Monday, 23 November 2015


I was recently watching a television interview with a member of the new Trudeau government making the comment that they hoped there would be less partisanship and more cooperation in the next parliament.
I am a 'social conservative' and as such I foresee more partisanship, not less.  "Why?" you ask.  If I may be so bold, I suggest the answer lies with the left-leaning, liberal segments of society.
As a social conservative my viewpoint has for the most part been passed down generation to generation.  The basic principals of what I deem to be right and appropriate are no different from my father's or grandfather's generations.  My sense of morality is based on absolutes rather that public or personal whim.  My sense of a civilized society is based upon respect for public order and the inherent responsibility that each individual has to the common good.  My sense of right and wrong are based on Judaeo-Christian principles that date back thousands of years.
Before someone throws in red-herring arguments, no, slavery is not acceptable to the social conservative.
A social conservative, who uses the Bible as his or her guide, has the privilege of being able to drive a stake in the ground to define a boundary beyond which he or she will not venture.
A social liberal on the other hand has no such ideological point of reference; he or she will be swayed and motivated by personal or public opinion without the benefit of any [moral] constant.
Issues that would have been deemed socially and morally unacceptable by the majority of the Canadians just forty years ago are now promoted as ideals of modern liberalism; the demeaning of traditional marriage and family values, contempt for the sacred, sexual promiscuity, adultery, mass abortion, euthanasia, legalization of recreational drugs, promotion of homosexuality and transgenderism as an ideal, rampant pornography, legalization of prostitution, and on the list goes.  The logical end for the social liberal's ideal is total hedonism1 - "The only person in the world that matters is me and you have no right to impose your values and opinions on me."
Meanwhile I doggedly try and point out how far society is straying from the stake in the ground which safely tethers me to a righteous morality - not a relative morality.
On this basis I propose that it is the social liberals who are turning the polarizing filter.  The further they turn the filter of liberalism the greater the degree of partisanship there will be.
Partisanship occurs when two parties move farther and farther away from each other. If the social conservative is firmly tethered to a stake in the ground, it must be the social liberal who is increasing the distance from that stake and correspondingly increasing the level of partisanship.  I don't see that it can be explained any other way.

1Hedonism: the ethical theory that pleasure (in the sense of the satisfaction of desires) is the highest good and proper aim of human life.

Sunday, 8 November 2015


This morning our church held a Remembrance Service.  There were some moving images of our Veterans in battle from the First and Second World Wars and haunting reminders of those who returned from Afghanistan in flag draped boxes.

As the images came up on the screen I pondered what these heroic men and women, many of whom who paid the ultimate sacrifice, would think of the contempt with which we ‘honour’ the liberty they gave us?  We make it possible to kill our unborn children by the millions, legalize euthanasia, the Government proposing legislation to legalize the sale of mood altering drugs and of the segments of Canadian society who try and banish God from every aspect of public life?  

Tell me, what would they have thought of the contempt many of today’s generation show for the values they once held so dear?

After we stood for two-minutes of silence and reflection we sung Oh Canada, our National Anthem.  We, thankfully, sung the third verse as well.  The second and third stanzas, have too bee banished from the public square – the third honours God.
   Ruler supreme, who hearest humble prayer,  
   Hold our Dominion in thy loving care; 
   Help us to find, O God, in thee 
   A lasting, rich reward, 
   As waiting for the better Day, 
   We ever stand on guard.
We often sing, “God keep our land, glorious and free…” with great gusto at sporting and other events. Yet, with the rampant immorality we see in our society today, I no longer consider Canada to be glorious and the zealotry we see to keep God out of all things Canadian is not my definition of freedom.

I am glad most of these brave men and women are not hear to see the Canada we have become.  I fear they may have ultimately died in vain.

Sunday, 18 October 2015


Above: A cross section through a blade of marram grass. Who says God doesn't have a sense of humour?

