Given my recent papers on Anger, Fleshly Desire and Vanity, I feel that I am on a mission to try to better understand the human propensity to sin in all its various different ways. I had originally thought that I would take a look at the remainder of the seven ‘deadly sins’ but, having just watched a TV programme (yes, another one!) on drug addiction, I recalled a conversation I had with the LW Church President, Gordon, some time ago. Gordon proposed that the nature of addiction was on a much broader footing of sin than just the taking of controlled substances for a pleasure hit. As always, I am not at all sure where this piece of research will lead but I am sure that the journey will be worth it.
The Reward System
The main point that I took from the programme was related to the physiological response of the releasing of the neurotransmitter, dopamine, to give a pleasurable warm fuzzy feeling to the receiver. From this, it seems that the human physiology is designed to include the receipt of pleasurable responses from certain activities. For those of you interested in the topic, I found the following website a good starting place: https://www.neuroscientificallychallenged.com/blog/know-your-brain-reward-system.
Addiction would appear to take place when the receiving individual is looking for a bigger pleasure hit rather than just enjoying a normal positive response. Eventually the reward response becomes reduced in that the physiological system becomes saturated from pleasurable actions to the extent that a bigger and bigger hit is required just to maintain the status quo. The downside of the dopamine system is nicely explained here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/wired-love/201507/the-dopamine-reward-system-friend-or-foe
When it gets to this stage, the hit is required to remove the pain of normal existence rather than provide a genuinely pleasurable result. This then begged the question in my mind as to why God would build our physiological systems in such a way and this is the essence of this current research mission.
The Seven Deadly Sins
The following statement from the above website kicked off this part of my thinking: ‘Dopamine is simply the carrot on a stick designed to give a reward to life-sustaining activities like eating healthy food, having sex, drinking water, and being held in nurturing relationships so that you will keep doing these healthy things over and over again.’. Eating, sex and drinking are all normal positive activities. However, if left uncontrolled, they can descend into gluttony, fornication and drunkenness very easily. So, I think we can see that drug addiction is not the only form of addiction that can exist. For example, today’s obesity crisis caused by gluttony is arguably at least as big an issue tor society as the taking of illegal substances.
So, what are the seven deadly sins? In no particular order, they are defined as follows. Each contains an appropriate verse from scripture to demonstrate that they are truly sins in God’s view:
Lust – to have an intense desire or need:
28 But I say to you, Everyone looking at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5 GLT).
Gluttony – excess in eating and drinking:
21 for the drunkard and the glutton lose all, and sleepiness shall clothe [one with] rags. (Proverbs 23 GLT).
Greed - excessive or reprehensible acquisitiveness:
15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. (Luke 12 KJV).
Laziness (Sloth) – disinclined to activity or exertion: not energetic or vigorous:
15 Laziness makes one fall into a deep sleep, and an idle soul shall suffer hunger. (Proverbs 19 GLT)
Wrath – strong vengeful anger or indignation:
20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. (James 1 KJV)
Envy – painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage:
16 For where jealousy and contention [are], there [is] confusion and every foul deed. (James 3 GLT)
Pride - quality or state of being proud; inordinate self-esteem:
18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16 GLT).
As my regular readers will know, I have already written papers on lust, wrath and pride as stated at the beginning of this paper. I originally thought to write on the outstanding sins and their related brain activity until I came across the following website with such a delicious title: http://discovermagazine.com/2009/sep/05-i-didnt-sin-it-was-my-brain. This does a far better job than I could ever hope to achieve in relating all the deadly sins to brain activity. As usual, unfortunately, it comes with the usual health warning: ‘IGNORE ALL COMMENTS RELATING TO EVOLUTION’! It starts off with the key question: ‘Why does being bad feel so good?’, which represents the essence of my quest. It is probably best if I start off by summarising the key findings in the above paper for each of the deadly sins:
Lust – And I quote: ‘The most notable thing about lust is that it sets nearly the whole brain buzzing’. Well in the context of my earlier paper on Fleshly Desire, I guess this comes as no surprise. This is clearly a very difficult temptation to resist.
Gluttony – This would appear to be the sin most akin to drug addiction. They both trigger the dopamine reward physiology and therefore it would seem that our very bodies are programmed to respond positively to these stimuli. Another difficult temptation to resist.
Greed – This sin would not seem to be triggered by any measured brain activity. I would, therefore, conclude that any person that has this as one of their weaknesses cannot blame anything for this crime other than their own imperfect self-will.
Laziness (Sloth) – This is a tricky one. I am sure there are people that are naturally lazy, but is this again their own physiology playing tricks with their brain activity? I certainly have days when I am less inclined to carry out difficult tasks because I cannot be bothered. I have, thus far, put this down to negative trigger foods from the previous day although this piece of experimentation is still to be completed with any clear result.
Wrath – Again this would seem to be a very basic and instinctive response system. Check out my Anger paper.
Envy – It does not sound like much research into brain activity around this one has been done so it is probably too soon to draw too many conclusions about a reward system here. However, my guess is that this one is again totally down to the individual without the mitigation of physiology to blame.
Pride – This is an interesting one in that some sense of self-worth is the norm today and it would seem to take some effort to see ourselves for who we really are. Check out my Vanity paper.
An interesting couple of paragraphs, at the bottom of the above referenced website, would appear to suggest that doing good also seems to have its own reward system. So, it would seem, that following our consciences also has a positive physiology. I wonder what our evolutionist friends would make of that? Not exactly ‘survival of the fittest’ is it? It seems that our whole minds and bodies have been built specifically for the struggle between good and bad behaviour and it is down to each one of us to do the best that we can to avoid these sins. God clearly understands this far better than we do; He can make the judgement as to how well we are each able and willing to manage our actions in this complex backcloth.
Given my work to date on three of the seven, I thought it appropriate to continue this piece of research by looking at what scripture has to say about the four deadly sins not yet covered by my research to date.
