THE TALE OF TWO WOLVES
One evening, an elderly Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside every person.
He said “My son, there is an on-going battle between two ‘wolves’ inside us all. One wolf is evil. It is envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other wolf is good. It is joy, peace love, hope serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather:
“So which wolf wins?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one that you feed.”
Although man was created a tripartite being, that is, having three components namely: the spirit, soul and body; he has only two natures. These two natures (Greek: foo’-sis which means kind, characteristic) of Man are his Spiritual nature and his Physical nature. In this study, we will touch many topics of the Bible but we will just focus on these two natures of Man.
THE SPIRITUAL NATURE OF MAN
His component that gives him his spiritual nature is his Spirit. His spirit is his spiritual characteristic. When Adam was created by God in Genesis 1:27, he was created a spirit. He has no physical body yet. He is purely spiritual. He has only one nature and that is the spiritual nature. His spirit came from God Who is a Spirit (Gen. 1:2). This means that the raw material that was used to create the spirit of Adam is the Spirit of God Himself. And we all know that this Spirit of God is the Word (John 1:1-3, 6:63). Therefore, Adam’s spirit is made of the Word.
Since Adam’s spirit is made (taken) from the Spirit of God and the Spirit of God is the purest form (original, truth, cannot be annihilated) of everything (John 1:1), therefore, Adam’s spirit is also the purest form of him. It is this nature of Adam that cannot be annihilated. This nature is also called as Adam’s heavenly nature for it came from heaven. It is this spiritual nature of Adam that is use to contact and fellowship with God for it came from God.
This spirit of Adam has three functions: conscience, fellowship, and intuition. The Conscience is the function of the spirit that enables him to perceive right from wrong and which, accordingly, condemns or justifies him if he does right or wrong (Rom. 8:16, 9:1). Fellowship enables Adam to contact and commune with God (John 4:24, Eph. 6:18). Finally, Intuition is the function of the spirit that enables him to know and discern the spiritual things which are independent of reason, circumstance, situation, or precedent. These spiritual things from God is commonly known as Revelation (Mat. 16:16-17, 1 Cor. 2:11, Mark 2:5).
THE PHYSICAL NATURE OF MAN
The component of Adam that gives him his physical nature is his Body. Adam’s physical nature is the opposite of his spiritual nature. Unlike his spirit which is made from the Spirit of God, Adam’s body was made from the dust of the Earth (Gen. 2:7). Unlike his spirit which is the purest form, the original and cannot be annihilated, his body on the other hand is only a by-product of the original, therefore, it can be annihilated for all physical creations are only the by-product of the Word (Heb. 11:3). All physical things can be altered.
Unlike Adam’s spirit which is heavenly for it came from heaven, his body on the other hand is earthly because it came from Earth. It is his earthly nature. If his spirit functions to contact the spiritual world, his body on the other hand functions to contact the physical world. If his spirit needs spiritual nourishment to grow, his body needs physical food to grow too. His spirit seeks for the things spiritual (heavenly), his body seeks for the things physical (earthly). One is heavenly while the other is earthly.
This body is often referred to by the Bible as the Flesh (Gen. 2:21-24, Rom. 7:18). The flesh is the physical nature of Adam. Whenever the Bible says “flesh,” it always refers to the body. It came from the Greek word “sarx” that means “the body (as opposed to the soul (or spirit) or as the symbol of what is external or the physical nature of man as subject to suffering.”
Despite all of these, man’s body is undefiled, sinless and uncorrupted by sin before the fall.
Man has a third component which is different from his spirit and his body. It is his Soul. Man’s soul is in-between his spirit and his body. It works as a mediator between the two. Unlike the spirit and the body, the soul has no nature of its own. It is only being influence by the spirit and the body. When the spirit is stronger than the body, it is the spirit that has much influence to the soul. Adam’s soul reflects much of his spiritual (heavenly) nature. But when the body is stronger than the spirit, then it is the body that has much influence to the soul. This is why Adam has only two natures in him, for his soul has no nature of its own. It only acts as a reflector of his two natures.
