Matthew 6:24 (KJV) "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."The KJV of the Bible translates the Greek mamōnas into "mammon" which is not an everyday used word at this time. The NIV, the ESV and others transliterate the same word into "money". The better definition is "treasured". In effect whatever a person has confidence in is their treasure! In includes money (really avarice or riches), but different people treasure different things! As such "mammon" is whatever a person places equal to or above God.
I believe that "mammon" is a an other way of referring to "the flesh". The flesh is what is appeased with pleasure and the source of the pleasure is "the world".
In the beginning "the flesh" was surrounded by God. It was (in engineering terms) the system boundary which things of the world influenced. "Good" things (from God) could cross into the boundary and mingle with the contents of the system. The flesh was permeable to to goodness, but evil didn't exist. Communion with God was perfect!
Inside the flesh were man's components: mind, body and spirit which was really a soul filled with God's Holy Spirit at that time. Man was made in "their image" referring to Father God, the Son of God and God's Holy Spirit. God had three personalities and mankind was given each. Our mind was different than the animals. It had the same cognition as God. Of course it was limited, but since God communed easily with man and the flesh over no resistance, our capacity for knowledge was without end!
Man was created with a "cup". It's the soul and is the container for the God's Holy Spirit. When man was created the cup was full. Man was created full of the Holy Spirit!
The last one is easy! Man's body is that part of us that was made in the likeness of Jesus. No, Jesus was not created in man's image, but man was created in the image of how God would construct Jesus.
The flesh is more than this skin of ours! Flesh goes deeper than the bone. It's whatever pleasures the mind, body and soul. The epidermis is the outer limit of the flesh, but the flesh contains also personality, character, cognition, the senses, dreams, knowledge, wisdom, pride, affection and countless other characteristics. Before mankind sinned "the flesh" consisted of only "good" things Adam being created in the image of God who only is good!
In the age of innocence, before our forebears sinned, "the flesh" was good. There was no shame as Adam and Eve walked around naked as jaybirds without wayward thoughts.
Because the system boundary was clean, God the Creator (the Father), his Holy Spirit and the Voice or Word (Emmanuel) communed without interference nor contamination from outside forces. Evil was in the world, but it could merely entice. Think of temptation this way: it's like gravity working on heavenly bodies. It pushes on the bodies with a wave field. It can influence, but not destroy. The oceans swell each day because gravity from the moon pushes it around, but the waters are always the same! With gravity levees may keep out the waters from destroying, but if a levee has a weak spot the waters can be destructive to whatever lies on the other side!
Temptation is an evil field from Satan. He emits a force which can influence a person, but temptation cannot destroy! Before Adam sinned temptation was always there because Satan was evil. As Adam and Eve passed by the forbidden tree, the force field of temptation would push them toward it. God's Holy Spirit was the levee which protected Adam and Eve, but God intentionally created a weak spot! Why he did that was because God wanted more than an automaton. He wanted friends who loved him of their own volition. As such, man was created with a "will" and man was free to use it as he desired. Adam's and Eve's weak spot in their levee (their spirit) was free will.
Satan knew that those levees had a weak spot and he used the gravity of temptation to break the levee. God was there all the time watching Satan and his legions go to and fro, but God was the hedge around the system. Satan could influence the flesh with the gravity of sin, but he could not kill Adam nor Eve. It was their own choice to live or die! They chose death. Not only did their bodies become mortal, but their cup was emptied of God's Holy Spirit. They were no longer the sons of God, but children of the devil because Satan very quickly used the evil to fill the vacated space. Hence, Adam and Eve's soul died that day, but with God's grace he provided an animal to sacrifice to cover their flesh! Sin was still in the cup, but it was protected by and covered by the Holy Spirit which in God's eyes washed it clean with the blood!
The system after the fall of Adam and Eve (original sin which we still have), still consists of "the world", "the flesh" and us! However, the flesh is no longer "good" since it has been permeated willingly by the tide of sin breaking through that weak spot. "The flesh" is now evil. I don't believe in total depravity, because we have remnants of who we were inside the system, but it has been contaminated by sin such that it is of no value on it's own. We are no longer "good" because the sin within us have made good works dirty. They can only be cleaned up with the blood of Jesus!
Satan still goes to and fro seeking that weak spot in the levee. God protects those who have faith in him, but Satan's mission is to permeate even the hedge of the righteous one so that sin will flood the person and the person will become part of the world. He seeks to apostasize even the elect by temptation which will break that levee and allow sin to enter, not just one time, but for a lifetime!
The hedge is still there keeping Satan from killing us! It's the whole armor of God! If we are in the word (with Jesus) the gravity field of sin may influence us, but it can never destroy us unless we use our free will to allow it in.
Satan uses what's important to us so as to change our allegiance. That's "mammon" or the medium of exchange which Satan uses for money! Satan finds out where our confidence lies and buys us off with his currency. It may be lust, power, riches or whatever is important. That is our mammon!
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was noted for three things: it had food fit for an Epicurean, it was beautiful and it would make a person wise. This tree was the gravity field which pushed down on Adam and Eve with temptation. Those were wealth, pleasure, and reason through applying knowledge, what we call false wisdom.
"Mammon" is what the person is effected and affected by! It's a field from the world which pushes on the flesh and endeavors to influence the person's entire system. Mammon comes from the world. It's the same as that forbidden tree. God created the world and what's in it, but Satan by deception misuses what God made. Mammon for some is wealth, for others sensuality and for others skepticism. It's what we have in our lives besides God which pushes us away from God. It makes God jealous because it's whatever appeases our flesh which is our idol to self.
Thank you God for your grace to keep us from killing ourselves! Thank you for making the flesh impermeable t o sin without our permission by your whole armor which shields us from the gravity field of the world!