Man's Natural Hostility Toward God
Why does man reject the idea of God and divine laws that define His standards? God's laws call on us to meet a personally demanding standard that few are willing to consider. Man rejects God principally because God's laws embody a morality that is outwardly focused and shows concern for others rather than oneself. We, however, are primarily motivated by selfish concerns—what is best for us, what we can get, how we can be viewed as better than others.
Why do we have such a selfish nature? How did it originate? The Bible tells us the origin of the hostile and suspicious nature inherent in humans. Genesis 3 explains that the devil, in the guise of the serpent, first planted this suspicion and rebellion toward God in the mind of the first man and woman. He told them God was not acting in their best interest and convinced them they could do just as well, if not better, without God.
When Eve was taken in by the devil's seductive reasoning and Adam then rebelled with her, God did not force Himself on them. He allowed them to live without the benefit of His revealed knowledge. Adam quickly blamed his wife, and his wife blamed the serpent. Man has been blaming everyone else for his troubles ever since.
Things quickly degenerated. In a fit of jealousy, the firstborn son of Adam and Eve killed his younger brother (Genesis 4). Envy, jealousy and greed have become entrenched human motivations just as violence has become a common way of dealing with conflict.
The descendants of Adam have seldom freely returned to God and willingly trusted in Him.
Notice the apostle Paul's description of mankind's motivation: "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh . . ." (Romans 8:5). Their fleshly desires prejudice their minds against God and the morality of His laws. Therefore, Paul continues, "for this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law—indeed it cannot" (verse 7, NRSV).
It's little wonder that most people reject anything that doesn't reflect their own point of view (Jeremiah 10:23). They think they have a better, more enlightened way, one far superior to the presumed crude and oppressive morality of the Bible. Nevertheless, God's law far excels alternative moral values of man. As the apostle Paul wrote, "the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God" (1 Corinthians 3:19).
Historically no nations or peoples have wanted to be governed by all of the Ten Commandments, because they go against the grain of human nature. Some can see benefits in keeping several of the commandments, such as not lying to, stealing from or killing one's fellowman. But, at best, people generally pick and choose among God's laws or embrace them only superficially.
Even when they keep the letter of those laws, they often miss their spirit and intent, which Jesus Christ defined as love toward God and love toward our fellowman (Matthew 22:37-40).
In rejecting God's revealed way of life, people unknowingly cut themselves off from blessings and sentence themselves to suffering. "See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you . . ." (Deuteronomy 30:15-16).
It is sad that most people choose not to accept God's offer of a way that will lead to an abundant and fulfilled life. There is much more to learn about this vital subject, and we have only scratched the surface here. Please request your free copies of the booklets The Ten Commandments and The Road to Eternal Life, which discuss these topics in much greater depth.
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