The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil: Evil or Good?

tree-of-knowledge-good-and-evil

While trolling through my email, I came across this notification by answersingenesis.org, the above titled article by Harry F. Sanders, III on August 15, 2018…I thought y’all might like it, as I found it to be interesting. [THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE]

A recent Facebook commenter asked a very good question about the creation week. V. P. asked, “If God saw that all he had made was ‘good,’ then wouldn’t the forbidden tree and its fruit be deemed ‘good’ as well?” This is a valid question to ask, but one not often considered.

And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:9).1

And the Lord And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Genesis 2:16–17).

And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day (Genesis 1:31).

The Purpose of the Tree

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil, referred to in the question as the “forbidden tree,” was placed in the garden of Eden, most likely on the sixth day. Its purpose appears to have been twofold. The first and most often considered purpose was to provide man with a choice: to love and serve God willingly or to rebel against him and reject the one prohibition he had given them. The second purpose is less clear, but Genesis 2:9 points to a possible option. This verse describes all trees as being either pleasant to look at or good for food. While the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was certainly not good for Adam and Eve to eat (because it would bring death), there is no indication that animals could not have eaten it. This is a small but significant detail. With this second purpose in mind, the popular view of the “forbidden tree” changes. It could have been described as good simply because it had a purpose.

The Source of Sin

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was not evil by its nature. There was nothing wicked about the tree. To claim this would imply that God created something evil, which would contradict Genesis 1:31. The tree was not the source of sin; man was. God gave man a very clear command in Genesis 2:17: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

The command was simple: do not eat of that one particular tree. The consequence was equally clear: if man ate, he would die. The fruit was not poisonous, evidenced by the fact that Adam and Eve did not physically die soon after eating it. The tree was not the problem; man was the problem.

The tree did not contribute to man’s sinfulness beyond providing him with an opportunity to obey or disobey.

The tree did not contribute to man’s sinfulness beyond providing him with an opportunity to obey or disobey. Man was explicitly commanded not to eat from the tree, yet he decided to do it anyway. This is analogous to a parent telling a preschool child not to put his hand on the stove burner. If the child does so, there are consequences for the child beyond the risk of him getting burned. However, the stove is not evil. It is still serving its intended purpose. The disobedient child sinned. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil can be viewed in a similar light. It was not somehow bad because man used it to disobey God. God confirmed that in Genesis 3 when he issued the curse. There were consequences for the serpent, the ground (thus the tree—and all other trees for that matter), Adam, and Eve. However, God specifically said that the ground was cursed because of what Adam did—not because of some undesirable quality of the tree (Genesis 3:17).

Conclusion

While the tree of the knowledge of good and evil served as the opportunity for man to disobey, it was not wicked on its own. God could rightly have looked at his creation after day six, after making that tree, and called it “very good” (Genesis 1:31). There was no intrinsic evil in it, so there could not have been wickedness in the “forbidden tree.” The wickedness would be introduced later, but not by the tree. Instead it would be introduced by Adam and Eve’s choice to rebel against God’s command, which caused death and Adam’s sin nature to pass on to all of his descendants (Romans 5:12). In short, the answer to the commenter’s question is, yes, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was good. The fault for man’s fall lies with Adam and Eve, not the tree.

Godspeed My Friends, I hope you enjoyed this article!

MK Murphy

Advertisements

The Basis For Many Of Our Problems

indecision

Indecision, doubt & fear. I just recently finished reading “THINK AND GROW RICH,” which is something I do from time to time, but this time it struck me with the idea for this blog posting. While this book is generally equated to the accumulation of money and wealth, in his own words Napoleon Hill stated, “Why did you write a book about money? Why measure riches in dollars alone?” And such an assertion is true at its heart. This book is a wealth of knowledge and can be applied to your heart’s content. Wealth can be any number of things, dependent upon your mindset!

This is one of our greatest problems…indecision. And, yet, it is associated with a number of other problem children which are associated with FEAR, such as:

  • Indifference
  • Indecision
  • doubt
  • Worry
  • Over-caution
  • Procrastination

Believe it, or not, this blog post is based upon a chapter in the book by Napoleon Hill, “THINK AND GROW RICH.” More specifically, CHAPTER 15 “HOW TO OUTWIT THE SIX GHOSTS OF FEAR.” While I firmly believe that the majority of our problems stem from our divorcing God from our society, our families, and our hearts. That said, let us move on toward the “six ghosts.”