The first scripture that I picked up on was in Paul’s letter to the congregation at Philippi. Whilst it does not make specific mention of gluttony it is, nonetheless, implicated as the focus of evil ones on their bellies. So, a fairly strong message against gluttony is here I think:
18 For many walk [as] hostile [to] the cross of Christ, of whom I often told you, and now even weeping I say it,
19 whose end [is] destruction, whose god [is] the belly, and who glory in their shame, the ones thinking earthly things. (Philippians 3 GLT)
And, needless to say, King Solomon will always get in on the act to eschew immoral behaviour. This scripture from Proverbs is interesting because it covers the eating of a food which could truly only be described as a sweetmeat and not essential for daily nourishment. Clearly it is admissible to eat food for pleasure but not to the extent that could make us ill. I think this demonstrates the reward system, which is there for our pleasure, but which should not be abused. The second of the three verses likens gluttony to seeking out our own glory aka pride. The third describes the need for us all to exercise restraint over our own lives which, I think, is the main touchstone for this whole paper:
16 Have you found honey? Eat [only] your fill lest you be satiated and vomit it out. (Proverbs 25 GLT)
27 It is not good to eat much honey; so for men to search out their own glory is not glory.
28 Like a city broken down and without a wall, so is he whose spirit is without restraint. (Proverbs 25 JPS)
Two chapters prior to the above we find the following scripture which paints a slightly different picture on the eating of sweetmeats (in the strictly literal meaning!). I think we are all ‘guilty’ of sitting down to a banquet and feasting our eyes on the dishes provided. In these circumstances it can be difficult to restrain ourselves from trying everything that is to be served. But restrain ourselves we must:
1 When you sit down to eat with a ruler, look carefully at what [is] before you,
2 and put a knife to your throat if you [are] an owner of an appetite.
3 Do not desire his delicacies, for it [is] the bread of lies. (Proverbs 23 GLT)
And later on, in the same chapter, we are advised not to carouse with heavy drinkers and gluttons lest we become like them:
20 Be not among heavy drinkers of wine, with gluttons, flesh to themselves,
21 for the drunkard and the glutton lose all, and sleepiness shall clothe [one with] rags. (Proverbs 23 GLT)
Ezekiel is very clear in defining gluttony as a sin of Sodom along with pride and idleness:
49 Behold, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and her daughters. Also, she did not strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. (Ezekiel 16 GLT)
There follows an interesting section from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian congregation. Whilst there is no direct reference to gluttony or drunkenness, Paul recommends his followers to eat all food set before them but to eat and drink all to God’s glory. To me this means that any food or drink that is nutritious or pleasant tasting is from God and therefore can be imbibed with impunity. In partaking, though, we should be grateful to God for His blessings and do our part by not eating and drinking to excess:
27 And if any of the unbelievers invite you, and you desire to go, eat everything set before you, examining nothing because of conscience.
28 But if anyone tells you, This is slain in sacrifice to idols, do not eat, because of that one pointing [it] out, and the conscience; for "the earth [is] the Lord's, and the fullness of it." [Psa. 24:1]
29 But I say conscience, not that of himself, but that of the other. For why is my freedom judged by another's conscience?
30 But if I partake by grace, why am I evil spoken of because of that [for] which I give thanks?
31 Then whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all things to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10 GLT)
In all this talk of what we imbibe physically though, even for our bodily health, Jesus reminds us that food for our spiritual health is even more important for the life to come in this famous verse:
4 But answering, He said, It has been written: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but on every Word going out of [the] mouth of God." [Deut. 8:3] (Matthew 4 GLT)
As referenced from Green’s translation above, Jesus was reminding Satan of the Hebrew text relating to God’s feeding of the Children of Israel in the wilderness:
3 And He has humbled you, and caused you to hunger, and caused you to eat the manna, which you had not known, and your fathers had not known, in order to cause you to know that man shall not live by bread alone, but man shall live by every [Word] that proceeds from the mouth of Jehovah. (Deuteronomy 8 GLT)
Paul’s letter to Titus makes several less than holy comments about the residents of the island of Crete which include the two deadly sins of gluttony and sloth in the company of lying and evil. More disapproval of these sins from the scriptures:
12 One of them, a prophet of their own, said: Cretans [are] always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons. (Titus 1 GLT)
In a similar vein, in the nation of Israel, gluttony is associated with a stubborn and rebellious son, the punishment for which behaviour is stoning to death. Whilst gluttony may not, in itself, be the main or only reason for such harsh justice, it is nonetheless part of the evil profile:
20 and they shall say to the elders of his city, This son of ours [is] stubborn and rebellious; he will not listen to our voice; he [is] a glutton, and a drunkard.
21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, and he shall die. So you shall put away the evil from among you, that all Israel shall hear, and fear. (Deuteronomy 21 GLT)
Interestingly, the Pharisees accused Jesus of gluttony. Now whilst we would not accept the word of a Pharisee on this matter, it nonetheless further confirms gluttony as a deadly sin:
34 The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, Behold, a man, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners. (Luke 7 GLT)
As always, God has the last word on the subject. Some of the children of Israel had complained that the manna provided by God in the wilderness, despite being perfectly nutritious, did not meet the high culinary standards they had enjoyed in Egypt. This was notwithstanding their previous bondage from which Jehovah had released them. As a result, God then provided meat in the form of quails for the Israelites to eat instead. Those that ate gluttonously of the quails were struck down by Jehovah, thereby confirming His view of the sin of gluttony (and probably ingratitude):
4 And the mixed multitude among them lusted [with a great] lust; and the sons of Israel also turned back and wept, and said, Who shall cause us to eat flesh?
5 We remember the fish that we ate in Egypt for nothing; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic; (Numbers 11 GLT)
31 And a wind went forth from Jehovah and cut off quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp, as a day's journey here, and as a day's journey there, all around the camp, and about two cubits above the face of the land.
32 And the people rose up all that day, and all that night, and the day after, and gathered the quails; he who had least had gathered ten homers. And they spread them out for themselves around the camp.
33 The flesh was yet between their teeth, it was not yet cut off, and the anger of Jehovah glowed among the people. And Jehovah struck among the people with a very great plague.
