Finding God’s Will

I was recently traveling with the associate pastor where I preach on a long journey. Thus, we had much time to discuss. One topic that came up was finding God’s will. Yesterday, I spoke about the same kind of thing to a friend of mine who is in ministry as well. This was an idea I grew up with and I find I still have to un-think a lot of what I learned.

When I read the Bible, I see two wills of God presented. The first one is the sovereign will. This is what is going to happen and nothing can change that. Now I do believe that while there are fixed events, we have been given liberty to kind of ad-lib. God knows what we will do, but we freely do. Nothing we do though can change sovereignly declared events like the second coming of Christ. We can’t know about when these events will happen though or the entirety of his sovereign plan.

The second kind is the moral will. This is the way God tells us we should live. We could consider the Ten Commandments as an example. God’s moral will tells us that there is a way we ought to live and there is a way we ought not to live. We may not be absolutely certain on every moral issue, but the main aspects of the moral will we can know.

Yet somehow, people find a third will that is not taught anywhere that I see in Scripture. That is God’s individual will for their lives.

I know some people won’t like this post, but I just have to say I don’t see it. Instead, I see God telling us how to make wise decisions that are in accordance with what I call the way of wisdom from earlier blogs. I find it hard to believe God left us a book called Proverbs but at the same time, says to wait on him to decide for us.

In this case, I think the onus of proof is on those who wish to tell me that they see this will presented in the Bible. Go ahead. Give me the verses. I’ve probably seen all of them. Or, you could simply consider this. Could it be that all the ideas we have of feeling led and hearing God’s voice and such are not taught as normative practices in Christianity?

So what do we do?

It’s simple. We obey God’s will. Which one? Well, it can’t be his sovereign will because we don’t have access to that. It must be his moral will then. We need to ask of each action we do if it is the right action or not. There are some that I think would be valid no matter what path you took as there are many moral things one can do.

For a minor example, consider this. You’re just had a shower in the morning and you’re getting dressed and you’re putting on your socks. Do you put on your left one first or your right one? I see no reason to think any such action would be sinful. You don’t have to pray and see which one to do. You simply put one on.

Now take another example. Suppose you have some money you want to donate to charity. Is there just one charity you have to give it to? Not at all. You can go and donate to many different charities and be just as beneficial. My family donates to St. Jude’s for instance. Does that mean they’d be sinning if they took some money instead to give to the Red Cross at another time?

Consider the mission field also. I have a friend who really wants to go to Japan and witness there. Do I think he’ll do good? Yeah. He’s an awesome friend and he knows his stuff. Let’s suppose he changed his mind though and said “I’d like to go to China instead.” Do I think he’s sinning? Not at all.

Why not? Because each of these falls into the moral framework. None of the other choices are immoral actions. They are just different actions. There are a lot of good things you can do and it’s okay to choose one because that is the one you want to do. It is not a sin to enjoy serving the Lord.

Ultimately, it comes down to what I heard someone say on this once. I don’t know how he got there in the discussion as it was on a different topic originally, but we did get into this and he had someone ask what God’s will for their life was. His response is still my favorite: To conform you to the likeness of Christ.

So let’s look at what we do. Will it conform us or not? If so, there’s no reason not to do it. If not, there’s every reason not to.

Ehrman’s claim on eyewitnesses.

In the Holy Cross debate done against William Lane Craig, scholar Bart Ehrman argues that the gospels were not written by the traditional authors. The names “Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John” were not part of the text. These were the authors noted by early church tradition as the writers of the gospels.

In Ehrman’s words, “The Gospels were written 35 to 65 years after Jesus’ death — 35 or 65 years after his death, not by people who were eyewitnesses, but by people living later.” Let us suppose for the sake of argument that Ehrman is right about his first claim in the earlier paragraph. Let us suppose that the authors were not the ones named.

I don’t think that, but my point is that the second point does not follow from the first. How do we know they were not written by eyewitnesses. The only way we can know that is if we know who the authors were and whether or not they were eyewitnesses. They could have been written by anyone in the area who could have been an eyewitness.

This was a point I wanted to see substantiated. We hear that the accounts are not eyewitness accounts. (Neither is much of ancient history.) How do we know such though? I read through the debate and sadly, I cannot see anywhere where this claim was backed and I was quite pleased with Craig’s performance.