I sometimes find myself struggling to explain my non-faith reasons for being a Creationist.   Evolutionists and Creationists are both confronted with exactly the same material evidence, so why should I choose one argument over the other?  I stumbled(?) across this article on, written by Steve Kaufmann, that articulates my arguments quite clearly.  In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, I do not possess sufficient faith to believe that life 'just happened'.  The article frequently uses the term 'intelligent design' which, as far as I am concerned, is a cop-out for giving the glory for the creation of life to Almighty God.
In a recent ENV article, mathematician Granville Sewell asked an intriguing question:
In the current debate between Darwinism and intelligent design, the strongest argument made by Darwinists is this: In every other field of science, naturalism has been spectacularly successful, so why should evolutionary biology be different? Even most scientists who doubt the Darwinist explanation for evolution are confident that science will eventually come up with a more plausible explanation. That's the way science works. If one theory fails, we look for another one; why should evolution be so different? [Emphasis added.]
Dr. Sewell's post mainly explored entropy and theory-based reasoning. From my own perspective as an architect of large information systems, I would like to suggest a different (but complementary) answer.
Enter Information, Stage Right
Evolutionary biology was very much like other sciences up until the 1950s, when the information-bearing capabilities of DNA and RNA were discovered inside living cells.
These discoveries fundamentally changed biology. And as the information payload is increasingly unraveled, we're seeing ever more complex and interdependent assembly instructions, activation circuits, programming sequences, and message payloads. This information is decoded and operated on by molecular machines of similar complexity, and the whole (information + machines) is self-generating, self-sustaining, and self-replicating.
The information has some intriguing properties:
  • It must perform an astounding number of complex functions in order to create, sustain, and replicate life. Each function requires multiple distinct programs or sequences for the various phases of its lifecycle: assembly, operation, complex orchestration with other functions, error detection and correction, replication, and so on. These are functionally distinct types of activities, so it's almost certain that they are encoded separately, perhaps with completely different coding structures and mechanisms.
  • It has no value without a complex collection of molecular machines, yet it must also include the instructions for generating those same machines. The result is an immensely complex choreography of separate but interrelated information and molecular machines. Neither can function without the other -- a ginormous chicken-and-egg problem.
  • It exhibits the design properties of the best human-engineered software systems, yet its capabilities extend well beyond any current human-engineered systems. For example, no human-engineered system is capable of self-replicating both the software that operates on the machinery and the machinery that decodes the software.
Further, based on the observed functionality in living organisms, there are many undiscovered types of information that must be present in a living cell, but which haven't been decoded or understood yet.
Kinesis [be sure to watch the video link!] offers a fascinating example of undiscovered information in action. What programs and machinery are required to assemble the structure and function of kinesin? What information is needed for kinesin to achieve its "runtime" functions? How does kinesin know where to go to pick up a load, what load to pick up, what path to take, and where to drop its load? How does it know what to do next? All this functionality takes information, which must be encoded somewhere.
Indeed, the level of complexity is monotonically increasing, with no end in sight. 
With no possibility that new discoveries will ever decrease the observed complexity, it may not be long before we see a seismic shift in the research paradigm -- from the study of biological systems that happen to contain information, to the study of information systems that happen to be encoded in biology.
Causal Requirements and Causal Forces
Aside from the obvious (and intriguing) challenge of understanding the enormous complexity of life's information payload, evolution purports to explain its origins.
The origin of life is perhaps the most obvious example of information's formidable hurdle to evolutionary explanations. First life requires all of the following:
  • Sufficient complex programs and sequencing to support first life's complete lifecycle (i.e., the directions have to be complete and correct).
  • Sufficient machinery to interpret the programs and to operate life (i.e., the directions must have proper effect).
  • Sufficient programs and machinery to replicate both the programs and the machinery (i.e., the directions must be passed to the next generation).
