic to Christian belief. The statement by Darwinists such as G. G. Simpson (The Meaning of Evolution, 1951) that man has risen, not fallen, misses the point.

     He then pointed out that even so great an antagonist of Christianity as T. H. Huxley acknowledged: (53)

. . . it is the secret of the superiority of the best theological teachers to the majority of their opponents that they substantially recognize these realities. . . .
     The doctrines of . . . original sin, of the innate depravity of man . . . of the primacy of Satan in this world . . . of a malevolent Demiurgus subordinate to a benevolent Almighty who has only lately revealed Himself, faulty as they are, appear to me to be vastly nearer the truth than the liberal, popular illusions that babies are all born good, and that the example of a corrupt society is responsible for their failure to remain so; that it is given to everybody to reach the ethic ideal if he will only try . . . and other optimistic figments.

     So David Lack concluded, "Darwinism can never give an adequate account of man's nature." (54) Even Bertrand Russell was willing to acknowledge that the problem with human nature is not going to be solved merely by education. Indeed, although he was probably speaking with more emotion than precise logic, he said, "There is no limit to the horrors that can be inflicted by a combination of scientific intelligence with the malevolence of Satan. Human imagination long ago

52. Lack, David, ref.14, p.107.
53. Huxley, T. H., quoted by Lack, ref.14, p.108.
54. Lack, David, ref.14, p.109.

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pictured hell, but it is only through recent skill that men have been able to give reality to what they imagined. (55)
     The real problem is in the will, not in the mind. It would be a simple matter to account for wickedness if it were merely lack of knowledge. But experience shows that it is very often the clever people who make the worst criminals. In fact, a good case can be made out against educating people who in their teens show evidences of a disposition towards rejecting authority. We are constantly being told by every means of communication -- newspaper, radio, and television -- that this social evil or that can be corrected by educating the public. But when all is said and done, I think it must really be admitted, if we are to be completely honest and if we are to be guided by fact rather than ideal, that the only way to improve a situation in the long run is by providing adequate and appropriate restraints. By such means the way may be left open for something better to emerge. But the fundamental problem is not how to encourage the good, rather how to restrain the evil. Indeed, virtually all legislation intended to regulate social behaviour is stated negatively, Thou shalt not. . . . I believe it is only within the context of Christian experience where the law of God has been written in the heart anew that positive commands have much meaning. The great command that a man should love his neighbour as himself was really directed toward the people of God. Yet there is a sense in which it was also directed to the world, because God had in mind to state clearly what He required of man so that, having set before the world the only standard of behaviour which He would accept, He might justifiably bring judgment upon the world for failing to meet His standard. In this sense the law was a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ (Galatians 3:24).
     Meanwhile, culture is an artificial restraint of natural conduct and it distinguishes the civilized from the uncivilized. It was one of Freud's useful "discoveries" that "man's basic nature is primarily made up of instincts which would, if permitted expression, result in incest, murder, and other crimes."
(56) The theological view has been stated with remarkable insight by Karl Barth: "Sin is man as we now know him." Augustine held that until the Fall man was free to be righteous or wicked as he chose; but that after the Fall he had only free will to sin. Some men have opportunity to sin more than others, but wickedness is the natural outcome of human nature as it is, whether people are viciously or only, as an Anglican Bishop said of modern youth,

55. Russell, Bertrand, "Human Society in Ethics and Politics," quoted in Nature, Dec. 25, 1954, p.1162.
56. Freud: quoted by M. S. Viteles, "The New Utopia," Science, vol.122, 1955, p.1170.

