EPHESIANS 2:1-5 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
Officer Starling pays famed serial killer, Hannibal Lecter, a visit.
“I think you can provide some insight and advance this study,” she says.
“And what possible reason could I have to do that?”
“About why you’re here. About what happened to you.”
In my mind’s eye I see Lecter face her, his eyes locking onto hers as he seeths… “Nothing happened to me, Officer Starling. I happened. You can’t reduce me to a set of influences. You’ve given up good and evil for behaviorism, Officer Starling. You’ve got everyone in moral dignity pants — nothing is ever anybody’s fault. Look at me, Officer Starling. Can you stand to say I’m evil?”
The word “flesh” in Ephesians 2:3 is translated from the Greek word “sarx.” It doesn’t always have a negative meaning but when it does it’s not pretty – referring to what the bible writers also call our “sinful nature”, “old nature” and “heart.”
The heart in the ancient world was thought to be the control center of a human being – the true us. It’s divided into multiple parts but I’ll whittle them down to three: feelings, desires and thoughts. And every chamber of every human heart is born broken – evil.
Our emotions turn us on one another, causing us to “live in malice and envy”, to hate and be hated (Titus 3:3).
We’re sheep following our own wants, slaves to our “stomachs” (Philippians 3:18-20), turning away from God to go our own way (Isaiah 53:6). “Every desire” of the human heart is evil from childhood (Genesis 8:21)…or from conception (Psalm 51:5)
Any thorough and true investigation into the causes of evil around us has to begin with the evil in us.
What’s Wrong With The World?
This story hasn’t been confirmed but it’s been widely reported over the years. The story goes that a writer at The Times routinely ended his articles in exasperation with the question “What’s Wrong With The World?”
He eventually invited the best minds of Britain to write essays answering that very question for his readers. Sociologists, psychologists, economists – all the “ists” – and also an author and theologian named G.K. Chesterton.
Unlike Officer Starling, searching for an external influence on which to blame evil, G.K. Chesterton had stopped searching. He sent the following explanation of what’s wrong with the world to The Times…