Lately I’ve been thinking about people. We are such fascinating creatures. It is very intriguing to me that at times we are completely twisted and bent towards evil and even when we are at our best we still have a tinge of mixed motives.
This past year I’ve been looking into some of the more contraversial doctrines such as the depravity of man. I had always understood that to mean that humans can never do anything right ever and had branded it as ridiculous. But after actually listening to some of its proponents and giving it some thought it made sense. One way I heard it explained was this: it’s not that humans can never do good, but rather it’s that sin effects everything they do. Meaning we can do good things, but evil still effects every aspect of our lives.
I find that idea interesting because I’ve found that to be true in my own life. It seems no matter what I set my hand to there is always a tint of darkness to it. At my worst moments it’s completely wrong, at my best it’s largely good, but with a stain of evil. It seems to be a matter of the heart. It seems that without the Holy Spirit it is impossible for us to be completely pure in our motives. We can do a good work, but there will always be a mixture of evil in with the good. Even with the Spirit it is incredibly difficult to be completely whole-hearted.
I think back to one of my favourite books, Perelandra by C. S. Lewis. In this story the main character, Dr. Ransom, encounters an eldil, which is Lewis’ equivolent to an angel. Lewis draws some interesting comparisons, by showing the contrast between a good man and a perfect being. At one point the eldil refers to Ransom as having all of his thoughts mingled with evil. It’s fascinating because Ransom is quite the hero, but Lewis points out that even in his best moments, when compared to perfection, the hero has evil intertwined with his goodness.
I think so often we tend to forget that we really can’t be truly good on our own. I’ve spoken to many people of all sorts of religious affiliations that love to tell me that they just want to be “good people” and that they don’t need Jesus to do that. Whereas, I love many of them dearly and they do wonderful things and are extraordinarily nice, I think they don’t quite understand the implications of what ‘goodness’ is. To be truly good would be to free from evil entirely, which is certainly impossible for anyone aside from God. The reason grace is at the core of Christianity is because God recognizes the fact that we have betrayed Him, that we literally cannot make things right, and that He sacrifices His Son to do that for us. As humans we are a mess of muddled motives, thoughts, passions, emotions, a mixture of good and evil, images of God that have been tainted. We need grace to fix it. That’s just what I’ve been thinking about. Sorry if this post was a bit muddled.