Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for tuning in. In today’s program, we continue our series of classics from the Search the Scriptures Daily archives with the late Dave Hunt and TBC executive director Tom McMahon, originally broadcast in 2005 and part of the collection of programs based on Dave’s book Beyond Seduction. And now, along with Dave Hunt, here’s Tom McMahon.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him. Our topic for discussion in this segment of our program is, and has been for the last few weeks, what the Bible has to say about self in contrast to teachings about self promoted in the world, and, to a large degree, in professing Christianity. Self is the solution to all humanity’s problems according to the so-called wisdom of psychology. It is the key to fulfilling human potential - that without a good self-image or loving one’s self adequately, humans will never improve their status or situation in life. On the other hand, the Bible says that self is mankind’s problem, and gives a prophetic warning about it in 2 Timothy:3:1,2: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves….” That says it pretty clearly, doesn’t it, Dave? I think anybody could look around and see that’s where we are today.
Dave: On the other hand, Tom, a person could say, “Well, haven’t human beings always been narcissistic lovers of self?” So, yes, that is true, but today it’s gone beyond that. It’s no longer looked upon as wrong, but it’s a virtue.
Tom: Right, it’s a solution to mankind’s problems. When was that ever taught in the history of man, except for these last couple of generations?
Dave: Certainly not taught in the Bible. We even have courses - not only in the secular world but in the Christian church, as well - about loving ourselves; we have to learn to love ourselves. We even have seminars about it, and Christian psychology teaches that; and, I suppose, millions of people believe this deadly lie. It’s tragic. And it isn’t good, according to the Bible, because it will create some serious problems, and you get a list of them there in 2 Timothy 3. As you read through them, it sounds like our world today without a doubt.
Tom: Right. Dave, we’ve said we’re just indicating we believe what the Scripture says about self, and in that, what does the Scripture tell us about the origins of self: what it is and how it got started?
Dave: The Bible indicates that self had its awful birth in the Garden of Eden. I don’t think you could come to any other conclusion. It must have been a wonderful relationship Adam and Eve had: the love, patience, kindness, goodness, selflessness of God shining out of each of them toward the other. And then the serpent pointed out to Eve that she could get something for herself. If she would only eat of that tree that God told her not to eat of, she could become a little god herself: one of the gods - that’s what the Bible says - that was the promise; and she would know good and evil. And I’m sure she looked at the tree; it was beautiful to look at, it would taste delicious, and it would make her wise - everything that she wanted for herself. She didn’t consult Adam; she trampled on his rights. She deliberately disobeyed the God who had created her and put her in the garden.
And, Tom, interestingly enough, you see the same temptation was presented to Christ in the temptation in the wilderness that we read of in the gospels. And then John, in [1 John 2], he summarizes it; he says, “All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” And so you see that very clearly, the lust of the flesh. Satan said to Jesus, “You haven’t eaten in a long time. If you are the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” The lust of the flesh.
To Eve, Satan said, “Look at this tree. I mean, it’s good for food; it would be really delicious.” The lust of the eye. Satan took Jesus up on a high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world. It tells us in Genesis 3 that Eve looked upon it. It was good to look at; it was pleasant to the eye.
And then the pride of life. Satan took Jesus up on the pinnacle of the temple: “Cast yourself down and the angels will catch you; isn’t that what the Scripture says? “They’ll bear you up lest you dash your foot against the stone. The Jews watching this will be enthralled; you will be elevated in their eyesight; they will hail you as the Messiah.”
Jesus said, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God.” Yes, it was a promise that He would take care of Him; He knew that. But you don’t throw yourself off of a high building or off of a cliff in order to get God to prove Himself. That’s like closing your eyes and walking across a busy street. Then the pride of life for Eve that would make her a little god - so there it is.
Tom: Mm-hmm. Dave, as astonishing as that is, I think it’s even more astonishing that this had its beginnings in heaven! You know, you certainly started out by indicating where this was introduced to man, but for it to happen in heaven - wow!
