The Golden Rule and the Failure to reach its standards; A downward slope to self-destruction; Is there any hope for the individual, the world and Mankind in general?

Before I continue with Bavinck, I want to say something very simple. God is pure love and He wants us to love our neighbour.  We are in fact commanded to love our neighbour.  This is not something only found in the Christian religion. It is found in every major religion on planet earth and it is known as the Golden Rule;

                12 “In everything, therefore, [a]treat people the same way you want [b]them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 712 NASB

Sometimes you will hear it as ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’

Here are two places I found on the internet!

This Wiki looks at a lot of religions on the Golden rule;


Or if you want it just as a list of sayings try this from the Norman Rockwell Museum;


Having looked at the evidence we can see that this idea of the Golden rule is universally accepted all over the world covering many eons of time over many millennia.


This universal truth is also found in the Bible.  So, who is my neighbour;

The answer is simple: ‘Anyone’

Is he/she heterosexual? Is he/she homosexual? / Is she different? Is he/ she religious or not religious? Is he a Christian/Muslim/ Jew/Hindu/Sikh/ Zoroastrian/ Atheist/ German/ French/Italian/ English/Greek/American/Latino/Turk/black/ female/ man /murderer/thief/drunkard/ Homeless/Enemy?/ordinary people/the sick/ People who don’t agree with your philosophy of living.

It is a straightforward answer; we are to love anyone.  In the real world this high ideal loses its face many times and we become judgemental that somehow, we are superior to other people in some way.  The basics are very simple.  So, what is the root cause of us turning our back on our neighbour and giving priority to ourselves. Obviously, there is evil in the world that makes us want to satisfy our selfish desires at the expense of others.  Everybody up to a certain extent think about themselves first. In some philosophies such as Darwin, we start from our base instincts and are working towards perfection.  This is how a lot of the world and philosophies sees it. 

What if the logic went in the opposite direction?

We had a perfect start and we were completely human but over time we continued to learn, and do more evil things become more corrupted?

Let’s think about it as humans from the vantage point of the macro level:  We have destroyed a lot of animals; ruined rivers; poisoned whole eco-systems; Murdered many humans over time through war and genocides; created atomic weapons; Have the ability to split the earth in two if we so chose. 

The micro level as individuals is not much better; Over use of electricity through the consumption of fossil fuels; Alcoholism and the destruction of a safe environment for children to grow up in; The use of drugs for highs and the ensuing hurt on friends and family members including oneself in the long run; Murder so that one can get richer; the over use of plastic goods made from hydro-carbons; Forcing your will to get that miracle job even though the person one walked over was better at it than you.

The list can go on, but you get the hint.  What is it that makes us humans to be like this? These are questions we all need to look at whether we are Christians or not. My friends I am offering you a rational explanation and it stems from the Fall that we have looked at.  From those first easy sins we have moved on to x rated sins of complete destruction of ourselves and our world.  Where does this come from and what type of evil and sins is the root of all this destruction? 

I feel that Herman Bavinck in his Ethics written over a century years ago and rediscovered in the 1980s gives us a detailed explanation of a lot of these sins.  He gives us the root and where these roots come from.  This is a theological journey into ethics, and I hope that you will want to follow me; not into destruction but through to the salvific way! (way of salvation but there are many chapters still to traverse)


Sin is something that affects every human being on the planet. From what I have already said I think you agree with me because the evidence on the internet makes it irrefutable.  Don’t just blame the big corporations we as individuals must also take some of this blame and we need to repent and seek God’s help in all of this.


Herman Bavinck; Ethics Chapter 3; ‘The Self against the neighbour and God’

I am going to begin looking at this chapter by quoting his paragraph on;

 $10. ‘SINS OF EGOISM IN THE NARROW SENSE’ (Bavinck; Ethics; pages 118 – 119; translated by John Bolt)

“Sins of egoism are those sins which people use creation, God’s gifts, and the world to serve themselves. They are especially (but not exclusively) those sins that were at one time called ‘sins against oneself’ when people are not satisfied with themselves and are impoverished because of sin, they seek satisfaction in creatures, in God’s gifts. They surrender themselves to the world and take the world for themselves. Here we will differentiate between sensual and spiritual sins.” (From Bavinck; Ethics; page 119; translated by John Bolt)

As he said there are sensual sins and spiritual sins.  So, let us make a list from these

Sensual sins

a.        Sins involving food (preoccupation with food)

b.       Alcoholism

1.       Sins of inertia

a.       Laziness

2.       Sins that take pleasure form

a.       Self love

b.       Instability /inconstancy

B. Spiritual sins list

                a. The love of money

                b. Sins of abuse of words (language)


This list is very interesting as it lays the groundwork for links to the 10 commandments in the same chapter late on.

