IS THE CARNAL MIND / THE FLESH?
Humans have been trying to study and understand the human mind for thousands
of years. Some, like psychoanalysts, have tried to break the minds down into
parts. The human mind they teach is divided into three parts, which they
called the Id, the Ego and the Super Ego.
But when we are born, we are born with only one part they call “The Id.”
This part is selfish, self-centered and essentially evil. It wants what it
wants, and it wants it now. As the person moves on, the environment presses
this part “The Id” down by teaching proper conduct, by consequencing bad
behavior, by disciplining, by punishing and thus by the teen- age years, a
new part is developed: the “Super Ego” (The conscience).
As the years go by, a third part develops: “the Ego” that is the logical
rational part which is somewhat like a referee between the Id, who wants
everything now, and the conscience that tries keeps humans from everything
pleasant and sinful.
The fascinating and relevant one for today’s sermon is the ID. The evil one.
The evil one is in all of us, they say. Though it may be repressed, it’s
always ready to push up and out and take over again. In fact, in some
people, it rules supreme and as a result they become hardened criminals. In
others it may go into hibernation for some time and, when it gets the
opportunity, out it comes again ready to transform the individual into a
totally self-centered human being.
Is this true? Is there a part of the human mind that is actually evil?
Is human nature truly essentially evil, as psychoanalysts suggest?
Other psychologists of course say no; human nature is neutral; others, on
the other hand, say that it’s good.
What is the Bible's view? What does the Bible have to say about it?
“For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.” (Romans 7:14)
To the Apostle Paul, a most dedicated and obedient Pharisee before
conversion and later a fiercely committed Christian, human nature was bent
If so, what is it that makes us essentially weak and sinful?
There are several factors. Here are some of the major ones:
The human senses: We have been given by God some very helpful and essential
senses that help us survive.
Eyes to see, to work, to function, to help us protect ourselves, to admire
and be inspired.
Ears to hear, to be able to communicate, to be able to work, to help us
protect ourselves and to be inspired.
Skin to feel with.
Taste buds to taste the good and the bad. To want to eat, to rejoice at the
many flavors that God has made for our benefit; and not to eat food that is
spoiled that may be harmful to our health.
Smell to smell the good and the bad. To enjoy the many scents in nature. To
smell food to see if it’s edible and to stay away from possibly harmful
stuff that we come across.
The senses are good. They add joy to our life and they help us to survive.
Yet the senses are bottomless pits that never get enough. The senses give
pleasure, and pleasure the human mind never seems to get enough of. In some
cases the senses produce addictions, which can lead to serious problems.
We have also been given drives:
The main one is the sexual drive. This drive helps bring men and
women together, and it helps them stay together. It is most of all critical
The drive to self-preservation:
We do whatever we can to stay alive. Therefore we strive to have abundant
food, shelter, clothing, security, etc.
These drives are also good, but they too can become serious problems.
Sex equals pleasure, and thus it too can lead to obsessive thinking and
behaviors that are sinful and destructive.
Some people go beyond striving to survive and become obsessed with an
accumulation of goods and property to the detriment of other aspects in
God gave us the senses and drives for our good and they are very good if
handled in balance and if handled legally according to God’s expectations.
But there is another very big factor: Satan.
Satan, the Prince of the Power of the Air. This is the factor that most
Psychologists have chosen to set aside and thus, by so doing, they have set
aside a most important factor in understanding human nature.
Satan: His vibes, his temptations His evil effect on mankind is powerful
Let’s turn to Revelation to see how powerful He is on the human mind.
Revelation 20:7-9--When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from
his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four
corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—to gather them for battle. In number they
are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the
breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he
loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them.
Do we understand the ramifications of this
scripture? Do we see its relevance to understand human nature?
WITHIN A SHORT WHILE, A HUMANITY THAT HAD BEEN PEACEFUL AND TAME FOR ONE
THOUSAND YEARS “SUDDENLY” GOES INSANE. WHY? SIMPLY BECAUSE OF SATAN’S VIBES.
That is the power that for millennia has made
the nations crazy and has inspired them to go to war on a frequent basis,
though the results have been consistently catastrophic for all involved.
That power, unfortunately, is still here with us today. That power is
working in the minds of humanity now, and its effects are evident all around
Therefore, when we add together the senses, powerful human drives, plus
Satan we come up with an evil concoction the Bible calls simply “the Flesh”
or “the carnal mind.” Carnal from the Latin word “Carne,” which means
The flesh. That is, “THE ID,” as
psychoanalysts would refer to it.
What is the flesh?
We know what the flesh is physically, but what is it spiritually?
Funk and Wagnalls Dictionary defines it as “the physical sensual
An Internet dictionary defines it as:
"A preoccupation with the body and satisfaction of its desires."
J.O. Sanders, in
the book, Enjoying Intimacy with God, defines it as follows:
"It is the evil principle in man's nature, the traitor within, who is
in league with the attackers without. The flesh provides the tinder on which
the devil's temptations can kindle.”
Mark Bubeck, in his book, The Adversary, says the following about the
“The flesh is a built-in law of failure, making it impossible for the
natural man to please or serve God. It is a compulsive inner force …which
expresses itself in general and specific rebellion against God and His
But what does the Bible have to say about “the Flesh?”
“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is
willing, but the flesh is weak.”
is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.”
There is no profit, no lasting benefit in serving the flesh.
when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law
were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.”
Though there is no profit, there is a grave danger in following the flesh:
Romans 8:8 "So
then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”
is impossible to serve the flesh while trying to please God. It is simply
“For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption;”
you invest in the flesh, the returns are invariably corruption: that is harm
to yourself, physically and emotionally.
if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die."
There is no doubt about it, therefore: Corruption and Death are the end
results of living in the flesh.
flesh, the evil force that operates in the natural mind is therefore our
enemy. It’s the enemy that can bring us to physical and spiritual
deterioration and finally to destruction -- if we let it.
flesh is a sophisticated enemy. Some of its weapons are tangible and some
not so tangible. Some are easy to spot some are not.
understand the flesh we must study in depth the works of the flesh
and to do so we must study in depth the well-known works of the flesh,
listed in Galatians five;
Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery,
fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20Idolatry, witchcraft,
hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21Envyings,
murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you, as
I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall
not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Yes, they who persist in doing such things will not enter the Kingdom of
Therefore it is critical that we understand and
keep in mind these enemies, so as to keep them from blocking our path to
PROCEED TO WORK OF THE FLESH # 1--
The Works of the Flesh:
The Fruits of the
Copyright, Michael Caputo, 2009.