CL Discussion – Abortion

These CL Discussions are imagined conversations between a conservative Christian and a liberal person. The conservative’s name is Charles. The liberal’s name is Larry. These are not real conversations. They are imagined and the conservative views are mine, a fact you would have had no trouble discerning yourself. The opinions of the Liberal are typical of people I have met over the years, but don’t reflect any one person’s point of view. I am not claiming that these discussions are unbiased. I’m using them as a means of organizing my own thoughts as well as possibly helping others clarify their own point of view as well. Let me know what you think.

(Check for further conversations like this on Fridays. Whenever I have a CL discussion, I’ll post it on Friday.)

C: What do you think of this political campaign. It’s really something, isn’t it.

L: Yeh, I’ve never seen anything like it. But I agree with Hillary. It’s not right to tell women what they should do about their own body when it comes to pregnancy.

C: You think it’s wrong then to pass laws that would prevent a woman from having an abortion?

L: That’s right! Legislators have no right infringing on a person’s right to choose whether to terminate their pregnancy or to go ahead and have the baby.

  1. So you’re saying that it is wrong to pass such laws.

L: Yes, it’s wrong.

C: Do you mean wrong as in personal opinion “wrong”? Or do you mean it’s wrong like it’s wrong to steal or murder someone?

L: Well, obviously your examples are way extreme, but yes, it’s wrong in that sense. It shouldn’t be done.

C: So other countries where they pass laws supported by a majority  of their people blocking abortion, those people are wrong. Right? Or do you mean it’s wrong here because a majority support women’s right to choose, but it’s ok there because those people see it differently?

L: No, they’re wrong too and eventually they will understand and make their law match what is right.

C: So how do we know your opinion is the right one?

L: It’s common sense. Anybody can see that you shouldn’t tell a woman what she should do regarding her pregnancy.

C: It can’t be that common sense because for most of the history of our country and in many other countries, the laws prohibited abortion. So it can’t be because of common sense.

L: Well, no. People who are sort of uneducated and sort of backward in their thinking can’t see it.

C: So there is a certain group of people who are able to see it, but not everyone can?

L: that’s right.

C: How are we able to tell who are the people who have it together enough to know the truth and which ones don’t. By seeing if they agree with you? That’s not the proof of anything. If you’re claiming that some position you are taking is absolutely right and not just an opinion of some people at some particular time in history, then we need to look outside of ourselves somehow to determine what is absolutely right.

L: There’s nothing outside of ourselves. We just have to work it out from within ourselves as a people. You’re trying to get me to admit that there is some absolute standard of right and wrong outside of ourselves. That list of truth doesn’t exist.

  1. If that’s the case, you can’t say it’s wrong to prevent a woman from having an abortion if she wants one. All you can say is, “There are a lot of us who want it to be this way and we’re in the majority.” And you can do that, but it doesn’t make it right or wrong. What if we all agreed it was right for people below the poverty line to go into other people’s homes and take what they want. Would it be right then?

L: I can see what you’re saying, but in this country we base our laws on the constitution and how the supreme court interprets the constitution.

C: Do you agree with all of the supreme court’s decisions?

L: No.

C: When you disagree with them, do believe it’s just a difference of opinion, or do you believe they were wrong?

L: Usually that they were wrong.

C: But they’re not wrong if there’s no list somewhere to tell you what is right or wrong.

L: We’ve already been around this circle. They are interpreting the constitution. It’s the constitution that is what is right and wrong.

C: But you said you don’t always agree they are right. And besides that, it only applies to our country and I would bet that there are things that you think are right or wrong everywhere and not just  because some judges in the U.S. say so.

L: That’s true.

C: So why do we think there are some things that are absolutely true or right or wrong?

L: I don’t know, but I do know that there is nothing that is absolutely right or absolutely wrong at all times and in all places.

C: Was that last statement absolutely true at all times?

Check next Friday for another exciting CL discussion.

Is There Not a Lie in My Right Hand?

Is There Not a Lie in My Right Hand?
(Reprinted from April 2016)

Much has been said and written about modern logic from the Enlightenment forward and how ancient peoples, including those in the Bible, were superstitious and illogical. However, the God of the Bible is revealed as a logical being and those who spoke for this true God spoke with incredible logic.
I was reading from Isaiah 44 this morning. Isaiah lived and wrote about 700 BC which is nearly 3000 years ago. In this passage he is discussing the foolishness of idolatry and he write about the insanity of a person cutting a log from the forest and using half of it to have a fire for cooking and warming himself and using the other half to make an idol to worship. In verse 10 he asks this question, “Who would form a god or mold an image That profits him nothing?” (Isaiah 44:10, NKJV).

