Natural Man Pleasing God


A Protestant friend of mine said that the natural man cannot do anything in himself to please God, and then he defended this by quoting Romans 8:6-8. He asked me what my belief was on this topic from a Catholic perspective, but I was unsure of my answer so I told him that I would get back to him.

How should I answer him?

Thank you!

“The concern of the flesh is death, but the concern of the spirit is life and peace. For the concern of the flesh is hostility toward God; it does not submit to the law of God, nor can it; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
Romans 8:6-8


Well, first of all, the Catholic Church would not disagree with scripture.

My non-expert opinion would refer to people who were non-Israelite, in Biblical times. They were of the flesh, making idols for themselves and even of themselves, none of which is pleasing to God.

Your question seems pretty straightforward. Is there a hidden trap in it? Recall, in Baptism, we are a new creation, and our old self, the “old man” of the flesh is put to death and we become sons of God, by adoption. If this isn’t the answer, I think it’s the beginning of an answer.


This is so typical protestant. They don’t read the whole text. They focus on one or two lines and cannot understand it. Without some authority to explain it…they are lost.

Read 1 Rom 8: 1-11. The whole passage not just 6-8. It is really self explanatory. Duh!



Our first Pope warned us that St. Paul’s theology was not something to be easily understood by laymen (2 Peter 3, if I recall correctly.)

No other book of the Bible has been so tortured by Protestant theologians as Romans. And as Ronald Coase, the great economist, once said: “If you torture the data enough, it will confess.”

The way they use that book (which, properly interpreted, is one of the greatest books of the Bible, and the centrepiece of the New Testament) reminds me of the way some “liberal” theologians seize on one line from Bl. Pius IX and start claiming that universalism is orthodoxy. :stuck_out_tongue:




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