What differs human beings from animals.Some suggest we are really just animals too and that their is no superior animal. I do not believe this and here is why.
Conscience- even a child knows when he or she does something wrong. We all probably know what the feeling of guilt feels like when we did something mischievous as kids. When I was a three year old boy, I stole a plastic toy cow from Topeka Bible Church’s nursury. I knew deep down I did something wrong and I was too young at that time to have had a lecture that stealing was wrong. It’s not as though I had studied the Ten Commandments at that point yet I still knew I did a bad thing. In the words of a three year old, “I did a booboo.”
As much as I love pets, they do not care about the concept of stealing, a dog can and will take the toy or bone from another dog if it is able. That’s just a dogs nature and we do not blame animals for doing what they do.
A cat will kill a mouse or cricket without afterthought or contemplation of whether it killed something. Or at least many cats, however, cats seem to have personalities at times and who knows what goes through their heads. My granny’s cat BW had the devil inside of her, I kid you not. But that’s a story for another day I suppose.
Another thing distinctive about human beings is we do seem to sense injustice. We all seem to have the capacity for anger when we see wrong take place. An dog may get angry if you step in its lawn, and a male Tom Cat might get protective over his she cat harram but I do not see any cats out protesting and joining labor unions or picketing or demanding cat-equality. Granted, I’m being humorous but animals, some, especially house pets seem to have a pretty cushy life until its bath time or time to see the vet. That’s all I’m saying.
Purpose- People seem to also be wired to have a desire to do great things, to effect the world and to be an agent of change. We long for purpose and not just survival. We want to survive but still that is not enough, we want to thrive. Many people if not most I’d say are discontented with the idea of getting up and going to work, just to put food on the table pay bills and repeat that cycle for the remainder of our days on planet earth.
A dog, cow, rat, cat or crab is not going to get up and say, “I wonder how I will change the world today” No, actually most animals are concerned with the next meal or what not.
We as human beings also have the capability of reading, writing, as well as creating things. We can invent, we can express thoughts and articulate ideas. We have the ability to do many things.
Not to say animals lives do not matter, in fact Im an animal lover myself and I have had every type of legal pet to own I can think of, hermit crabs, dogs, a cat, a hamster, lizards, and even a tarantula, but I believe we the only one created creature that can choose God or reject him. God created us as creations that can choose to be in relationship with Him. God could have made us constrained by instinct, granted we do have similarities to other creatures, such as a need for food, water, suitable habitat, and a desire for sex, companionship and what not. However, in an animal gets threatened or angry or has its meal infringed on it will attempt to in most cases kill or attack any animal who might steal his prey, but a human being can choose to kill or to refrain from an act of homicide if some other person swipes his lunch.
Human beings have a moral choice
Animals only have an instinctual choice.
So at the end of the day I believe we do rule above the other creation. This is not an excuse or right to abuse creation or animals though. Animals may not be made in God’s image but we should take care of God’s creatures in a way that glorifies their Creator who is our Creator as well.
John 9:2-3 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
Sometimes God allows it to show his glory in such situations. So I agree, biblically speaking not all suffering is the result of discipline or God’s punishment. However, we cannot box God in and say, “He never sends suffering” in some cases he does, so people will repent of willful disobedience to get our attention. And ultimately get us to correct our ways! Even when he directly sends it he does so with hopes of good results.
1 Corinthians 11:32 Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.
Jesus also said to one of the churches in Rev
Revelation 2:22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways.
God would rather in some cases cause a person temporal grief in this life than totally abandon them in the next.
So whether God sends suffering or allows it is not as important as who we know God to be, loving and good. He uses pain ultimately for our good. We must respond to it rightly either way.
Is anger always sin? I’d say no.
I do not think so, I think anger has great potential for good or evil. If we never got angry over certain things such as injustice or things like human trafficking, or child abuse or blood chilling crimes, then we would be pretty cold and heartless.