Here is the way Isaiah explains the situation beginning in verse 14:
He cuts down cedars for himself, And takes the cypress and the oak; He secures it for himself among the trees of the forest. He plants a pine, and the rain nourishes it. Then it shall be for a man to burn, For he will take some of it and warm himself; Yes, he kindles it and bakes bread; Indeed he makes a god and worships it; He makes it a carved image, and falls down to it. He burns half of it in the fire; With this half he eats meat; He roasts a roast, and is satisfied. He even warms himself and says, “Ah! I am warm, I have seen the fire.” And the rest of it he makes into a god, His carved image. He falls down before it and worships it, Prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!” They do not know nor understand; For He has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, And their hearts, so that they cannot understand. And no one considers in his heart, Nor is there knowledge nor understanding to say, “I have burned half of it in the fire, Yes, I have also baked bread on its coals; I have roasted meat and eaten it; And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?” He feeds on ashes; A deceived heart has turned him aside; And he cannot deliver his soul, Nor say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”” (Isaiah 44:14–20, NKJV)

As a modern twenty-first century man, I am astounded by the logic of this ancient writing! The author is incredulous that someone would take a piece of wood and see plainly that it is consumable in a fire and with the other half make himself a “god” that he prays to and from whom he asks deliverance. He rightly asks the question, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”

In our modern world we are not likely to carve and image and expect it to help us with our problems. But don’t we do the same thing when we trust in our stuff, our material possessions, to provide us with fulfillment, the esteem of others, and general well-being in life? Aren’t we doing the same thing when we do not give God praise and thanks for the air we breathe and the water we drink or when we do not acknowledge that every good thing we have is due to God’s grace and generosity?

Many are in the position of spending millions of dollars and countless hours of research to produce better cameras for our phones and at the same time argue that our eyes are the result of time and chance. Shouldn’t we as modern people be asking ourselves, “Am I believing and living a lie?  Am I as deceived as this ancient man?”

Psalm 96:4-5 says, “For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the Lord made the heavens.

 

Is There Not a Lie in My Right Hand?

Much has been said and written about modern logic from the Enlightenment forward and how ancient peoples, including those in the Bible, were superstitious and illogical. However, the God of the Bible is revealed as a logical being and those who spoke for this true God spoke with incredible logic.

I was reading from Isaiah 44 this morning. Isaiah lived and wrote about 700 BC which is nearly 3000 years ago. In this passage he is discussing the foolishness of idolatry and he write about the insanity of a person cutting a log from the forest and using half of it to have a fire for cooking and warming himself and using the other half to make an idol to worship. In verse 10 he asks this question, “Who would form a god or mold an image That profits him nothing?” (Isaiah 44:10, NKJV).

Here is the way Isaiah explains the situation beginning in verse 14:

He cuts down cedars for himself, And takes the cypress and the oak; He secures it for himself among the trees of the forest. He plants a pine, and the rain nourishes it. Then it shall be for a man to burn, For he will take some of it and warm himself; Yes, he kindles it and bakes bread; Indeed he makes a god and worships it; He makes it a carved image, and falls down to it. He burns half of it in the fire; With this half he eats meat; He roasts a roast, and is satisfied. He even warms himself and says, “Ah! I am warm, I have seen the fire.” And the rest of it he makes into a god, His carved image. He falls down before it and worships it, Prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!” They do not know nor understand; For He has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, And their hearts, so that they cannot understand. And no one considers in his heart, Nor is there knowledge nor understanding to say, “I have burned half of it in the fire, Yes, I have also baked bread on its coals; I have roasted meat and eaten it; And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?” He feeds on ashes; A deceived heart has turned him aside; And he cannot deliver his soul, Nor say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”” (Isaiah 44:14–20, NKJV)

As a modern twenty-first century man, I am astounded by the logic of this ancient writing! The author is incredulous that someone would take a piece of wood and see plainly that it is consumable in a fire and with the other half make himself a “god” that he prays to and from whom he asks deliverance. He rightly asks the question, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”

In our modern world we are not likely to carve and image and expect it to help us with our problems. But don’t we do the same thing when we trust in our stuff, our material possessions, to provide us with fulfillment, the esteem of others, and general well-being in life? Aren’t we doing the same thing when we do not give God praise and thanks for the air we breathe and the water we drink or when we do not acknowledge that every good thing we have is due to God’s grace and generosity?

