This is my first Spirit assisted work for a good six months since my Crisis paper. Between times I have started research on several interesting topics but they all still remain as unfinished works since I seemed to be lacking that spark, that I know only too well, which normally propels me to further develop this website. Well perhaps the Holy Spirit has been waiting and helping me patiently to recover my spiritual composure and to select the most appropriate topic for my next consideration.
Once again I find myself musing over a subject of great personal interest and some puzzlement that has been with me for many years. It is therefore about time that I investigate it for my own spiritual benefit and, it is to be hoped, the benefit of my beloved readers.
We all have our weaknesses and one of mine is the fleshly desire of the human body. I have to say that I have always seen the human anatomy as a wondrous work of God’s artistry (some anatomies rather more than others!). Indeed sculptors over the ages seem to have shared that view judging by the number of nude statues of both genders scattered throughout antiquity in the so called civilised world. I for one find it difficult to separate the beauty from the potentially accompanying sexual desire that can sometimes go hand in hand with that beauty. Even at my ripe old age I still get pleasure from seeing a beautiful woman, God help me!
Let us make a start by examining Adam’s original sin in some detail in this regard. The first inkling we have of mankind’s sexual appetite is contained in Genesis 2:
25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed. (Genesis 2 GLT)
Well this is one of the first things we are told about the first human couple pretty much immediately after the creation of Eve. So God clearly sees the naked human body and man’s response to it as of primary importance. Clearly there was an innocence about the pair of them that prevented their nakedness becoming significant to them, probably like that of a young child.
Then, immediately after their temptation with the fruit of the forbidden tree we have the volte face from their original innocent state:
6 And the woman saw that the tree [was] good for food, and that it [was] pleasant to the eyes, and the tree [was] desirable to make [one] wise. And she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
7 And the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they [were] naked. And they sewed leaves of the fig tree, and made girdles for themselves. (Genesis 3 GLT)
So again mankind’s response to their naked bodies became centre stage as the immediate and only (at that time) reaction to partaking of the forbidden fruit. There can be no doubt that this is a massively important message coming from our creator.
We now jump forward to Paul’s interpretation of these events in his first letter to Timothy:
14 And Adam was not deceived, but [the] woman being deceived has come to be in transgression; (1 Timothy 2 GLT)
So Adam took the fruit from his wife in the full knowledge that this was against God’s one and only instruction to him. Why would he do this? There is only one inescapable conclusion that I can come to, given all the insight we have received about their nakedness, and that is that he desired Eve’s body rather more than he desired to follow his Father’s only instruction to him. In a childlike way he probably did not understand the full significance of that desire and the differences between his body and Eve’s but he certainly found out after partaking of that fruit.
By the way, just in case the reader should think I am making far too much of the sexual angle in all this, consider that the Book of Leviticus chapter 18 verses 6 through to 23 talk about nothing but illegitimate sexual acts. So we have 18 verses just in this one chapter (and this is not the only one) devoted to a whole variety of illicit sexual relations. God clearly knows that this a massive area of temptation for mankind. And not only mankind! Just to emphasise this point it is also worthwhile mentioning that even the demons (the sons of God) fancied having relations with the daughters of mankind:
1 And it came about that men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them.
2 The sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were good, and they took wives for themselves from all those whom they chose.
3 And Jehovah said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man; in their erring he is flesh. And his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.
4 The giants were in the earth in those days, and even afterwards when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore to them; they were heroes which [existed] from ancient time, the men of name.
5 And Jehovah saw that the evil of man [was] great on the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil all the day long.
6 And Jehovah repented that He had made man on the earth, and He [was] grieved to His heart.
7 And Jehovah said, I will wipe off man whom I have created from the face of the earth, from man to beast, to the creeping thing and to the birds of the heavens; for I repent that I made them. (Genesis 6 GLT)
So God had clearly done a very good job in making human women very attractive. Unfortunately, however, this suffered from the (possibly) unintended consequences that eventually lead to Jehovah’s destroying mankind through the flood. Clearly this illegal sex thing is one of mankind’s greatest challenges. How to enjoy the sheer delight of a legitimate sexual relationship without all the illegitimate possibilities getting in the way! I have to say that this seems to me to be a very narrow path to traverse.
