The Weakness of the Human Will: Part III – Creatures of Pleasure

Of the many characteristics contained in the statement “Let Us make man in Our image”, one of the most profound characteristics is the nature of the pleasure drivenness of man. Unlike any other creature on this earth, mankind is expressed to be one who experience emotions such as Joy, Romance, Treasuring, Cherishing, and so on. All creatures experience pleasure. But not in the same kind of manner that mankind does.

There are differences between ‘kinds’ and ‘degrees’. All dogs are of the same ‘kind’ of animal, but differ in ‘degrees’. Some dogs are black and white, small and fun (like my dog Happy). Other dogs are scruffy, large and elusive, like a wolf. Both are a kind of dog, but they differ in many degrees from one another. But we would not say a bird is the same kind of animal as a dog. A bird is a different kind of animal than a dog. I say all this because I do not want people to have sitting in their minds that humans are just an extension of the Animal Kingdom, who have same ‘kinds’ of desires, they just differ in degrees (i.e., they are more intense). This kind of thinking, which is rampant in today’s psychological world is fraught with error, devalues the worth of man, and ultimately abhors what likeness man was made in and what man was made for, namely, God. The pleasure-drivenness of man is of a different kind than all other earthly creatures: The way and degrees in which we experience joy and pleasure are of a completely different nature than all other earthly creatures. I cannot say anything concerning heavenly creatures because i have no idea and it also doesn’t seem that the bible gives much insight on these things (I could be wrong).

One of the most important things to understand is that Man will always choose what achieves the most pleasurable end in his considerations. I take this concept from Jonathan Edwards understanding of the Will (Works of Jonathan Edwards, Freedom of the Will, pg. 4-12. For any with a ridiculous amount of time and patience, this is a very interesting work. Extremely difficult to understand, and I think I understood about 1/4 of it, at least the part I read), who says basically this but in a more difficult 18th century language. This understanding is highly apparent if one examines the temptation account in Genesis 3 (or even more, their own temptations every day, but more on that later). When man looks at a situation and has to decide, he will always choose that thing or option, after all things in his mind are considered, which appears best to him. I won’t belabor the difficulties in this idea, Mr. Edwards does that quite nicely in his article.

Now, we must thrust ourselves to the Garden of Eden at the scene of the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil to see the importance and impact that the 2 key elements have on humanity. Those two key elements are 1) the Human Will is inherently weak, and 2) Humans are pleasure-seeking beings who will choose what looks best to them (if I may put it so poorly).


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