And all this must be present at the same time, in the same place, in at least one instant in history, at which point the whole must somehow be animated to create life. And all this must occur, by definition, before an organism can reproduce. Without reproduction, there is no possibility to accumulate function, from simple to complex, as required by evolution. Hence, the programs must have contained all the complexity required for first life at inception.
By definition, then, the minimal programs and machinery required for first life must have predated any creative capabilities (real or imagined) of Darwinian processes.
Further, since the information necessary for first life must have been assembled prior to the animation of first life, the minimal information payload must have predated first life. And it must therefore have derived from a source beyond biology as we know it.
This poses a causal quandary for evolutionary biology. For there are only two known classes of causal forces, and these have dramatically different qualities. 
First, there are physical laws, which include mathematics, physics, and chemistry. These are repeatable (i.e., the same inputs always produce the same results) and purposeless (i.e., the same inputs produce the same results, no matter who gets hurt). Their repeatability makes science effective. But physical laws are not capable of acting with intent, which limits their creative capabilities.
Operating within the physical laws are random events that can change the information payload of life in various ways. But these are constrained by the same physical laws, so are similarly incapable of acting with intent. Random events cannot create complex information, except in two circumstances: (a) there is some predefined notion of a desirable outcome, and (b) any "positive gains" toward that outcome are protected from random degradation through some external mechanism. Both of these special circumstances require intention, which the physical laws cannot offer.
Second, there are intelligent causes, which are purposeful and therefore not generally repeatable. The creation of complex programming requires non-repeatability. While intelligent causes are capable of generating the right kind of information, it's difficult to pin down when and how their actions occurred, or what their intent might have been. All sciences that deal with intelligent causes (e.g., archaeology) are made more difficult by non-repeatability.
An Impending Worldview Crisis
The search for a purposeful cause that predates biology as we know it inevitably drives the conversation to metaphysics. And this places evolution (and biology) at the center of a conflict between worldviews.
For materialists, the first class of causal force is insufficient and the second is unacceptable. Materialist biologists are thus pressed to find a third class of causal force -- one that works without purpose (required to adhere to materialist philosophy), yet produces purposeful outcomes (required to adhere to the observed world). As yet no reasonable candidate forces have been proposed.
So materialists face growing dissonance between their philosophical commitment and biology's complex programming. As the quality and quantity of the discovered interdependent programs and processing machinery increases, the plausibility of material causation gets weaker. So the materialist position is weak, and going in the wrong direction (from their perspective).
On the other hand, for anyone not fully committed to materialist philosophy the options are much more interesting. For those willing to consider the second class of causal force, things begin to fall into place and the dissonance dissipates.
For theists, the second class of causal force is not only acceptable, but expected. Further, theists are unsurprised to learn that the causal forces in class #1 are finely tuned to enable life, and they have no problem with the notion that random events are more likely to destroy information than create it (e.g., there are far more possible non-functioning programs than functioning programs).
Ongoing discoveries about the nature of the information at the core of life present a growing hurdle for the materialist worldview, but are increasingly friendly to any worldview that's open to a pre-biological intelligencewith some means to assemble the programs and machinery minimally required for first life.
And this sets up a worldview collision.
Evolution's Grand Challenge
Molecular biology is characterized by growing questions and shrinking answers.
It's like the guy who, after untying his boat, finds himself with one foot on the dock and one foot in the boat. As the gap grows, it becomes increasingly hard to ignore. And uncomfortable. And temporary.
And this is evolution's grand challenge: The complex programs and amazing molecular machines at the heart of life simply cannot be explained by any current or proposed theory of evolution, nor by any other completely material cause. Apologists for materialism cannot hide this fact much longer. Neither the volume of their arguments nor any level of vitriol can change the fact that the data is skewing against them.
Rarely has any field of science had to deal with questions so difficult, or that cut so deeply into the worldviews, minds, and hearts, of thoughtful men and women. 
Evolution sits at the center of a front-and-center debate -- with too much to explain, in too little time, with insufficient causal power, and with so many watching and so much at stake.
That, I would say, is what makes evolution different.