34 And one called the name of that place, The Graves of Lust; for there they buried the people who lusted. (Numbers 11 GLT)
In all these things a balance can be found. Let us consider Jesus' first recorded miracle:
9 When, now, the director of the feast tasted the water that had been turned into wine but did not know what its source was, although those ministering who had drawn out the water knew, the director of the feast called the bridegroom
10 and said to him: Every other man puts out the fine wine first, and when people are intoxicated, the inferior. You have reserved the fine wine until now. (John 2 NWT)
Here Jesus had freely provided wine for the party guests who were already drunk. I cannot imagine that He would have done that if it were a cardinal sin to get drunk occasionally. So again we have an example of imbibing that is intended to be a pleasurable experience for mankind but one that should not be abused through undue and frequent excess.
Paul’s first letter to Timothy pretty much sums up the whole greed issue perfectly without any need for further interpretation or commentary from yours truly:
9 But those purposing to be rich fall into temptation, and a snare, and many foolish and hurtful lusts, which plunge men into ruin and destruction.
10 For the love of money is a root of all evils, [by means] of which some having lusted after [it] were seduced from the faith, and [they] themselves pierced through by many pains. (1 Timothy 6 GLT)
And further emphasis from his letter to the Hebrew congregation:
5 Be ye free from the love of money; content with such things as ye have: for himself hath said, I will in no wise fail thee, neither will I in any wise forsake thee. (Hebrews 13 ASV)
Once again, King Solomon is not to be outdone in this matter. It is interesting to note the relationship of greed with vanity that the following verses demonstrate. The deadly sins do not seem to exist separately from each other, which is a pattern in several of the verse examples alreaady shown in this and my previous papers on the overall topic of the seven deadly sins:
10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this [is] also vanity.
11 When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good [is there] to the owners thereof, saving the beholding [of them] with their eyes? (Ecclesiastes 5 KJV)
His father, King David, confirms that greed is a mainstream sin of the wicked ones, demonstrating ungodly behaviour:
3 For the wicked boasts of his soul's desire, and he has blessed the covetous; he has despised Jehovah. (Psalms 10 GLT)
Christ’s teachings as recorded by Matthew give a clear signal that chasing after wealth is ungodly behaviour:
24 No one is able to serve two lords; for either he will hate the one, and he will love the other; or he will cleave to the one, and he will despise the other. You are not able to serve God and wealth. (Matthew 6 GLT)
Luke’s gospel makes a point of stating that the true life of a man does not consist of his physical possessions thereby implying that the chasing after more possessions is an exercise in vain:
15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. (Luke 12 KJV)
Mark’s gospel further confirms my earlier premise of the different sins being associated together, in spades, greed being just one of a long list of sinful traits:
21 For from within, out of the heart of men, pass out the evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
22 thefts, greedy desires, iniquities, deceit, lustful desires, a wicked eye, blasphemy, pride, recklessness. (Mark 7 GLT)
The letter of James is interesting in determining that both actions and prayers, that would look to feed a man’s greed, are doomed to fail. Even our prayers should not look to seek out wealth that represents a surplus to our needs for life:
2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume [it] upon your lusts. (James 4 KJV)
In his second letter to the Corinthian congregation, Paul uses the example of Jesus who gave up everything to save faithful humanity. There can be no greater action to eschew the sin of greed than this:
9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that being rich, He became poor for your sake, so that you might become rich by the poverty of that One. (2 Corinthians 8 GLT)
Jesus compares the riches of this world with those of the life to come:
36 For what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? (Mark 8 GLT)
Jesus taught the very opposite of greed in that one should be pleased to give to the poor rather than acquire more possessions for oneself:
35 I showed you all things, that working in this way we ought to help those being weak, and to remember the Words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20 GLT)
This is a reflection of Solomon’s words that he who gives will receive increase but he who withholds from the needy will be the poorer as a result:
24 There is one who scatters yet increases more; but a withholder of just due [comes] only to poverty.
25 The blessed soul will be made fat; he who waters will also drink fully. (Proverbs 11 GLT)
Whilst I have some sympathy with this, I have a little difficulty, however, with the following famous passage. To my mind there is a difference between being rich and being greedy. After all, many of the Old Testament patriarchs were very rich, e.g. Abraham, Job, David, Solomon. I am sure that God would not deny any of them entrance to the Kingdom. I think to be rich but ungenerous to the needy is the real crime here:
21 Jesus said to him, If you desire to be perfect, go sell your property and give to [the] poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven; and come, follow Me.
22 But having heard the Word, being grieved, the young man went away, for he had many possessions.
23 And Jesus said to His disciples, Truly I say to you that a rich man will with great difficulty enter into the kingdom of Heaven.
