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BY NATURE, BY NURTURE, BY CHOICE??? PART #1
BY BIRTH OR BY CHOICE?? In an unscientific poll, many people from every walk of life, say that at an early age they were drawn to act out certain modes of conduct. Thus they conclude that they evidently were by birth prone to act out this way, thus they they conclude that it's by genes rather than choice. It is a proven fact that we as human beings are inexplicably prone to do certain things.
This proneness in each of us to act out in certain ways, in ways in which many others around us do not, is evidence (to some) that we all have certain predispositions desires and cravings, which are unalterable. These has been a raging debate in regards to how much of what we do is nature, how much is nurture and how much is by choice. Seeing that there are those who have a proneness to do certain things, and in some cases, to act these things out at an early age, does this mean that they were born that way. Are some people born as serial killers, born addicts, born liars, born gay? etc.
BY NATURE, BY NURTURE, BY CHOICE?--- In July of 1993, the prestigious research journal "Science" published a study by Dean Hamer which claimed that a gene had been discovered, that was possible the cause of gayness.
Not only has it been suggested that a gay gene is responsible for a persons gay tendencies, some say that our genes are responsible for all manner of conduct. For example in certain research literature it has been reported that certain genes, are responsible for alcoholism, drug addiction, risk-taking, sexual promiscuity, infidelity, violence, and other forms of inappropriate behavior.
One study even suggested that people’s political leanings are partially determined by their genes. There is thus a widespread belief that genes determine actions and people behave certain ways because their biochemical makeup compels that behavior. Over the last few years there has been a great deal of debate in regards to how much of who we are, and what we do, is predetermined by our genetic make up.
Kendre Cherry tells us, “The nature versus nurture debate is one of the oldest philosophical issues within psychology. So what exactly is it all about?
Nature refers to all of the genes and hereditary factors that influence who we are – from our physical appearance to our personality characteristics. Nature is what we think of as pre-wiring and is influenced by genetic inheritance and other biological factors.
Nurture refers to all the environmental variables that impact who we are, including our early childhood experiences, how we were raised, our social relationships, and our surrounding culture. Nurture is generally taken as the influence of external factors after conception e.g. the product of exposure, experience and learning on an individual.
Even today, different branches of psychology often take a one versus the other approach. For example, biological psychology tends to stress the importance of genetics and biological influences. Behaviorism, on the other hand, focuses on the impact that the environment has on behavior.
A Closer Look at the Nature vs. Nurture Debate--Do genetic or environmental factors have a greater influence on your behavior? Do inherited traits or life experiences play a greater role in shaping your personality? The nature versus nurture debate is one of the oldest issues in psychology. The debate centers on the relative contributions of genetic inheritance and environmental factors to human development.” What researchers do know is that the interaction between heredity and environment (nature and nurture) jointly determines who we are and what we are.
There is no denying the fact that our genes can affect our health, but how much can we blame our genetic make up when it comes to behavior? Some now claim that our tendency to become a drug addict, serial killer, etc is all determined by our genes.
As one advocate of this theory explains, “We all have the genetic predisposition for addiction because there is an evolutionary advantage to that.
When an animal eats a certain food that it likes, there is an advantage to associating pleasure with that food so that the animal will look for that food in the future. In other words the potential for addiction is hardwired into our brain In 2005 in Hall County, Georgia, Stephen Mobley tried to avoid execution by claiming that his murder of a Domino’s pizza store manager was the result of a mutation in the monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) gene.
We humans are diverse in our likes and dislikes, personalities, talents, and behavioral tendencies. Why? Are various tendencies, including sexual orientation, physically based (usually, but not always, meaning genetically determined)? Do they stem from our environment, the parenting we received, the friends we had, our home life stability or lack of it we experienced? Or are they really only a matter of choice?
On April 14, 2003, the International Human Genome Consortium announced the successful completion of the Human Genome Project—two years ahead of schedule. The one piece of information that never materialized from the Human Genome Project was the identification of the so-called “gay gene.” Research has shown that there is no gay gene, There is no evidence that shows that homosexuality is simply "genetic."
Much more evidence can be provided, through the study of identical twins. The reason being they share the same set of chromosomal patterns. Therefore, if one twin's DNA has a so called homosexual genetic trait, then it is inevitable that both twins will be homosexuals.
