On the Duty of Obeying Nature

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In my recent post on the surgical rape of nature, someone in the comments asked what I thought to be a pertinent question. Why would I come out swinging at something like transgender surgeries as a “rape of nature” when in other circumstances I have shown myself to be quite open to GMOs, Frankenfoods, and such? Isn’t every form of genetic engineering a “rape of nature?” I want to say, no, not at all. But why not?

The answer is that the boundaries of natural revelation are not communicated through mere facticity. Marijuana grows naturally. In fact, the entire plant is all natural. But it is still a sin to smoke it. There are standards that God has embedded within nature, but that does not mean that we can make up any old standard provided we can point to some example of it in nature. Some animals exhibit homosexual behavior, but that does not give us the right to do the same. Some animals eat their young too. And so, if that is the case, what could it possibly mean to say that something is “unnatural”?

The category mistake reminds me of the time when Mark Twain was asked if he believed in infant baptism. “Believe in it?” he said, “why, I have seen it done.”

An essential part of natural revelation or natural law is found within us. God does not just place His letters in the natural world, He also places His literacy in our hearts. His letters are out there, His literacy is in here. When we read the natural world in perverse ways, we are therefore sinning against natural revelation. Paul is most explicit about this. God’s eternal power and Godhead is not just manifest to them, it is manifest in them (Rom. 1:19-20).

So back to the question. The issue is not the technique used. The issue is not whether or not we are working on genes, or even human genes. The issue is whether we are obeying God’s clear standards, or are disregarding them.

I have argued before that we ought not to be talking about the sanctity of human life, as though the mere fact of life brings the standard of sanctity. Rather, we should affirm the sanctity of God’s revealed will, and the resultant dignity of human life. We respect man because we adore God. We honor man because we worship God. When we go the humanist route and honor man because we honor man, we find at the end of the day that our paltry sense of honor, suspended from its own sky hook, is not all that distinct from dishonor. The entire human race is nothing more than the foam on the surface of an infinite ocean of chaos.

And so, there is no necessary problem with genetic engineering on humans. The issue is what standard you are using. Are you trying to be God’s servant or God’s rival? For example, suppose a genetic operation comes online that enabled us to undo Down’s syndrome. Would that be lawful? Certainly, in the same way that setting a broken bone is lawful. We can set a broken bone because we know what the standard is—what a healthy bone looks like, and which direction—the direction of health—we ought to be working. A doctor who sets a bone is functioning as a servant of Christ. An orthodontist who straightens teeth is doing the same thing; he is also such a servant. He is not “fighting nature.” He is exercising dominion. He is restoring nature. He is cooperating with God’s purpose for the world.

With obvious bounds, nature is supposed to become artificial. The world is going to end as a garden city, and gardens are artificial. So that is not where the problem lies. The problem is not in the hands of men—the problem is in the hearts of men.

So plastic surgery is not a sin. Restoring the visage of a car accident victim is a noble thing. Silicone breast implants are not a sin. Helping mastectomy patients is a noble thing. But when the heart of man enters with bizarre standards, those same techniques easily become agents of sin. What Michael Jackson did to his race and his face were a very sad consequence of his confusion at this just point. We do not get to manipulate the Play-Doh of our physical bodies into whatever configuration we want.

Christians have an ongoing and constant obligation to be obedient to nature, and to know what is entailed by that. We are in this flummoxed condition as the secularists insist on their absolute right to do absolutely anything precisely because we have neglected our obligation as believers to study the physical and natural world—in order to learn how to be obedient to it. And now it appears that secularists are running out our apathetic ignorance in a grand reductio ad absurdum. “How about now? I had these small deer antlers attached to my skull. Where does the Bible say I can’t?”

By the way, before concluding, I need to say it is entirely unlawful to experiment with human genetic engineering if you are working on embryos, and washing them down the sink once you have your data.

But in conclusion, there is a vast difference between obeying nature—God’s letters out there read with His literacy that He placed in your heart—and merely aping something you happened to find in nature, like the deer antlers.

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Lance Roberts
Lance Roberts
6 years ago

Thanks for saying what few preachers are saying, that smoking marijuana is a sin. It’s good to see someone fight the culture that so easily accepts sin as normative and therefore “not sin”.

I do hope you do more investigation at some point into exactly how they construct GMOs and what the results have been.

Andrew Lohr
Andrew Lohr
6 years ago

Alcohol is Biblical but can be used in sinful ways Sex is Biblical but can be used in sinful ways Painkillers are OK to most Christians, sometimes needed, but can be used in sinful ways But smoking marijuana “is a sin”? Well, there may be more effective ways to get the key ingredients where they need to go for health, e.g. to improve appetite when it needs improved…to reduce a pain it’s effective against…even to get a buzz similar to enjoying alcohol…but “is a sin”???? (This sounds vaguely familiar; maybe a link to previous post/s on topic would help?) (I’ve… Read more »

MeMe
6 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Lohr

“Painkillers are OK to most Christians, sometimes needed, but can be used in sinful ways….” Over half a million people in this country have now died from addiction overdoses caused by opioid addiction of which 80% began with a legal prescription for pain killers. That’s only the tip of the iceberg,the damage done to families and communities could take decades to recover from. It’s a public heath crisis like this country has never seen before. Many still don’t “see” it. Sin is not always what is seen right on the surface, often it is far more like ripples on the… Read more »

CJX
CJX
6 years ago
Reply to  MeMe

So opioid based pain killers are not OK for Christians?

MeMe
6 years ago
Reply to  CJX

Having worked in healthcare and seen the ravages of opioid addiction, I’d say it’s pretty darn dangerous in any context but end of life care. Most of our opioids are basically heroin, which is why street heroin use has blossomed. We wouldn’t prescribe heroin for chronic back pain, so we shouldn’t be using opioids either. Those who do not develop an addiction are the exception to the rule and truly blessed.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  MeMe

I think doctors fail to tell you, when they hand you a scrip for 100 Percocets, that constant use over time knocks out the brain’s natural pain control system. The pain relief they give you decreases, so you keep amping up the dose. When used for migraine control, they actually create daily migraines. Even so, whenever I end up in the ER with a three-day migraine, they offer me a narcotic-based pain drug. Dentists seem to me to have a better handle on this. When you get a wisdom tooth extracted, they give you a prescription for 10 pills, not… Read more »

bethyada
bethyada
6 years ago
Reply to  CJX

They are fine. But the US has a problem with medical opioids that the rest of the world does not.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

Bethyada, what do you think accounts for this? I have been looking at statistics by state, and I was surprised that California’s addiction/overdose rate is a lot lower than of many other states. One chart showed that California physicians prescribe fewer opiates, and another showed that Hispanics are less likely to use opiates than non-Hispanic whites. I can’t understand otherwise why liberal California is less affected by the crisis than liberal Oregon and Washington State. Do you think other countries have more restrictive prescribing criteria, or do you think it is a uniquely American demand for instant and constant pain… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  MeMe

I would rather see chronic intense pain treated with marijuana than with opioids. Much less addictive, and the “high” is much less intense.

