Some Thoughts On The Topic of Self-Deception

Following up on yesterdays “quote of the day” I found it intriguing not only from a philosophical perspective (while self-deception is a real phenomenon that all philosophers must deal with) but from a Biblical perspective. What is the Biblical explanation for why self-deception occurs? At this point I can get into a lengthy epistemological explanation that won’t matter outside of the philosophical context but interestingly Paul the apostle shares some insight into the matter. He writes to the Church of Rome:

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.”

In short, the first step in the process of self-deception is to suppress the truth which God had revealed through “natural revelation” or things we come to understand by looking at the natural world. Paul even explains for us just some of the important things that we learn from nature like God’s attributes, And because of this the natural man is without an excuse. She / he knows the God of creation but works over time to suppress the truth about Him. The end result is futility in thought, their hearts were darkened, in short they became fools (describing a person who is dense not using God’s reason as he has given it). Like all Bible passages we can say that this is rich with insight. The bottom line is when the natural man refuses God’s wisdom he inevitably replaces it with something else. Hence the quote from yesterday by Demosthenes, “The easiest thing of all, is to deceive one’s self; for what a man wishes he generally believes to be true”. Random thought for the day 🙂


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