If any of my more adventurous readers is interested in the official Lords' Witnesses' position on original sin and its consequences, please click on the following link for your further edification: Why do we die?
Now just to finish up this section on original sin, I think it is worth mentioning a number of the verses in the bible which relate to beautiful women. Now there is probably no better place to start this particular quest than the Song of Solomon:
5 Your two breasts [are] like two fawns, twins of a gazelle, feeding among the lilies. (Song of Solomon 4 GLT)
This is one very explicit verse amongst many. So Solomon's inspired poetry goes so far as to describe two of his many wives' most desirable feminine fleshly assets. Quite how that description is intended to be interpreted I have to say that I have not got the faintest idea and will probably require the True Bible Code to decipher. However I think there can be little doubt that Solomon is effusing about their beauty; why else would a man write poetry about a woman's physical attributes? The scriptures must be confirming to us that women's bodies were intended to bring physical desire to men to entice them to procreate and create more of God's children.
Now, having had a cold shower, let us move on to Mordecai's description of his adopted daughter:
7 And he was rearing Hadassah (she is Esther) his uncle's daughter, for she had no father nor mother. And the young woman [was] fair of appearance and beautiful of form. And at the death of her father and mother, Mordecai took her for his daughter. (Esther 2 GLT)
Whilst not in any way intended as an erotic description it nonetheless makes a point of her good looks. Why bother to mention this unless God considers women's beauty to be an important attribute? And again my same observation upon Abram's comments to his wife Sarai:
11 And it happened when he had drawn near to come to Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, Behold, please, I know that you [are] a beautiful woman to look upon. (Genesis 12 GLT)
And how about these few verses referring to King David in his dotage:
1 And King David [was] old, going into days. And they covered him with garments, for he had no heat.
2 And his servants said to him, Let them seek out a young woman for my lord the king, a virgin, and she shall stand before the king, and be a nurse to him, and lie in your bosom, and my lord the king shall have heat.
3 And they sought out a beautiful young woman in all the border of Israel. And [they] found Abishag the Shunammite, and brought her in to the king.
4 And the young woman [was] exceedingly beautiful, and she [was] a nurse to the king and served him. But the king did not know her. (1 Kings 1 GLT)
Well there's no end of comment possible here! Firstly it looks like the common wisdom of the time was to arouse a sick old man by providing him with a soft warm female body (sounds good to me!). If she was to purely be a nurse then why did she need to be a young virgin? Why did she have to be beautiful? And why are we told that King David did not shag his nurse? I am trying very hard not to comment on her name (LOL)! These ancient Hebrews seem to be a randy bunch AND apparently with God's blessing!
On a slightly more serious note, and having taken a second cold shower, Proverbs confirms to us that a woman's beauty can cause a lustful desire in a man but that he needs to look for more than skin-deep beauty. It seems to me here that a woman's beauty is providing both a pleasure but also a test for man:
24 to keep you from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of the strange woman.
25 Do not lust after her beauty in your heart, and do not let her take you with her eyelids, (Proverbs 6 GLT)
My final quote in this section on the appearance of beauty in scripture perversely is not that of a fleshly woman at all but of that of God's first-born son Lucifer:
17 Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. I have cast you to the ground. I will put you before kings, that they may see you. (Ezekiel 28 GLT)
If nothing else this verse demonstrates that God loves things of beauty but also acknowledges that beauty can be a corrupting influence. Mankind and the angels need to mature into the beautiful creatures that they are but without being corrupted by their created beauty.
Desire v Sin
So, as far as I can make out from the above scriptures, the fall of man was down to Adam’s sexual desire AND his acting upon it despite his full knowledge of his Father’s requirements of him. If Adam had said to Eve, when offered the fruit: ‘Look my Dad told me not eat that fruit so throw it away. I’ll give you a good hiding for your trouble and then after that we’ll have some sex once I've read the user's manual. Also I think I’ll set my pet mongoose off to kill that pesky snake of yours’, then I think we would all be living in a very different world!
