What does Paul mean when he writes of the natural man?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.

Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
In 1 Corinthians 2:6-16, the natural man is compared to the spiritual man and the carnal man. Verse 14 says, "A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness...

July 01 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Image Thomas K M A retired Defence Scientist from Indian Defence R&D Orgn.
There is the spiritual man who is positionally related to Christ through justification and experientially controlled by the Holy Spirit. The spiritual person bears the “fruit of the Spirit” which is pleasing to God and is what we are made for, Galatians 5:22-23. Spirituality is an absolute. Only those who have experienced new birth can be spiritual. One who is justified is either spiritual or carnal. A spiritual man lives in light. He is in the heavenliness. He is in a world of righteousness and he is in the mind of Christ.

There is the carnal man, or “man of the flesh” who is positionally related to Christ but experientially is controlled by himself. This person produces nothing that is pleasing to God, and lives like the natural man lives. This, as spirituality, is an absolute. A believer is either carnal or spiritual. 

Both the spiritual man and “men of the flesh” are related to Christ. The man of the flesh controls his own life. The natural man lives in darkness, lives in this world under the deception of human thinking. He is in the lusting of flesh and under the pride of life

July 02 2014 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Nils 1 Nils Jansma Missionary in San Diego California
Interestingly enough, the Holy Spirit through Paul, describes an aspect of human behavior that science has only discovered in relatively modern times. Though I do not recommend Signumd Freud (1856 – 1939) as a model to follow, I am very interested in the fact that he established, through interviewing countless people, that the human personality is made up of three identifiable natures, the id, the ego, and the super ego. This finding identifies well with Paul’s words at 1 Thessalonians 5:23 where he speaks of the body, soul, and spirit of man.

Others have made the correlation of what Paul said by identifying the id with the natural man (body) or what is called by some, humanity’s animal nature. The ego is associated with the soul of man (the “you” in your mind), and the super ego with the spirit of man. If you examine Paul’s words in Romans 7:14-25, you will find some remarkable correlations with what we now think we know about our own personalities. 

In his description of the dichotomy within his basic nature, Paul says “For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Romans 7:15) He is talking as if he were two different people. Who might they be? In modern terms, the “want to do person” is Paul’s soul (ego) nature. That is who he is in his mind (Romans 7:23). This contrasts with his “hate” to do person who apparently is his “body (id)” nature or natural man.

Where did his “body” nature come from if it appears to be such a recognizable enemy of Paul himself? One opinion is, that the body nature is what developed in Adam and Eve immediately after eating of the forbidden fruit (FF). The FF actually changed their body chemistry which affected their personalities genetically. It gave them selfish survival instincts. 

This sounds reasonable because the very first thing they did after eating the FF was to become consciously aware of their bodily needs with regard to their own nakedness. (Genesis 3:7) This change was actually God’s blessing through them, to give humanity a better chance of survival without Him. You can even see that selfish instinct manifest in almost every normal baby where at first, everything is me, me, me. Good parents spend as much time an energy as necessary to quell that natural selfishness they see inherent in their children. 

What about Paul’s spirit (super ego). He describes this aspect of his personality as being “my inner being [where] I delight in God's law.” (Romans 7:22) There are many who actually believe that our spirits are already heavenly and are waging a constant war with our bodies (natural man) to the death, if we are in Christ. (Romans 8:10)

So, according to this analysis, the “natural man” to which Paul was referring is our selfish bodily (id) nature inherited from Adam and Eve after they ate of the forbidden fruit. Before they ate of the fruit, they apparently were not personally selfish and depended upon God for all their needs. If they had continued in that unselfish frame of mind without God, it would appear that their survival potential would have been close to zero. Before the fall, they were innocent as doves. After the fall, they were as wise as serpents. (Matthew 10:16)

June 20 2017 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

95 1 Jay Saunders
My natural or unregenerated man was a habitual sinner without remorse or guilt. Sin was pleasurable. I had no understanding of the true cost of my sin.

When I received salvation through Jesus Christ, also called being born again, I realized the cost of my sins were damnation. I felt remorse, guilt and even shame. 

I realized in God's eyes I was a sinner worthy of damnation. I realized even though I was a good guy in my own eyes and in the eyes of others, that actually I had broken every one of God's laws over time one by one.

Deceiving myself that my breaking of God's laws was always justified in my own eyes, I was blind to the truth or ignored the truth. I was worldly wise in my own eyes, thinking that all my good doing would outweigh all my wrongful ways. I thought myself wise but that wisdom blinded me to the truth: that the creator of heaven, earth and mankind was good and no evil was possible of him.

But when I became a real man though salvation my eyes were opened. I realized that the emptiness I felt about life was caused by my lack of relationship with my God and creator.

When I was a child, I thought as a child; when I became a man, I put away foolish things. To put it another way, when I was a sinner, I thought as a sinner; but when I became righteous through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, I was made aware, whole and clean of my chronic sinful behaviors.

My eyes were opened spirituality. I realized that God's word was truth and my reasoning had to change by the renewing of my mind by God's word that it was truth. That my way of reasoning had to change to the creator's views of truth.

As I read God's truth it made me clean. It proved to me that my reasoning of truth was false and deceitful. That his ways had to become my ways and his thoughts had to become my thoughts of right and wrong.

His word began a process that is ongoing called sanctification, and that process will be concluded at my death through faith in Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of God, who was a manifestation of God made into a sinless man.

And that that sinless man took on himself my sins and the sins of all who might call him Lord. Because without this confession of faith in him their is no salvation for any member of mankind.

Jesus Christ must become your Lord. But that can not happen until you believe that Jesus Christ was sent to save any member of mankind that might believe that Jesus Christ was and is the only way to salvation, the resurrection, eternal life and heaven.

Jesus is the only one who can pardon us from the judgement and wrath of God that we all deserve. Jesus is the only way to the Father. He is the door, the truth, the light and the only true way to eternal life.

The word of God is Jesus. Jesus was God dwelling among man for a short time clothed in the flesh of a man, but without sin because God can not sin. God is perfect in all of his ways.

Only through Christ can the natural man be put off by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Only through salvation can this be accomplished. You must be born again. John 3 1-16 

Jesus declared it so and he was not a man that he could lie to us. He was God and God can not lie. For he that knew no sin became sin for us and he was Jesus. An earthly manifestation of God clothed in flesh.

This is the true sci-fi adventure that is truth not made of man's wonderful gift of imagination that many wonderful creations are generated from before conception.

We are made in the image of our God who is a creator, and we, being, made in his image, have the power to create also. Just another proof of his divinity.

The natural man and all his ways must die and be repented of until full sanctification and regeneration can be fully accomplished through our death.

Then we will be complete and fully like our creator intended us to be. Fully the sons and daughters of God our heavenly Father and creator.

You are not a accident of science. You were engineered by the Creator of all good

June 30 2019 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Add your Answer

All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.

What makes a good answer? ▼

A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.

  1. Adhere to the eBible Statement of Faith.
  2. Your answer should be complete and stand-alone.
  3. Include supporting arguments, and scripture references if possible. Seek to answer the "why".
  4. Adhere to a proper tone and spirit of love and understanding.
  5. For more info see The Complete Guide to eBible
  1. 4000 characters remaining