Indifference

It is my belief that without God in our hearts how can we truly have an interest in anything in a godly way? Generally speaking, this interest becomes more of a lust, or perhaps we see it as a god of sort. Which in both instances is rather ungodly.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” ~Matthew 6:33 NKJV

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” ~Romans 12:2 NKJV

Our focus should be on God and the heavenly, not on ourselves. By placing God first, God will guide us to those things that will aid and thrust us forward in our lives and in our profession.

Indecision

Our inability to decide is an ambivalent mind at work, or not…as the case may be.  We can often become indecisive over a number of reasons. Why you ask? Many times we are just too tired, other times we just don’t care about the subject matter, often we do not know enough about the subject matter but do not wish to seem as though we are ignorant…yet our ignorance is shouted out loudly by our disconnect. There are some messaged from the Bible that may help:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” ~Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV

Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” ~Ephesians 5:17 NKJV

We can learn much from the Bible, often times we cast the book off to the side in order to read something more interesting like a mystery, sci-fy, or maybe a biography. However, if we truly wish to be grounded in Christ and have some semblance roots…we should read the Bible each and every day! On top of that, prayer is also needed in order to center and focus on God and the heavenly. I typically read in the morning to start my day off. I generally get home, after overtime, at 2:30 am. I will make green tea with honey and I will either watch a half hour instruction/education video (PureFlix) so I can gain another perspective on Biblical or Religious scholarly ideas. Yeah, I am geeky like that.

Doubt

Lets face it, we all doubt at some point in time. And that is usually at the worst possible time. Am I right? But our God is a big God and He can help us learn some of the greatest lessons through this doubt. Just as the Apostle Paul speaks of and boasts about his weaknesses, so does Dr. Michael Liacona. I have read some of his books, interviews, or books/articles which he co-authored and he discussed at great length his doubts and those that aided him in his faith.

For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.” ~Mark 11:23 NKJV

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.“~James 1:5-8 NKJV

Faith is something that comes through our many bouts of doubt. Sooner or later we come through with a better understanding where have that “Ah-HAH!” moment.

Worry

Worry seems to test us all, especially parents over their children. We all have worries over numerous things in our lives, but in the end our worries are usually for nought.

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” ~Matthew 6:25-34 NKJV

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” ~John 14:27 NKJV

Worry, like doubt, is overcome by faith in the promises of God through the Bible.

Over-caution

Over-caution is bred out of fear and fear, as you will recall is bred out of punishment and torment (see 1 John 4:18 NKJV.)

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” ~Galatians 6:7 NKJV

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” ~Philippians 4:13 NKJV

Being over-cautious is something we do due to uncertainty and fear of the unknown. Either we should do something or we should not. If it is an ethical or moral question, it is not over-cautious but wise not to do or to do something. Meaning you can verify through the Bible what you should do. Dangerous things are a case by case basis, in that, we should weigh and decide based upon the costs and the benefits. If fear was a factor in the first flight at Kitty Hawk, NC, by the Wright brothers…we might not have airplanes right now…and many other things, to boot!

Procrastination

Procrastination is another story where we are just lazy or do not like to do something because of the way it makes us feel. Perhaps even because of the pain we may obtain through the process. Although, we all know that the task must be completed, regardless.

In all labor there is profit, But idle chatter leads only to poverty.” ~ Proverbs 14:23 NKJV

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” ~Ephesians 5:15-17 NKJV

Sadly, procrastination gets the best of us, at times. But we can make that to do list go away by whittling away at it, one line at a time. Sometimes things just get away from us and our list becomes unmanageable…but you can manage it, one line at a time! Make better use of your time!

We all, at some point in time, have problems with each and every one of these “ghosts,” per se, bu we can control them by removing the fear that is presented by them. Usually that is all it takes. Figure out what you know. Find out what you do not know. Then, research the heck out of what you do not know… Voilà, now you have something new that was once unknown and now you know it. YouTube is a great research tool, Udemy, Khan Academy, and so many others. It all depends upon what you are researching. Any search engine, worth its weight, will get you to a good starting point.

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy

…do it heartily, as to the Lord…

Work2

Colossians 3:23-24 NKJVAnd whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

Ephesians 6:5-8 NKJVBondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.

1 Corinthians 10:31 NKJVTherefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

No matter how you explain it, or say it, we are to work as though working for God, Himself! As we are God’s property, because He did create each and every one of us, as well as everything that is in this universe of His. We are to do so proudly, with happiness in our heart, with joy in our very soul, and as though our treasure in heaven depended upon it.

