A Word Study: Higher and Lower Nature

A Word Study: Higher and Lower Nature

Compiled by Georead

Terms used to describe what should be the controlling power:

Higher powers, higher powers of the soul, higher powers of the mind, higher powers of the being, moral powers, nobler powers, conscience and the spiritual powers, mental and spiritual powers, moral and intellectual powers, power of reason, reason, reason and conscience, enlightened conscience, higher faculties, reasoning faculties, moral faculties, nobler faculties, mental and moral faculties, moral and intellectual faculties, faculties of the mind, higher nature, the will sanctified, governing power.

Terms used to describe what should be controlled:

Propensities, lower propensities, animal propensities, passions, lower passions, animal passions, baser passions, base passion, corrupt passions, impulse and passion, appetites and passions, natural appetites and passions, animal appetite and passions, appetite, animal appetite, physical appetites, lower nature, the lower, the body, tendencies of the physical nature, animal lust.

HIGHER POWERS which CONTROL PROPENSITIES

To bring all their propensities under the control of the higher powers. {3T 491.1}

The lower propensities are to be kept under control of the higher powers. {2MCP 377.2}

All animal propensities are to be subjected to the higher powers of the soul. {1MCP 219.1}

Controlling the animal propensities and keeping them in subjection to the moral powers. {Te 146.4}

HIGHER POWERS which CONTROL PASSIONS

It gives to man the mastery of himself, bringing every impulse and passion of the lower nature under the control of the higher powers of the mind. {COL 114.2}

Holding their appetites and passions under control of the higher powers of the mind. {2SP 44.1}

His affections were pure; his appetites and passions were under the control of reason. {PP 45.2}

They can reveal the fact that appetite and passion were kept under the control of the higher powers.  {YI, May 31, 1894 par. 5}

Cultivate the higher powers of the mind, and there will be less strength of growth of the animal. . . your appetite and passions are not under perfect control. {2T 413.2}

If Christians will keep the body in subjection, and bring all their appetites and passions under the control of enlightened conscience. {4T 35.4}

Will they accept Jesus Christ and cooperate with God in bringing under control appetites and passions . . . the rightful dominion of the higher powers and attributes having dominion over the lower.  {20MR 54.1}

The higher powers of the being are to rule. The passions are to be controlled by the will, which is itself to be under the control of God. The kingly power of reason, sanctified by divine grace, is to bear sway in our lives. {MYP 238.2}

Those who have not brought the lower passions into subjection to the higher powers of their being, those who have allowed their minds to flow in a channel of carnal indulgence of the baser passions, Satan is determined to destroy with his temptations. {AH 327.1}

We should teach our children to practice habits of self-denial, that the great battle of life is with self, to restrain the passions, and bring them into subjection to the mental and moral faculties.  {ApM 19.1}

The appetites and passions must be held in subjection to the higher powers of the mind. {DA 101.2}

If permitted, the lower passions will obtain the mastery over the whole being. Christ would have these passions subject to the higher powers of the mind.  {ST, March 1, 1899 par. 7}

Were the minds and bodies of men and women in a healthful condition, were the animal passions subject to the higher powers of the mind. {5MR 396.1}

That the higher, nobler powers of the mind may not be enslaved by the lower passions.  {RH, June 6, 1899 par. 2}

Instead of being held in bondage to the lower nature, they are to rule every appetite and passion. God has not left us to battle with evil in our own finite strength. {Te 112.1}

All circumstances, all appetites and passions, are to be servants to the God-fearing man, not rulers over him. . . He is to rule the animal passions, rather than to be held in the bondage of habit.  {TM 421.1}

The heaven-entrusted faculties of the mind are to be treated as the higher powers, to rule the kingdom of the body. The natural appetites and passions are to be brought under the control of the conscience and the spiritual powers.  {8T 63.2}

The tendencies of the physical nature, unless under the dominion of a higher power, will surely work ruin and death. The body is to be brought into subjection to the higher powers of the being. The passions are to be controlled by the will, which is itself to be under the control of God. The kingly power of reason, sanctified by divine grace, is to bear sway in the life. {PK 488.4}