24 And again I say to you, It is easier for a camel to pass through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. (Matthew 19 GLT)
In similar vein, greed brings trouble whereas those eschewing ill-gotten gains will escape the second death:
27 He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house, but he who hates bribes shall live. (Proverbs 15 GLT)
The gaining of riches through lying is greed associated with the other deadly sin of vanity according to King Solomon. Those guilty of this crime will face a certain second death:
6 The getting of treasures by a lying tongue [is] a vapor driven by those who seek death. (Proverbs 21 GLT)
Peter makes similar specific mention of the fate of false prophets out to make a false profit (apologies for the pun!):
3 And by covetousness, with well-turned words, they will use you for gain, for whom judgment of old does not linger, and their destruction does not slumber. (2 Peter 2 GLT)
Peter no doubt took his cue from the prophet Jeremiah who also made special mention of false prophets making sinful gain from their lies:
13 For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one [is] given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. (Jeremiah 6 KJV)
Paul’s first letter to the congregation at Corinth identifies greed (covetousness) as one of a long list of sins, both deadly and mortal, that will stand in the way of gaining God’s inheritance:
9 Or do you not know that unjust ones will not inherit [the] kingdom of God? Do not be led astray, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexuals,
10 nor thieves, nor covetous ones, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor plunderers shall inherit [the] kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6 GLT)
With a similar comparison and warning in his letter to the congregation at Colossus, equating greed with idolatry which is about as bad as it can get for the perpetrator:
5 Then put to death your members which [are] on the earth: fornication; uncleanness; passion; evil lust; and covetousness, which is idolatry;
6 on account of which things the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience, (Colossians 3 GLT)
Jesus Himself judged Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him, as a greedy person as told in the gospels of John and Matthew. So one of the real villains of the piece was driven by greed according to Jesus. This really does put greedy people in a very dark place:
6 But he said this, not that he was caring for the poor, but that he was a thief and held the moneybag and carried away the things being put [in]. (John 12 GLT)
14 Then one of the twelve going to the chief priests, the [one] called Judas Iscariot,
15 said, What will you give to me, and I will deliver Him up to you? "And they weighed to him thirty silver pieces." [Zech. 11:12] (Matthew 26 GLT)
It is fitting that I end this section with a prayer that we do not become greedy since, in keeping with all the deadly sins, it can be very difficult sometimes to resist the temptation of worldly riches:
36 Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness. (Psalms 119 KJV)
The first time I can find this particular deadly sin mentioned in scripture is in the Book of Judges, where the Danite spies urge their brethren not to be slothful in claiming their piece of the promised land:
9 And they said, Arise, that we may go up against them: for we have seen the land, and, behold, it [is] very good: and [are] ye still? be not slothful to go, [and] to enter to possess the land. (Judges 18 KJV)
The following scripture is Solomon’s chastisement of the lazy, warning them of the prospective poverty that will creep up on them without their noticing before it is too late:
6 Go to the ant, lazy man; consider her ways and be wise;
7 who, having no guide, overseer or ruler,
8 provides her bread in the summer, [and] gathers her food in the harvest.
9 How long will you lie down, O lazy man? When will you arise out of your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to lie down;
11 So shall your poverty come as one walking, and your need like an armed man. (Proverbs 6 GLT)
Well, as a householder, I can certainly identify with Solomon’s point here; in life all things crumble around one without being paid due care and attention:
18 By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through. (Ecclesiastes 10 KJV)
When a lazy person is carrying out tasks for someone else, Solomon wisely commented on the irritation that this can cause through unfinished or poorly finished work. I am certain we have all experienced this response in our work and home environments:
26 Like vinegar to the teeth, and like smoke to the eyes, so [is] the lazy one to those who send him. (Proverbs 10 GLT)
Solomon also confirms that diligent ones will stay in control as a result of their labour, whereas the lazy ones will only feel the hard work and not the benefit, when forced to perform their duties. Whilst Green’s, unusually, does not provide the best literal translation, I think it portrays the overall meaning of this verse very well:
24 The hand of the hard worker shall rule, but the lazy ones will become forced labor. (Proverbs 12 GLT)
Several verses further on, it would seem that the slothful do not always take maximum benefit from what they have, whereas the diligent treat their possessions as valuable to their lives:
27 The slothful [man] roastethnot that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man [is] precious. (Proverbs 12 KJV)
He also confirms that life's desires need hard work to be delivered; they do not usually fall into one’s lap:
4 The sluggard's soul [is] craving, but [is] not [getting], but the soul of the hard workers shall be made fat. (Proverbs 13 GLT)
I think the next two verses are telling us that a lazy person can find himself living in a permanent stupor thereby lacking the things that he needs:
15 Laziness makes one fall into a deep sleep, and an idle soul shall suffer hunger. (Proverbs 19 GLT)
13 Do not love sleep, lest you become poor; open your eyes, be satisfied with bread. (Proverbs 20 GLT)
And in similar vein we have some of the same phraseology that we saw in Proverbs Chapter 6 above; clearlythis is a theme that was dear to Solomon’s heart:
30 I went over the field of the lazyman, and by the vineyard of the man lacking heart,
31 and, lo, it was all risen up with thistles; nettles had covered its surface, and its stone wall was broken down.
32 And I beheld; I set my heart on it; I looked; I received instruction.
33 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to lie down,
34 so shall your poverty come stalking, and your want like a man [with] a shield. (Proverbs 24 GLT)
Solomon goes on to suggest that the sluggard will make any excuse not to do some work, finding it easier to turn over on his bed and to take the easy way out for any task. I have to say though that I am finding the final verse of the following scripture challenging to fully comprehend. I think this is saying that the sluggard thinks that he is clever in justifying inaction, but why he is compared with seven wise men beats me. Perhaps Solomon is comparing the sluggard’s Sabbath to the wise man’s working week?
13 The lazy one says, A lion [is] in the way, a lion [is] between the streets!
14 [As] the door turns on its hinge, [so] the lazy one on his bed.
15 The lazy one buries his hand in the dish; he is weary to bring it back to his mouth.
16 The lazy one [is] wiser in his own eyes than seven that return a wise answer. (Proverbs 26 GLT)
Then, on a somewhat different tangent, we find King Lemuel singing the praises of virtuous women, the following verses making specific mention of a hard-working (and thereby non-slothful) housekeeper:
15 She also rises while [it is] still night and gives game to her household, and a portion to her maidens. (Proverbs 31 GLT)
27 She watches the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. (Proverbs 31 GLT)
Having had our fill, on the subject of sloth, from the writers of the Book of Proverbs, we now find Paul’s exhortation to the Roman congregation to contain similar advice:
11 in diligence, not slothful, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; (Romans 12 GLT)
And then we have some rather more pointed comments aimed at some of the slothful members of the congregation at Thessalonica:
10 For even when we were with you, we commanded this to you: If anyone does not desire to work, neither let him eat.
11 For we hear some are walking in a disorderly way among you, not working at all, but being busybodies.
12 And we command such and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that working with quietness, they may eat their own bread. (2 Thessalonians 3 GLT)
And more of the same requirement placed on the Hebrew congegation:
11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:
12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6 KJV)
And then, after all the previous scriptures advising against slothfulness, we come to the first and only truly damning indictment, that I can find, of the slothful in Jesus’ parable of the talents. Here the lazy one would provoke Jesus’ anger with the threat of the second death. This is a clear step change from what we have seen in the Old Testament writings. Perhaps, under the Law, sloth was not seen in quite such a negative light. In spiritual terms, I expect the unwillingness to serve Christ to the full through sheer laziness is tolerated far less than in earlier times:
24 And the [one] who received the one talent also coming up, [he] said, Lord, I knew you, that you are a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter;
25 and being afraid, going away, I hid your talent in the earth. Behold, you have yours.