Many are in the position of spending millions of dollars and countless hours of research to produce better cameras for our phones and at the same time argue that our eyes are the result of time and chance. Shouldn’t we as modern people be asking ourselves, “Am I believing and living a lie?  Am I as deceived as this ancient man?”

Christian Worldview – 9 Who Am I? Part 3

So far we’ve seen that God, through the Gospel, has promised to remedy what the fall did to our being. Our spirits are brought to life (Ephesians 2:1), our bodies are promised a resurrection, and the damage to our souls begins to be restored through the work of His Spirit and Word.

Last time we looked at some passages of scripture that show us what has happened to our mind. We are described as foolish, blinded, and darkened. Our ability to understand truth has been compromised to such a degree that the natural man does not receive the things related to the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Our will has been damaged in the sense that we don’t will the right things. People are always arguing over free will. In one sense the fallen will is perfectly free in the sense that it can choose whatever it wants. The problem is it doesn’t want the right things. Until the will is repaired by a sovereign act of God and provided with the right motivation to choose rightly, the will is in bondage to its own fallen motivations.

Emotions have also been damaged by the fall. Godly emotions are listed for us as the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. Because of the fall these have been lost to the natural or soulish man. The natural man is pulled downward by his own natural fleshly tendencies which are described for us in Galatians 5:19-21 as the deeds of the flesh. Even after we have trusted Christ, the old habits and patterns imprinted in our emotions keep surfacing and this sets in motion the battle between the flesh and spirit.

For example, as we have grown up in our homes, we did not always respond in healthy ways to what is going on around us. The people around us are also fallen and so their decisions and their emotional state affects our own. So as we grow we develop habits and ways of thinking and reacting that may not be helpful to us. We won’t realize it, but events in life create unhealthy dependencies, bad habits, poor judgment and emotional scars. Because our thinking is also damaged, we may not be able to see what is happening and take corrective measures.

However, when we trust Jesus Christ for salvation, He begins a renewing work in our lives. This is called Sanctification. It is the process of making us more and more like Jesus who, since He is God, has perfect thinking, perfect emotions and perfect motivation for the decisions of His will.

This process is not an instantaneous one. It takes time. We first need to learn to be skeptical of our thinking. I read the other day someone wrote that we should not believe everything we think. Our minds need to be renewed (Romans 12:2). This occurs when we take the time to meditate on the Word of God, the Bible. The Bible says, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” (Psalm 1:1–3, NKJV)

So this is an important process. As you do this, you begin to recognize your habits, ways of thinking and reacting and attitudes that are not right and healthy. As God continues to work in your life, He will help you see that you need to put off what the Bible calls the “old man.” These are all of the old ways that are sinful and damaging and therefore not healthy for you emotionally, spiritually and relationally. Along with putting off the deeds of the “old man” should be the process of putting on the new ways of thinking and behaving, the deeds of the “new man” or the deeds of the Spirit. That means agreeing in your mind that what God says is true no matter what you may feel, and then behaving accordingly. Acknowledging the truth should come first, then faith in that truth which involves acting on it and then allow the feelings follow after. Most of us make the mistake of allowing our feelings to be the engine that drives the train. Let truth be the engine and let feelings be the caboose.

Let’s try a practical example. Let’s suppose that the children are having a bad morning and there is a lot of screaming and arguing going on. You feel like you are not going to be able to handle another minute of this. You are tempted to scream back at them, maybe even throw things yourself. But you have been meditating on scripture and most recently the passage that reads: “No temptation (or trial or test) has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13, NKJV).

Accepting this verse as the truth, you recognize that this is not a test greater than you can handle. So you take that truth and you believe it, you trust it and you act on it. “I guess I can handle this after all!” you say to yourself. Now you consciously set aside your anger, impatience, and whatever other sinful attitudes and actions you feel coming on. You do this because you recognize that these attitudes are not from the born-again you. They are part of the system of responses that the natural you has developed over time.  You consciously set them aside. Then with God’s help you replace them with God’s peace, love, patience, longsuffering, etc. Depending on what the children have done there might be the need for specific discipline, but it should be motivated by the holy character of God and not by frustration and anger.

