The world, the flesh, and the devil
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
A traditional turn of phrase condemns "the world, the flesh, and the Devil" as the sources of temptation to sin. This specific phrase does not appear in that King James Bible, but the same sense appears in passages such as 1 John 2:16:
- For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (KJV)
The phrase definitely appears in the writings of Abelard, who writes that "there are three things that tempt us: the world, the flesh, and the devil." The litany of the 1662 edition of the Book of Common Prayer contains the petition:
- From fornication, and all other deadly sin; and from all the deceits of the world, the flesh, and the devil,
Spare us, good Lord.
and the English translations of Roman Catholic litanies often contain a similar petition.
This traditional turn of phrase gave rise to the title of The World, the Flesh and the Devil, a 1959 apocalyptic science fiction film.