Saturday, 26 September 2015


To ask ‘are [all] atheists intentionally ignorant’ is not intended as an insult, rather, is it not a realistic statement of fact?  The reality is all atheists are ignorant of the existence of God. How could it be otherwise?  They openly promote this ignorance but would rather convey their message to their audience as denial.

Atheists must live with the dilemma that they are always having to ‘prove a negative’ even if they would deny that they have to actually prove anything.  The paradigm that divides non-believers and believers is that a non-believer must convince him or her self that God does not exist, while for those who seek God it is God who does the convincing.
Evolution is atheism’s single crutch and simultaneously its most effective weapon.  As with attacks on traditional marriage, euthanasia, pro-life proponents, religious conscience, etc. it is those who tend to 'shout the loudest’ would seem to prevail - regardless of any factual evidence to the contrary.  
In Wm. Paul Young’s latest book Eve, Younge wrote, "Lilly, words like 'God' and 'believe' are often meaningless. I don't believe God. I know God! Once you know someone, believing is no longer a concern.” 
Because I know God, it is a lot easier for me to place my faith in God’s description of Creation than in a manmade theory that requires one to stretch one’s faith to the infinite degree and still come up short on answers.  Every atheist must continually ponder the question: who or what is the uncaused cause of the universe and everything in it?  If there ever was a Big Bang who or what triggered it?  Apart from God it is an unanswerable question.
Which requires the greater faith: believing a knowable, omnipotent, omniscient God who describes how He created all living things (plants and creatures) after their own kind AND reveals Himself to those who choose Him, or a process spontaneously coming into existence to create all matter and life which has unprovable theories as its very foundation?
That which physically exists (all living things, fossils and geologic matter) is the physical evidence both Creationists and evolutionists are constrained to, upon which they must base and argue their apologetics.  
Creationists do not discount natural selection and accept physical ‘evidence’ as it presents itself without having to apply theories of an evolutionary process to bring it about.  Conversely, evolutionists must prove two distinct processes: natural selection and evolution - the former in no way proving nor supporting the latter.
All scientific revelations only further persuade me of a Magnificent Creator, rather than the mind-bendingly complex processes theorised to argue how life might have come about.  
I have read arguments such as chimpanzees and humans having 90+% of their DNA in common - as if to prove that humans and chimpanzees have a common ancestry.  Such ‘evidence’ proves nothing.  It is equally reasonable to argue that the Magnificent Creator would share elements of His incredibly complex and intricate design throughout much of that which He created.
Just as troubling are commentaries that use lack of evidence to support a thesis.  It is common sense that a lack of evidence cannot possibly prove anything.  Missing evidence can only mean one of three things: the evidence has been destroyed [erased], transformed or has yet to be uncovered.  Science requires the evidence must be in evidence.
Both the Creation paradigm and evolutionary theory use the same fossil record to demonstrate their beliefs.  The Creationist can demonstrate that worldwide sedimentary deposits along with the fossil record exactly match the Biblical account of the flood, while the evolutionist will argue that the fossil record documents the sequence in which creatures ‘evolved’.  Further, the evolutionary expositor depends on ‘dating methods’ that are mostly theoretical in nature. 
The chasm an atheist must cross is as wide as his or her pride.  Jesus implied that it easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a proud person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven; in short, impossible.  A proud person will seek any excuse (including arguing the theory of evolution) to avoid coming face-to-face with God.  Conversely, any person who recognizes his or her wretched condition is welcome to sit at the feet of God and receive unimaginable blessings as a consequence.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015


Biblically, the Year of Jubilee occurs once at the end of every 49-year cycle.  Each ‘cycle’ is made up of 7 years, the last year of the seven being the Sabbath year, or Shemitah.  At the end of a seven-Shemitah cycle (49 years), the next year, the fiftieth year (which is also the first year of the next 7-year cycle), is the Year of Jubilee.

Joshua crossed the Jordan and led the Hebrew nation into what is now Israel, in 1406 BC.  The first Year of Jubilee was celebrated in 1357 BC.  I am presently writing this blog on 24th of Elul, 5775 on the Hebrew calendar, or September 8th on the Gregorian calendar, or 5,775 years since the Year of Creation. 

Why should I, or anyone else, be paying attention to these facts?  Is something special going to happen soon? Let’s look back on recent history:
During what would have been the 68th Year of Jubilee, General Sir Edmund Allenby (above), commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, entered Jerusalem on foot, out of respect for the Holy City, on December 11, 1917, displacing the Turkish Ottoman invaders.  

Fifty years later Jerusalem, in the 69th Year of Jubilee, Jerusalem once again changed hands during the 1967 Six Day War (above) and the Israelites took control of the City of David for the first time since 586 BC (2,600 years).  

Six days from now the 70th Year of Jubilee will start on 1st of Tishrei, 5776, that is 6 days from now, Monday, September 14, 2015.  How do we know this? Simple calculation: 1407 years + 2016 years divided by 49 = 70.

