Tag Archives: Bible

Violation of the creation

When Dolly the sheep was successfully cloned, if you were like me, you hardly paid attention. This news report sat on my mental shelf with others-UFOs, listening devices in my thermostat-items too far-fetched to hold my attention.  I didn’t think about science and ethics until as a mom, I began to care about my family’s nutrition enough to research the difference between heirloom and hybrid tomatoes and look up the definition of a genetically modified organism.  While I appreciated my kids not spitting watermelon seeds all over the place (watermelon  juice plus kid-spit forms a sticky sheen on any surface – moms, you know!), I did think that seedless watermelon was an oxymoron. In my quest for truth and pure food, I actually began to read the list of ingredients on boxes and cans. Not that I understood what hydrolized meant.

Good and bad ideas both come from the same fountain of speculation and experiment. Shaun Tan

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Stirred by the excitement of discovery and tempted by human ambition, we develop technologies and ideas that ignite debates at both dinner tables and university ethics forums. What about a lab-grown alternative to a hamburger? After all, the UN says that factory raised beef is dangerous to the environment. But is the problem the process or the animal? (I hesitate to think that God didn’t know what He was doing when He created the cow). And then there’s AI. Do you want to spice up your spices? Is your oregano not flavorful enough? Perhaps producing a mule failed to teach us that not every idea is a good idea. Maybe we are just hard-headed. Or perhaps there are really secret groups striving to build a type of Tower of Babel through technological and scientific advances.

Genesis One gives God’s intent for the natural processes of life and DNA. The DNA of one kind of seed should not be merged with the DNA of another kind. What is a kind? Simply put, it is natural reproduction, free from the manipulation of outside forces. A dog can breed with a wolf and produce a viable animal. Therefore a dog and a wolf are of the same “kind”. However, a dog and an elephant do not breed naturally. Merging their seed would take human action in a laboratory. Whether it’s an animal, a plant, the theory of transhumanism, or the reality of GMO’s, we are not to mess with God’s created order and His intent for each kind.

Recently, I discovered that a human being had been cloned. 1998. It was killed in the embryonic stage. What the heck!? I’m not okay with us playing God. Technological and scientific advancement is wonderful….to a limit. I get how beneficial it is for doctors to be able to take a sperm and an egg, get it to fertilize outside of the human body, and then implant it inside a woman. Many couples would remain childless if it weren’t for this breakthrough. My only question for the scientists and the doctors would be: You’re not taking from or adding to the DNA of cells in the dish are you? I mean, apparently designer children are a thing. Customer: I want a blue-eyed son with an IQ of 150. And oh, I want him germ-resistant. Doctor: Ok…we’ll notify you in a few months with a product that matches your specifications.

Forgive what may seem dramatic, distasteful or cynical. But c’mon fellow humans! Ordering up children? Seedless watermelons and cotton candy grapes are one thing. Physical appearance and intellectual specifications seems a bit…well, picky.

Genetic engineering may be profitable and timely for both herbicide companies and sufferers of genetic diseases. I agree that prenatal gene therapy is a heavenly cure for life-threatening defects. But when do we go too far when it comes to DNA or gene manipulation? When is it right to say it’s wrong to alter natural human development? Just because we can, does not mean we should. (We say this to our kids don’t we?) In many ways, we’ve decided to play God versus kneel like Dr. George Washington Carver, who sought the face of God in prayer in order to find the answers to problems. I wonder about the extent that sinful man will go, where the laws of creation are violated. Where messing with one’s Punnett square becomes as popular as choosing a new car. I’m concerned about us relying too much on our own reasoning and shifting sense of morality. We are just human. The created.

Today we try to redefine what has been understood as the biblical laws of creation, specifically biogenesis. Human biology doesn’t matter anymore. Emotions and thoughts reign. People of various ages are given drugs to curb the natural course of their biological development. Some men want to be able to bear children. In these ways, we are destroying our humanity. Will we one day redefine what it means to be human? Seek out Marvel-like technology to empower us to be and to do what we lust and covet? Be Invincible. Mighty. Ageless.

Can we embrace limits? Being human means we have boundaries. We are not self-existent. But our arrogance moves us to defy our human weakness. We strive for perfection. To be unanchored. Free to do, think, say, and become whatever we desire.

How far and wide will our modern Tower of Babel reach? Accepting our humanity does not mean living in futility and fatalism. It does not mean refraining from study and research. It does mean acknowledging a Creator whose design and intent serve a purpose beyond our limited reasoning. It means being comfortable with being the created, male and female, made from immaterial and earthly components as spirit, soul and physical body. Let us pause before we stretch ethical boundaries and alter our moral compass any further.

Realizing that Our Kids Can Become More Important to Us than God

Now the sons of Eli were corrupt; they did not know the Lord. 1 Samuel 2:12

So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. No, my sons! For it is not a good report that I hear. You make the Lord’s people transgress…Nevertheless, they did not heed the voice of their father… 1 Samuel 2:23-5

Eli

Eli was a priest. How in the world did the sons of a priest become corrupt and unrighteous? It was their dad’s fault. When it came to raising his kids, Eli had areas of emotional immaturity.  Emotional immaturity and a weak will kept Eil from applying his knowledge of God’s ways to his parenting style. In verse 27, God speaks to Eli through a prophet and later through a young boy named Samuel (1 Sam 3:13). Both tell him the harsh reality about the way he raised his sons and the forthcoming consequences to his lineage.

For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them.