Ephesians 4 tells us, “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” Ephesians 4:26-27
I am thinking that it can be sin at times if it is rooted only in our wants or desires or our selfish desires. However, the honest truth is at some time we all get angry, whether it’s something minor or a serious harm done us. We can conclude from this that unresolved anger can lead to problems. If we let anger go un address it can lead to bitterness. Bitterness is like a nasty spider bite, certain spider bites left untreated will eat deep into tissue and rot flesh, bitterness likewise can seep into every area of our lives. It can affect the way we treat others in the present even if the pain we have felt is past history.
For me, there was a period in life where I had been hurt by certain people and that unresolved anger affected my view of women. Even if I was not being wronged at the present I thought they all were the same, shallow and incapable of anything but causing heartache, rejecting me, or inflicting serious injury. I saw them all the same and began to think there was no such thing as a decent woman. Fortunately I was wrong but in the moment, if you experience a string of incidents from a person or people group then it becomes easy for us to think that every person in that circle is just the same.
This can lead to a pessimistic attitude. It can poison our view of reality. As the old saying goes, “A few bad apples spoils the whole batch.”
The Bible addresses this issue in great depth. God knows how weak we all are and he has provided every believer the resources to fight back, the Holy Spirit and His Word. Ephesians goes on in the same chapter to say,
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. ” Ephesians 4:31-32
“Their vine comes from the vine of Sodom and from the fields of Gomorrah.Their grapes are filled with poison,and their clusters with bitterness.” Deuteronomy 32:32
As you know sour and bitter fruit has an origin.
“See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. ” Hebrews 12:15
A bitter root, produces bitter fruit. When I was a captive to this I found myself enjoying the idea of getting even, I wanted to see those who wronged me suffer and know why they were. I was seemingly always acting out of suspicion of ill in people, playing the game pin the tail on the rotten person”
Praise God he worked with me and helped me to forgive every person who had wronged me! I was given the idea from a James McDonald sermon on Bot Radio Network, to write down every person who wronged me and their offense and pray over them and the situation
This helped me resolve a lot of my anger. It was a process that was worth working through.
There are more than one argument that are certain individuals favorite arguments to try to bad mouth the Bible. They seem to use the same few all the time and run out of creativity after that. The devil himself used the Bible to trip Jesus up but he was refuted by Christ each time. So I will now point out why some of the lies people keep circulating over and over are not true, and how it would not surprise me if these dead set militant slanderers are trying just bash certain parts of scripture in attempts to disprove it all.
As Jesus stated in John 3:19-21 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”
Many people may have sincere doubts and honest skepticism, so for you all, please know that God loves you and understands doubts. Hebrews 11:6 says “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
Honest skeptics, please keep seeking and God will reveal himself.
However, to those who are just ticked off and want to disprove Christ, God or Scripture because your mad and upset, or “offended” God loves you too as well but he will not be mocked or disproven. He still is saving people without your permission and giving men and women who gladly receive him eternal life, forgiveness of their sins, and a future and hope. So as much as you try your not going to succeed at shutting the gates of the kingdom of heaven on those who God is drawing to himself.
Luke 11:52 “Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.”
If one wants to reject the hope God offers mankind themselves, then thats their choice, but some also actually try to stop those who actually are reaching out to the hope of the gospel. Its bad enough to not want one’s sins forgiven but even worse to drag people down with you, to try to stop others from having their sins pardoned is great evil.
Matthew 18:6-8 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.
Im not being unkind here. Im saying exactly what Jesus said. By the way Jesus did not say when he said this that a follower of his is to tie a boulder around your neck and throw you into a lake. So lets get that out of your system now. He is stating how very serious sin is and that even death itself is a much better alternative then eternal separation from God’s presence. No harsh cruel tone or unkind words. Very serious words non the less. God forces no one against their choice to spend eternity with him. He will not violate a persons free will. He did not make robots who had no choice in the matter whether to love him but created people with wills that can actually volitionally love him back and obey him in joy and gratitude, not pre programmed cyborgs.
–An argument by the militant might sound like this:
An argument by the militant might sound like this:
The Bible: “Slavery and Revenge were promoted!”
A lot of people I have heard say that the passage in Deuteronomy that says an “eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth” is terribly mean verse. How is that?