This coming Year of Jubilee will also be the 40th since Christ's death.

If such significant events happened in Jerusalem in 1917 and 1967 what does the 70th Year of Jubilee hold?  What do you think?  Leave your comments below.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Thoughts on Leviticus 18:22, Part 1: Leviticus, God’s love story. The Gospel in the Old Testament.

I am a huge proponent of always reading and understanding Scripture in context. Read each word in the context of the verse, read each verse in the context of the whole chapter, read the chapter in the context of the whole book and read each book in context of the entire Bible.  Failure to do so inevitably leads to a corrupt understanding of who God is, His love, His holiness, His Law and the life-lessons He wants us to learn and act upon, and our devotion towards Him.  Heeding my own advice I started my study at Leviticus 1:1 and found myself reading a love story.  The very same love story I had found in the gospels.
I am not a biblical scholar and have not attended a theological seminary - but I can read.  And with my tax-funded high school education I did learn a little comprehension.  Regrettably, some choose to dwell in blissful and/or wilful ignorance of what God is actually trying to teach them in the Scriptures.  Believe it or not, the Book of Leviticus is all about God drawing people back into a covenant relationship, a precursor to that which He would fulfill with His incarnation in Jesus Christ.
King David wrote in Psalm 1:1-3 “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.”
How often have you personally regarded the Book of Leviticus as a litany of ritual offerings and sacrifices? An endless inventory of do’s and don’ts?  Bloody and painful stonings or burnings for those who fail to follow God’s laws?  What do you mean, I can’t wear a denim shirt with leather elbow patches?
As I started reading, looking beyond the do’s and don’ts, I found phrases like, “…it will be accepted on your behalf to make atonement for you”, “fellowship offering”, “he will be forgiven”, “they will be forgiven”, “the priest will make atonement for them for any of these sins they have committed, and they will be forgiven”, “an expression of thankfulness”, “freewill offering”, “Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings,” “They shouted for joy…” “Be assured that I will send my blessing for you…” And on and on it goes.
Throughout Leviticus, as in the Gospels and the rest of Scripture, God is calling His people back into a right relationship with Himself, calling them to be holy, reminding them that He is holy and their sin needs to be confessed and atoned for in order for an intimate relationship to be possible.  In His divine wisdom and perfect sense of justice, God established that a blood sacrifice was the only way for sin to be dealt with; ultimately shedding His own blood so that the sin of anyone, who acknowledges the lordship of Jesus Christ, may be forgiven. 
God is not petty.  He doesn’t make rules just to keep you in check, to ‘yank your chain’ whenever He feels you’ve strayed too far.  We must always remember God is love. This must be the foundation of our understanding of how we expect Him to act.  Equally imperative is the fact that God is perfectly holy and perfectly just.  We cannot isolate one aspect of who we understand God to be from any of the others, as soon as we do our understanding of what God is teaching us in Leviticus will fall apart.  We cannot isolate God’s love from His justice and holiness.
There are four realities that God would have us understand in interpreting and understanding His ‘lessons’ or statutes:
  1. God is love.  This means that His motivation in establishing ‘rules’ for us to live by is ultimately for our benefit and His subsequent joy.  As any loving parent will caution a child, “Don’t touch that, it’s hot.  If you do you’ll get burned.”  God’s love for us is the ultimate form and expression of love.  It is selfless love.
  2. God is Holy.  This means no sin can come into His presence.  Every sin must be atoned for (dealt with).
  3. God is just.  Every decision God makes is perfectly just - the punishment must fit the crime.  This can only be understood in the context of God’s absolute holiness.
  4. God, out of His grace, chose Abraham’s descendants, the Jewish people, to be set apart.  In this setting apart, this choseness, God wanted the Jewish peoples to be a living example to the rest of the world; being visibly distinct in living lives that reflected God’s covenant relationship with them, to keep themselves unpolluted by the world and free from sin.