It is in Adam’s soul that the sum total of his personality is seen for it is in his soul that his two natures are reflected. Therefore, Adam’s soul is not inherently good nor evil. It only becomes good or evil depending on what nature influences it. His soul is dependent on his two natures. This is also the reason why in the Bible, we can read that we will be given a new spirit (John 16:13, Eze. 11:19, 36:26) and a new body (1 Cor. 15:53-54) from our Lord. BUT WE CAN NEVER READ THAT WE WILL BE GIVEN A NEW SOUL. This is because our soul is only a reflector of our spirit and the body.
Adam’s soul is made of three components: the mind, the will and the emotions. The Mind is the part of the soul that pertains to intellect, knowledge and man’s capacity and ability to think (Psalm 139:14, Lam. 3:20). The Will on the other hand, is man’s capacity and ability to choose and refuse (Job 7:15). Lastly, Emotion is man’s capacity and ability to express his self (e.g. anger, love, joy, hate, fear) (Songs 1:7, 2 Sam. 5:8, Psa. 86:4). These three components of the soul reflect his two natures.
When the spirit of Adam was put in his body (Gen. 2:7), that is the time that his Soul started also to reflect his physical nature. When Adam was just a spirit, his soul (mind, will and emotions) is not affected by any physical thing around him. It was only affected by his spiritual environment. His soul can only reflect his spirit. But after his spirit was put in his body, whenever he gets hungry, his mind now is thinking of food, his will now wants to eat food and his emotions now are affected by the food he eats. This is how his two natures influences his soul. The mind, will and emotions only reflects the influence of the spirit and the body which becomes your personality.
ANGELS AND ANIMALS
Unlike humans who are created with three components (spirit, soul and body), angels on the other hand, were only created a spirit and soul. They don’t have physical body that’s why they don’t have physical nature. Their soul can only reflect their spiritual nature. They are purely spiritual that’s why they are called “ministering spirits” (Heb. 1:14).
Animals on the other hand, are the opposite of the angels. Unlike angels, animals were created a body and a soul. They don’t have a spirit to fellowship and to receive revelation from God just like humans. They were created from the dust of the Earth (Gen. 1:20-25) that’s why they don’t have a spiritual nature. They receive life from God (Greek: Bios) but it doesn’t function like the spirit of man (Greek: Zoe)
Among these three: angels, animals and Man, it is the Man that greatly reflects the image and the likeness of God. We must remember that just like man, God has Spirit, Soul and Body. He did not just remain a spirit forever, instead, He reveals Himself through a physical body. God was manifested in flesh (1 Tim. 3:16) just like Man. He is our Lord Jesus Christ. This is why our Lord God can relate to us because just like us, He had also experience hunger, thirst, pain, tiredness, suffering and every feeling that a physical body can feel. This is why among the three, Man is the ultimate creation of God.
To know more about the Spirit, Soul and Body of Man, please click and read this article titled “THE THREE PARTS OF MAN ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE.”
THE TREE OF LIFE
The Tree of Life (Gen. 2:9), from the name itself, is definitely the giver of Life or the source of Life. And the life that it can give is not just any life but Eternal Life. This we can read in to Genesis 3:21:
“And the LORD God said, behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever.”
This one is very clear: the Tree of Life once “eaten” by Adam and Eve, can make them live forever even though they are already in their fallen state. Even though they are already sinners. Therefore, the Tree of Life once partaken, can give them eternal life regardless of what their state is. And we know that there is only One source of eternal life according to the Bible. It is no other than the Spirit of God Who is the Word (John 1:1-4, 6:63,68). If you have the Spirit of God that dwells in you, then you have Eternal Life (John 6:63, 1 Pet. 3:18, Rom. 8:2). Therefore, THE TREE OF LIFE IS THE SPIRIT OF GOD.
The Lord forbids Adam to eat the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil but He had not forbidden him to eat the Tree of Life. Adam and Eve should partake the Tree of Life. It is God’s intention for Adam and Eve that they should partake the Tree of Life that’s why it is first mentioned in Gen 2:9.
