Tag Archives: creation

Is This the End of Humanity as we Know It?

When I was barely sixteen, my English teacher suggested that I read Brave New World. She did not pick that book specifically for me, or me for the book. It was on a list of 50 books college-bound students should read. I was an avid reader of science fiction at the time, and that whole idea was intriguing.

I was less than half through the book when my mother discovered I was reading it. I was lying sprawled on my bed, my favorite way to read, and when my mother saw the title of the book, she snatched it out of my hands. “Let me see that!” she said. “Where did you get this book?” After I caught my breath, I told her about the list.

“We’ll see about that!” she said, and left the room with the book in her hands. I learned from my teacher that Mother had accosted the principal, the school counselor, and my teacher about that book. She was angry that the school promoted such an immoral book. They made the best of things, telling me that I should simply choose something else from the list and not worry about it.

My mother was affronted by Brave New World because it promoted an amoral view of human sexuality. The most imaginative element of the story was the harvesting of eggs from females as they reached adulthood and the subsequent production of human beings under the government’s direction, along with the details of a strategy to produce people who did work commonly described in current political debates as “jobs Americans won’t do.” The element that outraged my mother the most was the “Malthusian drills” for schoolchildren and the game “Find the Zipper” in the brave new world of the book that replace familiar children’s games like “tag” and “ring around the rosy.”

My mother would be completely traumatized, therefore, if she were alive to read the daily news or see television broadcasts today. Today’s schools don’t even mention the fabled Malthus so honored in Brave New World, but they do teach heterosexual and homosexual practices to schoolchildren, and they routinely refer pregnant children (children! As young as 10) for abortions without the knowledge and consent of parents. There is no national standard for harvesting the eggs of all young women, but the horror of calling a couple of homosexual men a “marriage” has already raised the specter of rented wombs and genetic selection of physical traits in unborn babies. I often give thanks to God that my parents died before these issues became the grist of daily conversation.

As a writer, I have long struggled with the tortured language that arose after rabid feminists protested against the word chairman. When I read about that protest, I laughed aloud, because I knew the language, and I knew that the common usage of the suffix –man did not in any way injure or prejudice women, but the depths of my error in judgment soon became evident. The battle moved to the words fireman and policeman, and soon it had progressed to a distaste for calling God our heavenly Father. (Even if I could stomach the protest in general, which I cannot do, I would balk at changing or denying the language Jesus himself gave us for prayer. He said, “Pray this way” and “this way” begins with the words, “Our Father.”)

Today I read another article that records further degradation of the culture’s view of human sexuality. Princeton University has issued “communication guidelines” that “reflect the inclusive culture and policies at Princeton University.” Under those guidelines, students will no longer be called men or women. The correct term will be student, individual, or person. People who used to be called our forefathers, must now be called our ancestors. Work requires person hours not man hours. In order to avoid traumatizing .001% of the student body, the university is traumatizing 100% of the student body – minus .001%.

Someone will dispute my numbers. Someone will point out that every day some new “person” declares self to be gay or to be trans or to be other things for which I do not even know the vocabulary. Therefore, some will say, I must have vastly underestimated the number of people subject to be hurt if we address people according to the gender identified at birth by the simple process of examining the physical traits of the newborn baby. I contend that the vast new numbers of gender-confused and sexual-orientation-confused people is largely attributable to the fact that to be confused is the most popular trait anyone can have right now. People who are confident in their genitalia or their skin color or their nationality are viewed as conceited and arrogant. They are accused of subconscious demand for and expectation of privilege, and they need to be taken down a notch.

The culture today is a morass of confusion on many points where there need be no confusion. It is quite true that human beings have invented privileges for themselves. Hillary Clinton is a very public example of someone who does it daily. Historically every human being wants to be the best or the first or the fastest or the strongest. People naturally want to be superlative by some or by several standards, and that is the common theme behind hateful behavior related to gender or skin color or any other trait.