However, that is not the case with many twins. When one twin is homosexual, this does not automatically mean that the other twin will be homosexual. Thus, the "gay"-gene theory is, once again, shown to be flawed by using logical, scientific research.
Most scientists will freely admit that they’ve been looking for a gay gene for a long time, and that there simply isn’t one. Yet in spite of this fact, some argue that certain genetic make ups, makes certain individuals more inclined to be gay. To what extent should we take into account genetic pre-dispositions when evaluating and responding to other people’s actions?
According to the California Academy of Sciences, “Science has identified two major influences which affect the person you grow to be: nature (your innate qualities and genetics) and nurture (your personal experiences and environment).
These two factors play a major role in the upbringing of a human, but to what extent does each contribute to how a person behaves? Many remain polarized on how to factor genetics into our actions and reactions, or whether we should take them into account at all. With opportunities to send off your saliva forgenome sequencing, the option to consider genetics when preventing or reacting to behaviors is tempting.
Certain courtrooms are beginning to accept defenses citing biomedical explanations about aggression genes’ and even toddler tantrums can be dealt with differently according to genetic findings. Do we need to consider genetics before judging or responding to somebody?”
As we noted earlier, In an unscientific poll, many people from every walk of life, say that at an early age they were drawn to act out certain modes of conduct. Thus they conclude that they evidently were by birth prone to act out this way, thus they they conclude that it's by genes rather than choice. It is a proven fact that we as human beings are inexplicably prone to do certain things.
This proneness in each of us to act out in certain ways, in ways in which many others around us do not, is evidence (to some) that we all have certain predispositions desires and cravings, which are unalterable. These has been a raging debate in regards to how much of what we do is nature, how much is nurture and how much is by choice.
Seeing that there are those who have a proneness to do certain things, and in some cases, to act these things out at an early age, does this mean that they were born that way. Are some people born as serial killers, born addicts, born liars, born gay? etc.
There are those who are viewed as not being guilty of none of the above. Some from their youth up seem to be inclined to steer clear of sexual misconduct, profanity, abusive behavior, etc. Does this mean that they are born good? According to Christ many in this category by their nature inwardly are selfish, proud, and arrogant. How they really are may be hidden from the eyes of men, but not from the eyes of God.
In fact it was this group more so than any other which most promoted the crucifixion. This group was known as the Pharisees. They pledged themselves to obey and observe all the countless restrictive rules, traditions and ceremonial laws of orthodox Judaism. they considered themselves to be the only true followers of God's laws, and therefore felt that they were much better and holier than anyone else.
They were self-assured, convinced, of their own moral purity and ethical standing. They were so very proud of their perceived moral standing before God and consequently looked down their noses at most everyone else. Christ tells us that the real essence of their thought processes when they prayed was about themselves. (compare)… 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. Lk 18:11-12.
Thus we must ask does this mean that some people are naturally born, selfish, arrogant, and proud???
BY NATURE, BY NURTURE, OR BY CHOICE? God knew in advance that these issues would come up. No one wants us to seriously and honestly think, ponder and consider, our life’s journey more than our divine creator, God almighty.
God is not intimidated by enquiring minds which ask, who am I? what is my origin? What is my purpose? Why am I the way I am? The Bible gives us the answer, according to the Bible, We are born with a proneness to do certain negative actions, because of the fallen sinful nature.
The scriptures explains that we inherited this fallen nature, from the parents of us all, Adam and Eve. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” ( Rom. 5:12). Every human being possesses a sin nature -- a corrupt nature inherited from Adam. The sin nature has a predisposition (automatic tendency) to act contrary to the guidelines of our divine creator. This fallen sin nature manifest in many different ways.
For some it is manifested in drunkenness, others it’s manifested in lying, stealing. For others it is manifested via selfishness, arrogance, and pride. For some it’s manifested in a the tendency to pursue the LGBT lifestyle.
All of us exhibit various combination of these fallen traits. for example a person can be gay, selfish, and arrogant, or they can be a liar, a drunk, and a thief. The possibilities are endless, but they all emanate from a fallen sinful nature.
The problem is not that one is born gay, violent, arrogant or selfish. the real problem stems from the fact that we are all born with a sinful nature. It is a biblical fact that we all are born with a fallen carnal nature, and the Bible tells us from this fallen nature, there are many negative by products.
For example: Does one have to teach a child how to lie, to be bad, manipulative, and disobedient? Definitely not! A child misbehaves because it is within his or her fallen sinful human nature. We sin because we have a sin nature. Every human being possesses a sin nature -- a corrupt nature inherited from Adam. We are not all prone to do the same sins, but we are all prone to sin.