26 And answering, his lord said to him, Evil and slothful slave! You knew that I reap where I did not sow, and I gather where I did not scatter.
27 Then you ought to have put my silver to the bankers, and coming I would have received my own with interest.
28 Therefore, take the talent from him and give [it] to him who has the ten talents.
29 For to each who has, [more] will be given, and he will abound. But from him who does not have, even that which he has will be taken from him.
30 And throw the worthless slave out into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of the teeth. (Matthew 25 GLT)
I find myself somewhat intrigued by the sin of sloth. The Book of Proverbs has a great deal to say on the subject compared to any other section of the bible. However, it could be argued that this sin is generally not considered too serious in God’s eyes in that one reaps what one sows in this life so no further punishment might be required at His hands. But again, the one single damning indictment comes from Christ’s own words above in the Gospel of Matthew. Whilst the messages for sinful mankind, from the New Testament, usually come across as far more gentle and forgiving than those of the Old, when men hear the Lord’s message and do not act upon them through sloth then there will, literally, be hell to pay!
One of the earliest instances of man’s envy is to be found in the account of Joseph and his relationship with his own family. His brothers were envious that he had been chosen above them by God, although his father accepted God’s will in the matter:
10 And he told [it] to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What [is] this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?
11 And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying. (Genesis 37 KJV)
God makes His view of envy very clear early on in the Old Testament Law:
17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that [is] thy neighbour's. (Exodus 20 KJV)
Moses gives us another instance of two deadly sins to be avoided in the one verse. As you have seen, and will continue to see, this is one of many such instances in the bible where several deadly sins are associated with each other:
2 For wrath killeth the foolishman, and envy slayeth the silly one. (Job 5 KJV)
These words from David should give us all comfort in the knowledge that God will give us all we desire thereby making envy redundant:
1 [A Psalm of David.] Do not inflame yourself with evildoers; and do not be envious against workers of perversity;
2 for they soon wither like grass and fade like the green herb.
3 Trust in Jehovah and do good; live in the land and feed on faithfulness.
4 And delight yourself in Jehovah, that He may give you your heart's desire. (Psalms 37 GLT)
In this next verse, jealousy breeds wrath. More of this continuing theme whereby a single deadly sin, more often than not, gives rise to others. However, here we are looking at the word 'jealousy' not 'envy'. I have much to say on this matter a little further down in this paper:
34 For jealousy [is] the rage of a man, and he will not spare in the day of vengeance. (Proverbs 6 GLT)
In following the pattern of sloth, let us continue our study of envy with the wise words of King Solomon. Picking up on a medical theme, it would appear that a good heart is a necessity for a healthy body whereas envy can destroy the very essence of one’s soul, like a cancer, in both body and spirit:
30 A healthy heart [is] the life of the flesh, but envy is the rottenness of the bones. (Proverbs 14 GLT)
Two deadly sins for the price of one again here. No point in either of them, where wicked ones are concerned, since their days are numbered:
19 Do not burn [in anger] because of evildoers, and do not envy the wicked;
20 for no hereafter shall be to the evil; the lamp of the wicked will be put out. (Proverbs 24 GLT)
And similar messages from earlier verses from the Books of Psalms and Proverbs:
3 For I was envious at the foolish, [when] I saw the prosperity of the wicked. (Psalms 73 KJV)
31 Do not be envious of the cruel man, and choose not among all his ways. (Proverbs 3 GLT)
1 Do not envy evil men, nor desire to be with them. (Proverbs 24 GLT)
17 Do not let your heart envy sinners, but only [be] in the fear of Jehovah all the day.
18 For surely there is a hereafter, and your hope shall not be cut off. (Proverbs 23 GLT)
In the grand scheme of things, it would appear that envy is rated as more dangerous than wrath. I suppose that wrath is usually short-lived for most of us but envy would seem to be much more of a long-term and constant condition:
4 Wrath [is] cruel, and anger [is] outrageous; but who [is] able to stand before envy? (Proverbs 27 KJV)
In a later Book, Solomon compares love with jealousy. It would seem that jealousy and envy are seen as very negative attributes to a man’s character:
6 Set me as a seal on Your heart, as a seal on Your arm. For love [is] strong as death; jealousy [is] cruel as Sheol; its flames [are] flames of fire, a flame of Jehovah. (Song of Solomon 8 GLT)
Now we come to the issue that I referred to a little earlier in this paper. If we look at the above verse we see that, in this translation, we are looking at the English word ‘jealousy’ whereas in the previous verse we find the English word ‘envy’. In looking at the difference between the English meanings of those two words we find that ‘envy’ is the desire for other people’s possessions whereas ‘jealousy’ is the fear of someone taking your own possessions. Now this is interesting since the same Hebrew word ‘קִנְאָ֑ה’ is used interchangeably for envy and jealousy. Let us have another look at several translations of one of the above verses to prove the point:
4 Wrath [is] cruel, and anger [is] outrageous; but who [is] able to stand before envy? (Proverbs 27 KJV)
4 Fury [is] fierce, and anger overflows, but who can stand before jealousy? (Proverbs 27 GLT)
4אַכְזְרִיּ֣וּת חֵ֭מָה וְשֶׁ֣טֶף אָ֑ף וּמִ֥י יַ֝עֲמֹד לִפְנֵ֥י קִנְאָֽה׃ (Proverbs 27 WLC)
So what are we to make of this? If we go back to the earlier verse above from Exodus, which represents the Law, it is clear that the real sin here is 'envy' and not 'jealousy' since the sin is described in the word ‘covet’. Therefore, I will need to continue this topic by differentiating between the two meanings. Translations that use the correct interpretation of the Hebrew will be my preferred scriptures. There may also be verses where I can find no bible version that correctly translates the true meaning of envy correctly, in my own understanding. Consequently, for all instances of the word that I present as ‘jealousy’, please interpret it as ‘envy’ unless I state otherwise. It will be interesting to look at the same point for the New Testament Greek should it present itself! So let us continue our study into the deadly sin of 'envy'.