We will now look at this list in more detail and take snippet from Bavinck to get a taste of what he wants to say;


Sensual Sin

 Sins involving food (preoccupation with food); Alcoholism

Sins of inertia; Laziness; Sins that take pleasure form; Self-love; Instability /inconstancy

B. Spiritual sins list

a. The love of money; b. Sins of abuse of words (language)


So, Bavinck says that sensual sins at their core have pleasure; James 41; 2 Timothy 34.

He then talks about different races and milieu when these sins were committed.

In his first example of this type of sin is the idea that some people are preoccupied with food.  That eating in life becomes the main purpose.  One will even shift the time on a particular day so one can eat even for longer. The sins start in a small way by a taste for a particular food and this can lead on to food cravings.  If this sin is not stopped it leads to gluttony; carousing.  Bavinck then looks at the scriptural evidence of these sins.  These are not in the same order as in Bavincks Ethics (page 120) as I want to keep them in some sort of order.  Bavinck’s understanding is very deep on this page and he shows in depth understanding even from Latin history with the Romans. Bavincks footnotes are amazing to read but I want to stick to his main message.

In the New Testament, Apocrypha and the Old Testament we find much evidence against these sensual sins.  The apocrypha is in between to the two sections of the Bible and is about a 400 year time span.

Luke 16:19;

This is the story of Lazarus.  The rich was enjoying himself in this life while Lazarus was being comforted with dogs licking his sores.

19 “Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day. Luke 16:19

This is about judgement; that the time of judgement is coming for those who practice these sins;

Luke 21:3030 as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near. Luke 21:30


We mentioned carousing earlier in this writing and here it is again linked to the sensual sins;

Roman13 Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. Romans 13:13s 13:13


Romans 16:18;

Who is Lord in the persons life? Sensual sins can be gods in a persons life.

18 For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. Romans 16:18

Galatians 5:21

Drunkenness and carousing are under the remit of sensual sins.

21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:21

Philippians 3:19

More on sensual sins here:

19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. Philippians 3:19


1 Peter 4:3

According to St Peter, Gentiles have drunk deep of sensual sins.

3 For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. 1 Peter 4:3


I think the next sections are very graphic about sensual sins.

Proverbs 23; 20-21

20 Do not be with heavy drinkers of wine,
Or with gluttonous eaters of meat;
21 For the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty,
And drowsiness will clothe one with rags. Proverbs 23:20-21

Proverbs 28;7

7 He who keeps the law is a discerning son,
But he who is a companion of gluttons humiliates his father. Proverbs 28:7

(NASB from Olive Tree Bible software)

This book is from the apocrypha.  This is the set of books between the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Sir 31:21-22 and 37:29-31(This is part of the Orthodox Bible but not Protestants)

21 But if you do get a stomach ache from eating too much, go off and vomit[d] and you will feel better. 22 My child, if you listen to what I am saying and put it into practice, one of these days you will thank me for it. Be moderate[e] in everything you do, and you will never get sick.


29 Don’t feel that you just have to have all sorts of fancy food, and don’t be a glutton over any food.30 If you eat too much, you’ll get sick; if you do it all the time, you’ll always have stomach trouble.31 Gluttony has been the death of many people. Avoid it and live longer.

Taken from Bible Gateway Good News Bible;


In the next section we will look at alcoholism in more detail as part of the whole package on sensual sins.  Most men have had an alcoholic beverage including me.  When alcohol is misused on a regular basis it has dire consequences for the person involved, for the wife and family and it is expensive for the State as more taxation is used to remedy the illnesses that come from alcohol.

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