MeMe
6 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Me too Jilly, me too. A couple of problems we’re starting to see however, GMO crops that have now intensified THC and reduced the other substance that keeps the high down, so people are actually being hospitalized for having ingested too much, gotten too high. We actually find people on the street unconscious, something totally unheard of ten years ago. Nobody can pass out or over dose on pot, or so we thought. Also schizophrenia rates are going through the roof. Research has only begin to explore how marijuana may trigger the disease in people who are genetically vulnerable. A… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  MeMe

I can’t imagine passing out from dope. Nodding off and talking nonsense, yes. Writing essays that made no sense in the cold light of dawn, yes. Wandering around randomly saying “Pol POT” and finding that hilarious, absolutely. I have heard about the suspected schizophrenia link, but I thought they were not so sure now. The problem is that schizophrenia has an onset age that correlates so closely to heavy daily marijuana use. I have, however, seen people who use it so often that their memories are terrible and their motivation nil. I really enjoyed your article today, and I agree… Read more »

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
6 years ago
Reply to  MeMe

FWIW I don’t think there has been any GMO marijuana developed. Unless you consider selective breeding and induced mutagenesis “GMO” in which case most vegetable matter we eat is GMO.

The Monsanto GMO marijuana stuff is, depending on the source, unverified rumours of clandestine research, or an outright hoax.

MeMe
6 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

Well,I assure you GMO marijuana is in production, but I was speaking more in terms of refining and selective breeding. Also, we went from smoking a naturally occurring plant,to ingesting more concentrated dabs and wax. It’s a bit like the difference between munching on a few coca leaves in high altitudes versus just snorting lines of cocaine.

bethyada
bethyada
6 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Lohr

Using cannabis for intoxication is a sin just as it is for alcohol and heroin.

Isolating ingredients from plants to use as medicine is not a sin.

The problem with “medical marijuana” is that almost no-one who advocates for it is particularly interested in the adjective.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

Bethyada, I have been thinking about this. Marijuana is legal in my state, and the voters did away with the charade of having to get a prescription from Dr. Feelgood. So one element that would make most marijuana use sinful–its illegality–has been removed. I agree with you that using any substance for the purpose of recreational intoxication is sinful. We are not supposed to deliberately obliterate our rationality which is a gift from God. Nor are we allowed to deliberately destroy the inhibitions and controls that keep us from sin. But… A very small amount of edible marijuana does not… Read more »

JohnM
JohnM
6 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

The people in your state live in the United States, and therefore have not removed the element of illegality. Anyway, other than as medication that should be prescribed by a medical professional or for intoxication, what would be the point?

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  JohnM

What is the point of having two glasses of wine? To relax, to be convivial, to unwind.

JohnM
JohnM
6 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

I’m not a wine drinker but I would have guessed the point of two glasses of wine was that a person enjoys the taste of wine.

That, or to relax, to be convivial, to unwind. In other words, to get drunk.

bethyada
bethyada
6 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

I have no concerns with various chemicals being used for medicine. Whether they derive from poppies or cannabis or coca leaves or Yew trees. But we have clearly identified morphine and codeine and cocaine and put them to good use. There are compounds that may be helpful in cannabis. So let’s isolate them and use them in controlled doses.

CJX
CJX
6 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

Do you have any data to validate this statement?

Jonathan
Jonathan
6 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

I have never smoked marijuana, will never, don’t encourage it…yet I do know well-educated Christian adults who seem to use marijuana the same way that some people knock off a couple beers or glasses of wine at home in the evenings. I don’t drink nearly as much as many people associated with this blog do, nor do I smoke tobacco like some of our present company. I abstain from all three for rather similar reasons…have a real problem seeing how to draw a hard line between them which would make one “a sin” and the other two “worth celebrating as… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

I don’t drink alcohol because my family is rife with problem drinkers and it also gives me migraines. I very rarely have a toke to calm a muscle spasm or a migraine because the alternative is Vicodin which I think is more dangerous to someone with an addictive personality. I have smoked since I started university at 16 and desperately needed to look older! I find the sin categories pretty arbitrary. If altering consciousness is the root of the sin, I think the Mormons are on the right track in banning everything. Even coffee and Virginia tobacco alter consciousness. If… Read more »

bethyada
bethyada
6 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Jill, affect on cognition is not the issue, lack of sleep will give you that. It is intoxication that is to be avoided. People drink because it tastes nice. All my alcohol consumption is for this reason. On the occasions where there may be a lot of alcohol and I notice that it has had an affect on me I stop drinking further for the night. (For the record, I don’t drink most days, and have no more than 1 drink when I usually drink). This benefit of wine and beer is not seen with herbs consumed for their mind… Read more »

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
6 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

This view of alcohol’s utility being only the nice taste doesn’t comport with scripture or historic use by christians. Wine makes the heart glad, it cheers God and men, it is to be given to those who are in bitter distress (and strong drink to the perishing), wine is not for the tent of meeting and not for the king (from context it seems clear that this means when the king is judging). The bible presupposes that wine has an effect beyond being palatable. It gladdens, cheers and removes sorrows, it also impairs judgement. Also, see the descriptions of drunkenness… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
6 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

That was quite the effective pushback against a lot of sketchy arguments, Demo.

David Douglas
David Douglas
6 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

I agree there are 3 legitimate uses for alcohol. Taste, make the heart glad (while obeying strictures regarding the abuse thereof), and as an analgesic. My guess is that alcohol was the morphine of pre-modern times for those in the throes of cancer or other painful diseases. If marijuana were used that way I would be ok with that. Or at least need to be convinced that I should not be ok with it.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

Demo, I agree with you. Taste can’t be the sole legitimate benefit although it may be for individual drinkers. When people come in from mowing the lawn and reach for a Coors, it can’t just be for the taste or lemonade would do just as well. I love the taste of coffee, but the effect on mood and sleepiness is even more important.