HIGHER POWERS which CONTROL APPETITES

Their physical appetites under the control of reason and conscience. {MYP 236.3}

The animal appetite strengthened at the expense of the moral and intellectual faculties. These higher powers, which should control, have been growing weaker. {2T 485.2}

The appetite should ever be in subjection to the moral and intellectual powers. {PP 562.1}

HIGHER NATURE which CONTROLS LOWER NATURE

The experimental knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ whom He has sent, transforms man into the image of God. It gives to man the mastery of himself, bringing every impulse and passion of the lower nature under the control of the higher powers of the mind. {COL 114.2}

Satan tempts men to indulgence that will becloud reason and benumb the spiritual perceptions, but Christ teaches us to bring the lower nature into subjection. His whole life was an example of self-denial. In order to break the power of appetite, He suffered in our behalf the severest test that humanity could endure. {DA 149.4}

A noble character is not the result of accident; it is not due to special favors or endowments of Providence. It is the result of self-discipline, of subjection of the lower to the higher nature, of the surrender of self to the service of God and man.  {PK 488.2}

They must take up the warfare against these sinful practices, deny appetite, and keep the lower nature in subjection. Said the great apostle, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”  {RH, February 21, 1888 par. 8}

It is fellowship with Christ, personal contact with a living Saviour, that enables the mind and heart and soul to triumph over the lower nature. {COL 388.1}

Instead of being held in bondage to the lower nature, they are to rule every appetite and passion. {AG 254.4}

PROPENSITIES which CONTROL HIGHER POWERS

It is because the animal propensities have been strengthened by exercise until they have gained the ascendancy over the higher powers. {2T 348.1}

Indulgence of appetite strengthens the animal propensities, giving them the ascendency over the mental and spiritual powers. {RH, January 25, 1881 par. 23}

It has a tendency to lower, to debase the man, to make him more animal in his propensities. The higher powers of the mind are overpowered by the lower. {2T 60.3}

The animal propensities should not be educated and strengthened to rule the whole being.  {SpM 209.1}

PASSIONS which CONTROL HIGHER POWERS

To give the lower passions control over the higher powers of the being. {9T 159.2}

We are built up from that which we eat, and those whose diet is largely composed of animal food are brought into a condition where they allow the lower passions to assume control of the higher powers of the being. {5MR 408.1}

He becomes gross and sensual; the animal passions control the higher powers of the mind, and virtue is not cherished.  {5T 356.2}

But man, through yielding to Satan’s temptations to indulge intemperance, brings the higher faculties in subjection to the animal appetites and passions. {RH, September 8, 1874 par. 2}

Man, through yielding to Satan’s temptations to indulge intemperance, brings the higher faculties in subjection to the animal appetites and passions. {Te 146.1}

How much more should they who are running the Christian race in the hope of immortality and the approval of High Heaven, be willing to deny themselves unhealthy stimulants and indulgences, which degrade the morals, enfeeble the intellect, and bring the higher powers into subjection to the animal appetites and passions.  {4T 34.2}

If permitted, the lower passions will obtain the mastery over the whole being. Christ would have these passions subject to the higher powers of the mind. {ST, March 1, 1899 par. 7}

The lower passions of their nature have taken the reins, and that which should be the governing power has become the servant of corrupt passion. {2T 348.1}

Its higher, nobler faculties are perverted to serve animal lust, and the sacred, eternal interests are not regarded. {4T 44.2}

The higher powers of the mind, designed for elevated purposes, are brought into slavery to the baser passions. {3T 50.3}

The indulgence of unnatural appetites and passions has a controlling influence upon the nerves of the brain. The animal organs are strengthened, while the moral are depressed. It is impossible for an intemperate man to be a Christian, for his higher powers are brought into slavery to the passions.  {3T 51.1}

Will He not call parents to an account, to whom He has given reasoning powers, for putting these higher faculties in the background and becoming slaves to passion. {2SM 424.2}

The indulgence of the baser passions, have benumbed the nobler faculties of man. Reason, instead of being the ruler, has come to be the slave of appetite to an alarming extent. {CD 149.2}

The higher faculties of man are enslaved by appetite and corrupt passions. {2T 347.3}

Thus many children are born with the animal passions largely in the ascendancy while the moral faculties are but feebly developed. {2T 480.2}