Before the fall, Adam and Eve were just sinless, natural human beings who have no eternal life. Although they were created sinless, they still do not possess eternal life. They still had to partake the Tree of Life for them to possess eternal life. This is why when they have committed sin, they died spiritually (Gen. 2:17). Remember that having eternal life means having “everlasting life” or “life without end”. Once you possess eternal life, you will never ever die even if you have committed sin. This is what we can read in Genesis 3:21. If eternal life can be lost once you commit a sin, then it is not “eternal” life at all. And this is the state of Adam and Eve. They died when they committed a sin. Therefore, they don’t possess eternal life yet.
The Tree of Life is what Adam and Eve need in order for them to possess eternal life. This is what is missing in them. And since we have known above that the Tree of Life is actually the Spirit of God (Word), the Tree of Life therefore once partaken, shall dwell in our spirit. The Tree of Life shall indwelt our spirit and It will give us eternal life, meaning, the Spirit of God shall never ever leave us because It has already indwelt us. Therefore, we can never die (be separated). This is what eternal life is.
The Tree of Life is a complete package for Adam and Eve’s spirits. It will strengthen their spirits and will make them eternal. It will boost their spiritual nature. It will boost their heavenly nature. Just like what the Spirit of God is doing to every born-again believer today. The Tree of Life will conform them to the stature of Christ. The Tree of Life therefore is a complete package to boost Man’s Spiritual nature.
God’s plan from the beginning is actually to indwelt Man (Isa. 66:2, John 14:16-18). He wanted to tabernacle with Man (Rev. 21:3, 22). This is what He wanted to do with Adam and Eve through the Tree of Life. But they chose the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil instead of the Tree of Life. They choose to rejects God’s Spirit Who wanted to indwelt them. This is why they became separated from God. Adam, once he partaken the Tree of Life, he should have been like our Lord Jesus Christ who was fully indwelt by the Spirit of God and a true savior of his wife Eve. But Adam chose the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Therefore, contrary to the popular belief, the Tree of Life is NOT Adam having sex with his wife Eve to produce children with eternal life. Eternal life can never be achieved through sex. Even if Adam and Eve did not commit the original sin, sex will not give them eternal life. They will only produce natural children who just like them, have no eternal life and will die once they commit sin. The Tree of Life is not also in the womb of Eve. Again, it is the spirit of God that should dwell our spirit.
THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL
Opposite of the Tree of Life which is a complete package to boost our spirit (spiritual nature), the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil on the other hand, is also a complete package to corrupt and boost our body (physical nature). Let’s look at its description in Genesis 3:6:
“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”
These three descriptions of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (good for food, pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise), are actually the description also of the corruption that Satan and his demons have done in this world. Let’s read 1 John 2:16:
“For all that 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.”
Satan has corrupted this Earth with lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. How did he do it? Through the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. He started it with Eve. Then with Adam, and it spread to the whole world. This Tree did not only corrupt Adam and Eve, but the whole world. And this Tree is still corrupting the world today.
I have stated above that Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is a complete package to corrupt and boost our body (physical nature). This is because our body is made of the Earth while our spirit is made of Heaven. One is heavenly while other is earthly. Satan and his demons had corrupted and can only corrupt Earth (Rev. 12:12). They have also attempted to corrupt Heaven but they failed and cannot enter on it (Rev. 12:7-12). Therefore, what happened to the war in heaven between Satan, his demons and the Angels of God is actually a foreshadowing of what will happen to Man. Satan can only corrupt Man’s body because it is earthly, but he cannot enter and cannot touch Man’s spirit because it is heavenly. It is God’s abode and his throne. Only God can access our spirit. Sin cannot enter on it.
By this, it is now clear that our body represents Earth and our spirit represents Heaven. Man’s earthly and heavenly natures. Satan here represents the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil while God represents the Tree of Life. Satan is the one responsible in the corruption of our body while God is responsible in quickening of our spirit. By knowing what did Satan do to corrupt Earth, we can also know how did he corrupted Man’s body through the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
How did Satan corrupted Earth? It is by introducing sin. From the Greek word “hamartia,” sin means “missing the mark” of what God wanted us to do (1 John 3:4). In short, it is by not doing the will of God or by doing the opposite of what God wanted us to do. Sin is an act of rebellion against God. And Satan is full of these (Eze. 28:18). He is the beginning of sin (Isa. 14:12-15). Billions of years ago before the creation of Man, Satan corrupted Earth by his introduction of sin on it. This had made Earth to be “and the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep (Gen 1:2).” This is why God had to recreate Earth to free it from sin (Gen. 1:3-31).