This is what many in the LGBT community refuse to accept. What they call gay by birth the Bible defines as born with a sinful nature which has gay tendencies. The same applies to all the other sinful tendencies. Not only this but the Bible tells us the three categories, that our fallen nature is prone to pursue. These are the things that look good, the things that feel good and the things that (in our mind) makes us look good. The apostle John list these three items.
John tells us, “15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 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. (1 Jn 2:15-16).
1. THE LUST OF THE FLESH-- Is closely linked to the things that feel good to us, such sexual pleasure, pleasure from intoxicants. gluttony aggressively the pleasure of eating.
2. THE LUST OF THE EYES—Also closely linked to the things that look good to us. An abnormal craving and pursuit for the things our eyes see, (COVETOUSNESS) a craving for Possessions, Materialism, even a craving to look with the intent of lusting.
3. THE PRIDE OF LIFE– MY EGO—Being main concerned with the things that makes us look good. An arrogant perception of self, a haughty perception of our deserver-ship. Our worthiness' based on who I am, what I have, and what I know, what I own, what I know, how I look, etc.
These are the three areas where Eve was tempted and stumbled in Eden. These are also the three areas where Satan sought to trip Christ up. Christ was tempted and tried in these three areas in the wilderness temptation. And these are the three areas that our fallen nature is prone to pursue in a negative way.
There are those who say that from a child up they have always sought to be good, to be nice, to avoid all manner of evil conduct. According to the Bible the fallen nature we all inherited, exempts no one, “There is none righteous, no nor one.” Rom 3:10. Christ not only looks at what we do, but He also searches the heart, and sees why we really do what we do.
For example Christ stated that the prayer, fasting, and so called “good works” done by the Pharisees. Was done merely to gain personal accolades and to be seen of men. While Christ was on earth we are told that many believed on Him, yet because Christ knew the true nature of man he dealt with them accordingly. “24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, 25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.” Jn 2:25.
It is in this context that the scriptures makes the following basement of all of humanity. 9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; 10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Rom 3:10-19.
R.C. Sproul tells us, “Good is a relative term. It is defined against some standard. If we establish what that standard is, we can congratulate ourselves and take comfort in our attainment of it. But if God establishes the standard, and His standard includes outward behavior (that our actions conform perfectly to His law) and internal motivation (that all our acts proceed from a heart that loves Him perfectly), then we quickly see that our pretended “goodness” is no goodness at all. We then understand what Augustine was getting at when he said that man’s best works are nothing more than “splendid vices.”
Because of our fallen humanity we cannot act apart from our nature. We can see the sin nature at work even in a child who is not trained in behavior as a child disobeys and is selfish naturally, they do not need to learn this. The Bible says we act on our nature. The Psalmist says Ps.58:3 “the wicked go astray from the womb, they err from their birth speaking lies.
We don't just make up our mind to sin or make a mistake and go from being perfect to being sinful. Eph. 2:3 “and were by nature the children of wrath” The sin nature affects the innermost part our soul, which consequently affects our outward actions. We act out this pron-ness to sin in many ways, but there is no denying the fact that this tendency to sin is in us all.
Of all the many aspects of the fallen nature that each of us is born with, one of the most destructive aspects is carnal pride. At the heart of pride is self worship, self-exaltation, selfish self-esteem, self-satisfaction, and self-centeredness. What makes pride so dangerous is that is blinds us to the reality of the fallen nature that dwells in all of us. Pride leads us to the place of continual rebellion against God. What makes pride such an effective stumbling block stems form the fact that it is not something that is easily recognized or admitted to by most people. The main truth that our inner pride and arrogance hinders us from acknowledging is that we are our own worst enemy.
MY WORST ENEMY IS MY INNER ME---From the moment we are born, we enter into this world with a inner fallen nature, which has a proneness to do the very things that will destroy us. We also are born with a conscience that knows that we should do the right thing. Thus a there is a battle that rages in each of us that we cannot win on our own. This is a battle between what we truly know is right and good, and what a darker part of each of us would prefer to do. To be completely honest for a moment.
We often give the devil credit for a lot of things that we are personally responsible for. The Bible tells us plainly that we are tempted to sin when we are drawn away by our own carnal desires. 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. James 1:14-15.