So here I am in the mind-set that sexual desire in itself is no sin but acting it out is. For me I believe the secret is in drawing the line between the fleshly desire and fulfilling that desire through sinful action outside of any marriage arrangement. This is fully supported by the doctrine of the Lords’ witnesses: http://www.truebiblecode.com/joining.html#j10 and this is why the following scripture has always been a puzzlement for me and is what has compelled me to write this paper:
27 You have heard that it was said to the ancients: "Do not commit adultery." [Ex. 20:14; Deut. 5:18]
28 But I say to you, Everyone looking at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
29 But if your right eye offends you, take it out and throw [it] from you, for it is profitable to you that one of your members should perish and all your body not be thrown into Hell. (Matthew 5 GLT)
So here we have a New Testament scripture telling us not to lust after a woman with Green’s translation referencing an Old Testament Law telling us not to commit the physical act. However if we delve slightly deeper into the Old Testament Law we find that it does, in fact, fully support Matthew’s teaching in the matter:
18 And you shall not commit adultery....
21 You shall not lust after your neighbor's wife; nor shall you covet your neighbor's house, his field, nor his male slave, nor his female slave, his ox, nor his ass, nor anything which [is] your neighbor's. (Deuteronomy 5 GLT)
Now if I understand this message correctly the above scriptures are telling me that desire is a sin which, I have to confess, I have a serious problem with both physically and intellectually. I then find that Paul’s letter to James appears to be supporting my understanding:
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)
Here Paul is drawing the sequence of events from temptation through lust and culminating in sin. This is telling me that it is only when a sinful act is performed that the second death becomes the result. This fully supports my belief that temptation and even the resulting lustful thoughts are not in themselves sinful. Clearly, though, without the will to not do evil these can eventually lead to sinful acts. I believe it is that will to not do evil, when one would otherwise like to, is what the concept of righteousness is all about. The conscious decision to make that choice I would have thought was what differentiates the good from the bad, given that we are all sinners. An early verse covering God’s conversation with Cain would also seem to support my view:
7 If you do well, is there not exaltation? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire [is] toward you; but you should rule over it. (Genesis 4 GLT)
So here is the advice directly from God to Cain, the first human murderer according to the scriptures, telling him to rule over his desires prior to committing the concomitant sin. Is that not exactly what I have been arguing? This is mirrored by a similar recommendation from Paul in his epistle to the Roman congregation:
12 Then do not let sin reign in your mortal body, to obey it in its lusts. (Romans 6 GLT)
So here we have several scriptures that do not seem to be giving me a consistent message. So what am I missing? Do I just plain not understand these scriptures? Are there other scriptures that will help clarify the matter for me or do I need to look at alternative translations and/or the Hebrew or Greek to determine some other meaning?
A further examination of the Law on covetousness shows that this seems to be the one commandment of the top ten for which there does not seem to be a specific associated punishment in the OT for breaking this tenth commandment. Perhaps this is only intended as a cautionary warning by God since covetousness can lead to the breaking of any of the other commandments which do carry severe punishments? How can mankind police this anyway? Perhaps the punishment is not stated for this reason; it may purely be down to the Holy Spirit to execute the appropriate punishment on judgement day? If that were the reason surely mankind should be properly advised as to the severity of the crime? After all, even though down at number 10, covetousness is still included within the top Ten Commandments that God handed down to Moses.
The more I delve into this, the more perturbed do I become. The following two scriptures confound the matter even further for me:
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)
5 For be knowing this, that every fornicator, or unclean one, or covetous [one], who is an idolater, has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for through these the wrath of God comes on the sons of disobedience. (Ephesians 5 GLT)
Here we have two very clear messages from Paul that covetousness is the same crime as idolatry! So what do the commandments on idolatry actually require of us?