The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.” ~Psalm 24:1 NKJV

We need to remember this. All too many people either have divorced themselves from God, or have helped to divorce God from our society only to replace God with big government. And in some cases we have become a polytheistic rabble; in that, we have replaced God with the following, but of course not limited to this list:

  • Big government
  • Our pleasures
  • Sports
  • Work
  • Money
  • Our entertainment idol(s)
  • Our spouse
  • Our animals
  • Our possessions
  • Our triumphs & accomplishments
  • Our “prowess”
  • Our agenda

Even I have a problem, quite often lately, of keeping my mind on work at my job. In that, I often believe that I am destined for something bigger, better, perhaps. But things often get in my way. Is this an excuse to allow me an out from my Godly destiny? No…perhaps it is just something that seems to get in my way, much as Napoleon Hill would describe as a roadblock, a challenge, etc. These are things that I (or we, as the case may be) need to make our way through, to conquer in order to truly achieve that greatness that we are destined to attain. But we cannot attain such greatness until we have overcome that which stands in our way. God does this for a reason!

Life-ChallengesHow can we truly work as though to the Lord, unless we can truly work through the difficulties and challenges  that lie before us?  That is a profound question…look at it for a bit and think on that for a moment or two.

Each of us tend to go through a period of time where things are going against us. Not only this, but many of us are brought to the brink of giving up. Think about that. Elijah, Moses, Job, and Jeremiah each were driven to the point of giving up and wanting to die. Now, think about that for a moment! Think also of the Apostles, each of them and the trials and tribulations that they went through up until their torturous end, excepting only John.

Those who stick with their task, until the end, will be rewarded. Those of us who will not stick to it until the end will end up quitting and depressed. We all hope for that golden ring at the end of the trek of ours, but guess what?..the golden ring will not be given to those who give up. In our youth we, or many of us, have heard the old adage:

quote-all-the-world-loves-a-winner-rockne

But times have truly changed as there is a wave of belief that all children should get a participation award and cut out who was first, second, etc. While I am a firm believer in the competitive spirit and I find it quite absurd to teach & raise our children with the mantra that “…the world owes you something…” attitude.

Without such a competitive how can we actually work as though to the Lord? There must be some kind of work ethic or attitude that the job must get done. However, that attitude will not be within any of us if we have the mindset that the world, or society, owes us something when it clearly does not! Napoleon Hill’s book, THINK AND GROW RICH, was based upon the competitive spirit within man to strive to accomplish your heart’s desire. Wealth, generally money, could actually be most anything. Just as the term “happiness”, originally it was to be “property”, within the framework of our Declaration of Independence was that which drove the American spirit.

We Christians, as a whole, truly have a great opportunity to show those around us Excellenceat work, shopping, etc., that we are ambassadors of the Kingdom of Heaven and truly represent God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. We can do this by how we work at anything! Whether great or small task, it matters not, but we must work at it with a focus of excellence in our minds and hearts. Since we are not perfect, we can only be excellent, at best! Jesus reminded us:

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. ~Matthew 5:16 NKJV

And in what we do, we should reflect favorably in the eyes of those around us, who witness us, and observe us, that God will be glorified! Let us make a pact to teach up our children, grandchildren, and God willing our great-grandchildren in such a light. Let them each witness us to glorify God in all we do!

Until next we meet again, dear brothers and sisters!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

 

 

 

By a nation without understanding will I anger you

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have; “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world.” But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they? First Moses says, “I will make you jealous by that which is not a nation, By a nation without understanding will I anger you.” And Isaiah is very bold and says, “I was found by those who did not seek Me, I became manifest to those who did not ask for Me.” But as for Israel He says, “All the day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.” ~Romans 10:17-21 NASB

anger1

So, I got into a “spirited debate” with someone over one of my posts, on another blog, where there was disagreement over the tenets of Christ’s teachings. And though we, often times, think we know the word…we more often take it out of context by separating the teachings, the tenets, and the Bible from one another. Unfortunately, this is where we tend to make our greatest mistakes because the teachings of Jesus reflects the essence of God (the same yesterday, today, & tomorrow.) We cannot separate each from one another. But we are obligated to show our dissenter(s) where they made a mistake, or they need to show us the error of our doctrinal statements. We are here to teach one another, not to be adversaries, but better yet to rid ourselves of our adversariesby making them our friends and allies.

