Reflections on Scripture

by Wayne Bandy

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Reflections for December 13, 2016

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Nature Abhors A Vacuum

"Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and settle down there. As a result, that man's last condition is worse than the first." (Luke 11:26)

Aristotle concluded that "Nature abhors a vacuum." He observed that "nature requires every space to be filled with something, even if that something is colorless, odorless air." From a physics perspective this can also be true in that many objects will collapse on themselves when a vacuum is created in them, due to the atmospheric pressure on the outside which is too great for the object to withstand once there is no longer equal pressure within.

It is a similar principle, I believe, that Jesus was teaching when He told of a man who had an unclean spirit in him that he got rid of. Though the man was then clean, he did not replace the spirit with anything and so the spirit returned, finding the man's "house" still available and put in order, and it returned bringing other unclean spirits with it. The man was then worse off than before.

This is a great illustration of one who takes an external approach to cleaning up their life. For instance, one who attempts to be a "good Christian" by getting rid of bad habits and behaviors but does not give attention to filling their lives with Christ. Ridding themselves of these things without replacing them with Christ creates a vacuum which invites the return of those habits and others. Better yet is to fill one's self with Christ and allow Him to clean up our lives. He will do the job more ably and do it permanently.

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