However, one of the gospels was most likely not written by an eyewitness. This would be the gospel of Luke. However, Luke tells us that he spoke to the people and heard the stories and gave an account of what happened. In fact, Luke has been found to be quite accurate in his history and thorough in his detailing.

This seems to make the case more. If the account written by a non-eyewitness can be so reliable, then what will happen if we find the gospels were written by eyewitnesses? (Note I do believe Mark is the memoirs of Peter. Mark is writing for Peter and thus, it is an eyewitness account.)

Even if they weren’t, do we throw them out? No. We look and see if they are historically reliable. Unfortunately, Ehrman, like many others, holds to a a priori assumption of naturalism. The way he argues, if a miracle occurred, we’d have no way of knowing that it did so it’s best to assume that they didn’t.

This seems odd though. If a miracle happened, then it happened. We cannot just say “It didn’t.” What kind of evidence would there be? There would most likely be accounts from eyewitnesses that described what happened. This is what we have. People talk about events that we call miracles. The only reason to rule them out a priori is because of our immediate bias.

Historians ought to give the benefit of the doubt until something is shown to be false. If a friend came to me today and said “I saw an angel” and I was assured he wasn’t trying to pull a joke on me as many of my friends are jokesters, I would believe him. What am I to say? “Well, an angel never appeared to me!” or “I’ve never heard of anyone else seeing one!” or “That’s highly improbable!”

No. I would believe him for the same reason I believe him when he tells me that he and his wife went to dinner last night. The only reason to refuse it is to either say my friend is insane or something of the sort or that the testimony of people is not reliable. If the first, then we have a priori again. If the second, then why trust anyone on anything? We should not make special pleading just for the cases that don’t fit into our preconceived worldview. (Which is why the Christian should always be open to arguments from any angle and evaluate them.)

Now, have I argued that the authors are the traditional ones? No. I believe they are but that is secondary. I have stated that I believe Luke was accurate, but I could even say they were inaccurate and my main point would still stand. We have no way of knowing these are not eyewitness accounts simply because we don’t have 100% certainty on the authorship of the books.

Of course, we can get into other arguments after that. My case has simply been that which I stated above. I hope my fellow Christians see that point and realize that many other times non-Christians make statements like these. This question should always be asked. “Does the conclusion follow from the premises?” This time, it doesn’t.

Is Holiness Boring?

My associate pastor and I were traveling together today. He told me that he likes the term pastor. The term preacher has a negative connotation today. (“Don’t preach to me” or “Are we going to hear another sermon again” said outside of a church context.) He told me though that Reverend sounds too holy and impersonal.

Now this is a godly man here we’re talking about. I don’t want to give the wrong idea. He took his whole day to help me with something. I’m very grateful to him for that, but I also have to confess I’ve had the same kind of thought before. Why do we see holiness as impersonal and often boring?

Sadly, my first thought of holiness is someone who spends all their time in prayer and Bible study and walks around with a holier-than-thou attitude and never will crack a smile or laugh ever. That is not an accurate representation. I’ll give you that. It is a representation though and it is not enjoyable. Holiness has been made to be unappealing. It has been made to seem that if you are in the will of God, your life will be miserable.

However, what if holiness is truly boring and impersonal? What will that mean. The conclusion is that God is boring and impersonal. Now I’m not saying God is either, but we’ve effectively made him such many times in the church today. We don’t view our life with God as active usually. It’s more of a passive thing that’s just going on. It has become a habit. We live in an age where the new is the best and if there isn’t a constant flux of new, we lose interest.

What has made this such? I believe much of it is our modern world twisting our view. Biblical movies are usually quite boring for instance. Jesus never really cracks a smile even and everyone walks around and speaks in a monotone. How many times do we think about Jesus laughing for instance or Jesus as funny?

In reality, these things should be enjoyable. When I exegeted a text recently where I disagreed with the pastor, I enjoyed it. When friends and I discussed the star of Bethlehem or the meaning of Seraphim, I enjoyed it. When a co-worker and I started talking about the dates of the gospels and the worldview of Carl Sagan, I enjoyed it.

Yet somehow, it seems we approach these things as unenjoyable.

