(August 24, 2013)
What is the distinction between the natural man (which is an enemy to God) and the natural physical body (which is a necessary part of our eternal progression)? I think that I have a vague understanding of the answer to this question, but I don't think that I fully grasp it. Our natural passions, on the one hand, are the "lusts" that lead us to anger, jealous, selfishness, and...well..lust. But these same human drives and emotions are those things that allow us to achieve so much of our human potential.
There is nothing wrong with, for example, having a passion for food. You can become a chef and eat great food and share that food with the world around you. This appetite – an appetite of our natural body – is a positive thing for us and the world. The same thing with sexual desire – it can serve to draw you into marriage and draw you closer in marriage. So the problem is not the natural appetites. Somehow, though, I think we hear natural man and we read that to mean the appetites of our physical body. But that isn't the same thing.
As I think more and more about it, the natural man is less about appetites and more about pride. The natural man has the same sexual desire as the saint. But because the saint has put off the natural man, he will be patient and willing to submit to the Father by waiting until marriage. The natural man will not wait and will not submit. The same desires, but different results. This, as I think through this matter in my own mind, is the essence of the natural man – not natural desires, but unnatural pride.