While we do have supernatural enemies on this earth, they are not the biggest problems that we face. The person we see every day when we gaze into the mirror – that is who we must most fight against. We are our own worst enemy. This is the situation Paul was describing in Romans 7. Paul tells us that he wants to do what is right, but the inner fleshly carnal nature he was born with, wants to do the opposite. The realization of the intense battle Paul found himself in caused him to lament, with this well known statement, "24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Rom 7:24. (There was a time when I asked the same thing).
The apostle Paul noted that even after he had a life changing encounter with Christ. This inner proneness to sin, still tenaciously fought against his desire to do God’s will. Paul explains this situation, he defines it as being a spiritual struggle.
“I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Rom 7:19-24.
Paul acknowledged that he need help in order to be delivered from being dominated by this inner fallen nature. He also noted that through Christ there is help and real deliverance. This...in spite of the inner fallen nature that we are all born with.
Paul reminded the early believers that many of the negative things that had a proneness to pursue from their youth on to adulthood, are the same things Christ set them free from. Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. 1st Cor 6:9-11. (NKJV).
This truth is what infuriates many today, they are convinced that they are who they are and what thy are by birth, therefore the resent the notion that God can deliver them. In fact they take offense at the suggestion that they even need to be delivered.
Some claim that the Bible should be labeled as hate literature and banned, because of verses such as these. We should note that when it comes to sexual misconduct, that the Bible focuses on sexual misconduct in general.
First, there is adultery. Adultery in the natural sense is sexual intercourse of a married person with someone other than his or her own spouse. It is condemned in both the Old and New Testaments (Exodus 20:14; I Cor. 6:9, 10). Christ forbids dwelling upon the thoughts, the free play of one's imagination that leads to adultery (Matthew 5:28). Second, there is fornication, the illicit sex acts of unmarried persons which is likewise forbidden (I Corinthians 5:1; 6:13, 18; Ephesian 5:3).
Then there is homosexuality which likewise is condemned in Scripture. The truth of the matter is every adultery, drunk, thief, etc, could put forth the same argument. They could also say that to include them on this list, constitutes, drunk bashing, adultery bashing, etc. Thus those who quote the Bible on this subject are exhibiting adultery-phobia, drunk-phobia etc.
It's safe to say that the way certain people would describe their tendency to have had certain desires and attractions from a child up/ is something we all can attest to. Just because a person has had a strong attraction to certain things from a child up, does not automatically translate into these desires being right.
The Bible is clear that we were all born slaves to what is known as a SIN NATURE. It is natural for people to sin. (See Genesis 3 and Romans 5 to learn how we inherited this sin nature.) The "I am this way by birth" argument says that if something is natural - that is, a deeply felt desire or attraction - then it is morally acceptable.
However, this argument could be used to show that any desire that feels natural to someone is morally permissible. On these grounds, traits such as selfishness, violence, sexual promiscuity of every persuasion, addictive voyeurism/porn, gluttony, or even laziness, could be justified as natural.
This is obviously a silly argument. All of us have natural desires - even deeply felt ones - that should be resisted or even eliminated because they are unhealthy, harmful, or wicked." Paul noted that due to his fallen nature, there were certain things in him, that he had to by God's help subdue least they subdue him. But I keep control of my body, and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. 1st Cor 9:27. The same holds true for all of us, we all were born with certain carnal desires that must be resisted.
John Stallings explains, "The fact that it's a natural desire isn't a sufficient factor in evaluating the morality of same-sex attraction. I would argue that this calls for an authority beyond us to help us understand which desires are good and which are bad; like say, "The Bible.”
When man sinned in the Garden of Eden, many of mankind's natural drives turned selfish, wicked, harmful, unhealthy, and so on. Further, the fall of man into sin wreaked havoc on the natural order, resulting in birth defects, deformities, diseases, and so forth. So now people are born with serious maladies, deformities, handicaps. Some children contract terminal illnesses and die untimely deaths. Others experience a lifetime of suffering. Some are mentally handicapped or mentally ill.
We come into this world imperfect physically and morally/spiritually. It could be argued that it is not fair that these people suffered such ravages of the natural order. It is not a child's fault that he/she is born deaf or blind. But it is a fact that, marred as our world now is through sin, some people are born with greater challenges, more miserable maladies, and more intense moral challenges than others.
