Friday, June 08, 2007

IS IT NATURE OR NURTURE? WHY (I) WE ACT AS (I) WE DO - PART 1

(Bible references are from the King James Version (KJV), Contemporary English Version (CEV), American Standard Version (ASV), Modern King James Version (MKJV) or Revised Version (RV). The use of a particular version of the Bible or reference to books, websites, etc. should not be considered as an endorsement by the author of all the information contained there.)

I want to make my motivations clear for much of the thinking, writing and ministry that I do. Obviously, these are my opinions and there is not enough space or time for me to try and explain why I feel or believe as I do. Suffice it to say that we are all products of nature and nurture.[1]
I believe (nature and nurture) that the Bible is the inspired, authoritative, infallible, inerrant revelation of God to man. I should, however, emphasize that “… faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom 10:17 KJV) not by reading commentaries (nurture). I also believe (nature and nurture) that the truth is not revealed by man, pastors, rabbis, priests, teachers, denominations, churches or religion but by the Holy Spirit.[2] That bumper sticker that says “God said it – I believe it – That settles it!” should be revised to look like, “God said it – I believe it – That settles it!” Whether I or you believe it or not really does not make any difference. In fact, “Our God is in the heavens, doing as he chooses.” (Psa 115:3 CEV) In my opinion, (nurture) religion may be defined as “Rules and regulations made by man to control the masses”. Jesus did not emphasize religion – He emphasized relationship with God.[3]
Man is a unique creation; one could say an "unrepeatable miracle" created in the image of God. To me that means (nurture[4]) man has abilities that are not necessarily shared by all other creatures on the planet, i.e., emotions, ability to plan and make decisions based on knowledge or desires, etc., the ability to learn, to communicate in multiple ways, to invent, to create..... Man also appears to be unique in his ability to make choices, which are based on motivational stimuli - desires, feelings, knowledge, beliefs, tastes, likes and dislikes, etc. – or perhaps just impulsive. In any case these choices are made either because of our nature (genetics) or nurture (what we have learned or been trained to do).

My beliefs have been nurtured by my education, experiences, sensory stimulation, etc. while my nature is what I inherited from birth. Given this meager attempt to explain my actions I will now act on my thoughts and try to summarize my rationale for my actions. However, I must be honest and say that sometimes I do foolish things impulsively and often disobey both God and man – “All of us have sinned and fallen short of God's glory…” (Rom 3:23 CEV)
Life is a very special gift from God and He desires that we voluntarily submit ourselves to Him. For those who do not know Him or accept His existence as real He has provided evidence which each must choose to either believe or ignore.[5] His plans are revealed in the Gospel of John. “God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die. (John 3:16 CEV)” and “The Lord isn't slow about keeping his promises, as some people think he is. In fact, God is patient, because he wants everyone to turn from sin and no one to be lost. (2Pe 3:9 CEV)”
Personally I am convicted that it is not my job or mission to save anyone, judge anyone, or convict anyone as to whether their choices are right or wrong – the Holy Spirit will do all of that[6]. Choice is a wonderful gift and each must use it as they are convicted in their own hearts. I truly desire to show agape love[7] to all men regardless of their beliefs, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, hair color, etc. although I fail miserably on occasion. I also believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that death is inevitable (an absolute) – all WILL die in the flesh. I believe that there is life and death beyond the grave and that all will one day either be in eternal life with God or eternal death with satan – each chooses. Also I believe (nature and nurture) that God is righteous and just and He will judge each one according to their own heart – their desire to be obedient to His commandments – motivations, ambitions, reasons, … respecting both their nature (whether or not they were born that way) and nurture (what they have been taught, experienced or discovered).
It is not my intent to bash, hurt, harm, cause pain, etc. to anyone. My sole purpose is to provide a Biblical World View[8] of life for consideration by those who would listen. I desire to do this because of my beliefs and my desire to save others from eternal damnation. I always try to be tolerant, understanding of others feelings and opinions, respectful of their ideas and thoughts, etc. God is the final judge and the Holy Spirit convicts one of disobedience to God (sin) – not me. I sincerely desire to love God and to love my neighbors (everyone) as myself.[9] If you are offended by what I present I am always willing to listen to your point of view – I may not agree or approve but I will respect and honor your freedom to express it. For me the most important question is, “What if the Bible is true? The final choice of what we do with our lives and how we react to the circumstances around us is made by each of us as we spend our finite lifetime on planet earth. Remember, “Wherever you go – there you are”.

In Part 2 I hope to explain the reasons for pain and suffering providing appropriate Biblical references.



[1] Go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nature_versus_nurture
for a more comprehensive understanding of these terms.

[2] “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth: for he shall not speak from himself; but what things soever he shall hear, these shall he speak: and he shall declare unto you the things that are to come.” (John 16:1 3 KJV)

[3] "Religion is any specific system of belief about deity, often involving rituals, a code of ethics, a philosophy of life, and a worldview." For a comprehensive discussion go to http://www.religioustolerance.org/rel_defn.htm

[4] I have been adding “nature and/or nurture to emphasize where I believe I got this idea or thought. I will do this no longer.

[5] “For when the nations, who do not have the Law, do by nature the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law unto themselves; some people naturally obey the Law's commands, even though they don't have the Law. (Rom 2:14) This proves that the conscience is like a law written in the human heart. And it will show whether we are forgiven or condemned,” (Rom 2:15 CEV)
“For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness From heaven God shows how angry he is with all the wicked and evil things that sinful people do to crush the truth. (Rom 1:18) They know everything that can be known about God, because God has shown it all to them. (Rom 1:19) God's eternal power and character cannot be seen. But from the beginning of creation, God has shown what these are like by all he has made. That's why those people don't have any excuse. (Rom 1:20) They know about God, but they don't honor him or even thank him. Their thoughts are useless, and their stupid minds are in the dark. (Rom 1:21) They claim to be wise, but they are fools.
(Rom 1:22ff)”(CEV)

[6] Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I go, I will send him unto you. (John 16:7) And he, when he is come, will convict the world in respect of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: (John 16:8) of sin, because they believe not on me; (John 16:9) of righteousness, because I go to the Father, and ye behold me no more; (John 16:10) of judgment, because the prince of this world hath been judged. (John 16:11 KJV)

[7] Noun1.agape - (Greek) love (especially love that is spiritual and selfless in nature) http://www.thefreedictionary.com/agape

[8] For more information on “Biblical World view go to: http://www.godisforus.com/information/worldview/intro/intro.htm

[9] (Mar 12:28-31 CEV)”One of the teachers of the Law of Moses came up while Jesus and the Sadducees were arguing. When he heard Jesus give a good answer, he asked him, "What is the most important commandment?" Jesus answered, "The most important one says: 'People of Israel, you have only one Lord and God. You must love him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.' The second most important commandment says: 'Love others as much as you love yourself.' No other commandment is more important than these."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good post.