Nature Or Nurture?

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15

Ever since the discovery and the visualization of its chemical construct, of what is now best known as DNA, it has played a prominent role in the understanding of the genetic makeup of man and in the identification of individuals in forensic science. DNA has become a household word.

In DNA’s double-helix it corkscrews its way chemically distributing various traits, in the human DNA world, such as the color of one’s eyes and hair and hundreds of other genetic characteristics. DNA holds the secret of ancestral markers of which every cell is stamped. There are an estimated 20,000-25,000 human protein-coding genes.

We humans can do and understand remarkable things — launch spaceships, build incredibly fast computers, create gorgeous works of art — but our 3.2 billion pieces of DNA may be too much for our minds to fully comprehend in the end. In the course of human progress, it has been far easier to understand the things we make, rather than what makes us.

Fascinating as it is, DNA’s power in the genetic makeup of man can lead one to erroneously conclude that every action and attribute of man is all “in the genes.” This stumbling-block of presumption leads one down a path of seeing human-engineering in which we are only what we are — based on our DNA’s composition. However, being born with chemical markers which destine an individual to have blue eyes and blonde hair is one thing but to also say that DNA’s power also extends to control of the will and fate of man is quite another thing.

Nurture, indeed, plays an even greater role than nature in the makeup of the heart, mind and spirit of man. If this were not the case we would only be mere chemically-programmed robots and not agents of free will. No, God, Who is the Divine Architect of man, designed man to not only have inherent markers from his ancestors which stamped themselves into his makeup but also God designed man with an unique facility to be independent from a cast-molding which deems him only answerable to God for himself.

How the heart, mind and spirit of man is nurtured has every thing to do with the actions and decision-makings of that man. It is then not so much as what is “in the genes” of nature but rather what is in the “genesis” of his nurturing. “Train up a child in the way that he should go…” is a Biblical principle which clearly demonstrates God’s design for human moral development. Nurturing, correct and godly nurturing that is, leads its student to the betterment of his personal makeup. Poor or spiritually unguided nurturing, of course, results in a poor and unguided heart, mind and spirit of a man, Nurturing, therefore, is the prime-mover in the spiritual personality of man while nature is the dominate factor of the physical makeup of man.

Nurturing has far more an influence on the things which truly matter and it is for this reason that God encourages us to “come and reason” with Him and why God chose “preaching to save them which believe.” The Holy Ghost is given us whereby we may be nurtured thereby teaching us the things which pertain unto righteousness. Nature gave us the human vessel — Nurture, godly nurturing, gives us spiritual veracity. The “Who” we are is really seldom about our physical bodies but rather about the state of our heart, mind and spirit.

Once we see the vital action of the Church in the nurturing process we began to place far more value on its contribution to our spiritual welfare and less value on the institutions which cater only to our physical needs. While our physical needs are legitimate, we understand its lower priority in the scheme of things. To be “carnal” is simply the case of reversal of priorities — getting the carcass ahead of the heart.

Physical deformities, can and do, sometimes occur at birth, however, spiritual perversions are not problems inflicted by nature but rather results of improper nurturing. Homosexuality is not some fluke of DNA construct It is a fault of destructive nurturing — this also applies to all perversions of sexual nature. This same principle is applicable to all our “untoward” and “righteous” ways — we are products of not just our genetics but also, and more importantly, of “how” and “what” we have been and taught and believe. It is, therefore, more important, or should be, to concern ourselves with the things which have eternal consequences and not with the things of temporal value — indeed, our eternal soul over our temporary body.

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” Gal. 5:16-17