3 You shall not have any other gods before Me.
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)
Well there seem to me to be several significant differences here between fleshly covetousness and idolatry. There is no man-made building of a physical image involved to replace God. Quite the opposite; sexual desire is aimed at the divinely created human body. I suppose that if someone (Adam for example?) were to become so enamoured by a lady’s (Eve’s?) physical attributes so as to cause him to turn against God’s laws, that could be deemed to be idolatry or worship of the human form. But once again that is the step beyond covetousness whereby that desire has become physically manifest.
However, I think Paul's letter to the Roman congregation better compares the workings of lust to that of idolatry although, once again, this still does not really address to my mind the question of thought becoming manifest by action:
23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into a likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed animals, and creeping things.
24 Because of this, God gave them up to impurity in the lusts of [their] hearts, their bodies to be dishonored among themselves,
25 who changed the truth of God into the lie, and worshipped and served the created thing more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 1 GLT)
I found the following website helpful in trying to understand better the relationship between covetousness and idolatry; but it still did not address for me the divide between the thought and the deed:
Certainly if one is obsessed with covetousness then we are also likely to be blinded towards spiritual matters. But for a true Christian to feel an attraction towards a married and good-looking woman but being strong enough spiritually to resist that temptation, where is the sin in that? After all, surely that attraction is generated from the very building blocks from which God made us: our hormones and DNA? The more I delve into this subject the more do I not seem to be making any headway on my basic premise of the thought being very different from the deed. I cannot equate, for example, the Israelites’ building and worshipping the infamous golden calf to my being aroused by an attractive but attached woman so long as that arousal does not become consummated in any physical manner. Certainly the punishment is severe for a nation’s idolatrous worship; it is nothing short of genocide in God’s retribution whereas there was no punishment laid down for covetousness.
Let us look at another scripture that, I think, helps my case in the matter, taken from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian congregation:
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].
14 On account of this, flee from idolatry, my beloved. (1 Corinthians 10 GLT)
Well this is how I am interpreting these verses: Paul seems to be telling us that to be tempted (in sexual matters) is normal but that our faith in God’s promises to us will prevent us from allowing that temptation from becoming physically manifest by us. If fleshly desire is in danger of becoming a problem for us, however, then his advice is for us to marry to prevent that lust turning into sinful acts:
7 But I desire all men also to be as myself. But each has his own gift from God, one this way, and one that way.
8 But I say to the unmarried men, and to the widows, it is good for them if they also remain as I.
9 But if they do not have self control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to be inflamed. (1 Corinthians 7 GLT)
Paul, in his first epistle to the congregation at Corinth is clearly sympathetic to the natural fleshly drives that Christian men and women have in common with all humanity. His advice is that those who have the need should marry but those that are able to resist the fleshly temptations should do better. By better I believe this to mean that if they are true and sincere in their faith then they are less likely to be sucked into the ways of the world than those who marry:
28 But if you also marry, you do not sin. And if the virgin marries, she does not sin. But such will have trouble in the flesh. But I am sparing you.
29 But I say this, brothers, that the time has been cut short. For the rest is, that even the [ones] having wives should be as not having,
30 and those weeping as not weeping, and those rejoicing as not rejoicing, and those buying as not possessing,
31 and those using this world as not abusing [it]; for the mode of this world is passing away.
32 But I desire you to be without care. The unmarried one cares for the things of [the] Lord, how to please the Lord;
33 but the [one] marrying cares for the things of the world, how to please the wife.
34 The wife and the virgin [are] different. The unmarried one cares for the things of [the] Lord, that she be holy in both body and spirit. But the married one cares for the things of the world, how to please the husband.
35 And I say this for your advantage, not that I put a snare [before] you, but for the fitting thing, and waiting on the Lord without distraction.
36 But if anyone thinks [it] behaving indecently toward his virgin (if she is beyond [her] prime, and so it ought to be), let him do what he desires; he does not sin; let them marry.
37 But [he] who stands firm in heart, not having necessity, but has authority as to [his] own will, and has judged this in his heart, to keep his virginity; he does well.
