The recent terrorist attack at Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain brings back memories of horrifying deaths in Madrid, Paris, London and other ISIS/Al Qaeda-inspired violence and mayhem worldwide reflective of religious intolerance and hatred (1, 2). On witnessing the actual events on television, we heard experts on the subject of terrorism were often asked “What made them do these murderous acts?”. Where and how were they motivated?
Nature and nurture
Unanimously, experts trace the origin of this violence on the mind and how/what they were taught while growing up. The brain learns through our physical senses, viz., touch, taste, smell, hearing, vision. Human Anatomy & Physiology teach us that nothing goes to the brain except through these routes, our human sensory system. What is learned is stored in memory, in the mind, and what comes out of the “conscious brain” manifests through our human motor system as a result of a decision made ultimately through an intricate mental processes we call “judgment”. Wisdom develops and nurtures through a variety of life-experiences, human interactions and does come with time. As the saying goes, “time and chance happen to all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11). A person is defined by a composite of this life-long journey. Diversity results from differences in all of these human experiences, irrespective of genetic influences. This reminds us also of the song in the play South Pacific “You’ve got to be carefully taught” tracing racial discrimination from an early age (3). As the origin of terrorism starts from the mind, the logical remedy is to change this mind-concept, the ideology that leads to violent acts. Precisely, this is what the gospel of God’s kingdom planned to accomplish not only for terrorists but for all mankind to get rid of any evil, whatever they are and wherever they come from.
Who and What are We?
As the key is to change the “mind”, understanding what our components are, how and where we came to be, is crucial to this plan. Without this knowledge, we will not be able to fathom what God is doing according to his plan.
When God created humans, the material or physical component was a “handiwork” made “by hands of God” from “dust, mud,earth“. There was no life in that physical creation until “God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life”. Read Genesis 2:7
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
The material component came directly from “earth” (therefore matter-composed) but the “breath of life”, the one that brings life to the “non-living body at creation”, aka, the mind or spirit-of-man, came directly from a Spirit-Being/God, and therefore spirit-composed, . This “spirit-of-man” is the repository of all that comes through the physical senses of the material body, etched in memory. That the spirit-of-man and the breath of life are the same thing come from these verses:
Job 27:3,4,8 (NKJV) …’As long as my breath is in me, And the breath of God in my nostrils, My lips will not speak wickedness, Nor my tongue utter deceit. For what is the hope of the hypocrite, Though he may gain much, If God takes away his life?’ (Notice, life is in that “breath”)
Job 27:3,4,8 (KJV) …’All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils; My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit. For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul?’ (Note: that life-giving power is a spirit of God because it came from him).
Proof that there are indeed 2 components of humans is the eventual “separation” of the “spirit-of-man” from the “material-body” that defines death of the person.
Read the following:
Ecclesiastes 12:6-7 “Remember Him before the silver cord is broken and the golden bowl is crushed, the pitcher by the well is shattered and the wheel at the cistern is crushed; then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.”
(Note: the dust which is what the material-body is made of, returns to earth or grave, while the spirit-of-man returns to Spirit-God where it came from).
James 2:26 …’For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.’
Genesis 25:8 “Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people … And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, an hundred and thirty and seven years: and he gave up the ghost and died; and was gathered unto his people.’
Genesis 35:29 …‘And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.’
Luke 23:46 …’And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.’
Matthew 27:50 …‘Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost’
From the preceding verses, giving up the ghost simply means “giving up the last breath“. The Hebrew word used is H1478 – gava, which means “to expire, to breath the last breath, to die”. Clearly, when the spirit leaves the body, death occurs for the body.
God’s Plan from the Beginning
Knowing that the mind has to change, how is this going to come to fruition? Consider the narrative from the very beginning; Genesis Chapters 1 & 2. Man was planned to be in “his image“, not image of plant or animals. After creating the plant-kingdom and the animal-kingdom, God created humans, not to be a “human kingdom” but to be in the God kingdom. This is why human history teaches us that a series of “human kingdoms” built by humans fail, typified by the successive kingdoms in the “statue-dream of Nebuchadnezzar”(Daniel 2).
Additionally, God planned to have humans to have “dominion over all”. Of themselves, even with historic progress, humans have not eliminated disease, aging and death.
God knew that for the God-kingdom to be built, he has to start in the mind to be “one” with him. But first, this mind/spirit-of-man had to have a temporary abode in a material body to learn from physical senses and shun the “lust of the flesh” (I John 2:16; Galatians 5:19-21) until the time comes when it has to be guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit promised to come to us later and to “bear fruits” (Galatians 5:22-23). The “temporary abode“, the physical-material body has been created and life was infused into it by God via the spirit-of-man “breathed into his nostrils”. The flesh-body is temporary because it rots and dies in the grave/hades. Human history catalogues human failures and success, although not conclusive and fleeting as they are. Through life, on our own, we learned good from evil; some follow good; others, evil, or a hodgepodge of both. But even with our very best efforts, God concluded that they are all dung and as filthy rags :
Isaiah 64:6 “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away” (NIV)
Philippians 3:8 “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them but dung, that I may win Christ”
Humans are “Weak”
As our very best is still “dung, filthy rags” to God, we are considered “weak” on our own to be “one ” with Him. From the beginning, we were planned, with fulfillment in the future, to have the power of the Holy Spirit for us to be “strong” and “bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit.” This gift of the Holy Spirit from the Father became available to mankind only after Jesus was resurrected.
Notice, that this gift is so important that Jesus had to die first, then be resurrected to receive this power from the Father, to then be given to mankind on Day of Pentecost of that year(Acts 2:1-13). Without his resurrection to life, Jesus would not have received this gift for our welfare.
John 16:7 “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you”
John 16:5-7 CEV “But now I am going back to the Father who sent Me, and none of you asks Me where I am going. You are very sad from hearing all of this. But I tell you that I am going to do what is best for you. That is why I am going away. The Holy Spirit cannot come to help You until I leave. But after I am gone, I will send the Spirit to you.”
Acts 1:8 NLT “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Truly, the mind has to change to get rid of evil thus becoming “one” with the Father. This started with the “second-Adam, the man-Jesus Christ, the beginner, forerunner and the Head of the body/church.” As a carpenter/builder, Jesus is building a God-kingdom from humans through the power of the Holy Spirit given to mankind as a gift, all destined subsequently to become spirit-beings. Mankind is being created in the “image and likeness of God to have dominion overall”. This is the end-product of the gospel of the God-kingdom and has its core foundation on Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. One has to believe in him to receive this gift from the Father and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And with it, we have to “bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit” as those who do not bear fruits will be cut-off from the body.
Even Jesus in the narrative at Gethsemane shows he has to choose the Father’s will instead of his own. His personal will was not to go through for him to die as Passover for mankind, but he freely chose to follow the Father. He had to see that “truly, man is weak” three times before saying “let your will (Father) be done”.
Luke 22:42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.“(NIV)
Only those who persevere to the end, the “overcomers“, will be given a new and incorruptible immortal body “in a twinkling of an eye”.
Revelation 3:21 “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”
For further studies on related subjects, please access these links:
1. List of terrorist incidents. Retrieved Aug 19, 2017 at https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_terrorist_incidents,_July–December_2015
2. Terrorism, Rand. Retrieved Aug 20, 2017 at http://www.rand.org/nsrd/projects/terrorism-incidents.htm
3. South Pacific, You’ve got to be carefully taught. Retrieved Aug 20, 2017 at https://youtu.be/OAZ8yOFFbAc)
Original Post: 8/24/17