Not a single one of these characteristics of God can be detached or isolated from the other.  God’s sense of justice is in no way diluted by His love and his love is not diluted by His justice.  Ultimately, justice for mankind’s sin has [had] to be meted out and it cost God the death of His Son.
As we read through Leviticus you will discover different kinds of statutes:
  1. Instructions for restoring our relationship with God; acknowledgement/confession of our sin to Him and offering a blood sacrifice (in Christ, God provided the ultimate blood sacrifice, negating the need for animal sacrifices).
  2. Instructions on how to bring gifts of thanksgiving to God for His love and benevolence.
  3. Instructions for those who were set apart to lead and teach His people (the Levites).
  4. Instructions for daily living (how to best take care of ourselves).
  5. Actions that are sinful, detestable or abominable to God.

[Wilful] ignorance of God’s Word is nothing new.  Jesus told the Pharisees You nullify the Word of God for the sake of your traditions [opinions and ideas]” Matthew 15:6.  In addressing a number of Sadducees (who were posing a hypothetical question) Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.”  Matthew 22:29  How often do we put God in a box, assuming our reading of what God has said is in error (or that the text or translation is in error) because it does not match our paradigm, our preconceived notions or beliefs?  Heaven forbid! Who are we to instruct God on what is right or wrong?

© David Harrison 2015

Thoughts on Leviticus 18:22, Part 2: Leviticus 18:22

“If God is not sovereign over the land and its people, then the land and its people become cut off from the Creator.  A God-centred worldview is replaced by a man-centred and self-centred worldview.  So the people of Israel drove God out of their lives to become their own gods, masters of the land, their world, and their destiny.  They could now rewrite the law and redefine what was right and wrong, moral and immoral.” From the Mystery of the Shemitah by Jonathan Cahn.
Following the many conversations that have arisen since the US Supreme Court’s decision concerning same-sex marriage in June 2015, I notice a consistency in the way individuals, including what seems a very large number of professing Christians, twist the words of God, of Christ, to somehow place God’s love above God’s justice.  This is heresy!  In Psalm 89:13 we read, Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; mercy and truth go before Your face.”  As soon as we start messing around with the nature and attributes of God He ceases to be God."
It is this light that Leviticus 18:22 becomes an immovable object in any discussion concerning same-sex relationships.  Leviticus 18:22 is as unambiguous as it is possible to be. Unlike some other Scriptures Leviticus 18:22 is not susceptible to misinterpretation; you don’t need to compare it to other Scriptures, you don’t have to interpret it the context of other Scriptures or historic times, it’s meaning is not diluted in differing translations.  It is not contradictory to any other Law or Scripture.  There is no subtlety of ambiguity in what God says.  God simply says that sex between two men is an abomination [dictionary definition: detestation, loathing, hatred, aversion, antipathy, revulsion, repugnance, abhorrence, odium, execration, disgust, horror, hostility]. 
Perhaps things are different in this regard now that we live in an ‘age of grace’?  No, not so.  In Numbers 23:19 God speaks through Balek, “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” Jesus went on to say, Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished” Matthew 5:18. In Luke 16:17 He says, “… that doesn’t mean that the law has lost its force. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the smallest point of God’s law to be overturned.” and Jesus went on to say, If you love me, keep my commands.” John 14:15.  Humans distort God’s Word at their peril and offend God when they do so.
Some have asked why do those who stand in opposition to same-sex marriage place such a strong emphasis on Leviticus 18:22?  I believe the answer is simple – because it is so clear and explicit.  This is the opposite tack those who support same-sex marriage take – quoting verses and passages of Scripture out of context in efforts to make their case, appealing exclusively to the love attribute of God. No, no, no!
Culture in and of itself is not necessarily bad, it is when we give culture pre-eminence over Scripture that we have a problem.  We are very good at manipulating Scripture to fit our culture. This culture can pull us away from the truth. According to 1 Corinthians 2:14 those that manipulate Scripture live in cultural delusion, "The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit."

© David Harrison 2015

Thoughts on Leviticus 18:22, Part 3: What did Jesus say about Leviticus 18:22?

