CHRISTIAN LIFE & GROWTH
Product of your Environment
By Tim White
The phrase "product of your environment" is part of a larger argument in sociology/psychology called "nature vs. nurture." This argument has existed for years and was actually the presupposition of the novel, Lord of the Flies, which details how a group of boys who were shipwrecked on an isolated island descend into madness. Free from the nurture, or influence of the environment of the world's moral system, how would their society look guided simply by nature?
The two sides of the nature vs. nurture argument believe that one side has more influence over the outcome of a person's life than the other side. One argument is that people are mostly products of their environment. They are primarily shaped by the brokenness of their parents, teachers and friends, because we, humans, are poor in educating our children to rise above our own brokenness.
The consequences of this teaching is the relieving the guilt and responsibility of our criminals who were raised in the worst of conditions. How can we punish criminals when our society is mostly responsibility for the outcome of his life and his actions?
The other side of the argument is that each life is responsible for his actions because, despite the environment, each person has a choice. For every criminal you can present who was raised in poor environment, another person from the same environment has risen above it and became a productive, caring citizen. Therefore, the nature of the person has the base responsibility of the outcome of a life.
The Bible teaches both, and not an either/or explanation.
Nurture: "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." Deuteronomy 6:5-9.
God has always put responsibility of children upon the parents. Nurture is important. It places the children in the best position to choose the ways of God and living a life of purpose.
Nature: "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." Psalm 51:5.
The Bible also teaches that since Adam's first sin, the rest of us were born sinful and broken. Because of that:
None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes. Romans 3:10-18With such broken natures, we cannot save ourselves. Our choices are flawed and selfish. And having been raised in a broken world by broken parents, we were not given the tools from our environment to find God.
That is where the grace of God comes in. "God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
Because God became one of us through Jesus Christ and lived an unbroken life (Hebrews 4:15), through faith in Him, we have forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7) and spiritual rebirth (John 3:5-7). The new nature of a believer is not only innocent, it is not corruptible (1 Peter 1:23).
So, for the lost world, being a product of their environment is partially true. But the core problem of sin is the broken spirit. Christ restores purity for those who believe in and call upon Him for salvation (Romans 10:9-14).
Image Credit: Purple Stream; "dog & cat"; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Controversial-Issues | Sin-Evil
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Published on 7-26-12