Now I realize it is not as simple as one short paragraph. But this is the idea of what needs to take place in our lives. It needs to be practiced moment by moment throughout the day. If I’m late for work and a traffic light turns red, I feel impatience coming on. So I reject the impatience based on the truth that God is at work on the day’s schedule for me. Then I consciously take patience in its place.  I think one of the best summary passages for this process is the following:

As the truth is in Jesus, that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:21b–24, NKJV).

 

Christian Worldview – 9 Who Am I? part 2

We’ve looked at the fact that the Bible describes us as having a body, soul and spirit. The body communicates the external world to our soul and the spirit communicates things of God to our soul. Distinguishing them can sometimes be difficult.

Our problem is that when Adam and Eve sinned, the human race fell from a state of perfection to a fallen state of death and dying. Our bodies are subject to injury, disease and death. The spirit which was the channel of communication with God died. And our soul, made up of mind, will, and emotions is badly damaged. We are not as bad off as we could be, but every facet of our being has been affected by the fall. Theologians call this “Total Depravity.” Look at the following quotes from the Bible to see the description which God gives concerning our situation.

This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;” (Ephesians 4:17–18, NKJV, emphasis mine).

But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” (2 Corinthians 4:3–4, NKJV)

But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14, NKJV)

When he says “natural man” in the previous verse he uses the word “soul.” The soulish man does not receive the things of the Spirit. This is a man whose spirit is dead and so all he has to operate on is his soul. These things are said to be spiritually discerned and with a dead spirit, the natural man is incapable of understanding them.

One more passage from Paul:

As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.” “Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit”; “The poison of asps is under their lips”; “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways; And the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”” (Romans 3:10–18, NKJV)

So our problem is that our entire being has been affected by the fall. What’s the solution? The solution is to believe the Good News, the Gospel, of Jesus Christ. He died on the cross as the payment of the sin penalty and He promises life to every person who believes on Him.

Jesus said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10, NKJV).

He also said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (John 5:24, NKJV).

The life He is promising is eternal life, but it is also a resurrection of the spirit within us. He promises to give us a new heart, a new spirit, and new motivation and he promises to give us the Holy Spirit to live in us to guide us and to pray for us. God calls this the New Covenant:

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” (Ezekiel 36:26–27, NKJV)

So when we believe on Jesus for salvation the issue of the dead spirit has been solved. God begins the work of transforming our soul (mind, will and emotions) and even though our bodies continue to deteriorate, He has promised a resurrection body some day: “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11, NKJV)

Christian Worldview – 9 – Who Am I?

“Who am I?” That is a question we often ask ourselves. We sometimes follow that up with, “What is wrong with me, or us?” The Christian worldview tries to properly answer these questions based on what the Bible teaches us. Over the next several days I want to discuss what the Bible says about the nature of our being and the implications of the fall and what the solution is.

The Bible speaks of us as being composed of body, soul, and spirit. For example, Paul writes, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23, NKJV).  The Bible speaks of the Word of God as being able to pierce to the division of soul and spirit (Hebrews 4:12).

When the Bible uses the word soul it most often uses the Greek word psyche from which we get our word “psychology”. The soul is the core of our being. We often describe it as mind, will and emotions. This is where we feel love or where we make decisions. The body is how our soul communicates with the outside world. The eyes may see a beautiful sunset and as a result we may have the feeling of awe at such a beautiful sight. We enjoy a good meal thanks to the smells and taste of the food. The awe in the sunset and the delight in a good meal are felt in the soul.  Our body interacts with the world and allows our soul to react.

Our spirit on the other hand is our connecting point to God. God intended our spirit to communicate with Him. The body communicates the physical world with our soul and the spirit communicates the things of God with the soul. For example, Paul writes, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,” (Romans 8:16, NKJV). And Jesus tells us, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24, NKJV). Events through the spirit produce an effect in the soul just as events that are communicated through the body do. One of the difficulties we face is that sometimes our soul mistakes a physical event such as beautiful music or a lovely sunset with spiritual events. We are not always able to discern the difference.

We’ll pick up from here next time.

Christian Worldview – 8 – Glorifying God

Over the last few days we have been talking about food and work. God has provided us richly all things to enjoy and he has given us all sorts of food as part of his good gifts for our enjoyment. He has also given us strength to carry on meaningful work. We discovered that God gave Adam work to do even before sin entered the world and so work itself is not part of the curse.

How does this teaching about food and work fit into the big worldview picture we framed for you earlier? Let’s review some of the key points.