A further example of deadly sins working in concert is to be found in the following verse, where envy and vanity are equated with each other. It is also interesting to note that envy is used correctly, as discussed above, in regard to a neighbour's possessions:
4 Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This [is] also vanity and vexation of spirit. (Ecclesiastes 4 KJV)
Now given the earlier debate about ‘envy’ versus ‘jealousy’ we now have Jehovah Himself exhibiting this apparently deadly sin emphasised as many as three times in the one verse plus His great anger. Well what are we to make of that? Firstly, this translation for ‘jealousy’ must be correct. God was unhappy at the lack of love His people had been showing to Him so He is clearly not guilty of envy. I think this proves without doubt that jealousy, of itself, is not a sin. If it is good enough for God then it must be good enough for man. He is also demonstrating that anger is not sinful, except where taken to excess by mankind (Anger):
2 So says Jehovah of Hosts: I was jealous for Zion [with] great jealousy, and I was jealous for her [with] great wrath. (Zechariah 8 GLT)
More of the same in Ezekiel in which God states that His anger and jealousy will subside after the punishment that he will allow on His physical Jerusalem:
42 So I will make My fury to rest against you, and My jealousy shall depart from you. And I will be quiet and will not be angry [any] more. (Ezekiel 16 GLT)
And, lest we forget God’s description of His own predilections:
4 You shall not make a graven image for yourself, or any likeness in the heavens above, or in the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth;
5 you shall not bow to them, and you shall not serve them; for I [am] Jehovah your God, a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of fathers on sons, on the third and on the fourth [generation,] to those that hate Me; (Exodus 20 GLT)
14 For you shall not bow to another god, for Jehovah whose name [is] Jealous, He [is] a jealous God; (Exodus 34 GLT)
24 For Jehovah your God [is] a consuming fire; He [is] a jealous God. (Deuteronomy 4 GLT)
Turning our attention to the New Testament scriptures we find that we have a similar problem with the Greek word for ‘envy’ that we had in the Hebrew. From the various concirdances, it would seem that the Greek word ‘ζῆλος‘ can also take either meaning of 'envy' or 'jealousy'. Given the English definitions that we examined previously, I think envying is a more correct translation for this following verse. Envy clearly can lead to many different sinful behaviours:
14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. (KJV)
14 But if you have bitter jealousy and contention in your heart, do not boast and lie against the truth. (GLT)
14 εἰ δὲ ζῆλον πικρὸν ἔχετε καὶ ἐριθίαν ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ ὑμῶν, μὴ κατακαυχᾶσθε καὶ ψεύδεσθε κατὰ τῆς ἀληθείας. (WHO)
15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but [is] earthly, sensual, devilish. (KJV)
15 This is not the wisdom coming down from above, but [is] earthly, beastly, devilish. (GLT)
15 οὐκ ἔστιν αὕτη ἡ σοφία ἄνωθεν κατερχομένη, ἀλλὰ ἐπίγειος, ψυχική, δαιμονιώδης· (WHO)
16 For where envying and strife [is], there [is] confusion and every evil work. (James 3 KJV)
16 For where jealousy and contention [are], there [is] confusion and every foul deed. (James 3 GLT)
16 ὅπου γὰρ ζῆλος καὶ ἐριθία, ἐκεῖ ἀκαταστασία καὶ πᾶν φαῦλον πρᾶγμα. (James 3 WHO)
Now in the very next chapter of James’ letter we find an alternative Greek word ‘φθόνον‘. According to the concordances this can also mean 'envy' or 'jealousy' but, in this case, all the translations that I have looked at translate this as 'envy'. Here James is being strident in his tone that his 1NC brethren must not strive after worldly ways:
2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. (KJV)
2 ἐπιθυμεῖτε, καὶ οὐκ ἔχετε· φονεύετε καὶ ζηλοῦτε, καὶ οὐ δύνασθε ἐπιτυχεῖν· μάχεσθε καὶ πολεμεῖτε. οὐκ ἔχετε διὰ τὸ μὴ αἰτεῖσθαι ὑμᾶς· (WHO)
3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume [it] upon your lusts. (KJV)
3 αἰτεῖτε καὶ οὐ λαμβάνετε, διότι κακῶς αἰτεῖσθε, ἵνα ἐν ταῖς ἡδοναῖς ὑμῶν δαπανήσητε. (WHO)
4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. (KJV)
4 μοιχαλίδες, οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι ἡ φιλία τοῦ κόσμου ἔχθρα τοῦ θεοῦ ἐστίν; ὃς ἐὰν οὖν βουληθῇ φίλος εἶναι τοῦ κόσμου, ἐχθρὸς τοῦ θεοῦ καθίσταται. (WHO)
5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? (James 4 KJV)
5 ἢ δοκεῖτε ὅτι κενῶς ἡ γραφὴ λέγει Πρὸς φθόνον ἐπιποθεῖ τὸ πνεῦμα ὃ κατῴκισεν ἐν ἡμῖν; (James 4 WHO)
The next section of scripture is interesting for a couple of reasons. Firstly, we find ‘jealousy’ and ‘envy’ both mentioned here as the Greek words ‘ζῆλος‘ and ‘φθόνον‘ respectively. These seem to have been adopted generally as the meanings for these Greek words in the various translations that I have looked at for these scriptures. This does not to my mind, however, remove the confusion between the two in the various concordances. Interestingly, though, this scripture would nonetheless identify them as two separate deadly sins both included in a lengthy list of other dubious behaviours. I do have an issue with this in that I established earlier that jealousy was not a sin. Perhaps here Paul is referring to unwarranted jealousies:
19 Now the works of the flesh are clearly revealed, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lustfulness, (GLT)
19 φανερὰ δέ ἐστιν τὰ ἔργα τῆς σαρκός, ἅτινά ἐστιν πορνεία, ἀκαθαρσία, ἀσέλγεια, (WHO)
20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, fightings, jealousies, angers, rivalries, divisions, heresies, (GLT)
20 εἰδωλολατρία, φαρμακία, ἔχθραι, ἔρις, ζῆλος, θυμοί, ἐριθίαι, διχοστασίαι, αἱρέσεις, (WHO)
21 envyings, murders, drunkennesses, revelings, and things like these; of which I tell you beforehand, as I also said before, that the ones practicing such things will not inherit [the] kingdom of God. (Galatians 5 GLT)
21 φθόνοι, μέθαι, κῶμοι, καὶ τὰ ὅμοια τούτοις, ἃ προλέγω ὑμῖν καθὼς προεῖπον ὅτι οἱ τὰ τοιαῦτα πράσσοντες βασιλείαν θεοῦ οὐ κληρονομήσουσιν. (Galatians 5 WHO)
As with the Hebrew scriptures, I will use the translations that I consider to best convey the original meanings for the purposes of this paper, since we will continue to find confusion between the Greek words within them. I will concentrate exclusively on those scriptures that clearly have the meaning of ‘envy’ rather than ‘jealousy’ since the latter does not represent a deadly sin as previously discussed. Another recurrent point in the above Greek scriptures is the juxtaposing of several deadly sins amongst a plethora of other sinful traits.
