Monday, December 28, 2009

Why a Virgin Birth?

I would have posted this on Christmas, but it’s a busy time of the year, so it’s a few days late.
Why did Christ need to be born of a virgin? That’s a question I have wondered about often, and I have a theory.

Obviously, there are the prophecies that necessitate a virgin birth in order to be fulfilled:

  • And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." (Gen 3:15)
  • Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

Then there’s the issue of Joseph’s lineage. According to the prophecy of Jeremiah 22:28-30, there could be no king in Israel who was a descendant of King Jeconiah, and Matthew 1:12 relates that Joseph was from the line of Jeconiah. If Jesus had been sired by Joseph, He would not have been able to claim the legal rights to the throne of David.

However, I believe these issues are secondary to something even more important. I believe God has reasons for the way He does things. And my theory in this case is that the virgin birth is related to God’s innate sense of justice and the issue of iniquity.

According to the Strong’s concordance iniquity is defined as perversity, depravity, or guilt or punishment of iniquity. It is in essence the propensity for evil that was passed on through Adam to us all, as well as the punishment for evil he passed on: “just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).

In Exodus 34:6-7, God passes before Moses and proclaims, “The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear [the guilty]; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth [generation].” This sentiment is repeated in Ex 20:5, Num 14:18, and Deu 5:9.

Notice how iniquity is passed on to the next generation? The fathers are the one God chooses to use as the progenitors of iniquity. If Christ had been born of an earthly father, He could not have “committed no sin, nor have any deceit found in His mouth”. He would have, by the very nature of being conceived through Joseph, some iniquity or as some might call it, “original sin”.

My son is only two months old, and I already see glimpses of a sinful nature in him. He covets, manipulates, gets angry, etc. It is this original sin that causes some to follow the third century’s initiation of infant baptism for the removal of sin, which could lead to a discussion of “the age of reason,” but that is another topic for another day.

The point is, I think Christ had to be born of a virgin, so that the iniquity of Adam would not be passed on, so that He could be the “pure and spotless” lamb, and so that in His death and resurrection, we might find reconciliation as sons of God. There would be no need for Mary to be immaculately conceived as only the father’s iniquity is passed to subsequent generations.

That’s my theory anyway.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What Was the Tower of Babel?

The tower of Babel is another issue I wonder about, mostly because of something God says.

In Genesis 11: 4-9 we have the account of the tower of Babel: "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to heaven, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth." But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. The Lord said, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other." So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel--because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

I have heard that one reason God confused their language was because of their apparent resistance to God's will in populating the earth, but I'm not convinced of this mostly because that's not the reason God gives: "If as one people speaking one language they have begun to this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them."

Apparently, left to their own devices, they would have successfully built the tower, and who knows what else afterward.

In current times as English becomes the common language of science and business, we once again see humanity's capabilities at accomplishing whatever it imagines and building towers everywhere. It is only in the past century with the advent of global colonization and the proliferation of universal languages that humanity has once again been able to push the limits of the heavens with towers, flight, space travel, etc. Pictured is the durj dubai, the tallest building in the world, and it's only half finished. It looks a lot like Babel to me.

An interesting correlation to this speculation on my part. If the tower of Babel with the confusion of language represented God's judgement on humanity's use of a common language, what did the day of Pentecost represent? Once again, God deals with language with the advent of tongues:

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. (Acts 2:4-6)

It seems to me that this advent is as much relational to Babel as Christ's sacrifice was to Adam's sin. A redemption of a common language through the Spirit as it were.

Feel free to comment.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Short Post: Cain

I spend so much time writing long posts that I tend to burn out fairly quickly on the whole blogging thing, so I have decided to intersperse shorter posts with single questions I think about and have been studying. Maybe these will evolve into longer posts, maybe not, but maybe if anyone ever reads this blog, they'll get others thinking too.

Question: What did Adam and Eve believe about Cain? How did that affect what he believed about himself? O

Gen 3:15And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring [fn] and hers; he will crush[fn] your head, and you will strike his heel."
This is a messianic prophecy about the conquering of Satan. Did Adam and Eve think Cain would be the one to restore their relationship with God?

On Healing and God's Heart

I have heard a lot of theories of the purpose of healing, whether God does it still or not, etc, and I think there is a lot of fallacy in both the charismatic and the cessationist camps when it comes to healing.

The problem is neither side addresses the question of “why”?

Let me begin this post by saying that I have been healed miraculously twice. Once when I was two years old from daily seizures and brain damage, and the second time when I was ten from being far-sighted. That one I remember clearly. One second I was wearing glasses, the man prayed for me, and everything went fuzzy; I took the glasses off and could see clearly. I have had 20-20 vision ever since.

So, there’s no argument in the world that would convince me that God just doesn’t miraculously heal people anymore. Experience outweighs logic no matter how illogical that sounds. If you did not believe God healed people and got cancer, but someone prayed over you, and you were healed, your beliefs would change pretty quickly no matter how much material you’ve read to the contrary. And much like the blind man in John 9:25, you would say, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!"

Anyway, I digress. Let’s get back to the question of why God heals. Why did God heal my eyesight? It’s only a temporary fix. 70 years from now my eyes will have served as maggot food for awhile. What good is a cripple who can walk just to die of cancer 20 years later? “For we are looking all the time not at the visible things but at the invisible. The visible things are transitory: it is the invisible things that are really permanent (2Cor 4:18). Physical healing falls into the category of visible things, so why bother?