When the mother of our Lord asked him to do something about the wine situation at the wedding feast, I think she was thinking about wine’s celebratory aspect, not just that the guests were thirsty!

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
6 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Indeed, Jilly, indeed. Sharing a bottle of wine with my wife on a special occassion, or after a long week, isn’t just about enjoying the great taste of wine. I love the taste of good wine, but I love the feeling and the shared experience even more. As to the wedding at Cana note what the master of the feast says: “9When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and… Read more »

JohnM
JohnM
6 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

“So next time you are at a wedding or celebrating a birthday don’t be afraid to enjoy the wine, not just the taste, but the effect.”

I’ll pass on the effect. Among other things, I don’t want to risk having to try and convince the cops or the court that there really is a difference between buzzed and drunk. Like I said, among other things.

Lance Roberts
Lance Roberts
6 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Our culture may think that “the best wine” is about alcohol content, but maybe back then it was about taste or quality. So it could have been good tasting grape juice. It’s very dangerous to interpret the Bible in the way our culture thinks of it, where alcohol abuse is spilling some on the ground.

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
6 years ago
Reply to  Lance Roberts

Lance,

Can’t tell if this was to me. This comment system doesn’t do a great job with replies.

I don’t think anyone thinks the best wine is about alcohol content. Depending on the yeast and the level of residual sugar in the grapes wines congregate around the 11-14% range. From residue of ancient wines it seems they were likely on the lower end of the current distribution, but very similar. Say 12% on average. The wine Jesus made was oinos, it was wine. It was the best wine because it was delicious, and possibly sophisticated.

bethyada
bethyada
6 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

@demo

I don’t dispute your comments about allowed effects; it is a depressant. But one should stop before intoxication.

But many people who are not in anyway drunkards enjoy the taste.

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
6 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

The issue is that “intoxication” is poorly defined. I would argue that in scripture intoxication is presented as very seriously and debilitatingly drunk and not simply feeling physical and emotional effects. However, we should respect the dangerous nature of alcohol and we should never be trying to get as close to the edge as possible without falling in.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

I think most alcohol tastes awful. My darling brother-in-law, my ex’s brother who has been so good to my daughter and me, once insisted that I sample some incredibly expensive red wine he was enormously proud of having found. I told him it was wasted on me, but he insisted and poured me a small glass. A new minutes later, he found me in the kitchen pouring sugar into it. “I must really love you, Jill, to overlook this,” he said.

JohnM
JohnM
6 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

I agree most alcohol tastes awful, some kinds awful-er than others. That might be my most fundamental reason for not drinking alcohol: Why would I when I don’t especially enjoy it? What little I ever drank, my reasons were mostly not good ones. Like a lot of things, it is an acquired taste and I simply never imbibed enough to acquire the taste. I don’t see a reason why I would go out of my way to try and acquire the taste now, even if the risk weren’t what it is.

Jonathan
Jonathan
6 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

I think it’s basically the same as a ton of issues – it’s decided on community solidarity. The people who decide that marijuana is sinful and that alcohol/tobacco are to be encouraged tend to be people who spend a lot of time in drinking and smoking circles, but who mostly see people on the opposite side of the political aisle in the toking circles. Whether the issue is slavery, divorce, homosexuality, premarital sex, tattoos, piercings, greed for mammon, gun violence, inner-city drug epidemics, rural drug epidemics, nationalism, trust in armies, etc, the pattern seems to be the same. Those churches… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

The thought of spending time in smoking circles made me smile. I am the only smoker in my group of friends. There are entire neighborhoods here where smoking on the street or in apartment buildings is illegal. If I want someone with whom to share a companionable cigarette, it is likely to be a homeless mentally ill person. My friends remind me that even Charles Manson forbade the use of tobacco! On the other hand, my friends see the use of good wines and locally grown weed as positively meritorious! You are right that this is driven by the ethos… Read more »

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
6 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Smoking is a classic “minor moral” issue per Chesterton’s taxonomy in “On Lying in Bed.” A great example of the weakening of a major moral and strengthening of a minor moral can be seen in the outrage if a pregnant woman smokes paired with the required approval if the same woman hires someone to cut her unborn baby in pieces…

I don’t smoke, much, but I sometimes want to take it up just to spurn our pathetic moralists.

bethyada
bethyada
6 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

@Jill Smith Smoking is a minor sin jill. The crusade against it is far more from a secular perspective. Some smoking may not even be a sin, the cigar on Sunday afternoon following lunch. The sin aspect is predominantly the addictive nature of it (for almost everyone). And that the type of smoking we do has long term health aspects which one may argue lacks good stewardship of the body. I would add that for you (and I’m purely surmising here), you may secretly like the fact that it keeps you slim. But the fact that I never knew you… Read more »

JohnM
JohnM
6 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

bethyada,

I want to agree with you about minor sins, and no I don’t think all sins are the same. However (and you saw that coming) I also like to think Jesus was nailed to the cross for all my sins, not just the “major” ones. Looked at from that perspective, which sins are okay for me to commit defiantly?

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

Your surmise is 100% correct. Smoking inhibits appetite, and I would always rather have a cigarette than dinner. Yes, it is probably time! To me, smoking is associated with good memories of my youth, sitting in dark coffee houses and arguing about literary theory and politics. It’s as close as I got to hanging out with Dylan in Greenwich Village! Now it is associated with down and outs! I was at a bus stop a couple of months ago, going to the dentist to have a cap recemented on a front tooth and having a quiet cigarette. A homeless crazy… Read more »

Lance Roberts
Lance Roberts
6 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

I agree, most people think those sinful things are not sinful because they use their culture as the measuring stick instead of the Bible. Culture is only a measure of the religion inside of people coming out, not of right or wrong.

MeMe
6 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

“….a real problem seeing how to draw a hard line between them which would make one “a sin” and the other two “worth celebrating as a Christian right”.

