Temptations of Satan and the Natural Man

“Temptations of Satan and the Natural Man,” Eternal Marriage Student Manual (2003), 330–36


Selected Teachings

President Brigham Young

“Many think that the Devil has rule and power over both body and spirit. Now, I want to tell you that he does not hold any power over man, only so far as the body overcomes the spirit that is in a man, through yielding to the spirit of evil. The spirit that the Lord puts into a tabernacle of flesh, is under the dictation of the Lord Almighty; but the spirit and body are united in order that the spirit may have a tabernacle, and be exalted; and the spirit is influenced by the body, and the body by the spirit.

“In the first place the spirit is pure, and under the special control and influence of the Lord, but the body is of the earth, and is subject to the power of the Devil, and is under the mighty influence of that fallen nature that is of the earth. If the spirit yields to the body, the Devil then has power to overcome the body and spirit of that man, and he loses both” (in Discourses of Brigham Young, 69–70).

“We are the natural sons and daughters of our natural parents, and spiritually we are the natural children of the Father of light and natural heirs to his kingdom; and when we do an evil, we do it in opposition to the promptings of the Spirit of Truth that is within us. Man, the noblest work of God, was in his creation designed for an endless duration, for which the love of all good was incorporated in his nature. It was never designed that he should naturally do and love evil” (in Journal of Discourses, 9:305).

Elder Spencer W. Kimball

“Satan is very much a personal, individual spirit being, but without a mortal body. His desires to seal each of us his are no less ardent in wickedness than our Father’s are in righteousness to attract us to his own eternal kingdom” (Miracle of Forgiveness, 21).

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

“Many things happened in the process of the Fall, including changes that came to the physical bodies of Adam and Eve. For one thing, they fell into ‘nature.’ …

“Part of the natural world Adam and Eve entered included the addition to their bodies of blood—a corruptible ingredient—in what had been to that point an uncorrupted body of bloodless flesh and bone. But even more important than such physical changes were the temptations of and threats to the spirit. Spiritual as well as physical separation from God came with the Fall. Humankind was cut off from the immediate personal companionship with God that Adam and Eve had enjoyed in the garden of Eden. As a result, they were distanced from the Holy Spirit and became less responsive to many of the things of righteousness. …

“Because this doctrine [of the natural man] is so basic to the plan of salvation and also because it is so susceptible to misunderstanding, we must note that these references to ‘natural’ evil emphatically do not mean that men and women are ‘inherently’ evil. There is a crucial difference. As spiritual sons and daughters of God, all mortal men and women are divine in origin and divine in their potential destiny. As Doctrine and Covenants 93:38–39 teaches, the spirit of every man, woman, and child ‘was innocent in the beginning.’ But it is also true that as a result of the Fall they are now in a ‘natural’ (fallen) world where the devil ‘taketh away light’ and where some elements of nature—including temporal human nature—need discipline, restraint, and refinement. It is as if men and women are given, as part of their next step in development along the path to godhood, raw physical and spiritual ingredients—‘natural’ resources, if you will. Those resources are not to run rampant but are to be harnessed and focused so that their power and potential (as is sometimes done with a ‘natural’ river or a ‘natural’ waterfall) can be channeled and thereby made even more productive and beneficial.

“Natural man, with all of his new and wonderful but as yet unbridled and unregenerated potential, must be made ‘submissive’ to the Holy Spirit, a spirit that still entices and lifts us upward. … Our deepest desires, our premortal yearnings, are still divine in their origins, and they are still deep in our souls. The echoes of our earlier innocence still reverberate, and the light that forsakes the evil one still shines. Our hearts can—and in their purity, do—desire that which is spiritual and holy rather than that which is ‘carnal, sensual, and devilish.’ If that were not so, we would be in a hopeless condition indeed, and the idea of real choice would be jeopardized forever. We praise God our Father that our true heritage is of him and that by yielding and submitting to his eternal influence we can overcome the enmity which separated us from him and turn those gifts from nature to our blessing rather than our cursing” (Christ and the New Covenant, 205–7).

Elder Merrill J. Bateman

“The scriptures state that men and women are created in the image of God (see Genesis 1:26–27, Abraham 4:27–28). Both women and men have within them the attributes of divinity, and both are blessed as they fulfill their divine callings. The apostle Peter and King Benjamin indicate that we partake of the divine nature through Christ’s atonement aided by the Holy Ghost (see 2 Peter 1:3–8, Mosiah 3:19). It is interesting to observe the similarity of the fruits of the Spirit to the divine seeds inherited from Heavenly Parents (see Galatians 5:21–22, 2 Peter 1:3–8). Since ‘light cleaveth unto light’ and Spirit to spirit, the Holy Ghost is able to quicken us by a portion of light that causes the divine seeds within to bud and to flower (D&C 88:29, 40). The degree of light and the extent to which the attributes flourish is a function of how well women and men bridle their passions and are obedient to divine principles” (“The Eternal Family,” 112–13).

Elder J. Richard Clarke

“Throughout the ages, evil forces have attacked the family. Why do you suppose Satan is so obsessed with its dissolution? Because it stands for everything he wants and cannot have. He cannot be a husband, a father, or a grandfather. He cannot have posterity now or ever. Satan cannot even keep those he has led away from God. He has no eternal kingdom or inheritance” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 74; or Ensign, May 1989, 60).