This is a reprint of a previous article.
Oxford English Dictionary has nearly three pages on the word "natural."
A natural person is "one who is morally in a state of nature, in a
purely natural condition, not altered or improved in any way." Natural
matters are things "having their basis in the natural world or in the
usual course of nature."
things take "place in conformity with the ordinary course of nature;
not unusual, marvelous, or miraculous." People living in a state of
nature are those "without spiritual enlightenment; unenlightened;
unregenerate." These people have a natural inclination or disposition
to follow their own appetites. Natural events or things have "a real or
physical existence, as opposed to what is spiritual, and pertain to or
operate or take place in the physical (as opposed to the spiritual)
This is an enormously
important concept in understanding scripture. It begins in Genesis with
a description of the creation of Adam and Eve, born, as it were, into a
spiritual state constantly in God's presence, and descending into a
natural, unregenerate state, cut off from the presence of God.
"genesis" and "natural" have the same root, which means to beget, or
give birth. This root is the parent of numerous words such as progeny,
kin, nature, kind (both kinds), pregnant, congenital, innate,
indigenous, nation, genius, benign, malign, generate, degenerate,
germinate and genealogy.
all of scripture is the idea that we are fallen creatures, of the earth
("therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden to till
the ground from whence he was taken." Genesis 3:23); in a natural
state, but with an obligation to overcome the natural state and
reconnect with God through spiritual understanding that is simply not
available to the natural, unregenerate mind.
taught, "the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God:
for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them because
they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14).
adds that we should "beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy
and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments (the
imperfect beginnings or foundations of a material or an immaterial
thing) of the world, and not after Christ" (Colossians 2:8).
an indispensable component of salvation is to exercise our agency to
yield "to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and (put) off the natural
man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and
becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love,
willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict
upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father" (Mosiah 3:19).