Monday, January 10, 2011

Pornography as "All That is in the World"

What makes pornography so powerful? How is it such a perfect storm of sinful appeal? I believe it is because it combines the trifecta of worldly lusters, what John calls "all that is in the world."

1 John 2:16: For all that is in the world -- the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions -- is not from the Father but is from the world.

This is the same three-part temptation that Eve found so undeniable (in Genesis 3:6).

The Desires of the Flesh
"So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food . . ."

The Desires of the Eyes
"and that it was a delight to the eyes . . ."

Pride in Possessions

"and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate . . ."

Pornography contains original temptation's nucleic acid.

The Desires of the Flesh
Is this not obvious from the sexual lust it arouses and claims to satisfy?

The Desires of the Eyes
Pornography sinks its hooks into the heart through visual appeal.

Pride in Possessions
The spiritual retardation pornography wreaks is complex. Because it exalts self-gratification, use of it is an act of pride. Because it requires more and more of it to gratify, like any drug promising a high, it encourages accumulation. One picture or video scene is enough at the beginning. The further one goes into pornography, the more pictures and scenes he or she needs to reach gratification. And there is a "secret knowledge" factor for men especially, the sense of voyeurism, the solitary exulting in something illicit (like Gollum in his cave with his birthday present, a simultaneous celebration and corruption, delight and degradation), an acquisition of esteem, of power. But it's just smoke and mirrors.

These are the three hooks that grapple.

But there is good news for those wrapped up in the web of all that is in the world! Jesus has been tempted as we are, and he has been perfectly obedient (Matthew 4:1-11). He has resisted this same temptation!

The Desires of the Flesh
And the tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." But he answered, "It is written,
"'Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" (4:3-4)

The Desires of the Eyes
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." Then Jesus said to him, "Be gone, Satan! For it is written,
"'You shall worship the Lord your God
and him only shall you serve.'" (4:8-10)

Pride in Possessions
"If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,
"'He will command his angels concerning you,'
"'On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.'"
Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'" (4:6-7)

Actually, those last two may be interchanged, as the offer of kingdoms is an offer of possessions and the offer to exploit his deity in such a showy manner as hosts of angels in command is as much a love of the sight of such glory as it is pride.

But the bottom line is that Jesus has conquered original sin and therefore "all that is in the world." And he can forgive you for and redeem you from pornography. You know from experience that pornography does not satisfy as it claims; lay hold of the gospel by trusting that Jesus does.


Rob and Mary said...

I like the observation and have not seen that described from the first sin in the garden before.

Pornography, is as well an issue of pride in that the person one looks at, is in some way worshipping the viewer. The viewer has someone willing to please them and there is no work for it. It places oneself on a pedestal that others are to serve. It is as you say the very DNA of the first sin.

My final thought, does not most sin fit into this same DNA?

Are there other DNA's to sin? One pastor I knew attributed all sin to Pride, Unbelief and Selfishness (PUS). Does that concur with the idea of the Flesh, Eyes and the World thought?


Scott Hekman said...

Excellent observations - great tools for identification of the sin in my life and tools for combating them as well. Thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, I had been thinking about the sin in pornography, specifically the pornography depicting sexual acts (a newspaper advertisement could be "pornography" to a person if it arouses his/her lust and that person entertains those thoughts), and it occurred to me that a reason for the appeal of pornography is that, to a certain extent, it is not sin; specifically, sexual acts between a married man and woman are not sin and insofar as pornography shows exactly that, it is not sin (obviously there is homosexual pornography, those scenes showing less than decent acts, and usually the man and woman are not married, but that is beside the point at the moment). The point is that people may be sucked in and ensnared by the realization that what they are watching, in some contexts, is good and fine. What they don't realize (or refuse to realize) is that the public broadcast of such sexual acts for profit/entertainment reasons is sin, and more pertinently, the external heart, soul, and mind relishing the moment of imbibing the scene is lust and sin. The enjoyment itself in lusting and the action of aiding demonic industries by increasing their customer/participant numbers is sin.

rdsmith3 said...


Could you say more about your statement, "Because it exalts self-gratification, use of it is an act of pride."

Couldn't one use the same argument about smoking cigars or watching football on TV (both of which I do, so I'm not pointing the finger at you)?


Ched said...

Thanks for making these connections.

They're helpful and easy to remember.