Lord of the Flies
In the middle of Paul’s letter to the Romans he writes:
We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.
In Golding’s novel The Lord of the Flies Simon was the prophet of the group. He managed to be the one who recused himself from the barbarism and the killing. He was the innocent one.
If you are unfamiliar with the plot, Lord of the Flies begins with a undisclosed number of English boys stranded via plane crash on a tropical island. In effort to assemble some kind of order to which they were akin too, the boys vote Ralph, the oldest, as their leader. Jack, the head choir boy and one of the oldest, challenged this vote but ultimately assented to it.
The boys are bent on survival and rescue. With the help of piggys glasses, they start a fire and vow to keep it going at all times. A vow they would fail at throughout the entirety of the book.
The stroy changes when Jack is unable to kill a piglet on their first hunt. He hesitates to spill the blood of the pig. He slams the knife into the trunk of a tree, vowing “next time will be different.” A glint in his eye as he does it, aknowledges to the reader that something has change in him.
When a beast is spotted on the island, by one of the little ones (they remain unnamed in the book and really serve as a backdrop in the story), the group is gripped with fear and speculation. Simon, ever the prophet, argued that there was no beast. “Perhaps there is no beast,” he reasoned, “maybe its just us?” Simon sees that the beast, the barbarianism, the fighting, the killing, was all taking place by their hand. But the boys put flesh and blood to their beast, thinking it to be a real creature. They cut the head off their next kill and left it on a stick to assuage the beast.
Sometime later, Simon stumbles into the woods. He comes upon one of the heads on a pike. It is covered in flies. Simon hallucinates that the pig head is talking to him. It gives itself the title “the Lord of the Flies”, which is a literal translation of the name “Beelezebub”, the Devil. The Pig head addresses Simon:
“There isn’t anyone to help you. Only me. And I’m the Beast. . . . Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill! . . . You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you? Close, close, close! I’m the reason why it’s no go? Why things are the way they are?”
Simon goes bak to the tribe that Jack has started, Piggy and Ralph are on their own at this point in the story, and tries to inform them of the beasts true identity. The tribe kills him…an act one thought of as impossible for this group of civilized English young men. The savagery was part of them. It was not a physical being to overcome, but an innate part of themselves.
Simon had been reading Paul’s mail.
All to often our issues are blamed on outside sources. The stress, the environment, the expectations, the culture have all been used as objects to which we can ssign our sin. But the sin problem that we face is an inwardly one. Paul makes it clear that we sin because its what is inside of us. Jesus would argue the same thing. Thankfully we have a Savior who makes certain that the inside is cleaned just like the outside. Not only does he do that, but he renews us everyday and fills us with his Spirit so that our misdeeds can be left in the past.