This verse is not advocating or mandating revenge. No, it is on the contrary setting a limit on retaliation an enacting a fair standard of justice that cannot exceed proper realm. “The punishment should fit the crime” we always say here.
Take note of the verses following as well.
Exodus 21:23-27 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. “An owner who hits a male or female slave in the eye and destroys it must let the slave go free to compensate for the eye. And an owner who knocks out the tooth of a male or female slave must let the slave go free to compensate for the tooth.
And no, the Bible is not advocating slavery here either. It’s addressing a common place problem that had not been eliminated yet. For one, if a slave was struck and his or her eye was damaged, they were to be set free. The term slavery in the Bible had more regulations then the kind we had here in the US before the civil war. American slaves had it a lot worse then slaves in the time of Moses.
Critics of the Bible like to say the Bible promoted and applauded slavery, which was not how it was at all. Just because God remained silent on certain issues did not mean he was for them. Polygamy in the Bible times was never God’s ideal. He just did not outright condemn it right off the bat, but when Jesus came he expounded on God’s actual design for humanity. Jesus condemned divorce along with polygamy in the same passage, and said God allowed it for a time because “your hearts were hard”
Matthew 19:4-9 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
Jesus quoted the Old Testament and said, “A man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife” not wives, not husband.
Jesus in an indirect way condemned, divorce, polygamy and anything other than a life long committed heterosexual relationship. There are exceptions to divorce such as unfaithfulness or abuse, but other than that it’s a life long haul, so enjoy the ride.
Now, some might challenge me and say, “Oh this means nothing, you cannot go off just that passage!” alright, fair enough.
Which issue should we delve into first? How the Bible does not justify slavery?
1 Peter 2:18-19 Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God.
“but it says slaves here! Your God is promoting slavery!” No, because it restricts slave owners to a great degree in other places: Ephesians 6:9 and Colossians 4:1 are good starters. Look them up yourself. Do your homework before you comment below.
Christians made up a small minority for starters and were in no position to engage in a cultural social justice war. Their main objection was to share the gospel and they had no upper hand in the slavery issue. Culture at that time in that day embraced slave ownership and the Christians had to choose the right hills to die on, not engage the culture in an issue that they were way outnumbered by.
What about Christian slave owners? Good question, well Paul addressed that and if you look up Philemon, Paul talked a Christian slave owner out of retaliating against Omniseus his slave who stole from him, ran away and later came to Christ. Paul wrote a letter of persuasion. Read it yourself. Its near the back of the Bible.
As Christianity grew slavery was eliminated, well here in the US. Abraham Lincoln a devout Christian helped play a part in that, but in early church history this was not possible for the small minority.
In addition, God will not deal with all a persons wrongdoing all at one time, and in a Christian’s life not all sins fall away as fast as others. If a Christian is genuinely growing though, he or she will not stay in the same habits and sins that they escaped out of from coming to Christ. A young believer is not expected to be as put together as a mature saint in Christ. There must be grace for growth. If they do not seem to make any growth over time that leaves some questions as to whether they are very immature in their faith or just flat out not even born again at all, however that is not the topic of this post.
However we do have a very profound verse in the New Testament that seems to condemn slavery to a degree actually,
1 Timothy 1:8-11 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
It mentions slave traders here. When Paul is referring to the Law, he is I’m pretty sure referring to God’s law not human law. He is in essense saying those who are righteous wont need a law to do right, they will by nature do what pleases God.
The book of Galatians says, “walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature” Galatians 5:16 and “For if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.” Galatians 5:18
All this means is God’s Spirit residing in our hearts becomes the Law, not some written code. Who needs a written code if their cheif desire is to love God and love other’s as they would themselves!
I do not claim to have every answer but I am very certain that those who say God is for slavery are absolutely dead wrong. I think rather some who want to reject Christ and the Word of God just enjoy painting Christians and Christianity in a bad light. If something challenges someone in an uncomfortable way they often want to disprove it, rationalize it away or slander it so they feel better about rejecting it. They do not like the ideas so they will like a master escape artist wriggle out of whatever they are afraid to accept.