For many are called, but few are chosen.” ~Matthew 22:14

We are each called by God to do His will and to Glorify Him. Each of us is called to do something different than others and we are charged differently to accomplish the task(s) that are set before us. But we are all called to read, understand, study, and teach the word. We are not suppose to change anything. Unfortunately, there are those that change much, or they have their own interpretation of the word & make the necessary changes in order to have their interpretations fit the bill.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” ~Hosea 4:6 NASB

In so doing, we destroy ourselves through such lack of knowledge and study bibleunderstanding of the word. And God will raise up those who disagree with each of us, either by challenging our stance, our beliefs, our understanding of the doctrines, etc. We have a duty to learn the word of God and an equal duty & obligation to study it diligently for comprehension and understanding. We should be prepared for these attacks on our beliefs, just because we follow the word of God. Remember what Jesus said?

If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.” ~John 15:18 NKJV

And we are charged with…

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” ~Matthew 5:14-16 NKJV

error-correctionNow, don’t get me wrong, we will from time to time get things wrong, speak out of turn, etc. But we can make corrections the next time we come in contact with others. It does happen as we are not perfect. However, we can be the bigger person through our apologies and responses. We are not seeking to do the wrong thing, but spread God’s word.

In the disagreement I had above mentioned blog post, the person I had the “spirited debate” with had the belief that, this is my opinion from what was implied to me, that love and compassion for all humanity is all there is to the message of Christ. However, this is one of the greatest fallacies of many New Age and pseudo Christian movements. We were taught to have love and compassion for our fellow man, but there are other aspects to the bible which also apply to the teachings of Jesus and the bible must be taken as a whole…not piecemeal. Consider the following:

But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.” ~1 Corinthians 5:11 NKJV

For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” ~James 2:10 NKJV

For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.” ~2 John 7-11 NKJV 

I expect disagreements and challenges; however, what got me was the implication that he was Christian (perhaps I read into the statement), “I stand for love and compassion. And whatever your Bible might say fourteen translations later, so did Jesus Christ.” But to infer that the bible is not what it says it is, is ludicrous! Saying you stand for love and compassion is a great platitude, but what is your basis? There are far too many New Age, Buddhist, and Hindu (among other) teachings out there that are based upon relativistic feelings that have no basis in reality. Meaning that “What is good for one is not necessarily good for another.” Each can have their own truth in reality. This person stated that none of his sittings (I assume statements) were “actually inaccurate”; although, he never expanded upon that. Much like when in a debate and someone asserts that you are using circular reasoning and not explaining where they got that from..?

If we cannot sway them to the true teachings of Christ, we are to separate ourselves from them. Because, as in the Old Testament if we yoked ourselves with those of pagan beliefs…we would, or could, be swayed toward paganism. The same though lies here, but we are not to count them as an enemy, but as brothers in need  and lost to the way.

But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” ~2 Thessalonians 3:13-15 NKJV

So, as you can see, we must take the bible’s message in it’s entirety, because it is all interlinked as one message. I did not bring this up in order to seem like a know-it-all, but rather I saw this as a teaching moment in God’s Word! Because we each have made this mistake at taking one point from Christ, and thus forgetting all other teachings of Jesus and His Apostles! This is a grave and fallacious error on our parts.

Also, if God is real and therefore the Bible is the word of God THEN it would stand to reason that the writings within are valid (I’ll not get into the trustworthiness or historicity of the Bible in this post.) Furthermore, when the bible states:

we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” ~2 Corinthians 5:10 NKJV

Also when the Bible says,

And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” ~Matthew 25:46 NKJV

Then it is a good chance, meaning highly probable, that we will be judged and sentenced to be punished or have eternal joy.

I hope this was helpful to you, my dear brothers and sisters!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

Kids & Pets

KidsPets

We get our kids pets to accomplish several things in their lives and in ours. Pet ownership teaches responsibility and the value of life to our kids, it teaches the value of companionship, care of those around us and of the ill, such ownership teaches about suffering, the frailty of life and the eventuality of death…that all things live must eventually come to an end, and let us not forget about the ability to make those difficult decisions and following through with them. And the overall lesson is about the glory of God, His love for us, and what happens to us, as creations of God, upon our eventual demise.

Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.” ~Michael Landon, Jr.

There are many ways we can take the above quote from Michael Landon, Jr. No matter how you slice it, we need to know and understand we will not live forever and, therefore, we must understand that we have a limited amount of time to accomplish in our lives and on this earth certain things. We need to understand salvation of ourselves and others. We must find our truest purpose, in God’s eyes, and we must determine our vocation (how we will survive and pay our bills.) And if you look at it, objectively, men and women live to the ages of 84 and 86 respectively. Relatively thinking, that is a short period of time. Consider that most people sleep away 1/3 of that time…approximately 28-29 years of that. Of course, these estimates are based upon the premise that you live that long! So, now we are down to 56-57 years on this earth awake. You can lop off another 20 years for school, some college and or some military time…36-37 years now. See how quickly time just erodes away.