Eli preferred his children more than he revered God. How would this have looked? It may have meant that when his sons were mischievous boys, he did not discipline them. He let them get away with more than he should have. Maybe he catered to their whines and false apologies and never helped them see the sin in their hearts through gentle and honest conversation. As a priest, he did not teach them to honor the systems of offerings and sacrifice and he greedily took the best of what the people brought for their offerings. The fact that he preferred his children more than God was idolatry.  At the stage where we meet Eli, he was a priest who did not revere God enough, did not revere the system of repentance that God set up, hadn’t acknowledged his own issues, and was confronted with the scandal of his sons.  Propitiation of their sinful behavior was available through the Hebrew practice of blood sacrifice, which foreshadowed Jesus’ bodily sacrifice, but the sons scoffed at offerings and sacrifices.  Now grown men, they were promiscuous and defiant adults. When Eli tried to reason with them, it was too late. He missed the opportunity to guide and train them during their formative years.

Eli and Samuel.  And he said 'It is the Lord:

Now Eli wasn’t a total screw up. Despite being faced with his fatherly failures, God allowed him to mentor the young Samuel, who was called from an early age to be a prophet. Eli affirmed Samuel as he learned to hear and obey God even when the boy was tasked with telling Eli his forthcoming demise. Because of Samuel’s success story, Eli became one of the most important prophets in Jewish history. He was a man who eventually recognized his issues, addressed them and became a different man. This was the man that Samuel was trained by.

When we are confronted with our issues we must remind ourselves that we have the opportunity to change. We must be quick to close the door to self-condemnation and guilt. When we humbly acknowledge areas of immaturity, God steps in and begins the unseen and somewhat mysterious process of changing our hearts and minds.  

The truth is that we are fallible adults who still need guidance and help. We are not all bad and we are not all good. Better than those two subjective measuring sticks is this truth: we are treasured! In Christ, we are forgiven! We are desired by a perfect God! Worth cannot be based on how well we do, but on the fact that our very existence is significant. The Old Testament did not offer the option for redemption, but the New Testament does through the blood sacrifice, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. This redemption is so amazing, that today’s parents who may have been “Eli’s” at one time and whose adult children are now prodigals, whose hearts and minds are far from God’s best, enjoy the possibility of these adult children can be wooed by the Spirit of God. The course of a lineage can be altered by the grace of God through Jesus Christ. 

I believe in a Creator who imagined each of us out of the goodness of his nature.  We have to keep our eyes on the process of change, not the goal. God is in charge of the finish line; we just need to yield to the journey.

…being confident of this very thing, He who began a good work in me will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ  Philippians 1:6

parenting3

A Mother Worth Mentioning

Mother’s Day Saturday, May 7, 2016

What her eyes saw – lack and death– suddenly did not matter. Her heart saw the reality of God’s faithful and protective hand in her life.

Mothering becomes more difficult when a husband isn’t in the picture. In the past two weeks, I’ve been struck by the mother in 1 Kings 17. Her courage to believe God’s voice changed the outcome of her circumstances.

The widow was getting wood in order to prepare one last meal for herself and her son when Elijah shows up on the scene. Elijah wants some food. She lets him know that she doesn’t have enough food to share with him. In that time, it’s remarkable that she had food at all. Famine was present in the land and she was a widow. We don’t know how long her husband had been dead. The Bible calls her son “a child” later in the passage.  She was probably younger than thirty. Economically, this impoverished single mother had no hope during this drought. Circumstances beyond her control had taken over her life. Then she hears this stranger say to her: “Give me some food first and God will continue to provide for

you until it starts raining again.”

How many of you would listen to some stranger rolling up on your doorstep saying the same thing? Verse nine reveals that Elijah met the widow knowing that God had already commanded her to feed him.  We have no indication from her of this. We merely see her do what Elijah asks. She fed him first.

Her natural eyes saw lack in her home. Surely she and her son heard each other’s hunger pangs. As a mother, she’d probably been making her son’s last meal cakes a tad bit larger than hers even though she knew that death was inevitable for them both. Her visible reality shouted “Death!”  But in another human being’s words, she heard the voice of God. She trusted that God was speaking to her through another human being. Wow! That takes courage and faith.

Faith acknowledges the reality of the unseen.

I wonder if she had heard of Elijah and if so, if she recognized him when he approached her. Even if she had, it still took faith for her to believe in the creative miracle that he said would happen: the meal in the barrel would not run dry.  The oil jar would not dry up. What her eyes saw – lack and death– suddenly did not matter. Her heart saw the reality of God’s faithful and protective hand in her life.

Her supply would not fade.

I was impressed to use this passage as my Mother’s Day post. I believe God wants to calm the fears of mothers whose visible realities shout “Death!” There are mothers who may be facing crushed dreams or failed marriages. Others may be watching their children spin into the downward cycle of addiction or plummet into the merciless clutch of disease.  Many single mothers deal with economic lack. Despite the fact that the drought was to remain for a period of time, God’s intervention for the single mother of 1 Kings declared “Life!” Still, she had to trust God. What if she had turned her back on the prophet of God? What if she had not turned her eyes from her visible reality and looked into the eyes of the servant of God to see the invisible reality of God’s desire for her life? It took faith and courage to use the rest of the meal in and make three cakes instead of two.

I pray this Mother’s Day for mothers everywhere. I pray that despite our visible circumstances, we will believe in the faithful provision of our loving Father. I pray that we would be courageous and trust in God’s Word first even though we live in a culture that renounces biblical authority. Lastly, I pray that when a situation is shouting “Death!” to our faces, that we would look up and see God declaring “Life!”