LOL! Well, I don’t know about anyone else, but the moment I think in terms of my, “Christian right,” I’m in sin.

lndighost
lndighost
6 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

@bethyada I agree. I think there are also some important distinctions to note between alcohol and marijuana. Firstly, alcohol (particularly at the lower concentrations in wine) has been a regular part of the diet for a significant chunk of the world for thousands of years. We are familiar with its use, including the dangers of overindulging. And most healthy people can drink a glass or two a few times a week with not only no ill-effects, but a net benefit to their health and without developing a dependence on it. In contrast, there is much less certainty about the long… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  lndighost

Hi Indighost, I did a little reading. According to the US National Institutes of Health, there are 88,000 alcohol-related deaths in the United States every year, making alcohol abuse the fourth leading cause of preventable death. This doesn’t include car crashes. Every day in the U.S. six people die from acute alcohol poisoning caused by binge drinking. Even the most anti-drug websites I looked at conceded that it is virtually impossible to overdose on marijuana, and that the number (if any) of people who die from long term use of marijuana is statistically insignificant. A study of 8,000 people conducted… Read more »

lndighost
lndighost
6 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Hi Jilly. I readily acknowledge that alcohol abuse is a dangerous and serious problem. Those stats are awful. And I’m not arguing that marijuana use is inherently sinful. My point was that we know what alcohol does to people who overindulge. We know that it is possible to use it safely and responsibly, even several times a week. We do not have the same knowledge of the effects of weed. I appreciate what Demo said elsewhere in this thread about it being difficult to separate the issue from the people who push the issue. It is hard not to be… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  lndighost

All very true, Indighost! I do think medical MJ can be helpful in some cases. But, naïve as I am about people’s motivations sometimes, even I saw that the push for medical MJ was driven by the long term goal of legalizing MJ in general. That was true in my state. The criteria for prescribing it covered every conceivable medical condition. There was no requirement that you register with only one dispensary, and if there was any attempt to track people’s purchases, I’m not aware of it. In other words, it was not treated like any other prescribed substance. When… Read more »

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
6 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

Bethyada, I have seen this idea expressed before and I have been thinking about it and I am trying to formulate what it is about it that bothers me. I am still working it out, but I think the modern desire to abstract things from their natural context is a form of hubris. The chemicals in a cannabis bud may be like the organisms in an ecosystem. Take a grassland, if you remove the predators the herbivores stop bunching, eat only the freshest shoots and gradually spot graze out patches. Over the years this leads to a collapse of the… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

Demo, I am too, and I have learned to shut up about it among those in my circle who are iridologists, reflexologists, and Reiki masters. With the latter, how could someone waving his hands over you, but making almost no physical contact, relieve pain? Wouldn’t any pain relief be attributable to belief in a ludicrous theory about energy fields, or to confidence in your practitioner? (On the other hand, perhaps our bodies are like my new laptop with a touch-sensitive screen–I seem able to undo my work just by breathing close to the screen.) When I have a migraine and… Read more »

bethyada
bethyada
6 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

That may well be true. Perhaps CBD is important, or perhaps THC/ CBD ratios are important. And synergistic qualities may also be present in isolated chemicals that derive from different herbs.

But this is largely irrelevant to the argument from people who want to use a psychoactive drug. I think alcohol is beneficial for health, but I call nonsense on the alcoholic who claims to drink for its health benefits.

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
6 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

Completely agree. I was just pushing back on the isolationist approach to medicine. It is interesting how much of a human universal the desire to alter our state of consciousness is. Almost everyone in the world takes some sort of mind altering substance. Caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, coca leaf, opiods, psilocybin, masculine, MDMA, dream root, ergot, DMT, etc. Many have been associated with various religious and transcendent experience. I would like to see a theology of mind alteration that is attentive to the different uses and doesn’t involve facile reasoning (coffee is fine, but not coca leaf, beacause I drink coffee… Read more »

Dave
Dave
6 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Lohr

Andrew, just remember: One toke over the line . . .

With marijuana you are intoxicated with one puff (that’s drunk) and as such over the line

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  Dave

I read a position paper (I think it was from the Gospel Coalition) which cited research showing that if a man of a certain weight attains intoxication after four beers in a single sitting, that same man will need four tokes of high grade MJ to get to the same level. I think that some edibles have a lower concentration. There are also some very effective pain control oils that don’t produce any intoxication at all. We have MM shops on just about every corner, which will be out of business next year when you no longer need a prescription… Read more »

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
6 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

I think the drug culture and the drinking culture are big problems. But I don’t buy Doug’s argument about the differences between sinful marijuana and licit wine. Now wine has specific biblical sanction, so you could make a case that all other altering chemicals are somehow out, but that isn’t his approach. He focuses on the intoxicating potential, which I don’t think is a difference of kind between marijuana and alcohol (especially liquor, which Doug has expressed appreciation for). It is troubling to me that marijuana users seem to be striving for stronger and stronger product. If a man said… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

Demo, what do you think of this argument? http://taylormarshall.com/2013/08/is-marijuana-smoking-sinful-for-christians-a-thomistic-analysis.html I think the explanation of why intentionally getting intoxicated is sinful is very good, but the rest of his argument relies on a presupposition that while the effects of alcohol can be graduated, the effects of MJ cannot. This is simply not true. A person at an MM dispensary here can ask for a single dose edible with a stipulated amount of active ingredient. (In my case, I would need to chop that dose into tiny slivers.) Do you think Doug is regarding MJ use as a cultural identification like rainbow… Read more »

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
6 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Jilly, with the exception of the rationality language this is basically Doug’s argument. He used to have a position paper on marijuana on Christ Church’s website (don’t know if it is still there) where he made the argument that with alcohol you can drink some and have no physical or emotional effects, with marijuana that is not the case, no matter how little you use you are intoxicated. I find this absurd, frankly. I believe this argument is wrong from both directions. I think you can make a case for marijuana being ilicit and I think societies can have norms… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

I was working out why I am in favor of legal MJ but not of legal coke or crystal meth. The best I could come up with is that while many if not most people can use both alcohol and MJ responsibly, very few people seem able to do that with something like meth. But, with any blanket statement that society has a duty or right to protect people from addictive substances that can harm them, we run up against alcohol which clearly destroys many people’s lives. It could be argued, I guess, that coke and meth serve no beneficent… Read more »

bethyada
bethyada
6 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

@Jill Smith Every drug has a threshold. Eating a leaf of wild hemp will have no effect. The point is who is arguing and for what? For examples, I have no concern about the medical use of morphine, amphetamines, ketamine, cocaine, etc. Further, the appropriate use may have some euphoric effect. But I oppose the use of mind altering substances for the sake of intoxication. Can you find many pro marijuana people who say the same. Not just that you can take these drugs to relax, but that it is both moral and yet any intoxication is a serious sin?… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