After time they believe their own self rationalizations and lies to themselves that they are not at that point trying to disprove what they don’t like but they actually believe the lies they tell themselves.
That is true with pathological liars as well.
I need not say anything in addition to this.
“Why?” Some might say. Some might try to drag me into a debate hoping to prove what I said is wrong, and I have no time for that. If someone wants to “prove me wrong” then they obviously will not allow themselves to be proved wrong either. Why is this? Because, a person is going to believe what they want whether true or not and they will allow nothing to persuade them otherwise. So it’s pointless to debate with a person who does not want to be convinced. People will engage a person in an argument over a belief of some sort and they seldom give thought to the idea of changing their minds, no rather they want to in a sly way slip you their reasoning and have hopes of changing the other person, not themselves.
Indeed, “A man convinced against his will Is of the same opinion still”
Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People
So many people are perplexed and wonder, if God were good than why so much evil and pain in the world?
I think there are a few reasons.
1.) suffering is a byproduct of living in a sinful world. We have to deal with people who can be selfish just like we can ourselves at times.
God has given each of us an ability to choose right and wrong and sometimes we
A.) Choose wrong and reap the consequences
B.) Others sinful choices affect us. We look at the victims of fraud, drunk driving accidents, terror attacks, homicide and rape and we realize that sometimes people suffer because of others!
C.) We can also suffer as a result of the fallen creation, when sin entered into human existence it acted as a computer virus in a way and messed up the created order. Disease, natural disaster, and death entered the equation. Before the fall, creation knew no curse of sin, it knew no death nor illness nor pain or sorrow.
The good news is that God is a redemptive God. He deals with man’s sin problem on the cross so that those who put their hope in him can look forward to a day when the curse of sin is totally broken! For the time being us who believe in Jesus should act as a glimmer of hope to a dark and broken world, full of pain and hopelessness!
Life here in this world will never be as it once was in perfection as long as sin remains, however, God gives us grace and strength for ever trial. He gives everyone who has come to faith in Christ his permanent presence.
(Romans 8:35-39) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:“For your sake we face death all day long;we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
-Nothing can remove God’s love for us in Jesus Christ, not even the worst of trials. Now why if God loves us, why does he put us through hard times?
1.) As we have already seen, we live in a fallen world. “For the creation was subjected to frustration” creation is the natural order of this physical existence, yet, in it’s unredeemed state it groans for the “children of God to be revealed”
Romans 8:18-21, 35-39 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God
One day Jesus will make all things right and will remove the decay, yet before he comes he wants to give people a chance to come to him, as many as possible.
2.) Suffering is nothing in comparison to what awaits the child of God. It is “not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us”
A.) Suffering develops a child of God, and although God is not the author of pain and evil he skillfully uses it.
James 1:2-5 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
How to respond to suffering as a Christian?
1.) our perspective needs to be right.
We must see our pain in light of eternity, which can be very hard at times, but we must realize tragedy and trouble can be great tools.
2.) we need to persevere and not throw in the towel. It’s easy to get discouraged but if we do that we miss what he is doing in us.
A.) Why? So we can be “mature and complete”
3.) We need wisdom in our trials. In many of my own personal hardships, I needed wisdom to know HOW to respond in a way that would speed up and maximize growth. Cooperation is very helpful and resisting is not the best option, it usually only makes the trial harder. We ought to ask, “Lord what do you want me to learn from this?” “How should I respond to such trying times?”
4.) We must not give way to tempting doubt.
We may think God doesn’t care or he has no interest, but the truth is he does. We must not doubt his willingness to help us through.
Jesus’s disciples thought this on one occassion. In Matthew 8:23-26, the disciples got into a boat and were sailing along with Jesus and everything seemed ok till “Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. ”
Jesus had not left them, he was only sleeping. When he seems quite it could be just another opportunity to trust that no matter how turbulent life’s waters get, he is still there.
For those who don’t know Christ, He invites them to know Him and trust their lives to him. He never promises an easy life but rather a life where they can be confident of His presence to never forsake them if they recieve his gift of mercy by acknowleging their sins and trusting what His ultimate suffering on the cross can do for them.
