Lesson 9 - The Nature of Man


Before we can understand the problem of relapse, we need to understand the nature of man. The concept of the “temple structure” of man uses a diagram with a series of concentric circles to illustrate the nature of man. The innermost circle represents the spirit or the core of man. The second area or circle houses the soul. The soul is made up of three sub-areas known as the mind, the will, and the emotions. The outermost circle represents the body. The heart refers to the whole of a person’s being—both the spirit and the soul. See The Psychological Makeup of Man, Appendix 1 and The Structure of Man, Appendix 2.

Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it springs the issues of life.

Romans 10:10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

The Bible declares that all decisions are settled in the heart. However, the cognitive or thinking process is completed in our brain; scripturally, this is known as our soul. The books of Proverbs and Romans declare that we should guard our hearts with all diligence because that is where the decisions of life and salvation are made.

Matthew 15:18-19 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?

The matter of sin begins with and in our heart. Though the attitude of relapse manifests itself in many ways, it always begins in the heart and spreads to our thoughts, words, and actions.

Psalms 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.

Psalms 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.

We are by nature sinners. We didn’t have to be taught or trained to sin; sin is habitual for us. We are all trained to react and respond with the world’s reactions. As sinners, it was molded at birth; we are patterned after the first sinners— Adam and Eve (Ephesians 2:1-3).

In the book of Job, God asks the all-important question, Job 14:4, “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? No one!” Our minds and hearts have been skewed or scarred in their thinking and decision-making patterns since the fall of mankind. We are powerless in and of ourselves to change that. Since Adam, the prototype of man, was scarred when he fell into sin, all men patterned after him have been scarred ever since. Genesis 5:1-3, “This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created. And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.”