Could it also be our view of the Puritans? We see them as the holy people in history and we usually picture them as boring people. From what I’ve heard though, they were not. Yet somehow, we have pictured them as such. (We have a lot of crazy views about the ancients, like how they thought that the Earth was flat. That’s a myth as well.)

Honestly then, could it be we’re not holy because we fear that it will make us not enjoy life. The reverse is the case. Holiness will help us to enjoy life. The greatest pleasure seeker of all is God. He created everything as an act of joy and love. (Surely he did not do it as an act of misery.) If he is, then we should see that he is holy and loves all that is good, including true pleasure, far more than we do.

Holiness. It’s a joy and a treasure. Let’s start seeing it that way.

A Case For Moral Absolutism

In our discussion on actions that are moral and immoral, I have decided that I simply need to make a statement about moral absolutism. Why do I believe that such things as moral absolutes exist? I do believe that moral relativism is one of the most dangerous philosophies of our day. As Dostoevsky made clear, if God does not exist, anything is permitted.

I would like to start by saying that there are statements called propositions. They contain a coherent though with a subject and a predicate. “The grass is green” is a proposition. “I am writing my blog” is a proposition. “The planet Earth is the sixth planet from the sun” is a proposition.

Now, I hope most readers know that I intentionally put in a false proposition. After all, we all know that grass is really blue. (It begged to be done!) The point is that if all the terms in a proposition are understood properly, then the proposition can either be true or false. I do not know of a proposition that is neither. Some might seem incredibly wild to us, but they would either be true or false. We might say some are just stupid.

So let us consider some moral propositions.

It is good to love your neighbor as yourself. (Note that propositions can be put with the predicate first. This could read “Loving your neighbor as yourself is good.”)

It is wrong to torture babies purely for the joy it brings  you.

Giving money to the poor is a right thing to do.

Sexual intercourse outside of marriage is wrong.

The holocaust was a wicked event.

All of these are statements about moral beliefs. I would hope that all of us would take a stance on them. I wonder about the person who says “It may be wrong for you to torture a baby for fun, but I just think that everyone should decide for themselves.” If it wasn’t for so many of our pyschologists trying to explain away sin as well, I’d suggest that people with such a view go see them.

Friends. I really think it’s bizarre that we even have to argue for such a thing. Imagine how exactly you would formulate an argument to convince someone that it is wrong to torture babies for fun. Now in some cases, you can make moral arguments with people, but that is because they agree on a larger framework of morality and want to know if what they are doing falls within the moral or immoral aspect.

What part is it that someone does not know is wrong? Is it torture? Is it murder? Is it the fact that it’s a baby? What part? Why is it that this kind of action would be condemned throughout the world? While we speak of diverse differences among moral teachings of the world, the truth is the reverse. There are many principles that every society agrees on.

Take cowardice for an example. C.S. Lewis asked us to try to think of a world where it was good to be a coward. I’ve heard some people use Pacifist groups as a counter-example, but that doesn’t work. Pacifists don’t refuse to fight because they’re cowards. They refuse to fight because they think it is immoral.  Does this mean though that they will never act with courage? No. There are many other ways to be courageous and many other ways to be cowardly.

In fact, that we even have such terms to define such actions is sufficient. Why do we speak of good and evil or right and wrong or moral and immoral? Furthermore, we don’t really have a hard time understanding these concepts. If we meet up with a complete stranger, we can understand them.

When we get into arguments about morality, we even assume that moral absolutism is true. If it isn’t, why would you argue with someone about it? C.S. Lewis uses the example of a quarrel between two men over who got the seat first on a bus. You don’t hear anyone say “Why should I hold to your moral framework?” in the quarrel. No. The moral framework is assumed and it’s up to us to decide who fits and doesn’t fit into it.

Now I can think of a possible rejoinder about some people might say our taste in music is subjective and our taste in food and movies and such as well so these are subjective propositions.

My stance on this is that I haven’t been convinced that they are subjective. There are some kinds of music that I do not think qualify as music and I make that as an objective claim. There are some foods we think some people are crazy for not liking and some that if we thought they’d like, we’d be stunned.