Bethyada, I think that leads us into another area. I report my anxiety symptoms to my doctor, and he gives me tranquilizers. I report ADD symptoms, and she gives me Ritalin. (Not often, but sometimes!) I use these for deliberate mood control, or to improve my mental acuity. Sometimes I use the former to quell the pain of unpleasant feelings. It is legal, and as long as I am truthful about my symptoms, I don’t think it is innately sinful. But, if using alcohol or MJ to improve mood or to suppress emotion is wrong, isn’t the use of psychiatric… Read more »

bethyada
bethyada
6 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

I have never taken amphetamines but my understanding is that slow release ones increase concentration without causing the high that the same substance would give injected. I don’t entirely object to Prozac, or benzos, or amphetamines, or other meds that are predominantly intended to act psychologically; but I do think that many psychological conditions have a spiritual element that needs to be addressed and the pills are not really dealing with the issue. I am also aware that people (especially women) can use legitimate meds in ways that are immoral. So I wouldn’t say Christians should not take meds and… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

I loathe and detest CBT which, along with DBT, is the psychological part of eating disorder treatment. I don’t argue its effectiveness, only its difficulty combined with mind-numbing boredom at dealing with things that seem both so obvious and unchangeable. “I think you have a tendency to catastrophize.” Well, no kidding. I’m not glued to Flight Tracker every time the Snowflake gets on an airplane because I like looking at maps. “We’re going to sit here until you say something positive about yourself that we think you actually believe.” Catholics are not supposed to do that! Can I tell you… Read more »

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
6 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

As an amendment to my other comment, i think much of the strident resistance is due to behavior clustering. Marijuana is associated with a certain sort of rebellion, and idiocy. It is a symbol in its own right. It is hard to disentangle that from he question of its lawfulness.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

Demo, I think you’re right. Some people picture the typical MJ user as if it were 1967 and he’s burning his draft card (or as the pitiable Vietnam vet who never got over his PTSD). Or, an elderly stoner who has successfully avoided responsibility for the last five decades. Or, as a pimp blasting awful music from his car as he tyrannizes over his girls. Or as the kind of college professor who advises his students to engage in anarchy. They don’t picture respectable middle class professionals who enjoy a toke on the weekends. But I thought of one aspect… Read more »

Doane
Doane
6 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Lohr

Weed and alcohol are just two different worlds all together. There is no such process with weed like you have with beer or wine that you can just smoke a bit and get a mild “buzz”. You smoke weed and either get high or not. You can high and then really really high, but no mild chill like a 5% beer. I won’t bore you with the CBD world, and or the almost impossible process for the everyday Joe to get medically tested low THC content weed. Once high, you’re intoxicated. Drunk. I spent most of my early life around… Read more »

Lance Roberts
Lance Roberts
6 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Lohr

Some reasons why mind-altering drug use is a sin: 1) Those who are choosing to do mind-altering drugs are seeking to escape the reality God created. They are attempting to alter creation to one of their own choosing, or something different that what God has put in place. They are worshiping another God and are rebelling against the true God. 2) witchcraft, “5331 pharmakeía (from pharmakeuō, “administer drugs”) – properly, drug-related sorcery, like the practice of magical-arts, etc. (A. T. Robertson)”. When the Bible is talking about sorcery and witchcraft, it is related to drug use. It’s actually pretty much… Read more »

CJX
CJX
6 years ago

Would you consider marijuana – used purely for medical purposes – a sin?

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  CJX

I wouldn’t, but we have to remember how easily we delude ourselves. If I am given codeine for pain, it is not sinful to take it. But at some point I may find myself taking it, not because my pain is severe, but because I like the way it makes me feel. I don’t think that is necessarily sinful but it is certainly setting myself up for major trouble.

Kevin Brendler
Kevin Brendler
6 years ago

“God’s eternal power and Godhead is not just manifest to them, it is manifest in them (Rom. 1:19-20).” How important is “in them” to your argument? KJV renders 1:19 “in them.” But RSV, ESV, HCSB and NIV read “to them” at 1:19. NASB has “within them,” but notes that “among them” may be more accurate. Of course, you have “eternity in their hearts” from Ecclesiastes to support you. But what do you make of the Greek? Anybody? Can’t be definitive, I suppose, one way or the other. Isn’t there some kind of debate in the history of theology whether Natural… Read more »

Eric Stampher
Eric Stampher
6 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Brendler

Kevin — Regarding sinful man’s capability to perceive the Truth —

Could we agree that obtaining the information is not difficult?
Satan knows the P’s & Q’s pretty well.
It’s the heart & affections that need the work?

The point of Romans 1, then, is not “How are we going to get folks acquainted with these propositions?!”
All the right propositions have been plainly manifest in and around us.

Kevin Brendler
Kevin Brendler
6 years ago
Reply to  Eric Stampher

“Could we agree that obtaining the information is not difficult?” Yes, we can agree on that! “It’s the heart & affections that need the work?” That’s right. “The point of Romans 1, then, is not “How are we going to get folks acquainted with these propositions?!” I’m with you. “All the right propositions have been plainly manifest in and around us.” Well, there’s that “in” matter again. Certainly, “around us” is correct. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So… Read more »

john k
john k
6 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Brendler

How can Romans 1:20 be limited to things “external,” when the human body, and consciousness itself, are among the things God created? Also, the “perception” and “knowledge” that the Gentiles have are located in their “inward parts,” are they not?

Kevin Brendler
Kevin Brendler
6 years ago
Reply to  john k

“Also, the “perception” and “knowledge” that the Gentiles have are located in their “inward parts,” are they not?”

They are indeed.

I was thrown by the KJV translation “in them” at Rom 1:19.

Have used the RSV for years and knew the translation there was “to them.”

But 1:20 seals it. Perception is definitely on the “inside.”

Eric Stampher
Eric Stampher
6 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Brendler

You seem to be saying that the perception that the bible writers testified to may not be the same thing as internal testimony?
If they perceive the meaning of the natural revelation, then doesn’t that mean it hit their eye bones & brain bones?
Which other bones need to be exposed?

Kevin Brendler
Kevin Brendler
6 years ago
Reply to  Eric Stampher

“If they perceive the meaning of the natural revelation, then doesn’t that mean it hit their eye bones & brain bones?”

I think that’s right. Perception goes all the way to the bone.