It's possible then, just possible, that the same distorted natural order that produces people who experience chronic pain, or depression, or deformities, or die untimely deaths, or suffer from sexual addiction could produce others with sexual tendencies counter to God's ideal.
Everyone who wants to follow Jesus will have to, by his grace, resist temptation and radically alter certain tendencies. No doubt some are saddled with greater challenges than others to overcome. Sexual temptation is perhaps the hardest to fight, but God's promise is real. He will strengthen us so that we can win over any temptation, and always provide a way of escape. * (I want to thank Dr. Steve Lambert of Spirit Life Magazine for giving me permission to reprint this very insightful and most helpful teaching by John Stallings ).
DESIGNED TO BE CREATURES OF CHOICE-- While it’s true that we had no choice in whether or not to be born with a fallen sinful nature, nor did we have a choice in who how parents would be or how they would raise us, (if they chose to be involved at all). There comes a time when God reaches out to each of us. It is then that we have a choice as to whether or not to remain the same, or to allow Him to change and develop us into who he is calling us to be.
When God breathed life into Adam, he became a living self aware soul. God purposely chose not to not create man as a robot. God endowed man with, 1. Intellect, Thought, imagination, (creativity), 2. Free Choice, (the right and ability to choose), 3. Conscience, the ability to morally grasp one’s conduct, (sensitivity to the voice of God), and 4. Desire, This is the ability to combine the preceding three attributes, and form one’s own truest wants. These qualities are the very essence of that which makes us so unique.
GOD CUT THE STRINGS-- God decided that Adam was not going to be a puppet, so God cut the stings, which would have limited man’s choices and desires, to instinct. By an act of his own will, God decided to give us our own free will. To insure that we would govern ourselves in a morally intelligent manner, he gave us this gift of self awareness, wrapped in intelligence, which would be governed by a conscience.
When God created Adam and Eve, He created them to be creatures of choice. God allowed them to be at liberty to pursue whatever they desired, via their intellect, right to choose, and conscience. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, Gen 1:26. By divine design God created man on a level which bestowed upon him, observant and comprehension skills, which were virtually a parallel image of His (God’s) own. Thus by virtue of our comprehensional and imaginative skills we are literally the image of God. So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (Genesis 1:27). God created us with the ability to exercise our free will in accordance with our moral intelligence. We are designed in such a way, that we can overrule our moral intelligence, and act out as we so choose.
Of all of God’s earthly creatures, it was man alone that God said these words to. 1. You are free to choose, 2. You can eat of all trees but one. 3. If you eat of that tree you will die, Gen 2:16-17. God warned Adam to not eat from the tree of knowledge. God told Adam if he ate from the tree, he would surely die. We can learn much from these verses when it comes to the pursuit of the things we desire.
We should keep the following four things in mind. #1. God gives us good things to enjoy. #2. He gives us instructions, #3. He gives us warnings, and #4. He will punish those who disobey. God gave man free will even if He knew it will cause problems through man's wrong use of it because He also knows the solution to it... Jesus. When God finished making this world on the sixth day, He looked on the whole of His creation and saw that it was all good, including the free will He gave man.
Why did God give us free will then? Wouldn't it have been easier and nicer to create mankind as inherently good robots. Well, God's purpose with mankind is to have eternal fellowship with those who truly love Him. Therefore, to create us as inherently good robots, without the potential for the opposite character, evil, would not allow for true love. For only love that comes from a free choice of the will is TRUE LOVE. Voluntary choice is the key, love isn't genuine if there's no other option. God Almighty has given man the power to make choices regarding his ultimate destiny.
As a free moral agent, man has the awesome responsibility to choose between a hapless, physio-chemical existence with a dead end or a rich and rewarding eternity as a member of God's Family. 15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; 16 In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. 19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: Deut 30:15-19.
Perhaps God allowed me to go through what I went through, and put it in a book, to let you know that there is hope and help for you.. Salvation by way of the new birth is real, but in order to truly obtain real salvation, you have got to pursue after it with everything in you. God has a promise on your life, but this promise can’t be fulfilled unless you want it to be fulfilled more than anything else in this world. And you shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart. Jer 29:13. If you want to desperately know him as bad as I did that night you will find yourself reaching out to God with all that is in you. Coming to God in such a intense level of truth may be scary, because it calls for true Intimacy. It’s scary because it means being open, honest and vulnerable, (Just as Christ had to do, when he laid aside all his power and might, and hung on that cross for you and I).
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