Dave: It’s amazing. Satan knew nothing but the presence of God. We get the impression that he was the choir leader. He was apparently the most beautiful, wisest, most powerful being God ever made, next to Himself, and that was not enough for Satan. And in his heart, in the very presence of God, was conceived the ambition to become like God: “I will be like the Most High.”
Now, Tom, I often facetiously say it: Satan was not raised in a dysfunctional family; he was not abused as a child. It wasn’t that he didn’t get enough Christmas presents, or he didn’t have as many toys as the neighbor boys. So this is what Christian psychology would say today: it goes back to your childhood. You have been deprived; you’ve been abused; you’ve suffered. Eve was not abused as a child, certainly; did not grow up in a dysfunctional family. So these are excuses, and any time you trust - anyone listening to my voice out there - you have been deceived into believing some excuse for wrong behavior that does not fit Satan or does not fit Eve, you have been deceived.
Tom: Mm-hmm. Dave, let me read from Ezekiel:28:12-15; it says, “Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty [speaking about Lucifer]. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God…. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth….perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” Wow!
Tom: Mystery of iniquity?
Dave: …teaches us a lot - “perfect in thy ways.” And when God created Adam and Eve, when He created this universe, He said, “It is good.” Then where did sin come from? And there is no other explanation: it came from self. Why self? Because we had to recognize ourselves as being separate and distinct from other beings. We had to have moral responsibility. We had to have the power of choice, or we could not love God. We couldn’t really worship God. You know, we’ve talked a little bit about Islam in the past. That is one of the differences with Islam. In Islam, you don’t even have to believe; all you have to do is confess there’s no God but Allah [and] Muhammad is his messenger, or you get your head cut off. But you don’t even have to believe it in your heart, and you can go back and study Islam and there are plenty of people who didn’t believe. In fact, you can’t force someone to believe what they don’t want to believe, but you can force them to pretend like they believe it.
Now, the God of the Bible does not want that. He didn’t want robots; He didn’t want human beings that He would coerce or threaten or force (although He does warn of His judgment that will inevitably fall), but He wants our hearts. And you get that, of course - “that thou shalt confess with thy mouth,” Romans:10:9, “Jesus is Lord, the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God hath raised Him from the dead….” And anyone out there who is interested, get your concordance out, look up the heart, and see what it says about it. It is very interesting. What the Bible says: it is obviously the center of man’s own integrity, where you recognize that you cannot be forced to do something. You’re going to do it volitionally. That’s why bride and groom stand before witnesses and they are asked to say, “Will you take this woman? Will you take this man? Will you promise?”
“I will.” That is the statement from the heart.
And Solomon, speaking for God to each of us, says, “My son, give me thine heart.” Now, Jesus said, “Out of the heart [I think we quoted this last week or the week before] - out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication and so forth.” It’s not what comes in. “Well, we can blame society.”
“Well, it was my upbringing.”
“Well, my father was abusive to my mother, or abusive to me.” You can blame all kinds of things, you know.
Tom: They’re not helpful either, Dave. You know, we don’t want to take in things that are evil.
Dave: You don’t have to take them in; that’s the point. So, very often someone raises the question, “Well, what about a person who grew up in a pagan society? They worshipped idols; they were raised in India, for example, and they were taught to worship various idols in the temple and the sun and the moon and so forth and so on.”
Tom: Or to be worshipped.
Dave: Well, if you were a guru, you have that privilege.
Tom: Thinking about our friend, Rabi Maharaj.
Dave: Right. How could they be accountable? Well, Romans 1-2 tell us [that] every person sees the universe. I remember talking to a guru at a temple in India, and saying, “Look, you claim to be God; did you create this universe?” I don’t remember what he said. Well, I think what he went on to say was, “Well, we all create our own world with our minds.”