My Portion Forever
My Portion Forever
6 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Brendler

I imagine you folks know this, but I looked it up, and the Greek says ἐν αὐτοῖς, which basically means “in them.” But ἐν, as a preposition, can be used in a variety of ways and so can legitimately mean in, among, or to in this context. So context will have to determine its sense, and I agree with you that verse 20 shows that all men have internal knowledge of God received from his creation, which includes ourselves and our own natures. I believe one of the most convincing evidences of God’s being and nature is our moral conscience,… Read more »

Kevin Brendler
Kevin Brendler
6 years ago

” … looked it up, and the Greek says ….” Thanks for that. Appreciate it. The prologue to John’s gospel is also a profound assertion of the inescapable inward testimony to the reality of the one, true God in every man. “Here the Logos-revelation is actually mediated through the subjective life which man in dependence on the Logos possesses. The life here naturally produces the light. The meaning here is . . . that the life which man receives carries in itself and of itself kindles in him, the light of the knowledge of God.” That’s Geerhardus Vos. Forgot that… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
6 years ago

I’ll have to admit that I’m sort of lost now at the bar that’s being used for the “nature” argument at this point. From how it’s been used in the last two posts, you would think it would have to carry the following arguments, for starters: 1. Implanting a deer antler onto your head is not okay. 2. Implanting a piece of metal onto your ear is okay. 3. Implanting artificial DNA into your corn such that it begins emitting poison is okay. 4. Straightening and dying your hair platinum blond to make yourself look like a woman from a… Read more »

bethyada
bethyada
6 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Look at how the world was created and look at how it has fallen.

Fixing broken genes is fine. Fixing broken people is fine. Gaining dominion over the world is fine.

Distorting teleology is wrong. Subverting God’s intent is bad. Trying to be God without concern for God is bad.

Jonathan
Jonathan
6 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

How can you discern “God’s intent” in a “broken gene”. There are people with asberger’s syndrome, down’s syndrome, dyslexia and depression who have blessed others in ways that would be unlikely or impossible if they had not had those “errors”. Sometimes a weakness in one place is necessary to develop a strength somewhere else. Other times a supposed “weakness” in what the world values turns out to be not weak at all in what God values. And sometimes there are simply thorns in the flesh that make us better people as a result. Malcolm Gladwell has a book largely about… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
6 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

p.s. – in the New Earth, though, no auditory processing disorder please. It’s done its work, made me who it needed to make me, let me hear things right eventually!

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Jonathan, I agree with you that people with these “errors” have given the world great blessings. But I think we have to be a little careful here. If depression, for example, could be easily remedied, I wouldn’t sentence someone to a lifetime of chronic depression because they might bless other people in some in unpredictable way. For every depressive who writes great poetry, there must be many more who kill themselves. The aura preceding migraine has produced some wonderful literary visions, but no compassionate person would refuse to provide someone with a lifetime migraine cure if that were possible. But… Read more »

bethyada
bethyada
6 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

You are talking about how God uses sin and brokenness to bring about a greater good. No problem with that at all. And I know of a Downs kid who has both directly and indirectly brought about a significant amount of good. But I and his parents recognise he is broken.

So my principle still stands. If you are trying to break the good, this is bad. If you are trying to repair the broken, this is fine.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Currently ninety percent of children identified through genetic tests as having Down Syndrome are aborted. A genetic cure might ensure the survival of many of them.

Krychek_2
Krychek_2
6 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Jonathan, I agree with you; there does not seem to me to be a consistent rationale for why some altering is OK but not other altering; it seems very subjective to me. And if there were a culture in which implanting deer antlers onto one’s head was a cultural expectation, or even just common within the culture, I’ll bet the Christians within that culture would have all kinds of great arguments for why doing so is Biblical.

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
6 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

I agree. This needs some serious dialectic brought to bear. Unfortunately that is rarely the way Doug writes. I agree with most of his broad strokes, but I probably have a higher view of the integrity of the current created order (not some ideal prelapsarian vision) which would cause me to draw lines more carefully and tread more lightly in relation to man’s nature, societal form and function, and the environment.

Eric Stampher
Eric Stampher
6 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

Hi demosthenes1d — on this ideal prelapsarian vision that you’re identifying with Doug’s position …

Could you spread that out on the table a bit more?
I’m aware that Doug doesn’t think the prelapsarian capability to sin was the ideal.
Same, I think, with an unending prohibition for access to that one tree’s fruit.
In other words, a need for growing maturity was built into the prelapsarian condition.
I guess without interference / disturbance, that could be considered ideal.
Is that what you mean?

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
6 years ago
Reply to  Eric Stampher

Eric,

I wasn’t interacting with any particularity in Doug’s argument with that comment. I was stating that I would root natural law and natural theology in the created order as it is currently observed and observable. I was heading off a particular objection, or potential line of faulty reasoning. Doug, and others, hold to views of prelapsarian nature that I don’t find well supported, such as the lack of animal death and striving, which could yield faulty reasoning if those supposed prelapsarian conditions are appealed to as “nature.”

Eric Stampher
Eric Stampher
6 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

While I happen to agree with you on not just animal death, but human death as well, and the function of use of lioness incisors in the garden parameters, I’d like to hear you out on how the supposition of their absence could lead them astray.
If it’s supposed that nothing could die there, what weird things does that nature say?

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
6 years ago
Reply to  Eric Stampher

If you view man’s action in nature to be teleologically governed by God’s created norm, you may well be inclined to modify organisms to no longer eat meat. If you believe that thorns are a product of the fall (instead of a more limited view that they proliferated on cultivated fields) you may be inclined to genetically engineer thorn free varieties of plants, or push thorny plants to extinction because they don’t belong in a good and “natural” creation. I haven’t thought about this deeply, but when discussing modifying the nature of things, the ideal matters greatly. What are our… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

Demo, do you think this can lead to an error in the opposite direction? That nature is under a curse and any steps we might take to prevent environmental harm are therefore pointless? Or, that because we believe in an ultimate restoration to its original pristine state, the loss of any particular ecosystem is no problem?

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
6 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Jill,

Absolutely. I think the error you describe is actually the same error, it is a refusal to view the current created order as a good, a magister, and worthy of preservation. Some sort of hinted at but unknowable ideal is snuck in.

An example of this sort of thinking is seen in the recent AIG argument that global warming is the earth healing from the (single) post flood ice age to the productive antediluvian climate.