Lewis Grizzard told the story about a man who had the job of selling toothbrushes on the street and didn’t have any luck. Then he got an idea and started serving cookies to people. They’d take a bite and say “This tastes like dog doo!” He’d answer, “That’s what it is. Would you like to buy a toothbrush?”

No one has to have that story explained. We all seem to believe immediately even though I doubt few of us have ever eaten it that “Dog doo tastes terrible.” Most of us would even reel at the thought of having to try it. On the other hand, if you told me “Peanut butter tastes terrible,” I would wonder what exactly was wrong with your mind.

Note that this isn’t about healthiness or unhealthiness. We usually find that easier to agree on. In fact, we find that what most of us enjoy is not considered healthy and what most of us don’t enjoy is what is considered healthy. We agree though that there is a healthy and an unhealthy. I’d say that a properly functioning human with properly functioning taste buds would find some things tasty and some not just as he should find some things beautiful and some not.

One main contention though is that people don’t live this lifestyle out. When someone cuts them off in driving they don’t think “Oh. Well his moral framework must justify him cutting me off in traffic.” No. They might likely wave their hand (Or finger) out the window and yell obscenities and profanities.

What are they to say? “He should respect my moral framework?” Why should he. Why should anyone care about anyone’s moral framework. The ultimate result of this would be tyranny. Plato taught a monarchy as the best form of government and tyranny as the worst. In monarchy, a king represents the law. In tyranny, a king is the law. One realizes there’s a standard outside himself. (That’s why our Legislative Branch consists of Legislators and not lawmakers) The other thinks his view is the standard.

Is there any way moral relativism could avoid that? They might not have one man as the ruler, but rest assured if they want some form of government, some men will be the leaders and it is their view that will be the morality and everyone else will be expected to respect it. (Even though the only reason would be “respect or suffer.”)

This also means that relativists cannot complain about the Problem of Evil. If you ever see a relativist complaining about the Problem of Evil, as they will do, call them on it. If they ever complain about intolerance, call them on it. If they complain about the Crusades or the Inquisition or the conquest of the promised land, call them on it. If they make any moral claim they expect to be treated as an absolute, call them on it.

Friends. This is a fight we cannot afford to lose. Let’s be sure we don’t back down.

Happy Birthday to my friend Cruiser

Those who know me well will know why I title the blog the way I do since the lady I wish to honor tonight would not be known by many as Cruiser. A select few of us though do know her as that, but this one deserves special honor as well. I shall call her Cruiser though for the remainder of this blog.

Cruiser is one that I’ve never met, but would love to. When I think of people that possess a heart of gold, I think of her. I have found her to be someone I can talk to about anything. (In case people who don’t know who she is, I’ll go on and state that she’s older than I am and has been happily married for several years.) She has become a “Mom” to several of us.

Cruiser has a very sweet side. She’s the one who always greets you with a hug and will always take the time to listen to whatever pain is in your life. For me, she’s been there through one of the happiest times of my life and she’s also been there through one of the saddest.

That’s the big thing though. She’s been there. She is in no way a fair-weather friend. She is someone you can count on to always be there. Don’t think though that she’s a pushover. She is far from it. People who know Cruiser know that when she gets angry, you’d better get out of the way. She can turn from sweet and kind to fierce and deadly in seconds, and most of us enjoy it when she does.

Through thick and thin, Cruiser is always there for you. She’s just one of these people who is so sweet and kind that she just naturally draws people to her. Once you get to know her, you can’t not like her. Her personality is catching and it is a blessed disease to be stricken with.

She’s also someone several of us relentlessly tease who know her. Don’t think it’s because we’re rude. She actually loves it! (And I’m going to get whacked several times for this blog.) That’s something that makes her so awesome. She’s someone that you can joke with endlessly. Several decades from now, we’ll still be teasing Cruiser.

Cruiser is a joy to be around. She means the world to those of us who know her and if you do not know her, you are missing out. The world is a better place though because Cruiser is here and I look forward to seeing her in Heaven one day.

It’s Only Natural!

I was in a discussion last night with someone on the topic of homosexuality. This has been discussed some in our look at purity and the idea of abominations. However, the argument was brought up that this is something that is natural. In fact, the statement was made that 10% of animals are homosexual.

First off, I would like to ask that when you discuss this, you use the word homosexual. There is no reason to use any other word. It leads to a redefining of words. There’s also no need to use derogatory names. Call it simply what it is. Words are valuable and we should not let them be redefined.

However, let’s look at the argument. Let’s assume that the 10% claim is true. I really don’t, but for the sake of argument, I’ll pretend that it has been shown that 10% of all animals are homosexual.

So what?

Many animals eat their young also. Does that mean that it’s okay for Mommy to eat little Tommy? We should not be taking our cues from the animals. I have no reason to think animals understand the concept of morality. They understand shame and honor to an extent in that they know when they’ve disappointed their masters, but they don’t have an idea of violating some moral law.

The other claim was that this is a genetic condition. Okay. Let’s suppose it is. I don’t think it is at all, but for the sake of argument, we will assume that and then see what follows from that.

What follows is that it’s genetic. It does not follow that it is moral.

An is does not imply an ought. There is a likelihood that a tendency to alcoholism could be genetic. Does that mean that there is moral justification for getting drunk and killing someone in a car accident or beating up your wife? Not at all. Our genes do not create our actions. We are still responsible. While some used to say “The devil made me do it,” today we try to say “DNA made me do it.” It just doesn’t work.

My favorite response to this is to say “Well okay, I was born with a tendency to bash homosexuals. I hope you’ll accept that.” No one would. (I also don’t think it’s proper to bash homosexuals for the record.) Because you are born a certain way does not mean you are to act that way. We are to rise above our genes unlike the animals.

Let’s also be merciful here. There are some in the church who do struggle with homosexual tendencies. We do need to show the love of Christ to them and realize that change really is possible. This is one reason the church needs to teach sexuality as it really is.

The final argument though is a simple one. Look in a mirror. The human body is just not designed for homosexuality. Sexuality cannot bring about its ultimate purpose in homosexuality, and that is the producing of children.  Now some couples that are heterosexual are sterile. That is the loss of function by accident though and not by nature. Homosexual unions do not reproduce by nature and that makes all the difference in the world.

The next time someone gives you the “It’s only natural” argument, remember the truth. An is does not imply an ought.

To My Friend Dave On Your Birthday

Last night, I stayed up late to call a friend of mine in another timezone right at midnight so I could be the first to wish him a happy birthday. Indeed, I was. As I went to sleep that night, I thought about what a good friend he is. I thought that I had done an honor thread with Rodney, so why not to my friend Dave?

Now I can easily imagine some JWs getting upset at this point. I am honoring a pagan idea of a birthday condemned in the Bible (Which it isn’t) and I am honoring a man instead of honoring God. Now if they want to tell me that I am giving honor to a man then I have one thing to say.


The Bible does say to give honor where honor is due by telling us some people we should honor such as those in authority. I choose to say honor friends also. Friends are people that you choose. You are born with family and you have to accept them as such. Indeed, we would probably not are particularly for the people in our family if we were not related to them.

So I shall honor my friend now and when other friends have birthdays coming up, I shall honor them as well. (Provided they let me know about it.)

My friend, I remember out first meeting. You saw me posting in a thread and sent me a compliment. I was stunned. I didn’t know who you were at the time, but more and more, I saw you posting and I was liking what I saw. However, I only knew you through a computer screen at that time.

We arranged a good place to meet at though when you passed through my area and we did and I saw a guy very much like me. I remember your mother was there and I showed you both my place. We then went out to my favorite pizzeria that I insisted you had to experience while in town.

We talked about so many topics in theology and apologetics that night. I remember especially our discussion on the Problem of Evil and discussing the idea of the God who is there, taken from Francis Schaeffer. I rarely have such enjoyable dinner conversations. We then exchanged phone numbers and since we have the same carrier, we can call each other for free all we want.

Our next meeting though definitely was in Atlanta at a convention we were both a part of and we were both roommates. I remember something happened there that I really needed a friend to talk to. I was particularly frightened at one point. You weren’t there physically, but I called you up and you were my friend when I really needed it. I don’t know how I would have handled it without you.

We did get to room together. I remember we’d stay up late discussing apologetics and Final Fantasy. Who would have thought those two went together so well? You’ve even said that if we room together at Seminary, we’d just stay up all night discussing Final Fantasy and apologetics.

I’m still wondering what the downside is.

Today, I’m pleased to call you my friend. You’ve been an encourager when I’ve needed one. (Among many other friends of course.) You’ve been someone I can discuss things with freely and have seen me at the gloomiest moments of my melancholy personality. I’m pleased to call you friend.

I see what you’re reading and it really pleases me. You’re always so encouraging of me and so many times, I just don’t see what you see, but I do know when I see you, I see a true friend and one I don’t intend to let go of. Wherever my path takes me in the future, I pray it keeps me in touch with you.

To you, one of my many true friends, I wish you a Happy Birthday. May God bless you as you have been a blessing to me.

Spare the Stones?

Another passage that I find skeptics like to use is the command in Deut. 21:18-21. In this, we are told that if the parents have a child who is disobedient, then they are simply to take him to the elders and have the kid stoned to death. It seems a bit odd. Little Dave ignores curfew one night and he gets stoned. Right?

Not at all. This is the point that the skeptic always misses out on. There will always be discipline involved. The writer of Hebrews knew this when he said that all of us received discipline from our fathers when we were younger. The writer of Proverbs knew this when he talked about how to raise up a son.

For one thing, this son is hardly a small child. He is noted as being a drunkard and a glutton. Now some younger kids today can be overweight. How many of them though are drunkards? You didn’t have fat six year-olds wandering around Israel in ancient days with a hangover. This son was most likely old enough to know right from wrong.

Also, this would definitely be a last resort thing. Why? In our world, when we were growing up, most of us did not give back much to the family financially. In fact, most of us took. In the ancient world, a child was another hand in a world that relied largely on manual labor whatever the type may be. Consider a family of farmers as a parallel.

The family would not want to lose an extra hand around the house. That was income that was being brought in to help the family survive. Any loss of someone in the family led to a huge loss in incoming capital for those left behind. This is especially important in an age where you couldn’t just walk down the street to the grocery store.

Also, let’s remember that this was a very family-oriented society. A family out of bala morally would be a downfall to the whole community. While we may think the punishment of Achan is bizarre today, to the ancient worldview, it made sense. The community was responsible for itself. The same applies to the 42 youths and the bears with Elisha.

Finally, this wasn’t just a one-time thing. This was a lifelong thing. The kid was not just misbehaving once. His whole lifestyle was disregard to the authority of his parents and then ultimately, disregard for God.

Thus, the skeptic merely has an emotional appeal. Rest assured, if you see someone using this argument and making it sound like little Timmy gets killed for not cleaning his room, they don’t know what they’re talking about.


I’ve said that in looking at Leviticus, one main thing I wanted to touch on was the sexual aspect and that especially in dealing with, no doubt, one of the most controversial issues in the book of Leviticus in today’s world. I, of course, am speaking about the blanket condemnation of homosexuality.

The argument is often that homosexuality is called an abomination, but so is something like eating shellfish. I can assure you readers that I have seen this line of argumentation several times be it on an internet chat program or in something like letters to the editor in the newspaper.

Let us look at the relevant texts. In Leviticus 18:22 we read “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female. It is an abomination.” (That’s in the NIV, for those who think for some odd reason that the NIV is light on homosexuality.) In 20:13, it reads “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltness is upon them.  This latter one is the only one that mentions a death penalty.

Now let’s notice something. The punishment then will not be the same everytime. In this case, if you do this abomination, you die. That’s it. Now why would Moses need to add that caveat? Only one reason. This was one you were to die for unlike all the other cases where you would simply be “unclean.”

In Leviticus 11, the word shows up 8 times. It refers to unclean animals. Abomination in the Bible refers to something that is detestable. Genesis 43:32 and 46:34 both have detestable things in the eyes of the Egyptians mentioned. Exodus 8:26 has the same thing. The same meaning applies. These were things to be detested. As shepherds were detested by the Egyptians, so these unclean animals were to be detested by the Jews. Leviticus 7:18 speaks of a sacrifice’s flesh being eaten on the third day as a detestable act. (resurrection parallel anyone?)

The only punishment listed in Leviticus 7 for touching something unclean was being cut off. That would mean exile. It could be temporary or permanent. More than likely, it was temporary. The offense was serious, but it was not of the kind that would merit the death penalty. It is though in Leviticus 20.

Now I hear some of you making some objections. “Ah yes! But that is not mentioned in Leviticus 18!

If that’s you, go to the end of the chapter. All of these things that the Lord prescribes death for are the practices that were done by the people beforehand in the land and that’s why they’re being removed from the land for. Notice it is not for eating shellfish or for eating pigs. It is for these sinful practices.

Why would they be removed for these? Because they should have known better. This is the law written on their hearts as Romans 2 says. The Gentiles were never under a decree not to eat certain animals. They were under a decree though to keep God’s moral law. God’s not a moral relativist. He doesn’t say the moral law is different for each culture. He’s clear.

And what was the punishment Israel brought on them? It was death. They died for those sins. When the prophets later would prophecy to other nations like many of them did, they would condemn these same practices as they would in Judah and Israel.  Notice that Israel and Judah both got taken from the land as well. The only reason they didn’t die entirely is that they were God’s chosen people and he had a promise to them, but they were cut off for 70 years and when they came back, they learned their lesson. (This is why Jesus is silent on homosexuality. All homosexuals would be dead in Israel.)

Some of you might also be looking at sacrifices to Molech and saying “All of this only applies to temple cultic practice then.” Really? Then I suppose the same applies to sex with animals. (I shudder though at thinking there are some people today who will think that is okay.) No. These were all sins for everyone no matter who did them.

Of course, some of you can simply say “That was their view, and that was wrong.” That is a more honest view and over time, that will be looked at. For now though, while we can say the author was wrong, let us be clear on one thing. The author meant to convey a message. We must have the proper interpretation and then decide.

Of course, my readers know that I will agree. This is an abomination. This is where we are headed though, and it’s time we learned these arguments so we can deal with them.


When we start thinking about the book of Leviticus, one aspect that throws people off is the idea of purity. To us, what they did seems so outdated and nonsensical. You have to wash your clothes so much for that? You must go and bathe because you did this? Why couldn’t they be reasonable like us?

Yet as David DeSilva has pointed out in “Honor, Patronage, Kinship, and Purity,” are we much better? Most of our reasons are for hygiene today, but we emphasize purity. We like ourselves to be clean. Especially obsessive-compulsive types like myself who wash our hands at every little thing.

Consider our fixations in other areas. Have you not seen someone go totally berserk because of a dent on their car? Usually, it’s so tiny that you can’t even notice it, but several people will spend hundreds of dollars to get that dent taken care of. That dent tarnishes a totally pure image they want.

The Jews back then believed in purity as well and everything was to remind them of purity because everything was to reflect the purity of YHWH. YHWH had not mixing in himself. He was total in all that he was (And I would say is of course). This is the reason that no hybrids were allowed and no mixed clothing.

To us, it might sound weird, but in a Jewish mindset, it does make perfect sense. You don’t where clothes that are combinations of parts because they are not pure. They are mixed. Since YHWH is pure, you have to wear that which is pure as well. You also do not have hybrids as they are mixed. Only purities are allowed.

Anthropology has come to some of the same conclusions with regards to animals. A theory is around that the animals were divided into the spheres of air, water, and earth. An animal had to be totally in one in order to be clean. An eel would not count for it does not have the fishlike body and is more earthy. It is a mixture of water and earth.

This is also found in moral purity especially in the sexual code. The most intimate part of the person’s life was to reflect that holiness. Indeed, it should be that which reflects it the most one could argue. If you could not be holy with your very sexual nature, how could you be holy in other areas?

The Day of Atonement would remind the people of this. The High Priest had to be sure he was absolutely holy before entering the Most Holy Place as he did once a year to make atonement. He had bells on and a rope around his foot as well so that they would know he was moving by the sound of the bells. If the ringing stopped, he was unholy in some way and they had to drag him out with the rope as he would have been struck dead.

What was the point of that day? It was to remove sins. This was the most important way to be pure and the reason for many sacrifices. The Israelites were to be holy and what kept them from being truly holy was their sins. They had to be separated from their sins and their lifestyle was to remind them of that.

With this in mind, we can begin soon looking deeper into the book of Leviticus while reminding ourselves that YHWH required purity.