I said, “Come on, you’ve got to be kidding.” But there are people, New Agers of course, who literally believe that, and they are trying to make self into a god. I’m sorry, Norman Vincent Peale, Robert Schuller - his chief disciple - that’s basically what they teach: the power of positive thinking, the power of possibility thinking; you can make your world anything you want. Well, it doesn’t work; it doesn’t happen.
The Dalai Lama, who goes around initiating people into Tibetan Tantric Deity Yoga to teach you that you’re a little god, [that] we’re all bodhisattvas and we can all create our universe with our minds, he still has to have an umbrella over his head to keep the rain off. He does use airplanes or helicopters, or whatever, automobiles, as does Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who claims the same thing - tries to teach people to fly. They get a couple of inches off the floor with, you know…
Tom: Reflex muscles.
Dave: Right. So anyway, this was Satan: he is going to be the lord of the universe. And this is basically what the success motivation seminars teach in the business world. And, Tom, it comes from the Garden of Eden. It is all about I, my, me - what I can achieve, control of my life - and it doesn’t work; and furthermore, it is rebellion against God.
Tom: Dave, let’s go back to heaven and Lucifer. Isaiah:14:12-15: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! …Thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; …I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”
But “I will, I will, I will.”
Dave: Tom, it’s the impossible dream. We’ve been talking about it: it doesn’t work. “Oh, you can be anything you want! You can create anything.” Okay, Lucifer said, “I will be like the most High.”
Tom: He’s in the presence of the most High! I mean we can be self-deluded, but I don’t know how - I mean, that takes self-delusion to an incredible height, doesn’t it?
Dave: Well, Tom, it’s all in what he says. How many most High’s can there be? So, on the one hand he acknowledges He’s the most High: “I mean, he’s way beyond me, but I’m going to be like Him.” You can’t have more than one most High. So, what Lucifer did, he really dethroned God, or that was his attempt. “There’s not going to be just one God.” This is an introduction of polytheism, actually - “and there’s not going to be just one Supreme Being, the Creator of all. No, we can all do it! We can all be gods.” That’s India, Tom. I’ve seen it; it is incredible—it is tragic what it has produced. And yet we have so many people - well, I don’t know how many now, but I can remember the hippie days. They were all heading for Goa Beach in India, remember?
Tom: To find themselves.
Dave: Right, to find themselves. They were on drugs, many of them. And then they realized that, “Hey, you can get higher on yoga than you can on drugs. This is more wonderful.” And why you would look to that pitiful country - and I’m not looking down on Indians; they are very intelligent people. They have many wonderful talents. They’re like every other human being; they’re men and women just like everyone else is. But they have believed this lie that they can become gods, and, in fact, they think they are, and you can go to India and see what it has done.
Tom: Dave, you say something that I think is funny - I mean it’s sad, but it’s funny. You say that, “It’s certainly not a negative self-image that was Satan’s downfall, but a very positive one.”
Dave: Yeah, what could be more positive than to say, “I will be like the most High. I will ascend to heaven. You know, I can do everything that God does.” Now, Tom, that arises, of course, from a scientific belief - naturalism - that there is nothing but the physical universe. It denies a Creator. The makings of the universe and whatever holds it together and all the power that there is - it’s all available to all of us because it’s all in the physical universe.
“So, look, God doesn’t have anything on me. I’m going to study this universe; I’m going to learn the secrets of this universe. We’re going to get inside the atom; we’re going to find out what makes it work. You know, we’re going to split the atom. We’re going to use atomic power. We’re going to travel through space. We’re going to be master of our own destiny, because all of these powers are out there available for us.”
Now, that’s basically Mormonism, which, again, comes from the lie that you can be a god. And I think we have quoted it a few times, you remember? Brigham Young said, “I don’t blame Mother Eve for eating the forbidden fruit; that’s how we become gods!” Brigham Young even said, “The devil told the truth!” So what the Bible says is the lie that destroyed the human race - separated us from God - that’s the very foundation of Mormonism. The saying in Mormonism, you know: “As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become.” So, God is just a glorified man, and we can do what He did. And this is the whole idea of science. It’s the ambition of the human race, and it’s contrary to the Word of God, and it really gets us in trouble.
