Fulton Sheen (1895-1979) Catholic teacher and author wrote, “An almost forgotten truth, even among some practicing Christians, is that it is never the physical world, but only the spirit of the world that is evil; therefore the soul must detach itself from the world. “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.” (1 John 2:15)
I really agree with Sheen on this differentiation. The Spirit of the World can be very ugly and destructive and John explains it in the next verses in 1 John 2: 16-17: “For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.” Paul, an apostle, wrote that we all were once part of this spirit, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
The Glory and Beauty of the World, or nature and all its magnificence, is certainly neither ugly nor destructive but the very atmosphere of The Garden of Eden. Our wonderful home has mountains, rivers, oceans, flowers, trees and animals. This is Paradise and what we long for. A New Heaven and New Earth will simply be making this earth new again in all its wonder and provision for us. The Spirit of the World will not be there.
“Today you will be with me in Paradise.” Jesus