We tend to ascribe bad behavior to bad people. For example, someone who steals becomes known as a thief and one who kills is known as a murderer. What we do becomes who we are, thus defining our identity. We fail to recognize that who we are results from who we have become. Humanity’s dead state creates an extremely powerful and self-destructive vacuum that can lead us to do things we know are harmful but still go about doing all the same.
“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.” (Matthew 12:43–45)
Jesus is explaining how a person cannot be in a theistic vacuum. The human spirit yearns to be filled, and this inner longing is cognitively experienced in the mind. We know how it feels to be alone in the midst of a crowd! People often attempt to influence the mind and body with experiences that might enable them to escape these effects of inner loneliness. When we do not experience what we long for in our inner beings, we try to escape our aloneness by using a substance or an experience that numbs our emotions. We experiment with many things because we are not satisfied with what we have or where we are in life.
People seek external stimuli to heighten their joy. Alcohol use is an example of a temporary superlative experience of the mind and body. When the blood alcohol level exceeds a certain threshold, a chemical release causes reactions in the brain. These substance-induced sensory feelings can numb the natural consequences of spiritual loneliness. We feel we need a chemical additive in the brain to fill our emptiness.
The trigger to fill our inner loneliness could run the gamut from worship music that we play to make us feel good, all the way to cocaine with its extreme physical effects. Both would give a temporal physical relief, but when the effects are gone, we would go right back to the reality of inner emptiness, pushing us to seek the next high. Any source temporarily influencing the mind and body alone can lead to addictions and abuses that do not provide what we are seeking.
Over time, chemicals create patterns of behavior that cause us to crave more. Even success and blessings can become a curse when they fail to fill our emptiness. Many forms of abuse—anger, lust, materialism, greed, jealousy, etc.—arise from our inability to handle the inner vacuum.
When success does not fill an inner longing for the meaning to life, this can be an incredibly painful experience. When we thought all along that a million dollars, a million followers, or a global platform of power and fame would solve our inner emptiness and provide true fulfillment, yet it does not, that overwhelming disappointment and pain needs to be numbed. It is extremely painful to be filled in the mind and body yet still experience inner emptiness. Our mind is confused as to why possessions and power do not satisfy, and then the substances that can temporarily stop that incredible inward cosmic spiral seem to be the only answer.
Human beings long to become complete again and return to their original state. The root cause of all conflicts can be traced back to this vacuum. There is no permanent physical solution to this spiritual problem. The poison injected into human beings by the Enemy corrupted our identity and destroyed our inner spiritual core that defined us.
Fallen creation has always tried to find a way to fill the God-sized vacuum inside, searching for spiritual answers in the realm of the body and mind.