Tom: Yeah. You have a quote here from William Law: “Self-love, self-esteem, and self-seeking are the essence and the pride of life, and the devil, the father of pride, is never absent from these passions, nor without an influence in them, because he introduced them to the human race.” Keep going here: “Every son of Adam is in the service of self regardless of education or position in life until a humility that comes solely from heaven has become his redemption through the in-dwelling Christ.”
Dave: Well, I wouldn’t believe that Jesus died for my sins on the cross unless I believed that I am a sinner. This is the humility that he’s talking about. My eyes are opened and I realize - wow! I am heading for the Lake of Fire; I am heading for eternal separation from God. This is what I have earned by my thoughts, words, and deeds, and this is why the Bible says - Paul writes in Romans, “The wages of sin is death.” You want your wages? You want what you’ve earned with your life? That’s what we’ve earned.
And, Tom, you know, God speaking through Jeremiah said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who could know it?” I’m sure that I don’t know the depths of the evil in my own heart. I may think I am doing okay, but if I could see myself from God’s perspective…if I could - wow! - stand up against His measuring stick, against His standards, I’m way, way, way down. Well, we’re sinners; we’re rebels. So the wages of sin is death, but God wants to forgive us, and He has a way to do it righteously. Christ paid the penalty for our sins. So the gift of God is eternal life. And you read the Bible and look at how often it says, “through Jesus Christ,” “in Christ,” and so forth. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life [it doesn’t leave it there] through Jesus Christ our Lord.” That’s the only way of salvation.
Tom: For some of our listeners that haven’t been aware, in this series on self we have been going through Dave Hunt’s out-of-print book, Beyond Seduction. It’s our hope some time in the future to take the front chapters from this, because there’s some terrific apologetics related to self, related to faith, and so on - make small books out of them, and I think that would really be a blessing, and hopefully we can get that done some time in the future. So don’t call us for it yet, folks, [laughing] we haven’t started that yet.
Dave, I’m picking up on a paragraph here in which you really get on Eve’s case, okay? I mean she was the first one seduced this way. But what you say brought conviction in my own heart about self. Let me read you some of these things. You say, “Eve stifled any concern for what she ought to do. There was no ‘ought’ at all, no regard for duty, moral commitment, or restraint upon her desires.” Now, I’m reading about her, but I’m thinking about me here. “No real concern for anyone but herself, Eve threw out honor and obedience as though she owed nothing to the One who had created and lovingly placed her in this beautiful garden. She trampled loyalty and love and trust in her selfish stampede toward what would today be called ‘self-realization’ or ‘self-actualization.’ Her decision was totally self-centered, and therefore doomed her to guilt and sorrow and death.”
Now, Dave, you say that about her, but who wouldn’t come forward and say, “Hey, that’s about me as well”?
Dave: I’m afraid so, Tom. So there is no hope for us except in Christ. And, of course, it’s not that Jesus just gives us a higher standard or something like that - that’s what some people think: “Oh, He became a great example for us to follow.” No, you can’t follow Him except as He is living within you. So, Paul put it succinctly. He said, “I am crucified with Christ. I accepted His death as my death. That’s the end. I died with Him. Nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life that I now live in this flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” That’s what separates Christianity from every religion out there.
Gary: You’ve been listening to a special edition of Search the Scriptures 24/7 with Dave Hunt and T.A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. The DVD set Beyond Seduction is available from The Berean Call. We offer a wide variety of resources to help you in your study of God’s Word. For a complete list of materials and a free subscription to our monthly newsletter contact us at PO Box 7019 Bend, Oregon 97708. Call us at 800-937-6638, or visit our website at thebereancall.org. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for being here, and we hope you can tune in again next week. Until then, we encourage you to Search the Scriptures 24/7.