38 So that he that gives in marriage does well, and he that does not give in marriage does better. (1 Corinthians 7 GLT)
If nothing else the above New Testament scripture shows fleshly desire to be such a serious moral risk as to go so far as to demonstrate a way out to alleviate that risk. To my mind I believe this coaching to be quite unique in scripture compared to any other tendency towards sin as far as I can recall.
Now the prophet Isaiah has something to say about the status of men that do not have the necessary equipment to preserve their sex drive:
3 And do not let the son of the foreigner speak, he who joins himself to Jehovah, saying, Separating Jehovah separates me from His people; and not do let the eunuch say, Behold, I [am] a dried tree.
4 For so says Jehovah to the eunuchs who keep My sabbaths and choose things I am pleased with, and take hold of My covenant:
5 I, even I will give to them in My house and in My walls a hand and a name better than sons and than daughters; I will give them an everlasting name which shall not be cut off. (Isaiah 56 GLT)
So here we have Jehovah Himself stating that eunuchs, in search of His Kingdom, will be blessed beyond the ability to have fleshly children. This, even though His Law previously excluded these ones from the Jewish congregation:
1 He being wounded, crushed, or cut in his male member shall not enter into the assembly of Jehovah. (Deuteronomy 23 GLT)
I would have to say that I am not entirely clear why eunuchs should have originally been excluded in this way but, as elsewhere concluded later in this paper, perhaps this is demonstrating the required progression from the purely fleshly to the spiritual state of mind. Notwithstanding this, Matthew then seems to be recommending what, seems to be, a rather extreme action:
12 For there are eunuchs who were born thus from [their] mother's womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who made eunuchs [of] themselves for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven. He who is able to receive, let him receive it. (Matthew 19 GLT)
Whilst Matthew is not actually proposing that randy men do this to themselves, he is suggesting that those that must remove their reproductive ability for the sake of the Kingdom should do so.
Once again I believe all the above scriptures show the importance that God attaches to the topic. Sexual relationships are a wonderful and pleasurable gift given to us by God but He knows that such pleasures can be so easily abused.
Now we know that Christ was tempted by Satan in the desert:
2 And having fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards He hungered.
3 And coming near to Him, the Tempter said, If You are [the] Son of God, speak that these stones may become loaves.
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)
In comparing Christ’s being tempted to ours I think we can say that His rebuttal of Satan’s offer was fast and firm. As previously stated the path is temptation leading to desire leading to sin. The difference in response between ourselves and Christ is that He was tempted but appears to have had no desire for those articles of temptation. We are one step lower down the food chain. We are tempted and probably feel the desire but then need to conquer that desire before it becomes a sinful act.
At this stage I believe that we are still humans acting under the Law in the matter of fleshly desire. To progress towards Christ’s status we need to be closer to our angelic brothers acting in spirit so that we do not succumb even to the desire stemming from temptation. Now I am not aware of any specific scriptures that suggest that Christ was ever tempted by a woman’s body, but the following scripture states that He was tempted in all manners as we Adamic humans are:
15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin. (Hebrews 4 KJV)
It is therefore not an unreasonable supposition that Christ was tempted by the flesh, since we already know that the demons were tempted by human women, so why not the faithful angels also including Michael aka Jesus? Mind you I expect that the True Bible Code will have something to say about the double negative in this verse?
My Dilemma Revisited
So let me reprise my original dichotomy by considering Matthew’s words once again:
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)
I think the key here has to be the phrase ‘in his heart’. On reflection this seems to be a failing of the spirit not the whole soul and as such cannot be treated as a capital offense in the current system of things. A warning perhaps but not a sin. However, once we progress from a physical realm to a spiritual realm, presumably some considerable time after the next millennium, this may well start to become a real issue, if indeed such ‘fleshly’ considerations are even relevant at that point. Perhaps they still will be, given the desires of the demons discussed previously.