The baser passions had gained the ascendancy over the higher nature. {2T 350.2}

The lower passions bear sway, holding the entire being in the tyranny of Satan’s power. {4MR 170.2}

The lower passions bore sway, predominating over the higher powers of the mind. {2T 697.1}

The system becomes fevered, the organs of digestion become injured, the mental faculties are beclouded, while the baser passions are excited, and predominate over the nobler faculties. {2SM 420.1}

The great enemy knows that if appetite and passion predominate, the health of body and strength of intellect are sacrificed upon the altar of self-gratification, and man is brought to speedy ruin. {MYP 237.1}

If sensuality is not kept under the control of the higher powers of the mind, base passion will rule the being. {4BC 1145.8}

When the love of the world takes possession of the heart and becomes a ruling passion . . . the higher powers of the mind submit to the slavery of mammon. {3T 385.1}

Those who allow the lower passions, appetite, selfishness, and pride, to govern them, will violate every law of their natures, and sink lower and lower in moral degradation.  {College Record, January 1, 1878 par. 8}

When meat is made the staple article of food, the higher faculties are overborne by the lower passions. {3SM 290.3}

The excited passions tyrannize over the higher, nobler faculties; and Christlikeness is not revealed. {RH, January 14, 1904 par. 5}

Reason and conscience are blinded by the lower passions.  {4T 31.1}

APPETITES which CONTROL HIGHER POWERS

Thus they give themselves up to every excess, until appetite holds complete control over the reasoning faculties. {2SM 420.2}

Intemperance in eating and drinking, and the indulgence of the baser passions, have benumbed the nobler faculties. Appetite, to an alarming extent, has controlled reason. {2SM 412.4}

The animal appetite strengthened at the expense of the moral and intellectual faculties. These higher powers, which should control, have been growing weaker. {2T 485.2}

LOWER NATURE which CONTROLS HIGHER NATURE

The higher powers of the mind are overpowered by the lower. The brutish part of your nature governs the spiritual. {2T 60.3}

The corruption of the world is seeking to steal our senses; all the unholy influences on every side are working to hold us to a low, earthly level–blinding our sensibilities, degrading our desires, enfeebling our conscience, and crippling our religious faculties by urging us to give sway to the lower nature. {19MR 346.1}

But it is sad to see those who should be vessels unto honor, indulging in the gratification of the lower nature, and walking in paths that conscience condemns. {RH, June 30, 1891 par. 8} 

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One Response to A Word Study: Higher and Lower Nature

  1. Paul Chapman says:

    Great compilation. However, I’d suggest “corrupt passions” are not something to be merely controlled. They are to be eliminated. It is the lower, base, or natural passion that is to be controlled.

    Ralph Larson, in “The Word Made Flesh” devotes a few pages to this discussion.

    e.g. From Larson:

    Passions–Eliminate

    In some passages, Ellen White uses the word passions to describe something that must be eliminated:

    When [the grace of Christ] is implanted in the heart, it will cast out the evil passions that cause strife and dissension. DA 305

    Unholy passions must be crucified. GW 128

    The unsanctified will and passions must be crucified. 3T 84

    Our . . . evil passions . . . must all be overcome. 3T 115

    Whatever may be the evil practice, the master passion, which through long indulgence binds both soul and body, Christ is able and longs to deliver. DA 203

    Fretfulness, self exaltation, pride, passion . . . must be overcome. 4T 527

    And just as in the previous list we found an equation of passion with propensity, we find the same equation here:

    [The wife] is made an instrument to minister to the gratification of low, lustful propensities and very many women submit to become slaves of lustful passion . . . . 2T 474

    Although the following usages are only descriptive, it is apparent that simply controlling them would not be an adequate solution to the problem.

    Depraved passions; base passions, base, low passion; hellish passions. 2T 474
    Corrupt passions. 2T 410

    Bitter or baleful passions. 2BC 1017

    Gross passions. 3T 475

    Murderous passion. PP658

    Perverted passions. CD 238

    Vicious passions. 2T 468

    The Christian would accomplish little by simply limiting the indulgence of this type of passion, as would be indicated by the word control in the previous listing. This type of passion must be eliminated.
    —Ralph Larson, The Word Made Flesh.

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