What Satan did to Earth before the creation of Man is what he also did to Adam and Eve’s body to corrupt them. He introduced sin which is the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. And just like what I have written above, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is a complete package to corrupt and boost Man’s body. It is a sin that satisfies the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (compare 1 John 2:16 and Gen. 3:6). A complete package. In order for this Tree to satisfy the lust of the flesh, sex should be involved. And this is why the partaking of this Tree involves the introduction of the serpent having sex with Eve (Gen. 3:1-6). It was then introduced by Eve to Adam. It is through this lust of the flesh that corruption entered humankind as stated in 2 Peter 1:4:
“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
THE FALL OF MAN
Since that time, sin has been passed down through all the generations of mankind for it was through Adam that sin entered the world and with it, death was also passed on to all men for “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). All of Adam’s descendants are corrupted by sin that they inherit from him (Romans 5:12). All of us has a corrupted body. We are all sinners not because we sin, but we sin because we are sinners.
The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil did not only corrupt man’s body, it resulted also in the death of man’s spirit as stated by God in Genesis 2:17. Remember that death is a separation. The moment they partake the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Man was spiritually separated from God. His spirit was separated from the Spirit of God. This is why His spirit died. He died. Man is spiritually dead (Col. 2:13, Eph. 2:1). We need that quickening spirit of God in order for our spirit (us) to be alive again (Rom. 4:17, 1 Cor. 15:45).
After the fall, Man’s body began to rule his entire being. Because man’s spirit is dead, it cannot influence the soul anymore. The body alone became the sole authority in Man’s whole being. It alone dictates what he wanted for Man to do. The body alone influences the soul. And since sin dwells in the body (Rom. 7:18), all it wants for man is to be destroyed and to do evil things. This is why Man’s soul (mind, will and emotions) is corrupt. Thus, the body now became our sinful nature or our evil nature (Gal. 5:19-21, Rom. 8:8) because of the sin that dwells in it. Man now is being govern by his sinful nature alone (Rom 8:5). This is the reason why our body, no matter what we do, cannot enter heaven when we died. It is always left behind here on Earth. It is because no sin can enter heaven (Rev. 21:27). Unless our body be glorified, it cannot enter heaven.
Since Adam chose the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that corrupts and boost the body instead of the Tree of Life that gives eternal life and boost our spirit, God cursed the ground (Earth) in Genesis 3:17-19 of where Adam’s body came from. Adam chose his body instead of his spirit so to speak. Adam chose his earthly nature instead of his heavenly one. And since Adam’s body came from the ground, God cursed it so that Adam’s body cannot enjoy the nourishment coming from it. Because he chose his body, it was cursed to go back to the ground to where it came from and therefore, cannot enter heaven (Gen. 3:19). Just like 1 Corinthians 15:50 is saying:
“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.”
After these, all that man can do is to obey the desire of his flesh for he cannot access his spirit. Man cannot do good for his good nature (spirit) is dead. All he does are evil works.He became Earth bound for all he has is his earthly nature. He became a natural man and he cannot receive and understand the things from God for his spiritual nature is dead (1 Cor. 2:14). He cannot even breathe life coming from God for he is dead (Eph. 2:1). A dead man cannot breathe let alone do anything.
With this dead state of Man, the work to save him must come from God alone since he can’t do anything for himself. He is dead. Nothing that he do can ever please God (Rom 8:8). This is also the state of Earth mentioned in Genesis 1:2 after Lucifer introduces sin on it. Here, Earth is dead, was engulf in darkness and covered with water until the Spirit of God moves (quickens) it. Then God began to extinguish darkness on it by giving light (Gen. 1:2). Earth was then fully restored (Gen. 2:1). This is what God will also do to Man. What happened to man and what God will do to saved us was actually summarized in 1 Corinthians 15:45-49:
“And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.”