Paul extols the virtues of true love in his first letter to the congregation in Corinth. Amongst those virtues, love has no place for envy since worldly possessions should not feature in that emotion:
4 Love has patience, is kind; love is not envious; love is not vain, is not puffed up; (1 Corinthians 13 GLT)
Paul warns his Galatian congregation against vanity and envy; another example of the two in one profile of the deadly sins:
26 Let us not become vainglorious, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5 GLT)
And similar warnings to other congregations:
13 Let us walk becomingly, as in [the] day, not in carousings and drunkennesses, not in co-habitation and lustful acts, not in fighting and envy. (Romans 13 GLT)
3 For we also once were senseless, disobedient, being led astray, slaving for various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. (Titus 3 GLT)
4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, (1 Timothy 6 KJV)
20 For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and [that] I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest [there be] debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults: (2 Corinthians 12 KJV)
The same general theme is present in Peter’s letters also:
1 Then laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil words, (1 Peter 2 GLT)
In the Book of Acts, Luke refers to one of the more famous Old Testament accounts of envy, when his brothers sold Joseph into slavery as previously identified above. So, even the patriarchs succumbed to this particular deadly sin; clearly none of us can be completely free from this tendency:
9 And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him, (Acts 7 KJV)
In similar parallel Gospel accounts, we have the chief priests handing over Jesus to Pilate through envy, although I do not think these ones would be considered patriarchs:
18 For he knew they delivered Him up through envy. (Matthew 27 GLT)
10 For he knew that the chief priests had delivered Him up through envy. (Mark 15 GLT)
Another similar example is in the Book of Acts in which the unbelieving and envious Jews attempted to capture Paul and Silas having heard their preaching:
5 But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. (Acts 17 KJV)
Elsewhere in the Book of Acts we see that the deadly sin of envy can lead to the capital sin of blasphemy. This seems to be the way of the deadly sins; they are not necessarily that serious in themselves but can lead us down a very dark path:
45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. (Acts 13 KJV)
In a very different response to the above, Paul advises his congregation in Philippi against false Christian preachers acting out of envy. This would appear to be a practice continued through to this day given the bizarre practises and doctrines of many of today’s false Christian churches:
15 Some, indeed, even proclaim Christ because of envy and strife, but some also because of good will. (Philippians 1 GLT)
One over-arching conclusion that I have reached (maybe it is already obvious to the rest of mankind, so apologies for my being somewhat behind the curve!) is that mankind’s body was designed FOR sin. Adam was given the chance to obey his Father in a relatively sin-free environment with the notable exception of the presence of a certain deadly serpent, not to mention a perfect and beautiful naked woman! Even in this set-up he disobeyed the one simple command that God gave him due to his lustful desire to please Eve (Fleshly Desire). So what chance do we have? We were never designed to be sin-free! Quite the opposite! God does not expect us to be sin-free. He is seeing how each and every one of us responds to being in a pleasure-seeking body residing in a sinful world. We are all therefore sinners; we cannot help ourselves since we were designed that way, so we need the help of our saviour Jesus Christ. The only question we have to answer is whether we seek His help or not.
In studying the seven deadly sins, it would appear that they are like cancerous growths. One may lead to another and perhaps ultimately to a capital sin. They are desires which, if not controlled, will lead to sinful acts and they therefore represent a slippery slope to Gehenna.
In the course of writing this paper I discovered that envy is not the same as jealousy as described above. It is interesting that both the Hebrew and Greek words are somewhat confused on the matter, at least as far as the concordances are concerned. God, however, is not so confused. He is a jealous God but not an envious one!
In my searching out for relevant scriptures, I came across the following verses which I think cover the human addiction to all the deadly sins in a very good general way and show my conclusions about our having been made with the propensity for sin to be quite correct. These verses require no further interpretation from me so I leave you, my beloved readers, to assimilate them into your own lives as you see fit:
7 (for the overseer must be blameless as a steward of God), not self-pleasing, not prone to anger, not given to wine, not a quarreler, not greedy of ill gain;
8 but hospitable, a lover of good, discreet, just, holy, temperate, (Titus 1 GLT)
27 but I buffet my body and lead [it] captive, lest proclaiming to others I myself might be disapproved. (1 Corinthians 9 GLT)
13 No temptation has taken you except [what is] human; but God [is] faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able. But with the temptation, [He] will also make the way out, so that you may be able to bear [it]. (1 Corinthians 10 GLT)
12 Blessed [is] the man who endures temptation, because having been approved he will receive the crown of life which the Lord promised to the ones loving Him.
