Y O U N G P E O P L E ' S D I C T I O N A R Y O F S C R I P T U R A L • & • R E L I G I O U S T E R M S
The word carnal appears 11 times in the KJV Bible. However a word that often
means the same thing appears over 400 times! That word is flesh. Carnal has to do
with our human nature. Since this nature is sinful (“all have sinned and come short
of the glory of God”), the word carnal does not have a favorable meaning in Scrip-
Today people often talk about going to the carnival. A carnival probably pictures to
our minds, amusement rides, cotton candy, sno-cones, and booths with games of
chance. But carnival began with a very different usage and meaning—one which has
been started in the name of religion by the wicked thoughts of men.
There are certain religious systems which teach that men must, for a period of
several weeks each year deny or cut off the flesh. That is, a person in such a reli-
gious system must deny himself something that he enjoys. Perhaps, he will stop
eating red meat, or stop drinking soda pop, or quit playing tennis, or some such
thing. But he is taught that something must be given up for a certain time, in order
to please God.
What is worse however is that just before this special time begins (some call it Lent),
there is a huge celebration held—one which may last for several days or weeks.
During this celebration—called the carnival—the most wicked excesses are allowed
and encouraged. People are encouraged to do anything, eat and drink anything, act
in anyway they wish to try to satisfy themselves before the season of Lent—the time
of giving up something—begins.
The original word for carnival in Latin was carnelevare which means—carne—(flesh)
and levare (to cut off). Thus carnival originally meant to cut off flesh. So we see that
men have changed its meaning to describe a time when people are encouraged to
give in to every wicked desire of the flesh, before the cutting off season of Lent.
The two most famous (perhaps we should say infamous) of these yearly, wicked
celebrations are the Mardi Gras in New Orleans and the Carnival in South Ameri-
can countries such as Brazil.
Here is what God says about carnal. “. . . the carnal mind [is] enmity against God:
for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (Rom. 8:7) “For ye are
yet carnal: for whereas [there is] among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye
not carnal, and walk as men?” (1Cor. 3:3)