  • God created the world for his pleasure and glory.
  • His allowing of sin somehow ultimately demonstrates his glory by demonstrating the contrast between God and that which has its source in evil.
  • Now and through all ages we are a demonstration of the glory of God to other human beings and principalities and powers.
  • There is a contrast between good and evil, light and darkness.
  • This demonstration of contrast highlights God’s character and glory.

 

The Bible explains some of this contrast with passages such as Philippians 2:14-15 where we read, “Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” The purpose here is that God wants to demonstrate the difference between his children who trust him without complaint and the rest of the world.

Another example is in Jesus’ sermon on the mount where he admonishes us not to worry about our clothing and food. There he reminds us that the Gentiles seek after all these things. This is what normal people do. But his exhortation to us is to seek his kingdom first and let God take care of the other things.

So when it comes to food, we should eat and drink with thanksgiving to God and enjoy what he has made and provided for us. We should thank him for the manifold flavors and textures we get to enjoy. We should give him credit and acknowledge his love and care for us.

When eating with others, we should be careful not to chow down all the food before everyone else gets a chance. We men are notorious for having our plates half empty before our wife, who spent time making all of this, even gets a chance to sit down and enjoy the meal herself.

What was Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians when it came to the Lord’s supper? When he challenged the Christians there to examine himself, he wasn’t specifically challenging them to make sure there was no unconfessed sin. He was correcting their behavior of selfishly pigging out before some of the poorer folks had a chance to get any food! This kind of behavior does not glorify God nor show love for their brothers and sisters. It shows that they were not really discerning the meaning of the oneness of the body of Christ. What they were demonstrating to the world was not the picture of God that was pleasing to him and so he was not ultimately glorified in it.

When it comes to work, do the best job you can. Be an example. Don’t steal time or anything else. Demonstrate creativity, discipline, structure and orderliness. Always be thankful for the fact that you have a job, that you have strength to do your work and that God has given you the abilities, talent and mental capability to do the work you’ve been give.

These admonitions don’t just apply to employment. They apply to your housework and yard work as well. When you keep things picked up outside so that your home and yard look neat and clean, you demonstrate the glory of God. The same thing applies to the inside of your house. Is the way you keep your house worthy of God? In other words, does it look like God lives there? It should if you are a Christian. As a Christian you are a child of God and his spirit lives within you. God is orderly and creative and as his children we have those same traits.

When you drive by the home of someone with a beautiful yard and flowers, thank God and give him glory for his creation and for the presence of a person who has been made in the image of God who lives there.

The ultimate nature of sin is to be ungrateful for all God has provided. He has given us life and breath and all things (Acts 17:25). That means the clean water we drink, the hot showers we have, all the good food we enjoy, the fresh air and sunshine are all from his hand. Not acknowledging these things and being grateful for them is equivalent to assuming we have provided them for ourselves or that we have a right to them or that they are here by chance. As Christians, we need to demonstrate the glory of God by showing how we respond differently to all the blessings God has provided.

Christian Worldview 7 – Work!

(For part 1 click here)

From the very beginning God has also made a provision for work. Even before the fall, God has placed man in the garden to tend and keep it (Gen 2:15). After the fall, the work became much harder but we should not look at work as a punishment for sin but as a blessing. God loves the productivity and creativity which he had created in us and he expects us to use it for his glory.

Psalm 104 shows us how God created everything to work together as a source of beauty and design to demonstrate his glory and to provide for the needs of each of his creatures (see previous article on Psalm 104).

God is creative and skillful and he is interested in our being the same way. For example, in Genesis 4:20-22 we find that people had learned how to tend sheep, ow to play musical instruments and how to work with metals. In Exodus 35:25-27 we read:

Exodus 35:25–27 (NKJV)

25 All the women who were gifted artisans spun yarn with their hands, and brought what they had spun, of blue, purple, and scarlet, and fine linen. 26 And all the women whose hearts stirred with wisdom spun yarn of goats’ hair. 27 The rulers brought onyx stones, and the stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate,

In several places the Bible speaks about mining iron and copper, creating works out of bronze and creating beautiful tapestries and other works of art to be used in worship (2 Chron 2:13-14; Deut 8:9). In the building of the temple in Jerusalem they cast pillars out of solid bronze 27 ft tall and weighing over 190 tons!