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"delightfully, wicked." Dostoevsky said, "Man commits sin simply to remind himself that he is free." (57)
     The fundamental point to be grasped is that human nature is naturally bad, not good. There are some who attribute this to the artificiality of our existence and who argue, again like Rousseau, that if man were only free of all these restraints he wouldn't be nearly as wicked as he is. It is the psychiatric argument that repressions are bad for the soul; that it is the constant denials of self that we demand of ourselves or that society imposes upon us that lead to rebellion of spirit. There is no doubt that a tremendous sense of relief is for a while experienced by any man who can throw off these restraints. Alcohol may make men merry who were previously depressed, uninhibited who were previously inhibited, or out-going who were formerly reserved and suspicious. Drugs may have a similar liberating effect. And mass hysteria, in which society lifts its own restraints, can have the same effect. People gain a sense of freedom which, for a time, is wonderful. Unfortunately, the terminal result is virtually always a greater bondage.
     The fact is, as Scripture has stated (2 Peter 2:19), that men promise themselves freedom by yielding. There is an element of truth in this, for when man does by choice what God has appointed him to do by divine decree, that act, though it is inevitable and cannot be escaped, nevertheless becomes a free one. When we choose to do what we cannot refuse to do, we give to the compulsion a sense of complete freedom. The only trouble is that with man as he is now constituted the only choice he can make with complete freedom, that is to say, as a full expression of his real self, is to do something that is wicked. Sometimes, perhaps rather frequently, such acts have the appearance of being good because the end result may turn out to benefit others. Nevertheless, if the act itself is motivated out of an evil heart, then from God's point of view it is judged for what it really is. In the great day of reckoning many will say, "Lord, Lord, have we not . . . in thy name done many wonderful works? Then shall the Lord say, Depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matthew 7:22,23).
     There is really only one way in which a man may be truly free and that is by being perfectly obedient to perfect law. Thus freedom is possible only to those who are enabled to render absolute obedience to the law of God, summed up in terms of love towards God and man. This kind of love the world pays lip service to, without recognizing that

57. Dostoevsky, F. M., "Letters from the Underworld," quoted by D. R. Davies, ref.31, p.10.

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apart from the indwelling presence of God Himself in the Person of Jesus Christ the heart of man -- which is desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9) -- is quite incapable of fulfilling the conditions. When man relaxes restraint and proposes a "return to nature," he is apt to forget that he is not returning to a pattern of behaviour such as characterizes the rest of Nature, but to the unrestrained expression of a fallen self.
     There is a beautiful passage in Martin Lings' Ancient Beliefs and Modern Superstitions. He was speaking of the modern trend towards a rejection of all the older traditional restraints upon human behaviour. He spoke of these restraints as being more often than not honoured in the breach. They were recognized and most people felt it necessary to excuse themselves for failing to obey them: (58)

     Such until very recently was the orientation of men all over the world: the "boats" were all, as it were, at least pointing upstream, whether the force of the current was in fact carrying them downstream or not.
     But a time came, within the last two hundred years or less when for want of the minimum effort required to keep the prows in the right direction, a number of boats that had been drifting downstream backwards were deflected to meet the current broadside on and thus to be as it were with no orientation at all; and from this untenable position of doubt, uncertainty and hopelessness, it was not difficult for the current to turn them right round to face the way they were drifting.
     With shouts of triumph that they were "at last making some headway," they called on those who were still struggling upstream to "throw off the fetters of superstition" and "to move with the times."
     A new creed was quickly invented, and though its implications have seldom been looked full in the face they are, clearly enough, that all man's past millennial upstream efforts, that is "reactionary" or "retrograde" efforts, were completely wasted, having been utterly pointless and misguided.

     This is part of the fruit of Darwinism, that natural philosophy which gave a supposedly scientific validation to the idea that progress, in spite of occasional setbacks, is linear, automatic, and upward. It is this philosophy, unfortunately, which has encouraged so many people to believe that there is a virtue in novelty, and that any change is bound to be for the better in the end. In the life of an individual there may come times of great stress in which resisting evil seems so painful that it appears less painful to yield and take the consequences. But yielding proves only a momentary freedom that is accompanied by a greater facility to surrender to an even worse bondage in the end.
     We come, therefore, in a complete circle to find once more how truly Dostoevsky was speaking when he said that man sins to prove