Morgan Leos
Morgan Leos
6 years ago

I guess I got lost in the argument amongst other justifying their proclivities….but here I am, emerging to the surface for air….. It’s a hard pill to swallow, justifying love for another when another acts so adamantly against their nature. But at the root, this topic is so polarizing, across religions, races, tax brackets because it is so inherent to our inner”nature.” It’s a bible etched into our being, into every interaction and it rears its (ugly?) face when we least want it to (the truth hurts doesn’t it?) Does changing your gender go against your design? Yes, the way… Read more »

paulm01
paulm01
6 years ago
Reply to  Morgan Leos

“You can’t make something it’s not. No matter how you will it or want it. And there will always be people running from Jesus instead of towards him. I wish instead of focusing on condemnation…or the medical use of marijuana…we talked about why these people, hurting and clearly confused run from God. Seems a better use of our time…”

Precisely. What’s our focus, the secondary arguments/discussions of how much of a drug or level of body mutilation crosses the sin-line, or whether these lost souls looking to fill the internal void or assuage their hurt or guilt, can be reached?

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  paulm01

Paul, that is a really good point. Most of us don’t want to ask ourselves, “Why do I believe I need this? How much of what I think of as my spiritual life co-exists with wanting to numb out?”

paulm01
paulm01
6 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Maybe I am as simple as K2 suggested in another post as I do not find this that complicated (although the ensuing arguments tend to be.) As hard as it is to maintain a Godly life (as a work in progress), I do believe no substance is required to numb-out or mask the gift of this life given, mainly because of the hope I have in Christ and the crown received in Heaven with Him. The numbing stuff does not exalt but diminishes when abused. Before launching on someone (by judging “their sinfulness”), we should lead in love by asking… Read more »

bdash
bdash
6 years ago

As long as men are allowed to be effeminate and call it Godly
Women are allowed to break Titus 2:5 and other women commands and act like men
The church has no real grounds to deny 2 men or 2 women from marrying each other….

bdash
bdash
6 years ago
Reply to  bdash

LOL DELETE wrong post

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  bdash

Bdash, I was hoping you would turn up because I thought of you when I read an article. An analysis of the occupations stated on the personal descriptions submitted to an Ashley Madigan-type hook-up site revealed that, among married men who registered, medical professionals and airline pilots led the pack. Among married women, it was–housewives! Their stated reasons were boredom at home and a highly active sex drive. I found this pretty shocking on several levels. Are they inviting strangers into their homes while their husbands are at work? What are they doing with their children while this is going… Read more »

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
6 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

I wouldn’t make any conclusions from the Ashley Madison data.

Most of the female profiles (around 99%) were made up by the company itself.

My guess would be that someone at Ashley Madison designed a profile that men on the prowl would consider to be a least-risky target. They then riffed off that to pad out their database.

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
6 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Jilly, I’m with John. I doubt you could find a good breakdown but I would bet my last dollar that housewives who stay home with their children are the least likely to turn adultress. I could imagine that the wife who sends her kids to school and has excessive alone time could be tempted. Numbers are hard to come by but, from the few available, over a third of people have an affair with a coworker, and probably over 80% of the unfaithful meet their partner in infidelity through work. Having your wife (or husband, sadly) in the workplace is… Read more »

Trey Mays
6 years ago

Hey Doug, this post might require a follow-up from you concerning the statement that marijuana is still a sin? Where’s your biblical proof? Are drug laws a good thing? It’s a bold statement with not a lot of explanation, so people in your comments might be reading a certain legal and policy position into the mere statement that it’s sin when you might not have been advocating for a public policy position. And if you were coming out in favor of criminalizing marijuana, what’s your biblical rationale? I’m just saying, it’s kind of a emotionally charged issue right now that… Read more »

Eric Stampher
Eric Stampher
6 years ago
Reply to  Trey Mays

Trey — agreed that it should be biblically teased out by Doug, if he finds relevant stuff about it there.
Should be, not must be.
Biblical proof, while helpful, shouldn’t be a requirement.
If God wrote it in nature & in our brains, that doesn’t mean it will also appear in Scriptures.
(Of course, He wouldn’t contradict Himself however.)
Doug is also quite adept at showing what God wrote in nature and in our brains.

Krychek_2
Krychek_2
6 years ago

What’s the basis for the claim that smoking marijuana is a sin?

Matt
Matt
6 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

It’s the (silly) idea that marijuana is only used to get high, where alcohol is not. This falls apart under the slightest scrutiny. If alcohol did not intoxicate no one would drink it, and there is no clear line between “intoxicated” and not with respect to any mind-altering substance.

Eric Stampher
Eric Stampher
6 years ago
Reply to  Matt

It’s not intoxication as such that is the problem; it’s the nature & extent of intoxication.
Can we not make the case that the quality of a given effect should determine it’s value?

Matt
Matt
6 years ago
Reply to  Eric Stampher

It’s not much help to the case. Marijuana intoxication is far milder than even a light amount of alcohol.

Eric Stampher
Eric Stampher
6 years ago
Reply to  Matt

If the issue were limited to degree, you’d have a valid point. Depending upon how you define “milder”. How about the nature of it? I’ve hear the difference explained this way: Alcohol = slow motion MJ = strobe light Alcohol in this example can slow you down & heighten the mood when done just right but still lets in a continuous stream of unfiltered perception info. MJ, on the other hand, dissolves incoming info intermittently. Therefore, so this argument would go, MJ cuts up the complete picture — and cuts one off from all the info/ nature, and is escape… Read more »

paulm01
paulm01
6 years ago
Reply to  Eric Stampher

Nice analogy…it’s all about moderation and balance with alcohol while MJ just makes a person stupid from the get go. Won’t stop the proponents in their mainstreaming attempts (e.g. Bong Appetit).

Matt
Matt
6 years ago
Reply to  Eric Stampher

Have you ever used marijuana?