“Why would a loving God send people to hell?” Many ask. But considering how evil people are and can be at their worst, one should ask, “How on earth could God let an evildoer go unpunished?” You need not further then watch the news to see how debased and pernicious people can actually behave. You need not look to far back in the chronicles of History to events like the Holocaust to see mankind at his worst. Given just the right circumstances we all are capable of great evil and sin. Some people will be decent, but given just the right circumstances even the most well tempered man can lash out in destructive rage, and even the most gentle of women under the right conditions will drowned her own children in a bathtub. We have seen stories that shock us, it’s not the nature of the atrocities themselves that are so unsettling as much sometimes, as much as those individuals so seemingly incapable of such villainous acts.
How could God still be loving and just if he didn’t punish evil? If God were that tolerant he would be like the passive father who just sits back without concern and lets his own son shoot up heroine under his roof. The earth is the Lord’s and the people therein, he owns the world and the lives of man so when we violate his laws we violate the rules he created in His House, and Universe that are reflections of His Character.
God is not going to sit back and play the cowardly parental figure, He will eventually punish those severely those who reject the only offer of mercy there is.
God has to punish sin and cannot tolerate even the smallest sin. He hates sin, from lying to murder, it is all worthy of punishment.
God does take into consideration our humanity and weakness though, so the judge stepped down from the bench himself and took our beating, served our sentence, and death penalty at the cross. In modern terms he took our lethal injection, when he bore our sins and guilt in his own body.
1 Peter 2:24-25 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.
People are without excuse if they reject the Cross of Christ, because our only hope is in that.
Some may ask, “How is Christianity different from any of the other world religions?” Listen closely and let me ask those who ask this, “Are not all the religions of the world mankind’s attempt to appease his god or gods?” The Gospel however is Christ, the God of the universe descending into man’s mess to rescue and reconcile him to the Father.
Religion can only restrain immoral or evil behaviors at best, the Gospel and love of Christ can completely make a person new in his heart from the inside out. He believed in your worth and value before you could do anything for him. He bled and died for you before you ever could even want him.
1 Timothy2:4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all men–the testimony given in its proper time.
Dear nonbeliever, who ever you may be, Jesus loves you and has seen your immeasurable worth and does not have in mind a bunch of rules and laws you cannot follow, but he wants to give you a brand new heart so you can truly love and obey God as he really desires. If you see the Bible and it’s commands as a bunch of rules and lifestyles you are unable follow, believe it or not your in the right spot because you can’t obey God without a heart of love for him to begin with, so if you see your inadequate ability then that is actually the spot he needs you at. When we are forced to realize that we can’t do it and are stuck we have no where to look but upward. God loves you, trust him and cry out to him in faith and embrace the lover of your soul who gave his very life to save and restore you. Don’t let fear drive you from him who can heal you. No matter what your past has been or who are today. You are not damaged goods beyond repair. The Lord specializes in broken things like an antique dealer who delights in his priceless purchase. He saw your value and no matter how broken you are or feel, he loves you and can make you new and whole in Him. Will you call on him? If this spoke to you and want this and feel the desire to accept this, then you can always say a prayer like this, “Lord Jesus, I admit my need for your love and forgiveness for my sins, thank you for dying for me and loving me, please help me to love and follow God in a new way and experience His best laid plans for me. I trust you and surrender my life to you.”
Dear Friend, If you have never done this but have the desire to, let me rest your fears at ease, you won’t regret this decision. May God richly bless you.
Many ask, “How can a loving God send people to Hell?” but my question is, If God were as mean and vindictive as they make him out to be than why has he not sent us all to hell already. He is under no obligation to give any of us another second to live and could easily without any need to explain his decision send anyone to Hell at any moment. He is not mean, angry or unjust though, He is patient and wanting to give everyone the same opportunity to turn from their rebellion and embrace His love through Jesus Christ.
(2 Peter 3:9) NIV The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(Ezekiel 18:32) For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!
(John 3:17) For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
God has no desire to send anyone to Hell, but he won’t stop people who want to reject His free offer and plan of salvation found in Jesus Christ.
see Part 2