My mother was right to recognize the moral danger expressed in Brave New World. However, she was wrong to believe that suppressing the reading of that book would suppress the evil it contained. No amount of laws or policies or regulations will ever change human nature. Secular thinkers who flout all the existing laws are the very ones who propose an endless stream of new laws to suppress things they do not like.

The real moral danger of Brave New World was the way it opened the door to an amoral worldview in which humankind became factory products. Chairs and automobiles cannot commit sin, because they are incapable of moral choices. Only human beings have that capability, but human beings produced by an amoral process and spit out into an amoral world can absorb the programming “it is good to be an eta,” and never worry about anything.

Today’s evil is really nothing new in the moral sense. The only difference between today’s amoral activists and Caligula is technology. Christians in the Roman Empire were hated for their moral standards, and Christians today are hated for the same reasons. The news gets out faster and goes viral today in ways not possible in the first century CE.

Today’s agenda is to suppress any moral standard not invented by some human being to make himself feel good. That was the agenda of Caligula, and that is the agenda of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. This agenda is not invented by the people who are promoting it. As Paul pointed out in his letter to the Ephesians, “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12 ESV).

Christians in the first century were asked to look to their government for all guidance. The Emperor thought of himself as a god, and he expected Roman citizens, and all the people Rome had conquered, to worship him as their duty in return for what Roman government did for them, i.e. the emperor. Today, the government makes the same request. The government uses money as its tool of oppression. People who receive money from the government must put the government ahead of all other powers in their lives. The government wants to be the god of the USA. The government wants people who worship any other god to keep their god somewhere out of sight in a box marked “worship space.” There, and only there, may any god other than the federal government be honored. Without a doubt, the people behind this agenda intend those little boxes to go away, too, as they did in the Soviet Union, where churches became at best museums of a defunct sort of cultural phenomenon and at worst, factories or warehouses for instruments of oppression.

The spiritual armor about which Paul wrote, and the spiritual fiber exhorted by the book of Revelation are the means of our warfare. In the case of gender confusion and the associated sexual chaos it creates, Satan’s battle, expressed in the lives of people who deny his existence as firmly as they deny God’s existence, targets the creation of human beings.

That moment is recorded in Genesis 1:27: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27 ESV). There is no room for confusion in this statement. Like all the other living things, God gave humans gender and sexuality, precious gifts, gifts that were encoded so deeply into their being that even the very first cell, at the moment of conception, already had gender. The moment of creation is followed by God’s blessing, evidence that God was pleased with human beings.

The first instructions God gave to humans grew out of the blessed power he had given them by creating them male and female. “God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” Genesis 1:28 (ESV). They could not have been fruitful if not for gender and the process of sexual reproduction. That is the only means God has provided for humans to “be fruitful.” The Bible tells us that God is not the author of confusion, a fact that explains where gender confusion and sexual confusion originates; those problems are due to Satanic work in the lives of human beings.

There is a way to deal with gender confusion and warped sexual orientation. The solution to every sin is the work of Christ on the cross, where he defeated Satan. Human beings who succumb to the temptation to be confused and warped need Jesus. The existence of such sin does not justify name calling or any other ungracious behavior toward the people who have been enslaved that way. It was not Christ’s way to call people names and authorize stonings of sinners. Rather, he invited them to find a better way, and people such as the Samaritan woman at the well, Zaccheus the tax collector, the woman caught in adultery, and the man born blind were transformed by his grace. They turned their lives around and became different. They were reconciled with God and with creation, and they were not confused about the source of their moral guidance.

If the human race (the only race I ever acknowledge) loses God-given gender and God-given sexual procreation, it will disappear. That is why I ask the question: Is this the end of humanity as we know it? I don’t actually believe that will happen, because the Bible predicts that there will still be people on earth when Jesus comes back. I do believe that Christians are in for a long period of cruel persecution by Satan’s slaves. The book of Revelation makes it pretty clear that there will be persecution, to a greater or lesser degree, until Jesus returns. That means that even if the fad of confused gender and warped sexuality fades away, Satan has many other ways to assault Christians, always with the goal of separating them from Christ. Whether or not humankind vanishes from the earth, it is good to know that “neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39 ESV)

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Are Human Beings Merely Biochemical Machines?