This differentiation between the spirit and the flesh is nicely put forward by Paul in his first letter to the Corinthian congregation:
16 Or do you not know that he being joined to a harlot is one body? For He says, "The two [shall be] into one flesh." [Gen. 2:24]
17 But the [one] being joined to the Lord is one spirit.
18 Flee fornication. Every sin which a man may do is outside the body, but he doing fornication sins against [his] own body.
19 Or do you not know that your body is a sanctuary of [the] Holy Spirit in you, which you have from God, and you are not of yourselves?
20 You were bought with a price; then glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are of God. (1 Corinthians 6 GLT)
This differentiation is also described by Paul in his letter to the Roman congregation as the progression from the Law to the grace of the Spirit. Faith in Christ’s saving grace is delivering us from the sin of desire so long as our heart genuinely desires to wipe the slate clean:
4 So that, my brothers, you also were made dead to the Law through the body of Christ, for you to become Another's, to [the One] raised from [the] dead, so that we may bear fruit to God.
5 For when we were in the flesh, the passions of sin were working in our members through the Law for the bearing of fruit unto death.
6 But now we have been set free from the Law, having died [to that] in which we were held, so as [for] us to serve in newness of spirit, and not [in] oldness of letter.
7 What shall we say then? [Is] the Law sin? Let it not be! But I did not know sin except through Law; for also I did not know lust except the Law said, "You shall not lust." [Ex. 20:17]
8 But sin taking occasion through the commandment worked every lust in me; for apart from Law, sin [is] dead. (Romans 7 GLT)
So that, hopefully, not only will we eventually not only not partake in lustful acts but will also not even desire them:
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.
14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not make forethought of the flesh, for [its] lusts. (Romans 13 GLT)
We should also remember, however, that not all desires are bad things:
4 And delight yourself in Jehovah, that He may give you your heart's desire. (Psalms 37 GLT)
24 That which the wicked fears shall come upon him, but the desire of the righteous is granted. (Proverbs 10 GLT)
19 He will fulfill the desire of the ones who fear Him; and He will hear their cry and save them. (Psalms 145 GLT)
If only we could follow David’s example:
10 I have sought You with my whole heart; do not let me wander from Your commands. (Psalms 119 GLT)
So we must learn to train ourselves to want the righteous things for God’s approval rather than the short term desires of the flesh which clearly the Holy Spirit will use to determine our heart condition come judgement day:
1 Then having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilements of flesh and of spirit, perfecting holiness in [the] fear of God. (2 Corinthians 7 GLT)
Jesus’ rebuke of Peter seems like a very harsh reminder of this although Peter clearly had the advantage over us Christians today by being with Jesus during His ministry on earth:
23 But turning He said to Peter, Go behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you do not think of the things of God, but the things of men. (Matthew 16 GLT)
This is amplified further by the apostle John’s stern warning:
15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him,
16 because all that which [is] in the world: the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17 And the world is passing away, and its lust. But the [one] doing the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2 GLT)
The ultimate irony for us all is that Adam’s desire of Eve’s fleshly delights was based on their perfect non-Adamic bodies which had an indefinite life-span ahead of them. Adam did not know death or ageing before he sinned. What a waste! Through Adam’s disobeying of God’s only commandment to him we still today have that fleshly desire but now it is only based on a mortal and transient imperfect Adamic frame. Considered logically in spiritual terms and putting aside all immediate passionate thoughts it all seems quite pathetic really:
24 Because "all flesh [is] as grass, and all [the] glory of men as [the] flower of grass; the grass was dried, and its flower fell out, (1 Peter 1 GLT)
That aside I am left with the overall view that to be tempted by fleshly beauty is normal for humans and angels alike. To desire the object of that temptation is where the risk of serious sinning lies but until that desire becomes manifest by a physical sinful act it is not a punishable crime. However if we are to attain a perfect and morally sustainable existence, in the future, we must strive for an environment in which we are neither the tempter nor the one who has fleshly desires. That does feel like some way off for me at least!
Date of Publication: 13th August 2017
The Fall of Man, detail from `Paradise` by Lukas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553) Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.
Jewish Lords' Witness
Image provided by www.BiblePictureGallery.com.