But if you get right down to it, the context of this post is primarily about the first 20 years of your life. The Bible commands us to take care of the animals under our care. One of the signs of a righteous man, the Bible says, is that he takes care of his animals (see Proverbs 12:10). Even the animal of an enemy was to be treated kindly: “If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to take it back to him” (Exodus 23:4). One reason God commanded His people to rest one day out of seven was so their animals would be refreshed (see Exodus 23:12).

If we are to show care to our animals, and for that matter we will be judged upon how we treat our animals, we must act as the animals we take on as a responsibility for the care of one of God’s created creatures. That said, we must care for it, feed it, take it to the veterinarian for health and legal reasons. This is a great responsibility for anyone, let alone a child. But this is how we teach our kids by delegating responsibilities. As they become more and more accustomed to doing such chores and as they grow older…they receive more responsibilities. Some families give a stipend or an allowance for doing such things…but that is not the crux of this post, so I will not waste my time on such.

God thinks highly of all His creation, remember when Jesus spoke on the sparrows?

Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God.” ~Luke 12:6 NKJV

God does not forget about any of His creatures. Even in our darkest hours, God is right there with us. Even though there are times we do not feel His presence! He is THERE with US! This includes His animals, as well. Tending the animals was one of the tasks that Adam and Eve were ascribed to perform. Both tending animals and taking care of the garden.

The tending of the animals is where we are now, after all, is this not the same position that King David started in? The most humbling of positions of all, a sheep herder, caring for his family’s flock? He kept them together, sough out the lost sheep, he protected them from wolves & bear, and other predators. We learn much from such humble beginnings. Which means basics are the building blocks for our lives. It was from these basics that King David was able to cut down the giant Philistine, Goliath. And the rest was history.

In these humble beginnings I would believe that David learned to physically care for his flock by tending their injuries, if need be, to feed them if there was nothing for them to eat, and those which were injured beyond his ability to care and nurse them…he would have been forced to put them down, or euthanize them.

No one, myself included enjoys making such a choice for any animal under their care. But, sadly, these decisions will not make themselves and if you just wait for the animal to just die…such could be considered animal abuse.

In Genesis 1:26 God declares, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Essentially, as the highest order of created beings on the earth, humanity has full authority over all other creatures on the planet. While having dominion over the animals includes the right to kill animals for food (Genesis 9:2), it goes far beyond that. We are caretakers/stewards of God’s creation. We are all, in a sense, to be shepherds over the creatures that share this planet with us.

We have been given power over the animals of the earth, we are not to abuse them but we are to care for them. I honestly do not believe God wants us to blow up buildings or kill people over such abuses that occur these days, but rather for us to take all necessary actions (legal & moral) to aid, prevent, stop, help, etc., the animals that God has created.

Our kids can learn much and become greater citizens of this world if we will love them, teach them the necessary lessons that they need, in order to equip them to live a wise and moral life. And many of those lessons can be taught through animal care. By understanding that the animals they care for will one day die, they will come to the realization that they will one day die. Such a reality can reward them with a structure in their lives by learning of their Creator, what will happen to them upon death, seeking their purpose, their vocation, etc.

Each and every parent goes through the arduous task of determining what pet to 1461386_620795284625396_1979605500_nget, yet when it is time for the pet to be put down…they seek to protect the child from such input and harm to their psyche. Don’t get me wrong…IT IS DEVASTATING! Even to me! I cry like a baby every time a dog must be put down, because they are part of this family. We recently had to put down the farmer’s horse, but my wife and I were taking care of him for the last 5 years of his life. He was a beautiful horse who was put down just shy of his 32nd birthday. He had cataracts on both eyes and was stumbling badly at times. Sometimes he had such life in him where he would whinny because he heard you coming or he heard his name called. But with the tornado season coming and high winds, our mare would run him ragged and he had the susceptibility to get injured (potentially very badly). And yes, I cried like a baby when he went down! And being present when a horse is euthanized is far worse than that of a dog.

But this is how we teach our kids the responsibilities for their adult years. We are to train them throughout their youth to become the people they are meant to be. Through accountability and through training. But these ways of the old seem to have gone to the wayside. Most kids these days expect everything to be given them, not because they have earned it or deserve it, but because they exist. Perhaps, the old ways will come back with a vengeance…we can only hope & pray such is the case.