God has placed an abundance of material in the earth for our discovery and use for the improvement of our lives and for his glory. Little by little we have learned how to make new and improved building material, fibers, plastics and electronics. In every case of new inventions and new materials, these are put to both noble and destructive or sinful uses. When people figured out how to make iron, suddenly those with iron chariots had a military advantage over those that did not. And yet out of iron they also were able to make plows to make agriculture more productive.

Ultimately God wants us to work. He tells us that those who won’t work shouldn’t eat. He also tells us that those who won’t work are walking disorderly and should be admonished (1 Thess 4:11; 2 Thess 3:10-12). He’s not speaking here about those who are unable to work for one reason or another, but everyone who is able should be working. Even the unemployed should be working around their homes, keeping them up, picking up trash, raking leaves, etc. Work is a blessing from God and we should learn to see it that way.

Finally, we can be inventive, creative and hard-working for the wrong reasons. God gives us richly all things to enjoy but wants us to worship the One who gives us richly all these things and not to heap up stuff for ourselves or to boast with pride about our possessions or accomplishments. Look at these biblical examples of people who approached this in the wrong way: Luke 12:18-19; Acts 12:21-23; Dan 4:30

God is a gracious, loving, creative God who is abundant in all he supplies. He loves it when we mirror his image by being loving, creative, and gracious as well. He has richly supplied us with a huge variety of wonderful things to eat and a wonderful bounty of resources with which to create beauty and improve our lives. Let’s always be thankful to him and bless his name for the Lord is good!

Christian Worldview 6 – Food

(For Part 1 click here)

We are continuing our thoughts on creation and God’s provision for us and how this helps us establish a biblical frame of reference for living.

One of the key resources we get from the earth is our food. In the Bible we see a progression of revelation about man and his food. In Genesis 1:29 and 2:16 we find God providing mankind with plants for his food. Adam and Eve were given plants of all kinds for their food with the exception of the fruit of one particular tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But as is the case with most of us, we focus more on the thing that we can’t have than the abundance of provision of what God has given. Adam and Eve did the same thing and this ultimately led to their downfall.

After the flood, God gave animals for food along with the plants (Genesis 9:3). The only prohibition was that we were not supposed to eat meat if it still had its blood in it. When the Jewish nation was established there were entire lists of animals that were out of bounds (Leviticus 11 for example).

After Jesus’ death and resurrection when the church was being established, God told Peter to kill and eat animals that had been on the unclean list. Peter refused, but God told him that he should not call unclean what God said was clean (Acts 10:15). So now, biblically speaking there are no foods that are off-limits for Christians.

In 1 Timothy 4:3-4 Paul warns believers about making human rules about what can be eaten and what can’t. All foods were created by God and are to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. He says that every created thing is good and nothing is to be refused if received with thanksgiving. It is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

Obviously we are to be careful of gluttony which is prohibited in the Bible and we should eat in moderation, but we should not be making rules for one another as to what we should and shouldn’t eat. The Bible is very clear that these man-made rules do nothing to improve our spirituality (Colossians 2:23).

(Part 7)

Christian Worldview 5 – Made in the Image of God

(For Part 1 click here)

In the Bible class I teach we are discussing how to develop and defend our Christian worldview. This week we are investigating the creation narrative and what it tells us about being made in the image of God. Along with that we are discussing the position God has given mankind in subduing and having dominion over the creation.

What does it mean to be made in the image of God? We know that God does not have a physical body like we have. He is a spirit being. So that can’t be what the Bible means. There are certain characteristics that God has given us that he also possesses. For example, he is able to think and we are able to think. God is creative and he has given us the ability to create. God can communicate and we have the ability to communicate. I’m sure you can think of others. Internally we are a spirit as well. God says that his spirit bears witness with our spirit. So we are spirit beings inside of a physical body.

God has given us the dominion over his creation and has told us we are to subdue it. To subdue means to bring it under control. We are God’s representatives to be the stewards or care-takers of his creation. One of the first things that Adam did was to name the animals. Naming things is one way we make sense of and gain control over our environment. After Adam’s fall, this stewardship responsibility became much more difficult. Work was harder and more laborious.

As God’s managers we have the responsibility to take good care of the created world, the environment we live in. But we are to remember that God has created this world with resources for us to use. Some of the creation has been given to us for food and so we should not be afraid to take plants from the ground or kill animals for our nourishment. On the other hand, having dominion doesn’t mean we should wantonly waste resources or pollute them so that they are unusable by others. There’s an important balance that we must maintain as we serve God by managing his creation.

(Part 6)