58. Lings, Martin, Ancient Beliefs and Modern Superstitions, Perennial Books, London, 1964, p.64.

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himself free. It is important to realize the profound significance of the fact that man only feels free when he is doing something which in retrospect inevitably turns out to have a sinister aspect to it, even though at the time the true character of his act may not be apparent. Though it is indeed a dismal doctrine, I think that Calvin is fundamentally right when he speaks of the total depravity of man. Not that everything that he does is totally bad, but rather that nothing that he does is wholly good. Perhaps if we are completely honest with ourselves, we shall have to say that in every act the good aspect is not merely tainted by the bad but well-nigh overwhelmed. When we are young it is only proper that we should have ideals, and that among those whose lives we have observed and admired, we should here and there have the feeling that they were noble. But it is sad as one grows up to find how little that appears to be noble is really what it appears. However you personally may feel about this, I myself know one thing and I know it with increasing certainty as the years go by, that in me, the natural part of me which still reflects the old Adam and is not yet possessed by the Lord, there dwelleth no good thing whatever (Romans 7:18). The heart of man is deceitful and desperately wicked indeed.
     The fundamental reason why man does not respond to better education by being a basically and permanently better person is because the real problem lies in the will. When we have by the study of history or by some other educational means established for ourselves a goal of better things only to find in due course that we simply cannot achieve them, our critics may say, "You don't succeed in overcoming temptation, because you don't really want to. You have a will: exercise it." We do not have a will. I do not have a will, I am a will. That is what I am. Ninety-nine percent of our failure to achieve some goal which we have been inspired to aim for by some eloquent speaker or writer stems from the fact that we fail to recognize the difference between having and being a will. It is perfectly true that Christian experience complicates the situation for us, because a new will in the Person of the Lord Jesus is introduced within us before the old will has been eradicated. So we have a conflict of wills. But speaking of the world, of natural man, of man not yet having the law of God written within, we can only postulate one will, even when that will may appear to be uncertain of itself. This will cannot will its own decease. The man who wills to be humble is obviously going to be proud of his success, if he has any. This is the "involuntary" humility which Scripture condemns (Colossians 2:18).
     In commenting on the philosophy of Carl Jung, the British Medical Journal observed:

59. Jung, Carl G., in British Medical Journal, Feb. 9, 1952, p.315.

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     The hypothesis of mental life outside consciousness, i.e., the "unconscious," was of course well known before Jung's time. Jung examined the hypothesis of the unconscious critically, and he proved by methods which others could repeat that the unconscious was a reality and that it acted autonomously. . . .
     When we are in the grip of a complex, the limitations of "willpower" soon become evident. It is exactly as though another person interferred to prevent us from carrying out our intentions.

     But does this not imply that it is not only the child of God who has two wills, but that these two wills exist in everyone, the one will striving towards good intentions and the other defeating those intentions? It would certainly look this way, and yet in the final analysis at the very bottom or root of man's soul is this evil something which Freud also explored. This is the real man. Here are the ultimate springs of human nature. All else is learned. Those who have been brought up in an environment where the noble things in life are constantly set forth as the true goal may appear to be different from those who were brought up in the slum where everything is filthy, rotten, and degrading. But if we are to be guided by Scripture, we are forced to the conclusion that the real human nature of both individuals is the same, any differences being entirely the result of historical accident. It is still true that there is none righteous, none that doeth good (Romans 3:10-12).
     This has been borne out in history time and time again, when to the surprise of everyone those who had stood out in their own community with the stature of saints have suddenly been brought face to face with genuine holiness. Their response has not infrequently been far more vicious in opposition than the response of those who seemed in the eyes of the community to be hopelessly wicked. We may suppose that the Lord's worst enemies, the Pharisees, were a wicked bunch. But if we had lived in those days we would probably have thought of them -- or at least many of them -- as cultured people with high ideals. The Lord called them "whited sepulchres," that is, visibly clean. There was nothing dirty about them. But they were dead inside. Charles Wesley was often most strongly opposed by those who seemed to their own generation to be models of Christian virtue. This is a very hard lesson to learn, yet every so often in ordinary life one may experience the sudden shock of discovering that someone whom one felt was a truly godly person nevertheless has violently anti-Christian feelings. In fact it seems that many of the "best" people are anti-Christian when it comes to basic issues. For example, the English Public School system derived most of its highest ideals from a Christian philosophy so that the products of that system for a period of comparatively recent history were respected and honoured as men with very high ideals and a strong

