Sunday, August 31, 2014

Human Animal Christian

These, like unreasoning animals,
…born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed,
…reviling where they have no knowledge,
… will … be destroyed
(2 Peter 2:12)

These men revile things they don’t understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed.
(Jude 10)

The study of science and nature is a joy.  The world God made for us is a witness to His power and wisdom.  Sadly, many who share my love of science have come to believe that the entire universe sprang from a teeny speck of magic stuff that exploded into all the universe.  From that one speck of stuff came Hydrogen, which then magically morphed into the entire periodic table of elements, many of which then combined to form molecules and these molecules in turn began to reproduce and from a pool of chemicals, life was born. 

Christians struggle with this, too.  Many seek to merge the atheist explanation of origins with those of the Hebrew Scriptures.  For a moment, let’s pretend this doesn’t insult both God and science.  Let’s pretend that the days in Genesis were not an evening and a morning, but rather were zillions of years during which humans evolved (with some help from God) from lower species.  If that is true, what are the consequences? 

Or to put it another way – if humans exist for a reason other than that God created us in His image – what does that have to do with our everyday lives?  If humans are merely intelligent apes with opposable thumbs, then we are NOT “superior” to other species.  If we’re special because we’re intelligent, then the ox is special for his power, the cheetah for her speed and the worm is special for the ability to tunnel through earth. 

The scriptures at the top of this article are extracted from two different letters, written by two different men, but they’re writing about similar groups of people.  They are writing about men who are church leaders.  And they are warnings to the people to take heed not to follow their example or be like those men who have several things in common in both groups.  Let’s focus on one of those things now.  They are said to be “like unreasoning animals,” who behave from “instinct.” 

Remember that when these were written, there was nothing like our modern science, so don’t get too hung up on words like “reasoning” or “instinct.”  Instead, focus on the essence of these men, and the writers’ objections.  They are obedient to the desires of their flesh. 

Sometimes the word for “desire” is translated as “lust,” and that’s too bad because for most of us “lust” has only to do with sexual things.  But the truth is that our bodies want several things, and they are all sensual – which is to say, they have to do with our senses. 
We want to look at pretty things, smell good smells, taste good tastes, hear great sounds and of course feel good feelings.  This is what our senses, or our bodies, want.  This is our evolutionary master – the “desires” of our bodies, or flesh. 

So the question is … are you the master of your domain? 

Throughout the scriptures, but especially in the New Testament, we are taught to be the masters of our bodies, and not to let the body master us.  When my flesh gives me orders, it tells me to eat – because I love the taste of food, it tells me to seek good music and comfort.  My body never tells me to go outside and exercise and to limit my food intake.  My body is a greedy and foolish thing, and so is yours. 

Most “Christians” these days seek to merge more than science and scripture, they also want to merge the demands of their true lord (their flesh) with the demands of the Lord they claim to follow with their mouth (Jesus).  But as Jesus himself said, we cannot serve two masters. 

Now back to our original issue.  If you serve your body/flesh/instincts like an unreasoning animal, then you ARE nothing more than a smart ape.  But if you seek to let Yahweh and His son Yeshua be your Master, then you are behaving like someone re-created in the image of God. 

It’s a choice.  It’s not a fact of evolution or creation, it’s a choice.  We are all animals physically, but when we choose to be born again in baptism, Paul wrote that we change in our very nature!  He wrote that we become “new creatures.”  That’s a lot more than a mere metaphor – it represents a choice we make to be different than our nature.  We no longer want to be slaves to our body’s cravings.  Now we want – we have – a new Boss, a new life, and new desires.  We answer to no one, and no thing, including our own appetites – but Yahweh alone is our God. 

So now consider the deeds of the flesh.  They result in all the things we think of as sin, and they start with nothing more than something “we” want.  But is it really something you want, or is it something your body wants? 
Are you going to let it boss you around? 
How many gods are there in your life? 
Are you REALLY born again, or is it a lie you and your friends tell yourselves? 

Choose you this day whom you will serve.

Speaking out arrogant words of vanity
…they entice by fleshly desires,
…by sensuality,
…those who barely escape from the ones who live in error,
…promising them freedom
….while they themselves are slaves of corruption;
for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved.
(2 Peter 2:18–19)

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