REFERENCES:

Billy Graham Answers

What does the Bible say about animal/pet euthanasia?

Until next we meet again, dear brothers and sisters!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

Where was God in All this Tragedy?

Why_Does_God_Allow_Suffering_Title_Pic

When a mad bomber sets off a bomb killing and maiming many, the people blame the mad bomber. When a drunk destroys the lives of family members and takes the life of the other driver, the people blame the drunk driver. When a man goes on a stabbing spree injuring and killing others in a large crowd, the people blame the man wielding the knife. However, in our Politically Correct culture when a man, woman, or child takes a gun into a “Gun Free Zone” and unleashes a whirlwind of bullets killing and injuring the innocence of life at a school, the people blame the gun. Why are people so skewed with respect to the weaponry used?? on February 14th, 2018, there was great travesty in Parkland Florida – a shooting by a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Now, I could go on with this topic for several blog posts, just based upon: What happened, what is being revealed, what is not being said, and who is being blamed. But on a far more serious and segue into the more important topic at hand…where was God in all this tragedy? To who should we cast our eyes for protection?

So, let’s address the elephant in the proverbial room…where was God in all this tragedy? God was right there in the thick of it! He was in the heart of every teacher that ran toward the gunfire, with fear but ever so courageously, in order to protect their students. With great adversity and trial God is shown in the courageous actions of Aaron Feis, Chris Hixon, and Scott Beigel. Admittedly, we may never understand the reasons for any, let alone all, of the evil and suffering that occurs throughout our lives, it is that simple. As a man of faith, and sometimes doubt, I believe that God in His infinite wisdom and in His glory has some morally sufficient reason for such things as these.

Could God have created a error free world without hate, without such travesty? Yes, in my opinion He actually did…it was that little known Garden of Eden from which mankind was kicked out for not abiding by the rules of the garden. It was without pain, fear, travesty, and death. And then Adam and Eve broke the golden rule of God:

The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”~Genesis 2:16-17 NASB

And according to the prophet Isaiah, who said:

But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear. ~Isaiah 59:2 NASB

This was an affront to God, man violated His law. Seem a bit harsh? Think about it for but a moment…how are you saved? Through the blood, the substitutionary blood of Jesus! By believing and claiming such, through the holy word of God, and faith (as that of Abraham) we are saved. It took the blood of Jesus, who hung on a cross for all of our sins…ALL OF THEM. Every sin which you ever will commit and ever have committed during the course of your life. God saw it all. And Jesus subjected Himself to the torment and torture of the cross out of love for all His creation! So, does getting kicked out of the Garden seem all that harsh in comparison to what Jesus endured for your sins, now???

God is a strict, but loving, God. He provided the sacrifice for our iniquities, suffering the gruesome consequences for not obeying His word. Had He not done so, we would still be sacrificing animals for our sins.

Getting back to it…God created the perfect world and we, mankind or more specifically his ancestry, botched things up. And even now, we as the species of man are not doing such a great job of following God’s commands and word. Even while being saved, we fail Him each and every day, with each and every thought we think and breath we take.

God was also with each and every student, both the survivors and the deceased. You are probably wondering why didn’t God do anything about this? Well, actually He did. The police were called to Nikolas Cruz’s home on 39 separate occasions (23 of which for violence, one of which he aimed one of his guns at the head of a child in the household in which he lived.) This was a police failure on a paramount scale. God gave man free will and regardless of what goes on, man has the ultimate choice. Then there were the FBI hotline tips that were not followed up on. Another Law Enforcement failure. The School Resource Officer failed to act in a timely manner and has since resigned. Then there were the Broward County Sheriff’s deputies who were hiding behind their vehicles with guns drawn while gunfire was going on inside the school when the local police arrived.

When Coral Springs police officers arrived at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14 in the midst of the school shooting crisis, many officers were surprised to find not only that Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson, the armed school resource officer, had not entered the building, but that three other Broward County Sheriff’s deputies were also outside the school and had not entered, Coral Springs sources tell CNN. The deputies had their pistols drawn and were behind their vehicles, the sources said, and not one of them had gone into the school. ~CNN Politics

According to Scott M. Sullivan, Ph.D., who is a Christian Apologist wrote on this subject within his Course on Suffering:

  • Christians must admit both that they think both, that:i. An all-powerful and all-good God existsii. Evil exists (evil is not an illusion)

