THE SOURCE OF OUR CONCEPTS
But we have our own ideas. Where have all our concepts come from? We are buried in the deep, dark tomb of our concepts!
Our concepts are firstly the result of the fall. God’s intention was that the man He had created should partake of the tree of life. This was to be man’s life supply. God warned man not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil; if he did, he would surely die (Gen. 2:17). Man disobeyed and thus fell. He rejected the tree of life and chose the tree of knowledge. This tree of knowledge became a tomb, where man today is still buried.
Culture arose after the fall. Genesis 4:17-24 describes its beginnings in the inventions that were made. Culture is not from the tree of life. Its source is the tomb of knowledge. Our concepts are rooted in our culture. Some are based on our national origins. Some are from the past; others are modern.
Religion, Philosophy, Ethics
Religion, philosophy, and ethics have all influenced our concepts. Religion, especially Judaism, appeals to the Jewish mentality. To the Greek, philosophy is what matters. To the Chinese, ethical behavior is all-important. In fact, all of us have the desire for good behavior deeply rooted in our concepts. The concepts we have taken from religion, philosophy, and ethics are a hindrance to our initial receiving of the Lord and then to our living by Him.
Within all human beings there is the thought of being virtuous. We like to be thought of as kind and generous. We like to have a reputation for being mild-mannered and patient. We like to give the impression that we are pleasant and gracious. Wherever I have been—in many different parts of the world—I have found this same aspiration on the part of the people.
The spiritual seeking of Christians is in this same realm. First they seek for salvation. Then they strive for victory over sin, the world, and the flesh. The only interest of such Christians is in being spiritual.
A BURIAL TOMB
These are the seven layers of the tomb in which we are buried: the fall, culture, religion, philosophy, ethics, individual virtues, and spiritual seeking. The reason it is hard for us to live by Christ is that most of us still remain in this tomb. We have no condemnation for the good things of our culture. We respect religion. We admire philosophical thought. We justify ethics. We appreciate human virtues. We are impressed by people with a spiritual air about them, who are seeking to live a holy life; we do not realize that while they are caring for their spirituality and personal holiness but disregarding the church, they are still buried in the tomb of concepts.
(Life Messages, Vol. 2 (#42-75), Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)