It is a principle of secular thinking that humans have no spiritual component. In other words, they say humans do not have souls or spirits. Secular thinkers believe that the universe described in the laws of physics is all there is, and they are adamant that humans cease to exist at the moment of death, except for the dead body that requires safe disposal.

It is hard for a real observer of human beings to agree with the secular worldview. Dogs, cats, worms and whales are all non-spiritual beings, and whales, for example, are extremely intelligent. So are apes, which seem so similar to humans that comparisons almost make sense. Yet even in the ape family of beings, there is not one that comes vaguely close to a human being.

If human beings have no spiritual component, and if human beings are simply one step farther down the evolutionary path than a chimpanzee, why are human beings so utterly different from chimpanzees? Can anyone believe that the differences between humans and chimpanzees are simply biochemical? I have a few questions:

  • Why don’t drugs fix problems such as depression, schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder?
  • Why do humans insist on going beyond the need for nutrition and prefer food with flavor, color and artful presentation?
  • Why do humans need relationships beyond a partner for sexual intercourse and some association for personal safety?
  • Why do humans have aspirations that transcend their need for food, clothing and shelter? In other words, why are humans never satisfied with the way things are?
  • Why do humans change the space around them in so many ways when other animals hardly leave footprints?
  • Why don’t all homo sapiens make identical sounds for purposes of gathering crowds, finding sex partners or warning of predators? In fact, why do humans have so many ways to express language, laws, government, art, philosophy and religion? Why does no other creature even bother with these things? (Please refrain from the temptation to tell me that an elephant or a cat has produced real art.)
  • Why does every human culture include a religious element? Even the most atheistic, secularized humans on earth worship something—themselves.

Human beings obviously have facets to their existence that no other animal has, yet it is not possible to find an origin or reason for these differences that can be measured in the scientific way. The differences between humans and animals are vast and they cannot be expressed as equations or measurements. Human beings all have aspects that simply transcend the time/space world of physics and chemistry. Human beings are spiritual beings.

The Bible explains the phenomenon in many different ways, but there is one verse that sums up the real difference between humans and mere animals: “The Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature” (Genesis 2:7 ESV). Human beings are the result of a specific act of creation by God in which God breathed his own breath into them.

Planned Parenthood, the women who go to them for abortions, and people all over the world who are trying to prevent women from “suffering” the “disease” of “unwanted pregnancy” need to pay attention to this truth. God put something of himself in every human being, and when an abortion provider is cutting the spinal cord of a living baby in order to harvest the baby’s head for research, all parties to that act are setting themselves up for a confrontation with God Almighty. This crime of murder is not the unforgivable sin, and any guilty party can come to God in repentance and obtain forgiveness, but in order to obtain forgiveness, the guilty party would need to recognize that he or she needed forgiveness.

If human beings are only biochemical machines, no forgiveness is required. Abortion simply cleanses an unwanted parasite from a woman’s uterus. It is no different from liposuction. I do have two questions:

  • If abortion is not the murder of a living baby human, what good are the body parts of this organism for research in the realm of human medicine?
  • If abortion is not the murder of a living baby human, why do couples post on Facebook an ultrasound of the lump of cells in a woman’s uterus and announce, “We’re pregnant! Meet Ellen!”

Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

 

 

 

What’s Creation All About?