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sense of honour and integrity. But those who came through this system know that the whole drive behind this code was pride, not love.
     There is a contributing reason why man is not really improved by education, because the will itself remains unchanged. It remains unchanged because sin has in important ways crippled man's intellect. The effect is to make it impossible for a man to be completely aware of his own true nature, and as a consequence he can neither properly assess the motives which govern his actions nor be aware of the fact that his assessment is at fault. The mind operates within a mist of which it is itself entirely ignorant. This is called the noetic effect of sin. Although all personal experience and all of history screams a negative to the philosophy of the perfectibility of man, man simply cannot believe the evidence. It is not merely that he will not believe; for some reason he cannot believe the evidence. So these are two separate effects of sin, the one upon the will, the other upon the intellect. It is not only that man is a rebel at heart, he is also blind -- blind because he cannot recognize his rebellion for what it is. Before he can do this, he must have a "change of mind" -- the Greek word for "repentance." And part of the Christian experience of the new birth is a renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2). Butterfield observed: (60)

     Amongst historians, as in other fields, the blindest of all the blind are those who are unable to examine their own presuppositions, and blithely imagine therefore that they do not possess any. It must be emphasized that we create tragedy after tragedy for ourselves by a lazy unexamined doctrine of man which is current amongst us and which the study of history does not support [my emphasis].

     This blindness, sometimes observed to an unbelievable degree even in otherwise most intelligent people, leads to extraordinary inconsistency and lack of wisdom. It also leads to a faith in mankind which is completely without foundation. I remember a debate between a professor of social anthropology and a medical man who was well known in the field of child education. There were quite a number of students present, and the social anthropologist was particularly popular with them. At one point the medical man proposed that education was not perhaps, after all, improving our young people. The professor jumped on this at once and said, "Oh, I wouldn't want to believe that." Then the medical man replied, rather quietly, "Even if it were true?" Surprisingly enough this quiet answer seemed to change the roles of the two men and the social anthropologist never quite recovered from the clapping and laughter which had accompanied his own embarrassment at the question. As Butterfield put it: "It is essential not to have 

60. Butterfield, Herbert, ref.18, p.46.

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faith in human nature. Such faith is a recent heresy and a very dangerous one." (61) And Daniel Lamont observed: "Sin, as we have seen, is a mist which keeps us from seeing anything as it is; and when we accept the mist as our appropriate atmosphere, we are oblivious to the tragedy of the mist itself." (62)
     Kenneth Walker is one of the most thoughtful of recent writers and, though not a Christian, is nevertheless very spiritually perceptive. He is a British medical doctor of some renown. In his book Meaning and Purpose he spoke of the days when he was younger and had little or no use for talk about spiritual matters: (63)

     Looking back I have seen clearly that at different periods of my life my mind became incarcerated within the narrow confines of some doctrine such as the scientific materialism of the last century. . . .
     What is particularly apparent to me now that I have escaped from these mental prisons is that while confined in them, I was completely satisfied with my surroundings.

     It is thus quite clear that man's mind can unwittingly accept as a true premise something which all the evidence stands against, and will then logically construct upon it what will appear to him as a completely valid philosophy. And although it is constantly being challenged by the facts, and although he may constantly be misled by it in his judgment, and although he may in the end come to see its total inadequacy, he will still hold on to it, defend it against all comers, and make it his guide though it leads him astray. Yet in all else he may be a man of intelligence and integrity.
     Such people by pen or word of mouth mold public opinion, cheerfully assuring the world that the present evils of society will vanish in time as man grows wiser. They point to such things as progress in slum clearance, the rise in general health, the emergence of the affluent society, the organization of man on a world scale for peace, and ever increasing dominion of man over the forces of Nature, and so forth; and all the while they overlook the fact that man's heart remains unimproved. And while man remains thus unimproved, he uses his increased leisure, improved health, greater resources, and enlarged powers over natural forces to give greater breadth to the range of his own wicked devices. Hopefully, it is always assumed that the world's problems are ultimately external to the heart of man, and if only all men are brought to the same standard of living and to enjoy the same benefits of civilization, all will be peaceful and everyone will be content. 

