The paradox of being a human being

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Monday 21 September 2009

Last night the minister of my church gave a sermon on the duality of human kind. He based it on a number of things including the tenth commandment about coveting, chapter 7 of the book Romans, and most interestingly on “The Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde”.

For those who haven’t read the latter, the book describes the predicament of Dr Jekyll, a fine upstanding member of society, a doctor, who is both good and moral. However Dr Jekyll has something to hide – namely Mr Hyde, his alter ego who comes out only when he drinks a particular potion. Apart from being his hidden personality, Mr Hyde is also quite hideous - a murderer, thief, and general low-life who Dr Jekyll basically wishes didn’t exist. But no matter how hard he tries, Mr Hyde cannot be excised – he is the beast within. While listening to the sermon, it reminded me of this quote below that I read in a book by an English man named John Stott:

    "Human beings are a strange and tragic paradox ... we are able to think, choose, create, love and worship; but we are also able to hate, covet, fight and kill ... we are both noble and ignoble, both rational and irrational, both moral and immoral, both creative and destructive, both loving and selfish, both God-like and bestial"
I love this quote because, like the book about Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, it recognises both our dignity and depravity. The bible however, and in particular, chapter 7 of the book of Romans recognizes that despite the best effort of our wills, we will never live up to even our own standards:
    “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate … For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.”
But Christians believe that our Mr Hyde’s are not dealt with by becoming more like Dr Jekyll, or by hiding our Mr Hydes’s, but only by leaving both justice and mercy to someone outside of ourselves, namely the person of Jesus Christ.

If none of this makes sense to you, then feel free to rubbish it (or me), in the comments, (as I’d appreciate the feedback, good or bad), or email me (my email is under the contact tab above).

Otherwise here ends my rant and rave for the day, and probably my most preachy blog post yet.


Mandy said...

Thanks for the summary! I'm hanging out to listen to it when I get back from NZ - was sad to miss it!

Bird of Paradise said...

Apparently as a child dr jekyll was kind on in between

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