Blogging Through the Book
The Gospel of Yes by Mike Glenn

After Chapter 3, the author asks, “When has creation prompted in you a response of worship and awe toward God? This question doesn’t go nearly far enough in probing what creation evokes in our lives. I have been awed by the experience of storms at sea and reminded there how infinitely powerful God is. I have been forced to my knees in worship by sunrises and mountains and by seeing through a microscope single-cell animals swimming in a drop of water. But that is not all that creation does for me. I feel immersed in the joy of creation most of the time. Joy, delight, amazement, discovery, appreciation – and more. I can be stopped in my tracks by the sight of a tiny flower that has sprung up in the grass between the sidewalk and the curb. I am richly blessed when I hear a birdsong. I’m not measuring or weighing these events. I just enjoy them. I am constantly in awe at the fact that God’s creation is beauty and it is fun. I agree with Ian Steward that beauty is truth and truth is beauty, so when I have all these beautiful experiences, I am learning truth.

There are many ways to experience creation, and they are not all capable of being weighed or measured. When I plan a meal, for example, I certainly take nutrient value, a scientific measurement, into account. I eat three times a day, and over the course of the day I want to ingest the right nutritional components in the right quantities to sustain healthy life. However, I never plan to eat a survival tablet. I want a meal, and a meal nourishes me in ways that no scientist can actually measure. My nutritional needs are science, but my other needs are part of my own unique creation story. Mike Glenn says, “We were placed in the world to creatively engage the world.” One way I engage the world creatively is at dinner.

My meal planning begins with the food elements, but there is much more to it. Appearance, for example. The colors of the foods on the plate or in a bowl. The shapes. The way some colors and shapes look good together while others do not. I consider flavors. I don’t want every dish in the meal to be spicy; there needs to be a cooling flavor like blue cheese dip for a rest from the zing of spicy wings. I consider mouth feel and texture. One crunchy item is enough for a meal and is nicely balanced by a silky sauce. I could feed my body with survival tablets, but my spirit, that part of me that lives at the intersection of time and space with eternity and infinity, wants more from creation than the things science can measure. In creation, God has provided food in so many forms that I will never run out of options for delicious, colorful, flavorful, satisfying, and yes even nutritious food.

To top off my meal planning, I want someone to share it with. I can eat alone, but food eaten in pleasant company tastes better. I love to eat with my husband, and I love having guests, because the conversation and interaction with the meal and with each other fulfills hungers over and above the biological need of my body for nutrition. So in addition to nutrition, I need an experience that transcends time and space, yet is experienced in a place over a period of time.

I love the way creation richly provides for my needs, because God created a universe in which beauty usually trumps utility. Everything in God’s creation has its scientific purpose and value, but everything in God’s creation has a bigger purpose than its physical presence. My food, for example. If God thought in a human, secular, scientific way, the nutrients in a green leafy vegetable would be provided by a green leafy vegetable that grows everywhere in just the quantities needed by the population. Instead, God provides a proliferation of green leafy vegetables that grow in different shapes and different environments all over the world. They aren’t even all the same shade of green. Some have red or yellow stems. Some are broad leaves, and some are narrow leaves. Some of the leaves are actually fuzzy. Some leaves look like elephant ears and some look like knives. Such abundance. Such variation. Some taste better raw. Some taste better cooked.

God’s creation clearly was not designed by an efficiency expert or a budget control officer. The “cultural confidence in science” leads many people to think they need to interfere with creation, because they think it is out of kilter. It also leads them to believe that human beings can overpower God’s creation and destroy it. This is arrogance on steroids. God certainly gave humans the responsibility of stewardship of creation, but he did not give them the power to break it. Creation will end in God’s time and God’s way. God’s forgiveness for our ignorance, and even for our arrogance, is built into the resilience of creation. Time and space will end at a time and in a way that is part of God’s perfect plan. We should use science to learn how to be better stewards, but we should trust God to carry us through the learning curve. Creation is a blessing, and God determines the quality and duration of his blessings. We cannot overpower his plans and purposes even when we make really big mistakes. Because God is sovereign, not human beings, we can trust God for now, for all of time, and for eternity.

Be watching here next Wednesday for more about The Gospel of Yes. 

The Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not “Yes and No”; but in him it is always “Yes.” For in him every one of God’s promises is a “Yes.”  2 Corinthians 1:19-120

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Blogging Through the Book is a group of bloggers who literally blog while reading the book. It’s different than merely reading a book and posting a review. We have a chance to read and share our thoughts in community. Click HERE to learn more or visit www.danapittman.com.”

 

The Truth in all its Splendor

 The more I read Psalm 19, the more I love it. This psalm is like a layered sauce for shrimp and pasta. Each layer has been reduced to its flavorful essence, and there are so many flavors that it is impossible to appreciate each one individually.

Psalm 19 begins with a lavish statement of the way creation testifies to God’s work and ongoing sovereignty. Pointing out that created things have no voice in the sense of a sound we can hear, the psalmist says, as translated in The Message, “Their silence fills the earth: unspoken truth is spoken everywhere.” (Psalm 19:4) This statement feels like a Hubble photograph. It responds to my hunger for truth. The world around me suffers from a massive truth deficit, but all of creation speaks truth that fills and comforts my heart. To hear these words is to be built up in faith that God has a purpose for all things, and his purposes do not fail.

The heart of the psalm is a master statement of the way God’s law testifies to the same truth which creation speaks without words. God’s law is perfect, sure, right, clear, pure and true. There really is order behind the chaos I encounter everywhere. Like a painter’s palette of many colors, the psalmist’s word palette names God’s law as the facets of a jewel – law, decree, precept, commandment, fear, ordinance. God’s truth does not vary with passing events. Rather, it is like a precious stone that I might hold  in my hand turning it this way and that to catch the light and see the light transformed by passing through the jewel.

In case I don’t really absorb the value of God’s law, the psalmist explains what will happen if I make the law a part of myself. If I absorb it into my spirit, it will make me feel alive, it will make me look wise even if I am not smart, it will make me happy with a happiness that cannot be crushed, it will give me insight into reality, it is never out of date, and best of all, it is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Using God’s personal name, the name God gave to Moses to emphasize his eternal presence with Israel, the psalmist makes the revelation of the law intimate and vibrant, just for me.

In sum, the psalmist says, God’s revelation of himself is so rich and so valuable that it is better than the finest gold or the sweetest honey. Maybe I don’t think so highly of honey as the psalmist, but I do know that when Israel left Egypt bound for the Promised Land, they called it the land of milk and honey. My hunger for truth makes me yearn for God the way I might yearn for food. The psalmist expresses delight in God’s revelation of himself in creation and in the law the way I might delight in a richly complex sauce over shrimp and pasta.

There is only one legitimate response to such a revelation. I bow my head in worship and prayer. God has given me the priceless treasure of himself, wordless truth in creation, words of truth in his law. With the psalmist, I ask nothing more than to speak and think truth in all things as my creator does.

If you don’t have a Bible handy, here is a copy of the Psalm

Psalm 19

1      The heavens are telling the glory of God;

and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.

2     Day to day pours forth speech,

and night to night declares knowledge.

3     There is no speech, nor are there words;

their voice is not heard;

4     yet their voice goes out through all the earth,

and their words to the end of the world.

In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,

5     which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,

and like a strong man runs its course with joy.

6     Its rising is from the end of the heavens,

and its circuit to the end of them;

and nothing is hid from its heat.

7     The law of the Lord is perfect,

reviving the soul;

the decrees of the Lord are sure,

making wise the simple;

8     the precepts of the Lord are right,

rejoicing the heart;

the commandment of the Lord is clear,

enlightening the eyes;

9     the fear of the Lord is pure,

enduring forever;

the ordinances of the Lord are true

and righteous altogether.

10    More to be desired are they than gold,

even much fine gold;

sweeter also than honey,

and drippings of the honeycomb.

11    Moreover by them is your servant warned;

in keeping them there is great reward.

12    But who can detect their errors?

Clear me from hidden faults.

13    Keep back your servant also from the insolent;

do not let them have dominion over me.

Then I shall be blameless,

and innocent of great transgression.

14    Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart

be acceptable to you,

O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.