In an email exchange, a professor at a Christian college asked me, “How much do we cherry pick when it’s convenient and on what basis do we make those decisions?”  He then went on to argue what Jesus did not say, that Jesus did not regurgitate all the commandments found in Leviticus, as if Jesus had somehow invalidated the Book of Leviticus by not doing so.  How often have you heard people randomly quote other verses from Leviticus, ‘Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material’ 19:22 as being a meaningless commandment we do not follow today, as if a random verse used out of context somehow invalidates the command in 18:22.  The professor misses the point entirely, that God introduces the section that includes 19:22, saying, “Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.”  Not wearing clothing made from more than one fabric was just one of many examples God provided to the children of Israel, to be a constant visual reminder that they were to keep themselves unpolluted by not following the practices of the nations around them, to keep themselves holy. Today, born-again-Christians (there is no other kind according to Jesus), have the constant indwelling of the Holy Spirit to be their reminder to live holy lives.
Throughout the gospels Jesus repeats again and again that the essence of God’s Law will not be repealed until the end of time.  Jesus becomes visibly angry at those who disparage and discount God’s Law, especially those who would consider themselves scholars of God’s Word – ‘Teachers of the Law’.
In Matthew 15:19 Jesus directly refers to sexual immorality, “For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.”  Seeing as the pre-incarnate Jesus wrote and instituted Levitical Laws in the first place, including what we now identify as Chapter 18, it is irrational to suppose He somehow forgot what He wrote and is now invalidating these laws by not regurgitating each one word-for-word.  To the contrary, not only is He validating these laws, Jesus identifies the source of our desire to break these laws.  Our corruption of God’s law originates in the heart.
Matthew 15:1:20 Some Pharisees and teachers of religious law… asked Jesus, “Why do your disciples disobey our age-old tradition? ….”Jesus replied, “And why do you, by your traditions [your own concepts, ideas and beliefs], violate the direct commandments of God? …….you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’”Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “Listen,” he said, “and try to understand. It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.”

Thoughts on Leviticus 18:22, Part 4: Judging others? Or simply pointing them in the right direction?

Jesus said, “For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.”  Matthew 7:2
Jesus also said, “For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds.”  Matthew 16:27
How often have people wagged a boney finger in your direction and chastised you for simply having an opinion, especially one that is biblically contrary to their opinion?  “Who are you to judge me for by beliefs or actions?  What gives you the right?”
Thankfully, I don’t have to judge anyone – that is Jesus’ exclusive prerogative. And I hope that I treat others as I would want to be treated, with respect and in a Christ-like way  by people who will point me in the right direction when I go off course.  I have been blessed by many godly individuals in my life who have done just that. But please note, Jesus was not prone to using mushy platitudes. I hope nothing I have written here is construed as judgmental. Factual, yes. Judgemental, no.

© David Harrison 2015

Thoughts on Leviticus 18:22, Part 5: It’s not that kind of love.