13 Let no one being tempted say, I am tempted from God. For God is not tempted by evil, and He tempts no one.
14 But each one is tempted by [his] own lusts, being drawn out and being seduced [by them].
15 Then having conceived lust brings forth sin. And sin being fully formed brings forth death. (James 1 GLT)
Addendum on Physical Pain
Now here's a first; even before publishing this paper, I found myself writing an addendum to the main plot! During the course of writing this and my previous papers on the pleasurable physical sensations that we humans can feel, it struck me that we are also set up physiologically to feel pain. Now in pure biological terms this is a good thing, in that pain indicates to us that we are being physically damaged in some way. Consequently pain is an indicator we should remove ourselves, if possible, from the source of that damage or, at least, we know that we have that damage and can therefore go about seeking an appropriate repair. All is well and good thus far. However, it also struck me that this self-same pain attribute, like everything else in this life, can be abused to deliberately damage an individual and thereby cause distress to the recipient for whatever reason.
Without going into the detailed science behind the sensation of pain, I think the following website gives a very good dummies’ guide to the subject: https://www.mydr.com.au/pain/pain-and-how-you-sense-it. Once again, it is clear that a sophisticated means of enabling the brain to realise that damage is being done to the body is in place, so we see that our bodies have been specifically designed to feel pain. So, let us see if we can find some scriptures to cover this flip side of the physical sensations coin.
This next couple of verses are very useful in identifying that pain can be psychological as well as physical. Also, whilst I am sure that the deliberate blinding of someone is a physically painful process in itself, it also continues with the permanent disabling of the soul. In Zedekiah’s case this was with his last sight being that of witnessing the slaughter of his sons. This was, without doubt, a punishment fit for a king and strikingly demonstrates the physical and emotional torture to which we humans can be subject:
10 And the king of Babylon slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes. He also slaughtered all the rulers of Judah in Riblah.
11 And he blinded the eyes of Zedekiah. And the king of Babylon bound him in bronze fetters and carried him to Babylon. And he put him in prison until the day of his death. (Jeremiah 52 GLT)
And a similar fate awaited Samson; eye-gouging seems to have been a very popular sport in those days:
21 And the Philistines seized him, and bored out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza. And they bound him with bands of bronze. And he was grinding in the house of prisoners. (Judges 16 GLT)
In a rather less extreme example, we find Gideon threatening to punish the princes of Succoth with being whipped. Clearly this would be a painful and damaging experience for the princes which was, in fact, meted out nine verses later. The physical experience of pain is certainly one in which we can be made to learn hard lessons:
6 And the rulers of Succoth said, [Is] the palm of Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hand, that we should give bread to your army?
7 And Gideon said, Because of this, when Jehovah has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I shall thresh your flesh with thorns of the wilderness and with briers. (Judges 8 GLT)
In New Testament times, Paul and Silas provoked similar treatment, this time for doing Christ’s work:
22 And the crowd rose up against them. And tearing off their clothes, the magistrates ordered [men] to flog [them].
23 And laying on them many stripes, they threw [them] into prison, charging the jailer to keep them securely, (Acts 16 GLT)
Returning to my earlier paper on Job we find that God Himself allowed Satan to cause physical pain to His faithful servant to prove Job’s faithfulness:
4 And Satan answered Jehovah and said, Skin for skin. Yea, all that a man has he will give for his life.
5 But indeed put out Your hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse You to Your face.
6 And Jehovah said to Satan, Behold, he is in your hand; but preserve his life.
7 And Satan went out from before the face of Jehovah. And he struck Job with bad burning ulcers from the sole of his foot to the top of his head. (Job 2)
Physical beatings were not only reserved for mortal man but were also made freely available for God’s own son, Jesus Christ:
63 And the men who were holding Jesus mocked Him, beating [Him].
64 And blindfolding Him, [they were] striking His face and questioning Him, saying, Prophesy, who is the one stinging You? (Luke 22 GLT)
And, of course, Christ’s own physical suffering did not end there. He had to endure the crown of thorns, more striking about the head and the unimaginable pain and suffering of the crucifixion:
15 And having decided to do the easiest [to] the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. And having flogged [Him], he delivered up Jesus, that He might be crucified.
16 And the soldiers led Him away inside the court, which is [the] praetorium. And they called together all the cohort.
17 And they put purple on Him, and they plaited and placed a crown of thorns on Him.
18 And they began to salute Him, Hail, king of the Jews!
19 And they struck His head with a reed, and spat at Him. And placing the knees, [they] bowed to Him.
20 And when they had mocked Him, they took the purple off Him, and put His own garments on Him. And they led Him out, that they might crucify Him. (Mark 15 GLT)
In the end-times, locusts will be allowed to harm non-believing men physically; this is an example of God Himself allowing harm to be done to mankind. God has clearly designed man to experience physical pain as a punishment and not just as a purely biological means of self-protection:
3 And out of the smoke locusts came forth to the earth. And authority was given to them, as the scorpions of the earth have authority.
4 And it was said to them that they should not harm the grass of the earth, nor every green thing, nor every tree, except only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.
5 And it was given to them that they should not kill them, but that they be tormented five months. And their torment [is] as the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man. (Revelation 9 GLT)
Whilst this paper is about the joys and frailties of the human body, we should not forget the fate that awaits demons and unfaithful humans alike at the end of this system. The human body is provided as a spectacle to the angels of what can happen to a physically weaker species if left to manage their own affairs. Whilst we are looking at the physical pain that can be meted out to the human soul, the demons will also be getting their just deserts in the near future also:
10 And the Devil leading them astray was thrown into the Lake of Fire and Brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet [were]. And they were tormented day and night to the ages of the ages. (Revelation 20 GLT)
This paper started out about our prospective addiction to the self-satisfying deadly sins. As a follow-on, we consequently looked at the physical and mental pain that can be inflicted upon the human soul by one's enemies. This latter part is really more about the inflictors of that pain rather than the recipients. A man can feel pain from his tormentors; those tormentors, who remain unrepentant, will feel the full force of God's fury since God's Law still stands for those who do not accept the New Covenant of Christ's love:
24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
25 branding for branding, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. (Exodus 21 GLT)
Jewish Lords' Witness