Doane
Doane
6 years ago
Reply to  Matt

I have. Plenty of times. I have grown it, sold it and was raised in the entire weed culture from Humboldt to San Diego. Im confident that my weed credentials will out rank yours. “Marijuana intoxication is far milder than even a light amount of alcohol” FALSE Come on kid, this just shows that either you are lying or have never smoked weed before. You should have been kicked off this thread for that statement alone. Are you sure you’re not talking about CBD? And the ability for the average guy to get access to some tested low level THC… Read more »

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  Matt

I suppose a few people drink single malt Scotch because they like the taste, a truly unbelievable notion to someone like me who would rather drink mouthwash if I had to. But I think some people are deluding themselves if they think “how it makes them feel” has nothing to do with it.

bethyada
bethyada
6 years ago
Reply to  Matt

if alcohol did not intoxicate no one would drink it A friend of mine in highschool said the same thing. I don’t know. but it may be a lack of exposure to a range of people who don’t get drunk. My wife who never has more than a glass, hates even the effects of various medications, has never been even tiddly, drinks more alcohol than me. A significant group of my friends drink small amounts frequently. Before refrigeration alcohol allowed the preservation of drink, and it helped sterilise water to drink. Even without any depressant effect on humans alcohol would… Read more »

Eric Stampher
Eric Stampher
6 years ago

Doug — might you be taking issue with the Confession? (I hope so) You say God puts knowledge of Himself in nature & in us, citing Romans 1. The “proof” that WCF 1:1 uses to show the insufficiency of nature’s knowledge for salvation includes reference to 1 Cor 1 where cited that “the world by wisdom knew not God … the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned”. The implication of such proof by the WCF brothers is that horn… Read more »

My Portion Forever
My Portion Forever
6 years ago
Reply to  Eric Stampher

Stampher
My husband has said the same thing many times! If it takes the Holy Spirit working in your heart to understand Scripture, then why can’t the Holy Spirit speak to your heart through nature, which He also created?

Eric Stampher
Eric Stampher
6 years ago

No wonder you married him!

MeMe
6 years ago

In my mind we are to be temples of the Holy Spirit, reflecting the nature of Jesus Christ and representing God’s design and purpose for the world. That can be somewhat subjective, but I believe it is also innate to Christians, like a moral compass implanted within us. It’s not a list of laws or a set rules,it’s designed to be fluid based on the situation and circumstances,the culture,the condition of our hearts. What may be acceptable for some Christians, is not going to be acceptable for me. Thinking in terms of addiction here, I can drink wine, there is… Read more »

Eric Stampher
Eric Stampher
6 years ago
Reply to  MeMe

Right on — but which is not to say there aren’t some venues or situations that — wait … I’m going triple negative … how about this:
There are some things that are wrong anytime, anywhere.

paulm01
paulm01
6 years ago
Reply to  MeMe

Start from the baseline, adjust accordingly because “one size does not fit all”. Seems pretty simple and straightforward to me. Unfortunately society has moved towards catering to the minority at the expense of the majority.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  paulm01

Paul, that reminded me how tired I get of emotional support animals on planes and in restaurants. I don’t like dogs in restaurants, especially when there are several of them. When the animal provides a vitally needed function for a disabled person, I will cheerfully put up with it and even smile at the dog. But I don’t see why everyone has to eat in a kennel because a whole bunch of Californians feel anxious in public without the emotional support of their dogs. And I like dogs (cover your ears, Buddy Holly). I have a friend whose companion animal… Read more »

paulm01
paulm01
6 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

You and a lot of folks have that sentiment — the “Service Dog” title has been so co-opted and abused by far too many people, using it as an excuse to bring their dogs everywhere ($50 buys the tag and vest.) The reality is most are not service dogs at all, with the result being these selfish people water down the definition (like any number of “other” societal definitions being changed to fit odd proclivities.). Those saying they need their dog so they can cope in public is ridiculous, or certainly not as many as they’d like us to believe.… Read more »

Andrew Roggow
Andrew Roggow
6 years ago

Great answer. Thank you.

Paul Lim
Paul Lim
6 years ago

As a plastic/reconstructive surgeon and as one who has done some graduate level study in bioethics, I found this piece by Pr Wilson more clarifying of certain bioethics issues than most of the hundreds of thousands of words I’ve read and heard in the academic (and not so academic) Christian bioethics world. One of many gems in this piece: “And so, there is no necessary problem with genetic engineering on humans. The issue is what standard you are using. Are you trying to be God’s servant or God’s rival?” I’m going to use that sometime, Pr Wilson (but I’ll cite… Read more »

Ray D.
6 years ago

“Silicone breast implants are not a sin. Helping mastectomy patients is a noble thing.”

Just for some clarification, suppose a healthy 23 year old woman wants silicone breast implants to enhance her (normal, not deformed) figure. This will prevent her from being able to nurse a baby later.

Would you consider that a sin?

bethyada
bethyada
6 years ago
Reply to  Ray D.

Doug has answered this before. He said that breast implants may be sin or not sin depending on the motivation. He has used the example of reconstructive surgery, and the example of an abnormally flat chested woman. But no for men and insecure women. See this article Dinner for Two at Angelo’s

Ben
Ben
6 years ago

I was very surprised to see that you believe smoking marijuana to be a sin. Have you addressed this in depth elsewhere? As a budding theonomist, I’d love to hear what the case against it is. (If anyone else can help me out, I’d appreciate it).

Lance Roberts
Lance Roberts
6 years ago
Reply to  Ben

Some reasons why mind-altering drug use is a sin: 1) Those who are choosing to do mind-altering drugs are seeking to escape the reality God created. They are attempting to alter creation to one of their own choosing, or something different that what God has put in place. They are worshiping another God and are rebelling against the true God. 2) witchcraft, “5331 pharmakeía (from pharmakeuō, “administer drugs”) – properly, drug-related sorcery, like the practice of magical-arts, etc. (A. T. Robertson)”. When the Bible is talking about sorcery and witchcraft, it is related to drug use. It’s actually pretty much… Read more »

Billtownphysics
Billtownphysics
6 years ago

Somehow I knew that the cannabis comment would dominate this thread.

Malachi
6 years ago

I’ll admit that I struggle with calling smoking marijuana “a sin” unless one is referring to the fact that it is considered a crime (thus far) in my State, as is possessing it, distributing it, growing it, etc. But outside of the Biblical imperative that we obey our government while it is acting within God’s and its Constitutional bounds, I can find no reason to call smoking marijuana “sin.” God made hemp, and He called it good. It is part of our Dominion Mandate to figure out why. So, we make ropes from it, we make paper from it, and… Read more »

Lance Roberts
Lance Roberts
6 years ago
Reply to  Malachi

Read Genesis again, in order. God called his creation “good”, THEN we got the fall. Everything was corrupted to some degree. Don’t drink the hemlock.

David Decker
David Decker
6 years ago

Well we have had pain killers around for decades, this epidemic of opiates is just the result of our godless culture repeating what it has sown for decades. Christ is the only answer, not more narcan.

Andrea Flynn
29 days ago

Very well presented. Every quote was awesome and thanks for sharing the content. Keep sharing and keep motivating others.