I think Jesus answers the question best:

John 20:25,37-38 (NIV) Jesus answered, "I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me... Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father."

Physical healing is an ongoing reminder that Christ saves, and He saves completely. It is just as important that a believer of 50 years be reminded of this fact, as a sinner just coming to know the grace of God. Consider healing a physical sermon, a demonstration of the power and love of God.

Seriously, if we question if Jesus will heal us physically, then why do we believe he will heal us spiritually? “But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isa 53:5) This is repeated in 1 Peter 2:24 he himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.

Healing is part of the Gospel message. Jesus tells Nicodemus, “"I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?" (John 3:12). Physical healing is an earthly thing; if you can’t believe God will and does heal today, how can you believe he saves even unto eternal life?

On the other hand, what do charismatic healers benefit those who are healed if there is no accompaniment of repentance and solid Biblical teaching? What have you benefited those who were physically healed, if they continue to live in sin, and you do not hold them accountable? So, they can use their body again for another 40, 50, 60 years, what then, do you let them die and spend eternity in hell?

What was Jesus’ message to the man at the pool of Bethesda? "See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you" (John 5:14). Seeking healing for the sake of healing is worthless; having a healing ministry is worthless; casting out demons, worthless; if the soul is lost. Better to enter heaven blind, then to see the gates of hell on the way in. Better to crawl crippled to God’s feet as a friend, then to stand before him as an enemy.

My point in all of this is simple: God has called us to heal the sick. It’s biblically sound. You can’t read the Bible and come to another conclusion. However, many will come to Him in that day saying “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?” And He will say, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” And how much worse for those who can’t even say Lord, Lord we did miraculous things in your name.

All the same, God considers miracles for the sake of miracles “evil”, just as evil as not doing anything. Knowing the heart of God means knowing that He desires righteousness and repentance over signs and wonders. He desires that the lost would come to know Him and turn from their ways.

So, heal the sick, but do it with the heart of God.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What Was Satan's Sin in the Garden?

I've heard a lot of sermons on Satan's lie in the garden. Some say it's the "Did God really say?" line, but that's not really an untruth; some say it's the "you will not surely die" line, but in context that isn't an untruth either, not even the spiritual death Adam and Eve experienced; and some say it's the "you will be like God" line, but again in context, that's not untrue either.

This question has plagued me for a while, and because it plagues me, I will plague you with it too.

Let's recap the highlights of the story first:


Gen 2:16And the Lord God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."


Gen 3:1Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"


Gen 3:2The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.' "

Gen 3:4"You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

God says to eat of any tree except the tree of knowledge of good and evil (TKG&E), and Satan does not question if God said to eat of the TKG&E; he questions whether they could "eat of any tree". Remember; God said, "you are free to eat from any tree," except one.

Eve acknowledges God's restriction in her reply but adds something: "and you must not touch it". God did not give this command. He only forbade eating it. Was she given this command secondhand from Adam? God does give the command before he removes Adam's rib and forms the woman. Was this something Adam added? "Don't touch that tree in the middle of the garden, lest you die."

Now this is where Satan's craftiness come to light in the context of scripture. Eve says, "if we touch the fruit, we will die."

Satan answers "you will not surely die."

God never said they couldn't touch the fruit, just that they couldn't eat it, so of course Eve wouldn't die by touching it. Even if this statement was referring to eating the fruit, the command was given to Adam not Eve, their eyes were not "opened" until Adam ate, and when God begins the questioning, he turns to Adam first. "Did you eat the fruit?" Adam does not respond with "yes, but so did Eve," instead he responds with "the woman you gave me tricked me," which is what God curses her for. And the Bible says,

Rom 5:12Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned-

However, Adam's sin does affect her, since they are one flesh.

Here's the part that really bugs me:

Next Satan says, "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

That part seems like a lie except for these verses:

Gen 3:7Then the eyes of both of them were opened,

Gen 3:22And the Lord God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever."
Nobody ever talks about the fact that God corroborates Satan's statement. "Man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil." Before this moment, Adam and Eve had no idea what evil was, but equally important, they had no idea what good was either. How could they understand good having never experienced evil? God did know the difference, so when they experienced evil (rebellion against God), they did in fact become like Him at least in terms of knowing what good and evil were. It would have been better for us all had they not, but they did.

All that aside, this was again not a lie on Satan's part.

So, did Satan lie or was his sin in the garden simply causing others to disobey God; he did lead a third of heaven to do the same?

Jesus calls Satan the father of lies, so lying is definitely in his character. Every lie that is told comes from him. I just don't see it displayed in this story, which leads to a couple of important lessons:

If someone tells you something that is "technically" true, but it leads to sin against God, beware. Also if God tells you to do or don't do something, do not automatically assume that it applies to everyone else as well. What would have happened if Adam hadn't told Eve not to touch the tree in the middle of the garden? What would have happened if he hadn't assumed that since she ate it and nothing happened, he could too? And finally, if you lead someone else to sin, do not expect God to be lenient on you just because you didn't "necessarily" do the crime:

Luk 17:2It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.

Feel free to comment.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...