The first man here symbolizes our body which is earthly and the second man symbolizes our spirit which is heavenly. Adam symbolizes our corrupt body while our Lord Jesus Christ symbolizes our spirit. Though we are born earthy, we shall bear the image of the heavenly. Though we are born through Adam, we shall bear the image of our Lord. First is the natural nature and afterward is the spiritual nature (1 Cor. 15:46).
In order for us to be alive and bear the heavenly nature, we need to be quickened by God (Eph. 2:1, Rom. 8:11). Quicken here came from the Greek word “zōopoieō” that means “to give life or to make alive”. And God can only give life to us by giving His Spirit which is Life and the Tree of Life (John 6:63). We need to be born-again (John 3:7). “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (John 3:6)”. We need to possess the Tree of Life.
THE EVIDENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT BAPTISM
The first evidence that you have been quickened or baptized by the Spirit of God is that, you are experiencing conflict within you just like what Paul had experience in Roman 7:15-20:
“For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.”
Here we can read that there is conflict within Paul. There is the introduction of the “the good that I would do” here. This desire of doing good cannot be present in a person who is not born-again. Just like what is written in 1 Corinthians 2:14, a dead person cannot recognize goodness for recognizing goodness is only a function of the spirit. But Paul here has the desire to do good. This means that Paul’s spirit has been quickened. His spirit was made alive. He was born-again. That’s why there is already the presence of conflict within him.
Something now is in conflict with the will of his flesh. Something now is resisting his evil nature. Something now wanted to do good. Something now is aiming for heavenly things. You can only find this internal conflict to people who had been born-again. That’s why this internal conflict is actually the evidence of a Holy Spirit baptism. This we can read in Galatians 5:17:
“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
The motive of the flesh is earthly because it came from earth; the intention of the spirit is heavenly because it came from heaven. Your quickened spirit cannot sin since it is the spirit of God (1 John 3:9). While your flesh is sinful because sin dwells in it (Rom. 7:18). These two are opposites that’s why a person cannot avoid constant conflicts within him/her “so that ye cannot do the things that ye would (Gal. 5:17)”.
An on-going war is happening within every born-again Christian due to these two opposing natures. The flesh wanted to destroy the spirit and the spirit wanted to destroy the flesh. These two natures are also known as “the White Wolf and the Black Wolf” fighting within us. Which one will win between these two depends on which one is stronger. Which one is stronger depends on which one we often feed. If you often feed the desires of the flesh, it will have greater influence to your soul. The evil nature will be mostly seen in you as written in Galatians 6:8:
“For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”
Believers who are newly born-again will experience high and lows in their walk with God. They may often times fail or sometimes succeed in doing good because of this internal conflict. They may feel frustrated during this stage because they can’t completely do the good that they desired to do and they may often see that they are failing in doing God’s will. But this is only natural. This is due to the fact that their spirit is just newly born-again and therefore, still an “infant” compared to their fully develop evil nature (flesh) which is long been existing in them. The one which will often win in this battle is of course, the flesh. But all they need to do is to strengthen their spirit by feeding it with the Spirit which is the Word of God (John 6:63, Matt. 4:4) so that it will grow and will become stronger than the flesh.
THE MORTAL SWALLOWED BY THE IMMORTAL
If we regularly feed our spirit by the Word, one day, we will be full of It (Acts 13:52, Eph. 5:18). We will be full of Christ (Eph. 4:13). When this happens, then our spirit (heavenly nature, white wolf) will swallow our flesh (earthly nature, evil nature, black wolf). The flesh which is corruptible will become incorruptible just like what is written in 1 Corinthians 15:53-54:
“For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.”
There will be no more death, for your body will no longer go back to the ground. It can now enter heaven. You will no longer have an evil nature because that nature has been swallowed by your heavenly nature. What you have now is only your good nature which is incorruptible and immortal. This glorified state is literally the fusion of your body and spirit. This is the moment where “heaven kissed the Earth.” The same with our body and our spirit, one day, heaven and earth will also fuse. Swallowing all the corruptions on Earth, making Earth eternal (Rev. 21:1).
Let us all therefore continue pursuing spiritual things!
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