  • In other words, Christianity holds both of these to be true. But morethan that. Christians also must admit that not only does an all goodand powerful God thinks there should be evil and suffering in theworld, but more particularly that GOD WILLS physical evils to happen(physical evils don’t fall outside of God’s control) and PERMITSmoral evils to happen (God cannot will sin for He is all-good but Hecan and obviously does allow it to happen.)i. GOD WILLS THE LAWS OF NATURE THAT CAUSE EARTHQUAKESii. GOD WILLS THE LAWS OF CHEMISTRY AND BIOLOGYTHAT RESULTS IN DISEASEiii. GOD PERMITS THINGS LIKE MASS KILLINGS, TORTURE,RAPE AND GENOCIDE etc. ~Suffering Course Introductory Courses in Apologetics

 

If all evil were prevented, much good would be absent from the universe. A lion would cease to live, if there were no slaying of animals; and there would be no patience of martyrs if there were no tyrannical persecution.” ~St. Thomas Aquinas, S.T. I.22 ad.2

And furthermore, the observation of St. Thomas Aquinas is such that:

God is so good that never would he allow evil to exist, unless he were so powerful as to be able to draw good from evil. Hence it is due to neither impotence nor ignorance on God’s part that evils occur in the world, but it is owing to the order of his wisdom and to the greatness of his goodness, whence come the many and divers grades of goodness in things, many of which would be lacking were he to allow no evil to exist. Thus there would be no good of patience without the evil of persecution, nor the good of the preservation of its life in a lion, without the evil of the destruction of the animals on which it lives.” – Aquinas De Pot III.6

We must keep in mind that we, mankind, are finite. We can only truly speak on those things we have experiences or knowledge of or about. God, on the other hand, is infinite. Meaning God sees from the beginning to the end as though it were a unimaginably large panoramic picture. We can only see from our beginning of perceiving of a subject. There is a big difference with respect to the perception of these two.

And though we do not like evil, how are we able to determine how much evil should be in the world???

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. ~Romans 8:28 NASB

Because of our limited understanding and perception how can we expect to know the morally sufficient reasons behind that which we deem as evil? And it is quite possible that nothing may not be realized until 10, 20, 30, 50, or even 100 years after the incident. Perhaps there are to be a series of incident that cascade off of one another over the course of decades. There are those who will go to hell and those who go to heaven.

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. ~1 Timothy 2:3-4 NASB

And considering that God desires all men to be saved, why aren’t they? God gave us free will and the gift of choice. That being said, the gift of salvation must be chosen and freely accepted. Consider the man who refused a presidential pardon, George Wilson (1833). This is why “THE ROMAN’S ROAD TO SALVATION” is such a popular and easy method to aid others in their road to salvation…the basis of which is that we must choose life (salvation), unlike George Wilson.

WHY DID GOD CREATE THOSE HE KNEW WOULD GO TO HELL? Here, St. Thomas Aquinas’ will never be popular with respect to his answer, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true – ALL PEOPLE WILL GLORIFY GOD – those in Heaven glorify God’s mercy, those in Hell glorify God’s justice. Thus, even those in Hell fulfill the very purpose of creation.

I hope this was helpful and informative.

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

Desperation Leads To Deliverance

Notes Deperation pt4

In Mark 5 we learn of several people: the man from the tombs who is possessed, Jairus and his dying daughter, and the woman with the bleeding disorder. Jesus, throughout His life made a great many “Bold Statements” to the people He taught, instructed, healed, befriended, etc. While the title of this post is not a bold statement which Jesus made…it is, however, a bold statement made due to plain observation of His many encounters with those who were desperate.

Each of these people had desperate problems, desperate needs, and (most had) faith in Jesus to heal.

Everyone had the notion in their heads, at one point in time, who is this Jesus? Who is He that He can heal? Only God can heal, only the healers and men of God can heal…who is this Jesus?

Gods handJesus, the Son of God, who has authority over sicknesses, ailments, death, hunger, the disposition & health of one’s soul, etc. YEAH, that Jesus. It is hard to believe that when one makes their way through the biblical accounts of Jesus, His travels, His trials & turmoil, His teachings & sermons, His healing of the sick and disenfranchised…hard to believe that anyone could ask such a thing. Considering the fact that even after His crucifixion & death, in the area of Jerusalem that His teachings were continued by His Apostles and followers. Jesus1If that which was taught about or by Him was wrong why was there no outcry against it? If He were not crucified to death, buried, and rose again…why then did not those who said, “this did not happen!” Why did they not produce His body? There were many assertions and theories on this, but then they go beyond the scope of this blog post. However, it should be in the back of one’s mind when listening or reading of the great things accomplished by Jesus and His followers.