61. Ibid., p.47.
62. Lamont, Daniel, Anchorage of Life, InterVarsity Fellowship, London, 1946, p.173.
63. Walker, Kenneth, ref.50, p.7.

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     With extraordinary ingenuity, man resolves one external problem after another, having devised for himself a technique, the scientific method, which appears to have unlimited possibilities. But we do not yet know how to prevent one delinquent child from corrupting a neighbourhood, or an apparently sincere public servant from accepting a bribe, or the ordinary citizen from slandering his neighbour. The ordinary, everyday commonplace examples of human sinfulness in small things meet us at every turn, and there seems no way in which we can control them and leave man free. There is not the slightest doubt that for an ever increasing number of people things are better than they ever were. But we cannot honestly say that people are.
     People point to such great documents as the Atlantic Charter as evidence that the world is a better place, that man has achieved a measure of genuine international stature by recognizing the rights of nations to self-determination and of individuals to personal freedom in certain essential respects. It is quite true that at no period in history was such a universal vision even dimly discerned -- except to some extent by the Hebrew prophets. The great powers of previous ages never foresaw the kind of world charter that we now recognize as an obvious ideal. At the lowest level of social responsibility, duties were confined within a family; then within a tribe; finally within the nation. But beyond this it was not recognized by people that they owed anything to one another. Not even within the boundaries of the older empires were such rights recognized as we now feel must ultimately prevail among all nations. Perhaps the nearest approach was Roman citizenship, but slaves among them had virtually no personal rights. So to this extent, man has indeed clarified his ideals.
     But the achievement of such ideals seems to be about as far away as it ever was. Recognition has not led to realization. Indeed, one wonders sometimes whether even the ideal may not yet be abandoned entirely as totally unrealistic, as unrealistic as the ideals which gave birth to the League of Nations. And in any case, such ideals are not the result of cultural evolution but are rooted ultimately within the Judeo-Christian religious philosophy: they originated as the result of divinely inspired thinking. Without the sustaining inspiration there seems little hope of their remaining viable. It seems highly unlikely that they would ever have arisen merely by the process of historic development, because they are manifestly so unrealistic and unworkable as human nature is presently constituted.
     So long as a substantial number of subscribing nations at least pay lip service to the religious philosophy that underlies these ideals, there is a real possibility that they will remain on the statute books. But

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unfortunately, this system of ideals is like a plant without a root, bound to die in the nature of things. For one of its main principles is that all men who apply for membership in the "club" must be admitted merely on the basis of the fact that they applied. We are ourselves so far short of living up to the ideal which we proclaim that we dare not interrogate new applicants about their particular philosophy. And so as the "club" grows, we are bound to reach the point where the majority do not at heart accept the Judeo-Christian value system which inspired the ideal, thus outnumbering in voting power those who do. We have almost reached that point already. An "unconverted" world being asked to accept ideals as interpreted by a "converted" minority is not likely to submit to the minority interpretation, and the very idealism which inspired the "club" will bring about its demise. So ultimately all human institutions fail this way in the end. Even though each succeeding generation may have captured for a fleeting moment a clearer vision of the ideal, its realization is as far away as ever. Perhaps, in the light of recent debates over the Israeli-Arab war which revealed such totally different concepts of what truth is, it is further away than ever as the influence of the carry-over of a Christian philosophy recedes.
     One of the critical points I have tried to underscore in this Paper is that culture, in the sense of learned behaviour, is what man needs to restrain his natural bent towards wickedness. Whatever else may be said about the snobbery of the "cultured," the fact remains that civilized man is normally less overtly wicked than the uncultured and that when he acts wickedly it is by distorting, denying, or escaping from the accumulated cultural heritage of the past. The restraint of learned behaviour is all that stands between man and sheer savagery. Man is not by nature a well-bred creature, but a barbarian. Culture does not make man acceptable in the sight of God, for in this sense God is no respecter of persons at all, but it does tend to soften and reduce the effect of his fallen nature by restraining him.
     There are times when a culture may be disrupted and a whole society goes bad, authority being everywhere undermined to such an extent that lawlessness, destruction, violence, rape, murder, theft, and cruelty know no effective curbs and chaos results. This may happen even in a fragment of some particular social group such as a crowd. When a crowd throws off all recognition of established authority its spirit changes rapidly from bad to worse, no longer constrained towards any good, but self-reinforced and self-reinforcing towards wickedness. Human behaviour becomes "liberated" and equated with sin. People are swept away by the compulsive mood of the crowd, and individuals find themselves suddenly free to express the very worst side

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of their nature -- often to their own genuine amazement in retrospect.
     The roar of unified voices bent on evil is absolutely terrifying. There is something demonic about it. Crowds become vicious in ways totally foreign to the behaviour of the individuals who make up the crowd. Men in groups will become vicious murderers and violent in the extreme, even the gentlest of them. And history shows, sadly, that in times of great violence (as in the French Revolution) women are equally capable of cruelty. Even in watching violent sports, this unexpected side of woman's nature may be suddenly revealed. Afterwards, the individual may sort herself out and ask in amazement, What got into me? Nothing got in. It is not what gets in at all, but what comes out that reveals the truth of human nature, even as Christ said it would (Matthew 15:18,19).
     A supreme example of this is to be found in the New Testament as the Lord's ministry of healing, mercy, and goodness drew to a climax. The temper of the crowd, a crowd only a few hours before zealously hailing Him as the Messiah, now found itself united in its determination to destroy Him in the cruelest manner possible. Why? Were these really different people? Probably not, though many of them were acting differently. It was clear that authority -- (the ultimate source of restraint) -- had now shifted openly to an antagonistic position toward the Lord, and in doing so momentarily changed the balance of restraint for the whole community, setting men free to give expression to the very lowest impulses of their nature. Many of these, perhaps most of them, a few days before had not been "bad" people but people perhaps kindly disposed towards the aged, mindful of common courtesies, caring for the well-being of their families, and even concerned for neighbours, not given to violence unless personally angered, and quite likely opposed to any blatant injustice to individuals whom they thought well of. But now, suddenly, they change. They scream for His blood. Stirred up with frightening ease by the religious authorities, they find release for past repressions in a wave of violent animosity against an apparently defenseless man whom they had previously admired or even defended before His enemies. Here, then, was the ultimate revelation of man. Faced with absolute goodness, purity, and honesty, faced with true humanness, they suddenly hated what they saw.
     The Lord's crucifixion was an expression of man's wickedness in hating Him because He was kind, gentle, altogether good, healing where there was sickness, bringing comfort where there was distress. He was condemned because He was innocent -- not because He was guilty. He was treated with violence because He was gentle, not because

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He was violent. He was judged immoral (a friend of harlots) because He was utterly undefiled. He was accused of malefaction simply because He was completely innocent of wrongdoing.
     I had occasion to rebuild a house once. A neighbour caught our zeal to work and planned great alterations to his house, too! We completed ours, though it took nearly five years. But in seven years he had scarcely taken up hammer and saw. One day he visited us and as he turned to go, he said good-naturedly, "I think you've done a wonderful job. I am afraid I didn't, and I hate you for it." How true this is to human nature, and what a pity we cannot all be as forthrightly honest as our friend and neighbour was about it. . . . In a way he got rid of his "hate" by expressing it. In a way, mankind found some peace when the Lord was crucified. This, too, was part of His death for us. He came to die, but also to reveal certain things, three things at least: what God was really like and how He felt toward us; what man was actually like when exposed in the white light of His perfection, and finally what the potential of true manhood really was as revealed in His own Person.
     Until society regains a correct picture of human nature, no real progress can ever be made toward the building of the Great Society: but by its very nature science will never recognize this fact even from its own findings, for it cannot accept what God has revealed nor discover the truth by its own methods of inquiry. 

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Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights reserved

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