Some have inferred there was some kind of homosexual relationship between David and Jonathan and used this as the basis for arguing God’s condoning of such relationships.  This, as with many other ‘proof texts’, is pure manipulation of the text.  The Hebrew word ahab is used of the love of Isaac for his wife Rebekah (see Genesis 24:67), of parents for children, for example Abraham for his son Isaac (see Genesis 22:2), and of Jonathon for David, his closest friend (see 1 Samuel 18:1). Jonathon’s totally unselfish treatment of David is a human example of the type of love God has for us, agápe love as it is used in the gospels. Jonathon put David’s interests before his own.  The Hebrew word dôd is the erotic form of the word love as found in the Song of Solomon – not the kind of love shared between David and Jonathon.  As the text describes, it was the highest form of love, “…better than that of a love between a man and a woman.”  Agápe love is a choice, not a feeling.
The Greek language distinguishes at least four different ways as to how the word love is used. Ancient Greek has four distinct words for love: agápe, éros, philía, and storgē. However, as with other languages, it has been historically difficult to separate the meanings of these words when used outside of their respective contexts. Nonetheless, the senses in which these words were generally used are as follows:
Agápe (ἀγάπη agápē) means “love: esp. brotherly love, charity; the love of God for man and of man for God.” Agape is used in ancient texts to denote feelings for one’s children and the feelings for a spouse, and it was also used to refer to a love feast. Agape is used by Christians to express the unconditional love of God for his children. This type of love was further explained by Thomas Aquinas as “to will the good of another.”
Agápe does not have the primary meaning of affection nor of coming from one’s feelings.  Jesus displayed this Agápe kind of love by going to the cross and dying even though He didn’t feel like dying. He prayed, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Matthew 26:39. Jesus sought the betterment of mankind, regardless of His feelings.
We, too, can agape (love) our enemies, even though we don’t have any warm feelings of affection for them. If they are hungry, we can feed them; if they thirst, we can give them a drink. We can choose to seek the betterment and welfare of others regardless of how we feel.  The Apostle John said, “Let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” 1John 3:18. Jesus referred to His love for others (John 13:34; 15:9, and 12), but He never directly told anyone, “I love you.”
Eros (ἔρως érōs) means “love, mostly of the sexual passion.” The Modern Greek word “erotas” means “intimate love.” 
Philia (φιλία philía) means “affectionate regard, friendship,” usually “between equals.” It is a dispassionate virtuous love, a concept developed by Aristotle. In his best-known work on ethics, Nicomachean Ethics, philia is expressed variously as loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires virtue, equality, and familiarity. Furthermore, in the same text philos denotes a general type of love, used for love between family, between friends, a desire or enjoyment of an activity, as well as between lovers.
Although phileo-love is encouraged in Scripture, unlike agápe-love, it is never a direct command. God never commands us to phileo (love) anyone, since this type of love is based on feelings. Even God did not phileo the world, He operated in agápe love toward us.
Storge (στοργή storgē) means “love, affection” and “especially of parents and children” It’s the common or natural empathy, like that felt by parents for offspring. 
Nowhere in all of Scripture do the words dôd or eros denote erotic love between two people of the same sex.  Nowhere.
I would like to conclude this section by quoting a few excerpts from a totally unrelated topic, The Delight of Giving, an article by John G. Stackhouse Jr., printed in Faith Today
“Many of us have been told that agape love is the highest and best because it is unselfish.  Erotic or friendly love provide enjoyment, but agape is utterly self-forgetful and entirely concerned with the welfare of the other.  God loves this way and so should we.  
The problem is, God does not love this way. God does not love without regard for His own pleasure or purpose.  What sense would that even make?  I want to help these people because – well why?  Whether God loves us because He enjoys our delight, or because He wants to bring glory to Himself, or because it’s just the right thing to do, God is still getting something out of the bargain.
And there is nothing wrong with that.
Hebrews 12 directs us to consider, “Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith… [who] for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God.”
Love is not a zero-sum game, despite Darwinist or agapist reductionists.  Love is a circle of reinforcing delight, a spiral of ever-increasing joy in mutual concern for everyone’s welfare.  It’s a win-win-win situation.”
I would like to add that the only thing that can corrupt and collapse this ‘ever increasing spiral of joy’ is our disobedience and rejection of God’s commands.

© David Harrison 2015

Thoughts on Leviticus 18:22, Part 6: Origins.

There is no convincing evidence on why some people consider themselves to have same-sex attraction.  I have scoured the internet and found nothing conclusive.  There are the following observations:
  • Homosexuality is exclusive to the human race.
  • Homosexuality runs counter to evolutionary theory.  It is an evolutionary dead end.
  • There has been nothing discovered in human DNA thus far to indicate anything hereditary.
  • God says that homosexual acts are an abomination (His words – not mine).
  • Many people who identify themselves as gay were sexually abused as children and is a probable contributing factor. In Canada approximately 1 in 100 identify themselves as homosexual.  
If we are to believe God’s opinion of two men lying together as denoted in Leviticus 18:22, then it seems to be a reasonable assumption that its origins were in The Fall, one of the many consequences of original sin.
Therefore the only ‘origin’ I can reasonably offer is what I wrote in Section 3:  
In Matthew 15:19 Jesus directly refers to sexual immorality, “For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.”  Seeing as the pre-incarnate Jesus wrote and instituted Levitical Laws in the first place, including what we now identify as Chapter 18, it is irrational to suppose that He has now somehow forgotten what He wrote and is now invalidating these laws by not regurgitating each one word-for-word.  To the contrary, not only is He validating these laws, Jesus identifies the source of our desire to break these laws.  Our corruption of God’s law originates in the heart.
Regardless of origin, fundamentally, homosexual acts are rebellion against God, see Romans 1:26-32.

© David Harrison 2015