Getting back on track…

First, we encounter the possessed man from the tombs. He who was possessed by Legion. Jesus commanded Legion, Come out of the man, unclean spirit! (verse 8) And, of course, Legion asked to be cast into the herd of pigs. And Jesus allowed it; then the pigs were sent running off the cliff. Now, you or I…today, would see this as a travesty that so much bacon would be wasted. But, as it was brought to my attention, that this was a great economic problem for the owners of the pigs. Why? You might ask…because the pigs were used in many of the pagan rituals and therefore, Jesus just deprived them of great money making possibilities.

And of course, the man who was possessed desperately desired to go and follow Jesus in verses 18-20. Why? because he had firsthand knowledge and experience of such power and healing that Jesus could perform [my interpretation and understanding]. The gratefulness and the gratitude that he had toward Jesus…could have been second to none! But each of us has a voice to be heard by certain people, apparently the recently healed man of possession needed to have his voice heard by his people…God’s will be done!

Second, we come in contact with one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus whose daughter was dying. Now this is something. a ruler of the synagogue sought out Jesus to heal? But when it comes to one who is near and dear to us, we will not concern ourselves with such a matter, despite what our fellow synagogue leaders think of such a man as Jesus. But family is family…to many, family is everything. Jairus even showed such courage and faith by saying, My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.(verse 23)

While on the way to heal Jairus’ daughter we come in contact with the third person of faith and desperation, the woman with the flow of blood issue.She who used up all her money to be healed. She could neither work nor be around people because she was labeled, “unclean.” So, by the mere touching of the hem of His clothes, she truly had faith that she would be healed…now that is faith, a truly strong faith! But such would not go unnoticed with Jesus.

As with the woman, do we not (in our youth) fail to ask for permission and find it more useful to wait (if caught) to seek forgiveness? But she knew that she was wrong in what she did, as she was “fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth.” And once again, God was glorified! And Jesus responded, Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.

So, now back to the second person he ran into…Jairus. His faith was what was to heal his daughter. Those who came from the synagogue ruler’s house said, Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” This raises a question, or two, but those go beyond the scope of this post. One that comes to mind is: If this synagogue ruler was such a man of faith, why didn’t his whole household know of Jesus? Perhaps, I would speculate, that he didn’t want to be unfaithful to his brethren of the synagogue and Jesus was the last person he thought of in this time of trouble. As many of use might do. 

But Jesus in classic form said, Do not be afraid; only believe.” Which was assurance to His caller, the synagogue ruler, and perhaps his entire family. Then Jesus followed on with this, Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping. To which many around just laughed and ridiculed Jesus, considering such a thing just idiocy. After all, this crowd of people, many of which I speculate had seen the body of the girl and suspected or knew the girl to, in fact, be dead. But are we not called to believe despite what we have seen, or believe without seeing?

If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.” ~John 10:37-38 NKJV 

 Jesus said to him, “Thomas,[a] because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” ~John 20:29 NKJV

…God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; 18 who, contrary to hope, in hope believed… ~Romans 4:16-21 NKJV

Face it, we are all raised to be skeptical of those things we do not see. We are also taught that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably isn’t. Sadly, we live in a skeptical world and this is one of the things we must overcome as we grow older and seek out God in our own way. There are a great number of things that preclude the possibility of knowing God, as we are taught to believe in the theory of evolution and other very smart and educated people who do not count God as a potential, or possible, First Cause for our existence. While some, and yes even some Christian sects discount the classic First Cause argument. But, let us return to our original posting…

Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” This had to be a grand spectacle for all to see! Immediately the girl arose and walked which, of course was not told to us until the writing of this Gospel.

These three instances spoke volumes to us all, that Desperation Leads To Deliverance. While my message is slightly different from the sermon presented by my Pastor (Scott Beckenhauer) the essence of it remains the same. We each follow a path in our lives, good and bad, but eventually we begin to ask the bigger questions which eventually lead us to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

gotGod

Desperation can lead us down a very dark and bleak road in our lives, or we can see a glimmer of light and hope at the end of the tunnel which takes us on the trail that leads to hope, faith, love and charity. God awaits all of us to arrive at the finish line, but not all will get there. We are all invited, but not all will accept His generous offer of Grace.

What about you? What is your heart seeking? Where do you desire to go?

Got God? Got Jesus? Got Holy Spirit?

Until next we meet, dear brothers and sisters!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD