Category: Genesis



teeth

There are many questions that confront us regarding how the Bible and the natural sciences interact. We are inundated with Darwinian models of development for the complex forms of life we see around us. It is quite understandable, then, that the generally secular scientific field would eventually confront or clash with the Word of God. For the most part, the supernatural origins of life as revealed in the Holy Bible are at complete odds with the strict naturalism of the current scientific establishment. It is in this case that Christianity becomes more classically liberal than those in or adhering to today’s institutionalized scientific oligarchy, for the Christian realizes that some of the challenges brought forth by secular science are not ridiculous or absurd but should be applied to Scripture for an answer to any phenomenon which is used by science for its own ends, or to make the believer stumble. It is odd, but not surprising, that science makes this one of their manifest goals through the use of appeals to emotion, straw man arguments, and outright vicious attacks. Science doesn’t do this wholesale, but it is seen time and time again. The Christian is wise to not use similar means to reject their challenges, but weigh them based on that special revelation from God, His Word.

What led me to ponder this, in particular, was the evolutionary theory and the natural sciences which suggest that a shape of a creature’s teeth not only shows the diet of the animal but also, apparently, determines it. In this question, a conflict arose within me that if put in question form would ask, “If all creatures initially only ate from the fruit of the land then why the differences in tooth form? Would this not imply a great inequality of efficiency between species regarding their ability to feed and denote an imperfection within God’s design?” It should be noted that tooth form isn’t always indicative of a creatures’ diet, take the panda or fruit bat, for example, that have teeth like the carnivores (as well as other attributes), but aren’t strictly carnivores themselves. While tooth form cannot absolutely be assured to necessarily and correctly identify a creatures’ diet, there is a general rule here that cannot be denied.

pandateeth

The irony is not lost on me that in my studies I have confronted some very difficult issues, generally in the realm of philosophical apologetics, only to find myself, when embarking on scientific apologetics, to be tripped up by something as “simple” as tooth form. To address this issue, I believe we have to get rid of the idea that, near the origins of predation, a carnivore wouldn’t be able to eat at all if meat were not available. Even if predation was a later development, it doesn’t mean that a carnivore couldn’t have lived, for a time, off plant material. I am not addressing so much the physical need here, for I believe there are further biological imperatives which make meat consumption a necessity to some creatures, but rather I am more addressing the ability. To put it in another way, I grew up in a home with several cats and saw them grazing off grass often, which is apparently done in an effort to calm an upset stomach (makes you wonder where they got this knowledge from?), and their love for, and the effects of, catnip are plainly obvious. Further, livestock has been observed on occasion to consume rodents or scavenge off the dead.

catnip

When I was a child I visited a national park and witnessed someone feed a hot dog to a deer. The park ranger got quite irate with the person and told them that in doing so they threaten to shift the deer’s natural diet, which he said would have devastating consequences. One could argue about the exact meat contents of a hot dog, or indeed its contents in general, but that is beside the point. The real point is that just because something is less efficient, like a carnivore grazing, it doesn’t mean that it cannot do so at all. A cat doesn’t turn down its nip because it lacks tools to help it partake more efficiently. This is all very obvious, but I believe a near fully-developed presupposition to the contrary is at work here and is somewhat giving me difficulty, but perhaps further exploration into the biblical timeframe for carnivorism will help settle this matter and the conflicts I still feel are present.

hotdogmystery

 

In my short study of the origins of carnivorous behavior as it applies to the Bible, I found four possible viewpoints discussed. A) Pre—Fall of man, which denotes both death and animals eating other animals immediately after the creation, B) Post-Fall of man, which says that death came into the world only after the fall, and only then did creatures start consuming each other, C) Pre-Flood (in my mind the same as B), and D) Post-Flood, which states that creatures killed only other living creatures after they left the ark.

To explore this issue, my method would be to being at D and work toward A because, not only are the temporally latter ones easier to eliminate as possibilities, but also the closer to A we arrive at with carnivorism being present, the less problematic this issue becomes. This doesn’t imply a complete ease though and more difficulties may arise with such eliminations. For instance, if carnivorism appeared after the flood (D), though it would help to explain the lack of conflict between carnivorous species on the ark of Noah, as well as simplifying some food logistics, the resonance of the tooth form problem becomes greater. It is here, at D, we will start, but for the sake of recollection, let us revisit the possible time frames for the appearance of carnivorism:

A: Pre-Fall Carnivorism
B: Post-Fall Carnivorism
C: Pre-Flood Carnivorism
D: Post-Flood Carnivorism

D: Post-Flood Carnivorism

Though favored by some, this conclusion isn’t one of the primary ones in terms of its proponents, but since we know that arguments from consensus present us with a looming logical fallacy, we would be amiss if we eliminated it as a possibility on this basis alone. As far as I have been able to tell, the scriptural support for this idea comes from Genesis chapter 9:

Genesis 9:2-3, “The fear and terror of you will be in every living creature on the earth, every bird of the sky, every creature that crawls on the ground, and all the fish of the sea. They are placed under your authority. Every living creature will be food for you; as I gave the green plants, I have given you everything.”

carnivores (2)

It is my view that proponents of D equate God’s decree that man can partake in the consumption of meat with the emergence of carnivorism. This, again, may be attractive because if carnivorism didn’t exist up until this point, then it would solve many of the issues concerning Noah’s ark. Answers in Genesis is the apologetics ministry of the rather well-known Ken Ham, and they reference or imply the D view when addressing the food taken onto the ark. Answers in Genesis suggests that if D is true then it was just plants taken aboard, but if A, B, or C is true, then dried or salted meat could have been brought as food. It could have been done with ease, for Genesis 9:2 implies that a “fear and terror” toward man wasn’t inherent in animals until this time. This is worthy of note, especially for this topic, because it denotes not a change of animal form, but of behavior. In addition, we find that animals would have come to the ark easier if they did not fear man. Genesis 6 records how this took place and the command for food to be brought upon the ark:

Genesis 6:19-22, “’You are also to bring into the ark two of all the living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. Two of everything——from the birds according to their kinds, and from the animals that crawl on the ground according to their kinds——will come to you so that you can keep them alive. Take with you every kind of food that is eaten; gather it as food for you and them.’ And Noah did this. He did everything that God had commanded him.”

Could man have killed animals for the food of other creatures on the ark even though God didn’t give the living creatures to man to eat until after the flood? I believe so, for Abel many, many years prior, killed animals, the firstborn of his flock, as a sacrifice to the LORD. Genesis chapter 4 records:

Genesis 4:4“And Abel also presented offering——some of the firstborn of his flock and their fat portions. The LORD had regard for Abel and his offering.”

It is possible, then, that Noah could have provided meat for the carnivores on board the ark, and given the command to take “every kind of food that is eaten” it seems it would be reasonable to conclude that he did so (if the emergence of carnivorism occurred between A and C), since “every” would include meat. If it did not occur until D, then this question isn’t an issue. It is a complex problem, the logistics of the ark, with plenty of tangents and additional questions, so we shouldn’t spend too much time on it lest we get off track, but it should be mentioned that the issue of food on the ark becomes less a problem if we believe the miraculous took place, like forms of hibernation or the youth of the animals led to the ark, God not choosing the most fully grown of the animals.

Concerning this point, the NLT rendering of Genesis 8:17 says:

Genesis 8:17[NLT], “Release all the animals——the birds, the livestock, and all the small animals that scurry along the ground——so they can be fruitful and multiply throughout the earth.”

I think the NLT translation might be on to something here. Other versions render the verse as saying “every creeping thing that creeps,” rather than “small animals that scurry along the ground.” It may be translated this way by the NLT because “creeping thing that creeps” is tautologous and the translators may have thought there was another idea being implied here. Other translations have reached the same conclusion of redundancy, and use other terminology to break it up like, “creatures that crawl” or “scurry” or “move upon the ground.” In the NLT they use “small animals.” Why this is may be found in the Hebrew word which is rendered in the NLT as “scurry” (Hb. Ramas) and denotes steps that are “small.” It may follow then, at least in the mind of the translators, that an animal with such small steps would also be small in stature. Does this mean that all the animals on the ark may have been small or young? I don’t know for sure, but regardless it is an interesting translation.

In addition, some believe that Genesis 7 and the animals mentioned there were used as a food source or breeding stock for other animals.

Genesis 7:1-3, “Then the LORD said to Noah, ‘Enter the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you alone are righteous before Me in this generation. You are to take with you seven pairs, a male and a female, of all the clean animals, and two of the animals that are not clean, a male and its female, and seven pairs, male and female, of the birds of the sky——in order to keep offspring alive on the face of the whole earth.’”

Some of these animals were used as sacrifices (Genesis 8:20), but it specifically says only some were. These were most likely the males, while the females weren’t sacrificed, and could all be inseminated by just one virile male if need be.

Genesis 8:20, “Then Noah built an altar to the LORD. He took some of every kind of clean animal and every kind of clean bird and offered it to the LORD.”

To remove the conclusion D as a possibility, I believe we can refer to the fossil record, which Christians believe exists largely in part to the great deluge. It is in this fossil record that we find clear evidence of carnivorism. There is the compsognathus found with a lizard in its stomach, the fossil of a velociraptor and a protoceratops in a lethal struggle, and dung from a T-Rex with bone fragments in it, to name a few. Therefore, we can deduce that A, B, or C must be true and eliminate D as a possibility.

veloproto

The critic at this point might be quick to attack the Christian on the use of science, which we supposedly don’t believe in, but this charge is an erroneous one. The Christian has no objection to science or its use, quite the contrary, but the Christian uses science in a ministerial way and not a magisterial way. As Creation Ministries International explains, this is because magisterial science “is bound to be flawed, because science by its very nature is tentative, and starts by axioms invented by fallible humans.”

Creation Ministries International continues:

“Science should never be elevated to the same level as logic, because valid logical deductions from true premises always lead to true conclusions, while scientific theories come and go.” —Johnathan Sarfati, Creation Ministries International, https://creation.com/feeding-carnivores-on-the-ark-and-refuting-an-accusation-of-closet-scientism

The magisterial vs. the ministerial is a theological principle discussed by Aquinas and Luther, among others, which addresses the role and position of human logic, reason, and thought in relation to the Holy Scripture, that, in short, according to ministerial viewpoint, should not be placed higher than or exercise an authority greater than that of the Holy Bible, but can still be instrumental in interpreting, understanding, and even providing proofs of the Scripture through use of human intellectual faculties. Yet, when these faculties override and claim a greater authority than that of God’s Word, it becomes magisterial in nature. While ministerial reason is to be encouraged, magisterial reason is not. These terms can also be applied to specific disciplines like magisterial science or ministerial science.

It is through the use of such ministerial science in conjunction with the Bible, that we can draw the conclusion that carnivorism existed prior to the flood, and thus eliminate D.

C: Pre-Flood Carnivorism

As mentioned before, I believe that C is synonymous with B in terms of the origin for carnivorism. In the time frame after the fall and up to the flood, it isn’t completely impossible that people ate meat, but in this period, we know it certainly wasn’t sanctioned by the Lord, but this doesn’t mean that people didn’t eat it at all. God says that during this era all men were wicked and corrupt.

Genesis 6:13[NIV], “So God said to Noah, ‘I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.’”

Regarding the period between B and C, I think the most we can come to conclude is that it was a time where violence grew and carnivorism was developing or growing in this violent world. Further evidence I would use to support the conclusion that C should be regarded as B, and nothing more, is the fact that during this time no significant covenant was made between God and man. Prior to the Abrahamic covenant, there were three others: The Edenic covenant (A), the Adamic covenant (B), and the Noahic covenant (D). C, again, represents the period between the Adamic covenant and the flood. The emergence of carnivorism represents such a large event in biblical and natural history, I would propose that it coincided with some major event in Scripture, such as the flood, the covenants, the creation, or the fall and the curses that resulted from it. Since none of these exist in the C period, I would conclude that it is unlikely that carnivorism originated at this time.

TheCovenants

B: Post-Fall Carnivorism

In terms of the proponents of these positions, this one apparently has the most adherents. In general overview, the reasoning is quite valid. Most believe that in Eden there was no pain, no suffering, no violence, and no death. The perfection of Eden has long been accepted as a reality in history to many Christians, and because if its conditions of goodness and perfection, it is determined as impossible that carnivores existed. In order for a creature to attack and kill another creature, this would require violence, death, pain, and suffering. Therefore, it is concluded that carnivorism didn’t exist until at least the fall, and it was only after the fall that carnivorism became a reality in the world. Again, in my experience, this has the most proponents, but because we don’t rely on arguments from consensus, we should look at the reasoning and the evidence. Though the general reasoning is valid, is it sound?

Wherever this discussion takes us, we are mainly confined to the Book of Genesis. It is in this book and just after the fall when God decrees His curses in response to the original sin. This is where I would like to start. It should be of interest that the first animal ever said be “killed” is by the Lord Himself.

Genesis 3:21, “The Lord God made clothing out of skins for Adam and his wife, and He clothed them.”

We should point out that verse 21 doesn’t explicitly say that God directly killed an animal and used the skins. It is, for instance, possible that God created skins for Adam and Eve by just materializing the matter, if you will, but we have to recognize that God too works in the natural world and uses, or manipulates, natural processes to accomplish His will. I find it likely, then, that God’s natural processes may have dispatched a particular animal and off that animal skins were supernaturally removed, much like Adam’s rib, and made into a clothing or covering for Adam and Eve. It was this archetype which led to man, like Abel, producing and keeping flocks of livestock. Further, it provides a representational model for the sacrificial covering for sin which was done in the Old Testament though sacrificial animals and completed in the New Testament by the final sacrifice as accomplished by and through Jesus Christ. Regardless, unless by some supernatural materialization, it seems that immediately after the fall death gained some greater foothold in the world. This is evident in the warning man is given by God concerning the tree of the knowledge of good and evil:

Genesis 2:16-17, “And the LORD God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.’”

Further man’s death is evident in the curse upon him:

Genesis 3:17, “And He said to Adam, ‘Because you listened to your wife’s voice and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, “Do not eat from it”: The ground is cursed because of you. You will eat from it by means of painful labor all the days of your life.’”

“All the days of your life” could suggest there is something apart from those days, but v.19 explicitly refers to the death of man:

Genesis 3:19, “You will eat bread by the sweat of your brow until you return to the ground, since you were taken from it. For you are dust, and you will return to dust.”

So we know the death of man is mentioned at this time, as a part of the curse, but what about the death of the animals and creatures? Let us consider God’s curse against the serpent:

Genesis 3:14-15, “Then the LORD God said to the serpent: ‘Because you have done this, you are cursed more than any livestock and more than any wild animal. You will move on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life. I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.’”

As with the man, “all the days of your life” can imply a certain number of days, a particular length of life, and therefore, by contrast, implies something apart from that life, and the only thing apart from life is death. In addition, there was to be a hostility between the serpent (the animal) and the woman (mankind). We would ask ourselves what this hostility would look like or what form it would take? The “seed” mentioned, means a generational offspring, so the animal serpent, that is generally regarded as the snake, and mankind would have hostility toward one another, which would result in that “seed” striking each other. This hostility and the striking very much implies a harm or death upon both the animals and man. We should not forget the dual nature of this prophecy and curse though (common in Scripture). We know through inference that the serpent was an evil spirit of the enemy occupying a physical form, or representing one, which differed from the snake of today.

Thus, the curse not only addressed the physical form but the spiritual nature as well. The animal form was cursed with a differing form, with certain behavioral traits, like hostility, and a prophecy concerning the serpent being struck lethally on the head, and yet, being able to inflict harm upon the “seed” of man, perhaps not quite as lethally, suggested by it striking the heel. This prophetic revelation in curse also applies to the final conflict between the spiritual serpent, our shared enemy, and Jesus Christ in the End Times. The curse applies to both the spiritual and the material, just as many passages in the Holy Word do.

Not coincidently, it is immediately after these curses that God makes and produces the coverings for Adam and Eve. We recall what the Lord said to Noah:

Genesis 6:13[NIV], “So God said to Noah, ‘I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.’”

Therefore, it seems that it could be concluded with these curses that violence came into the world, along with death, and both the animals and man were cursed because of it. This resulted in changes in behavior for both. The change in behavior, according to the proponents, resulted in animals becoming violent and consuming each other, and man becoming violent and murdering one another, which we see evident in the account of Cain and Abel.

It is for these reasons that I do consider B as a possibility for where animal carnivorism originated. However, we cannot ignore examining the final position people occasionally take, the one of A. There are a couple more arguments for B but we will tackle those in the next section because they have great implications to the A position as well.

A: Pre-Fall Carnivorism

That Pre-Fall Carnivorism didn’t exist is made by A’s detractors by appealing to one of the verses in the creation account, which says:

Genesis 1:31, “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. Evening came and then morning: the sixth day.”

This counter-argument rests upon the statement, “it was very good” and concludes that there is no possibility, or it is highly unlikely, that God would create carnivores, give animals over to death, and consider this “good.” Though I feel there is no absurdity in the detractor declaring that there was no Pre-Fall Carnivorism, in this particular case I find the argument to be quite superficial in that it supposes God’s exact motive, reason, and meaning in declaring His creation to be “good” and in actuality threatens to replace His meaning with our own. We can’t fault a person too much for this though because, in reality, we do it all through Scripture and it is the challenge for every Christian to let the Word speak for itself and not place faulty impressions and interpretations upon it.

In this case, we may find “good” can mean many things. For instance, “good” could mean, given God’s omniscience, that it is the appropriate instrumental cause for the ultimate execution of His will. “Good” could also mean that creatures are without sin and morally good, but I think this is shortsighted because of God’s other declarations of “goodness” in the creation account. We could, of course, ask how moral goodness could exist in light of predation, but we hardly make the case that animals are sinning, evil, or are immoral in some way if, say, a lion takes down a gazelle.

The word for “good” in Genesis 1:31 many take to mean perfect, but the word (Hb. tob) doesn’t always mean this. It means pleasant or agreeable. The perfection of Eden is so ingrained in our doctrines that it is almost difficult to swallow the idea, but that there was some imperfection in Eden may be suggested in Genesis chapter 2:

Genesis 2:18, “Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper as his compliment.’”

In order for there to be perfection in Eden, everything must be good and if there is something that is not good then there is no perfection. Therefore, the reasoning goes, Eden wasn’t perfect. While this solves a lot of theological issues, many are raised as well. We remember that Adam and Eve were both created on the sixth day:

Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female.”

This being the case, can we really consider Eden to be perfect prior to it being called “very good,” by the Lord? Was it merely perfect after the fall? Again, we find the Hebrew word doesn’t mean perfection, and this is obvious, for the distinctions are made between good and very good in the days of creation. After all, there can be no perfect and a very perfect.

If it could be shown that carnivorism and predation predate the fall then our doctrinal views of Eden would have to be radically altered. We might be willing to do this given there is enough evidence, but it seems there is great scriptural evidence to the contrary:

Genesis 1:29-30, “God also said, ‘Look, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the surface of the entire earth and every tree whose fruit contains seed. This food will be for you, for all the wildlife of the earth, for every bird of the sky, and for every creature that crawls on the earth——everything having the breath of life in it. I have given every green plant for food.’ And it was so.”

Although there are other verses that the proponent of A must reconcile, which we will address later, Genesis 1:29-30 is the most daunting one. The first thing that is brought to the table is that it chiefly addresses man. Twice in the passage man is mentioned (”I have given you”; “This food will be for you”), and it is in addressing man, in conjunction, that the “wildlife of the earth,” “bird of the sky,” and the crawling creatures are mentioned. Here a proponent may point out and base his argument on, or add to it, that not mentioned are the creatures of the sea, but I find this observation to be somewhat in error. To me, the phrase “I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the surface of the entire earth and every tree whose fruit contains seed,” implies something on the surface of the land and not in the deep. Yet, this observation does point out the fact that aquatic or sea-dwelling animals that are herbivores represent a minority, which does pose a problem, though if Pre-Fall carnivorism is true, then the problem is negated.

This is considered important, I suppose because with the strength of the application to man, and animals only being addressed in conjunction, it could suggest that while the former application is quite literal, the latter has the opportunity to lean more towards the figurative. I think this is apparent in the proponent’s answer, which says that in these verses, God never says animals don’t eat meat. While true, this is an argument from silence and must be regarded carefully. In most cases, applying such argument to Scripture is dangerous and ill-advised. For instance, why is it not the case that God never said man couldn’t eat meat?

Another approach proponents take is that there isn’t anything wrong with the verse, in that it doesn’t need to be divided into parts or segments to make room for carnivorism or predation. Simply, the two premises, every green plant for food and carnivorism in Eden, are not mutually exclusive. Ultimately, it is said, man and all the animals mentioned here, partake of vegetation and consume it in some way. In my mind, the proponent that starts from this position has a better argument than one who divides up the verse. Yes, there is still an element of an argument from silence, but pointing out that there may be a false dilemma present and assumed here makes the argument from silence less profound.

Before we move on from Genesis 1:29-30, a little further exegesis is in order. The word rendered as “wildlife” or sometimes “beasts” is from the Hebrew word chayah. Rich Deem of godandscience.org gives us an observation that is worthy of note:

“An examination of the Hebrew word chayah indicates that in the vast majority of uses, the word refers to animals that eat flesh.” —Rich Deem, “Did God Create Carnivores on The Sixth Day?”, http://www.godandscience.com/youngearth/carnivores.hmtl

While Deem admits that some chayah references are ambiguous and that there are a few where herbivores are referenced, he does post a table, minus verses with ambiguity, which shows carnivores are truly referenced more often by this Hebrew word.

His argument is that chayah refers to carnivores as being created by God on the sixth day and says this is evident in the text itself:

Genesis 1:24-25, “Then God said, ‘Let the earth produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that crawl, and the wildlife [chayah] of the earth according to their kinds.’ And it was so. So God made the wildlife [chayah] of the earth according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and creatures that crawl on the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.”

Rich Deem concludes that chayah means a carnivorous animal for, if not, the verses become unnecessarily redundant. He says that there would be no reason to bring up prominent herbivores such as livestock if chayah referred to them already. In addition, perhaps, the creatures that crawl would be redundant as well. If this is the case, and we accept Deem’s conclusion(s), then it is reasonable that the meanings of chayah in verses 24-25 and 29-30 would be the same.

For a moment I was ready to refute Deem’s reasoning here on the grounds that the Book of Genesis frequently gives a summary and follows it up with specificity. This has led to some errors in interpretation and conclusion, for instance, more than one creation account being recorded, between Genesis chapter 1 and Genesis chapter 2. I was initially thinking that this was the case with Genesis 1:24-25, but then I realized that I was focused more on verse 25 than verse 24. In the Bible, as far as I am aware, the same convention we use to move from generality to specificity is used. First comes the general statement soon followed by the specific(s) regarding the general. This would make sense if applied only in verse 25, in that the verse would move from chayah, to livestock, to creatures that crawl. I was going to dismiss Deem on this basis, but then I took a look one more time at verse 24, where chayah does not come first, but last, moving from livestock, to creatures that crawl, and then to chayah.

There is, of course, the possibility of some convention in the Hebrew where generalities can follow specifics, and it certainly isn’t unheard of in the English language, such as is the case in a review, so it cannot be considered deductive proof of Deem’s claims. There is still room for doubt. However, looking at the passage once more, it does seem to refer to a specific group of animals, due to the fact the order is reversed in such quick succession and, further, it mentions after chayah, “according to their kinds.” It seems unlikely this phrase “according to their kinds” would be included in the generality or summary along with the specifics. Again, if this Genesis 1:24-25 can be reasonably concluded to reference carnivorous animals, then it follows that Genesis 1:29-30 likely does as well.

Genesis124-30

I find it of interest that the Lord says in Genesis 1:24, “Let the earth produce living creatures.” Many creationists believe in forms of evolution. The Old Earth Creationist often has no issues with ascribing evolution as an instrumental cause of the Lord’s creation, both in terms of macroevolution and microevolution, while the Young Earth Creationist denies macroevolution but allows for microevolution. While I may find some of the theories of the OEC camp fascinating, I do subscribe to YEC cosmology, and being the case, I find the statement intriguing, in that, perhaps, it suggests or leaves room for a microevolution in the world, that the world, not earth in terms of ground, will produce differing animals but in accordance with their kinds.

This may be a reference to the genetic archetype of many of the creatures we see today, this archetype being observed, according to some, in the phenomenon of differing creatures having the ability to mate and produce offspring (such as the liger, wolfin or grolar bear). If this is the case, then it isn’t difficult to reach the eventual conclusion that the microevolution present in the statement would imply certain laws which make and have made it so that such crossbreeds haven’t taken a large hold in the natural world and became a separate species themselves, like natural selection. Though, granted, we may be getting ahead of ourselves.

1024px-Baby_wolphin_by_pinhole

Wolfin: Dolphin-Whale Hybrid

Lastly, there is the argument that Genesis 1:29-30 references only certain creatures, while leaving others out. This is based on the phrase, “everything having the breath of life in it.” In Hebrew, the word in question is nephesh. This refers variously to any being that has a soul, is living, has a knowledge of self (self-aware), has desires, passions, has an inner being, and emotional faculties [Brown-Driver-Briggs]. Thus, it is reasoned, that more “simple” forms of life along with those not of the sky or land, and beings which don’t apply to nephesh are exempt from Genesis 1:29-30.

The possibility of Genesis 1:24-25 mentioning carnivores or predation benefits Deem’s conclusions by largely removing the argument from silence. I mentioned earlier that we do encounter arguments from silence not infrequently in the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. Continuing along this point, when such an argument is impressed upon us, or proposed, we ask what should our response be as students of the Bible and of God? When confronted with such an argument we appeal to the rest of God’s Word in order to find how accurate or inaccurate that proposition is. Regarding Genesis 1:29-30 we find that on both sides there are other verses to appeal to. Many detractors of A, particularly those who believe B is accurate, reference the Book of Romans to refute A:

Romans 5:12, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all men, because all sinned.”

Romans 5:12 being used to rebuke of Pre-Fall Carnivorism is relatively easy to refute. Sin, in fact, did enter the world through one man, but death through sin refers not only to physical death, but spiritual death as well, and it was by Adam’s sin that all man become privy to death. Nobody is exempt because all (excluding Christ) have sinned. We find very readily that this verse regards man specifically rather than animals. If we were to apply the verse to animals, then we would have to come to the conclusion that animals sin or can experience spiritual death, which is not the case. However, because sin “entered the world,” what does remain evident, is that the world was, and is, negatively affected by sin.

Another verse used to refute A (or prove B) comes from 1 Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.”

1 Corinthians 15:22 also refers to man specifically and not to animal life.

The Believer’s Bible Commentary gives a bit of context and remarks:

“Adam and Christ are presented as federal heads. This means that they acted for other people. And all who are related to them are affected by their actions. All who are descended from Adam die. So in Christ, all shall be made alive. This verse has sometimes been taken to teach universal salvation [Christian Universalism]. It is argued that the same ones who die in Adam will be made alive in Christ and that all will eventually be saved. But that is not what the verse says. The key expressions are in Adam and in Christ. All who are in Adam die. All who are in Christ shall be made alive, that is, only believers in the Lord Jesus Christ will be raised from the dead to dwell eternally with Him. The all who shall be made alive is defined in verse 23 as those who are Christ’s at His Coming. It does not include Christ’s enemies, for they shall be put under His feet (v. 25), which, as someone has said, is a strange name for heaven.” —William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary, ed. Art Farstad, “1 Corinthians 5:22”, p. 1805-1806

1 Corinthians goes on to say that the last enemy to be abolished will be death, and this refers likely to the physical and the spiritual.

1 Corinthians 15:23-25, “But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; afterward, at His coming, those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father when He abolishes all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He puts all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be abolished is death.”

Yet, when the world passes away and death is done away with, the lack of death will be one of the foundational premises upon which the new creation is constructed, and it is in this new creation where we get such descriptions of the predator and the prey (there will no longer be this distinction) lying in peace together and man being allowed to eat from the tree of life.

Isaiah 11:6-7, “The wolf will live with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the goat. The calf, the young lion, and the fatling will be together, and a child will lead them. The cow and the bear will graze, their young ones will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.”

Revelation 2:7, “Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. I will give the victor the right to eat from the tree of life which is in God’s paradise.”

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An argument for the presence of carnivores in Eden is mentioned by Rich Deem and it is taken from Genesis chapter 2:

Genesis 2:19-20, “So the LORD God formed out of the ground every wild animal [chayah] and every bird of the sky, and brought each to the man to see what he would call it. And whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to the livestock, to the birds of the sky, and to every wild animal [chayah], but for the man no helper was found as his compliment.”

Again, we see the Hebrew word chayah appear here, and once more we see the phenomenon of the order being reversed in quick succession. Conspicuously missing from v. 19 though is “livestock.” So, in this case, I would find it an acceptable conclusion that the word chayah can be used in a general sense (which I don’t deny), while in v. 20, based on the form, shift into a specific sense. The Hebrew word translated as “livestock” here is behemah, the plural of which is behemoth which many will recognize from the Book of Job.

Job 40:15-17, “Look at the Behemoth, which I made along with you. He eats grass like an ox. Look at the strength of his loins and the power in the muscles of his belly. He stiffens his tail like a cedar tree; the tendons of his thighs are wound firmly together.”

Given that many scholars regard behemoth as a plural of the word behemah, then it is interesting that it would say that the behemoth eats grass like an ox. If behemah refers to an ox already, then why in Job would it say that it eats grass like one? The behemoth and its counterpart, the leviathan, are well known among Young Earth Creationists because their depictions strongly resemble that of a dinosaur. Some commentators conclude the behemoth is a hippopotamus, but if you look at the tail of a hippo, there is no conceivable way its tail can ever be compared with a cedar tree.

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Further, when examining Job 40 and 41, I believe what is being described are herbivore creatures, the behemoth, and carnivorous ones, the leviathan. In the case of the behemoth, this is suggested if it is the plural form of behemah. Yet, it is possible these terms can be used in both a specific context, referring to a specific animal, and a general context. Given all this, let us approach Genesis 2:19-20 once more:

Genesis 2:19-20, “So the LORD God formed out of the ground every wild animal [chayah] and every bird of the sky, and brought each to the man to see what he would call it. And whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to the [behemah], to the birds of the sky, and to every [chayah], but for the man no helper was found as his compliment.”

Worthy of note is that the Book of Job suggests the leviathan’s carnivorism in its tooth form:

Job 41:13-16, “Who can strip off his [the leviathan’s] outer covering? Who can penetrate his double layer of armor? Who can open his jaws, surrounded by those terrifying teeth? His pride is in his rows of scales, closely sealed together. One scale is so close to another that no air can pass between them.”

There is the belief that the leviathan merely represents a crocodile or alligator, but given that Job 41 describes the creature as having powerful and graceful limbs, it is likely not the case.

Job 41:12, “I cannot be silent about his limbs, his power, and his graceful proportions.”

It is my contention that the behemoth and the leviathan referenced in Scripture may not necessarily refer to a specific animal, but rather a class of animal. For in Job chapters 40 and 41 we have some problematic descriptions, within both the behemoth or leviathan classifications. If within each class we are to consider them only one animal then these problems remain, but if we allow for the possibility that there is too a class of animals referenced, these become far less problematic. This is, of course, another topic altogether, and I only bring it up because, in the same way, this too could be the case with chayah and behemah. This convention isn’t unheard of in English nor would I expect it to be in the Ancient Near East, particularly in an era before such stringent scientific classifications.

It is concerning the Hebrew names of animals where Rich Deem raises the argument that many of the names denote carnivorism or violent behavior. Although interesting, we really have no idea what language was spoken by Adam or if the names changed over time. It is impossible to say that what Adam called a lion was perfectly transmitted without change or error and all the while keeping the original name and meaning in the Hebrew. Deem admits these issues, but says that one would expect that the original meanings would be transliterated into the Hebrew if the names differ at all from what Adam gave them. Thus, I do present Deem’s table for the curious, but as a means of proving the A position, it is ineffective due to a large number of presumptions that need to be made.

Another argument that is used to build the case for Pre-Flood carnivorism comes from God’s command to Adam in Genesis chapter 2:

Genesis 2:16-17, “And the LORD God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.’”

The argument simply asks how Adam knew what death was and to what God was referring if he had never seen death? The counter-argument, I suppose, would be that God isn’t necessarily talking about only physical death here, but a spiritual one, as is evident in the phrase, “for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.” We know from the Scripture that Adam and Eve lived several hundred more years, so the death God was referring to must have had a great spiritual application. The argument attempts to prove the existence of death in the Pre-Fall world of Eden, for this would be required if predation and carnivorism were to exist. It should be mentioned that some feel the wording, “for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die” is to be taken metaphorically and means that on the day Adam would eat from the tree he would become mortal. Matthew Poole’s Commentary believes the phrase has a threefold meaning:

“1. Spiritual, by the guilt and power of sin: at that instant thou shall be dead in trespass and sins, Ephesians 2:1 [”And you were dead in your trespasses and sins”].

2. Temporal, or the death of the body, which shall then begin in thee, by decays, infirmities, terrors, dangers, and other harbingers of death.

3. Eternal, which shall immediately succeed the other.” —Matthew Poole’s Commentary, “Genesis 2:17”

The physical death of man is referenced in the curse and Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the garden.

Genesis 3:19, “You will eat bread by the sweat of your brow until you return to the ground, since you were taken from it. For you are dust, and you will return to dust.”

Genesis 3:22-23, “The LORD God said, ‘Since man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil, he must not reach out, take from the tree of life, eat, and live forever.’ So the LORD God sent him away from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.”

Often when people regard Eden, we think of it as a place or state of perfection, which can be a problematic view, and this perfection extends unto man and the Pre-Fall immortality that some people conclude was an inherent attribute of Adam and Eve’s being. Was it? When we regard this passage in Genesis chapter 3 concerning their removal from the garden of Eden, it declares that in man’s sinful condition, Adam and Eve must not eat from the tree of life and live forever, which seems to imply that they had not yet eaten from the tree that would grant them this immortality. Why would they need to eat form something to gain that which they already had? As there are reasons to support Pre-Fall death, there are ways around it too, such as Adam and Eve were immortal to begin with and this immortality was negated by sin, which could have been reclaimed by eating of the tree which they weren’t initially forbidden to eat from.

This is the very reason that it is unlikely that any great amount of time passed between the partaking of the forbidden fruit and when Adam and Even encountered God walking through the garden. So, like many of the topics we have discussed and will discuss, this is not proof positive, but at the very least it presents us with the possibility that in body Adam and Eve weren’t meant to be eternal. If the case, then death existed prior to the fall.

Following the same kind of reasoning that is used with Genesis 2:16-17, the curse against Eve is referenced to imply that pain too was a part of the Pre-Fall world:

Genesis 3:16, “[God] said to the woman, ‘I will intensify your labor pains; you will bear children in anguish. Your desire will be for your husband, yet he will rule over you.”

This argument is faulty because if we use the reasoning here that pain must pre-exist in order for it to be intensified, in the context of this verse then we too must say that the bearing of offspring did as well and this becomes extremely problematic, at least from a YEC perspective. The explanation then is that God’s original will for the birthing process is that it would be a less painful experience. His declaration, then, could simply refer to His changing of His initial plan due to the sin of Adam and Eve and the justice and judgments that came upon them from God. This certainly has its parallels in our lives and indeed in the Scripture, where the initial will and plan of the Lord is withheld or changed because of judgment resulting from sinful behavior. In the end, I find the argument based on Genesis 2:16-17 to have a relatively greater weight than the one based on Genesis 3:16.

Conclusion(s):

So where does all this leave us? Does it get us anywhere closer to an answer than when we started? Well, yes and no. The answer is negative by virtue of the fact the Bible really doesn’t specifically state when or where carnivorism or predation originated, but it is affirmative because we have found some very interesting information which has both narrowed it down to a couple possibilities and, in my opinion, removes the prominence and difficulty I was having with tooth form and the Darwinian ideas concerning these forms, which in actually extend far past tooth form.

After careful study, I think we can safely conclude that the D and C propositions can be eliminated as possibilities. This leads us to A, Pre-Fall Carnivorism, or B, Post-Fall Carnivorism being the most rational of choices. In order to fully disclose my thought process to the reader, I must admit I have gone back and forth between these choices quite a bit and formulated it as a logical disjunction, that is that the choice is either A or B [formulated (A v B)]. Yet, perhaps because I recently referenced false dichotomies or false dilemmas earlier, I wondered what would happen if I regarded it as A and B (A * B) (because I learned logic just using scratch paper forgive me if I translate them incorrectly into type format). Although it may not be accurate, it initiated an idea. I recalled from earlier that God created the creatures of the sea on the fifth day, and creates the chayah and behemah on the sixth day, along with the creatures that crawl.

Genesis 1:21, “So God created the large sea creatures and every living creature that moves and swarms in the water, according to their kinds. He also created every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.”

As a side note, the Book of Genesis says God created the large sea creatures. Most large creatures of the sea are not herbivores like may be the case on land, but rather carnivorous in their dietary habits.

Genesis 1:24, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock [behemah], all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female.”

The creation of women is in Genesis chapter 2:

Genesis 2:22, “Then the LORD God made the rib He had taken from the man into a woman and brought her to the man.”

Now, all this occurred on the sixth day, and we might have a tendency to overlook this. We find the Scripture is quite silent about the time between the sixth day at the end of chapter 2 of Genesis, and the beginning of chapter 3. However, immediately after the original sin is committed we are given an interesting or peculiar detail about God’s presence in the garden:

Genesis 3:8[HCSB], “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid themselves from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.”

The word translated as evening here is the Hebrew ruach. Both the Brown-Driver-Briggs and the Gesenics’ Hebrew and Chaldea Definition lexicons concur with ruach being a day breeze and the evening being the specific time, also denoting a cooler breeze, as mentioned in some translations. Given the creation account closely precedes this one, could the reference to this evening breeze tie in with the repeated statement “evening came and then morning”? Could this imply this is the seventh day? We don’t know for sure and we could really only speculate, but it does impact the A or B (A v B) question regardless.

Granted, to many this might all seem like a lot of needless speculation and to a certain extent, I would agree. Yet, just because something is speculative doesn’t mean that it is completely without value, or that no conclusions can be drawn from it. We would love it and desire often that God, our Lord Jesus Christ, existence, and the world, would always have their truths discoverable and determined by a strict deductive method, but this isn’t the case. Also, when concerning the Lord, we should not expect it to be, for the very definition of God is one of incomprehensibility. We not only stand upon the firm foundation of grace for our salvation and justification but stand on it too for any knowledge that man is able to attain concerning our Eternal Lord. This principle too applies to His creation where speculation can be a route of discovery and revelation.

Can we gain anything, any conclusion, from our process of speculation here? I believe we can. As mentioned before I am a Young Earth Creationist and found that my shifting back and forth for the origins of carnivorism in either the A or B period, was indicative of something which would only be applicable to the YEC. It occurred to me when examining if I was subjecting myself to a false dilemma and whether it could be both A and B in some way, that this origin point might be obscured due to the short period of time between the two possibilities.

Though it is speculative that ruach would imply the seventh day (I cannot help finding the thought appealing that God took a stroll through His creation on His day of rest), it did bring the point home that in this account we are probably not talking years of time passing, but rather mere days. This doesn’t answer the question in as much as it applies to the problem of tooth form respectively between herbivores and carnivores. The Old Earth Creationist might not subscribe to Gap Theory in particular (the theory that a large amount of time is present between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2), but hold there may be gaps of time in the creation account itself, that the days were not literal days, so on and so forth. The YEC might allow for days here and there, but the time generally allowed in the creation account isn’t major, a day here or there perhaps.

Thus, while our exploration solves, or at the very least greatly reduces the problem from tooth form, it does so mainly for the YEC and less for the OEC. In this regard, I have accomplished one of the things I set out to do, for all this has removed the difficulty of tooth form from my mind. Say, if I consider the earth 7,000 years old, the span from the creation to now, then this means that the time span between a non-carnivorous world (assuming A is not true) to a carnivorous world would be days not eons. By virtue of this, then we can see how the determination between A or B can become blurred and obscured, essentially looking like the same choice. It may be akin to how parallel railway lines might be separated, but the eyes perceive them to meet on the horizon at a single point and place given that the distance is great enough.

Train tracks goes to horizon in orange majestic sunset.

What this doesn’t answer is the direct point of origin concerning carnivorism. Let us consider a couple more things though. In order for carnivorism to be extant at the creation, as we have said, death would need to be present. While some may declare this to be an impossibility, or rather improbable, so too many say that it depends on what one means by death. Did plants die? If everything ate plants then there has to be some form of death present. Right? Well, the detractor of A might say that animals only ate surface foliage and not the whole plant which would cause it death, but the proponent of A might answer this still implies death, in a form at least, for by and through consumption, it is said that there is a cellular breakdown and a death that takes place on that level. What about creatures that crawl or swarm like bugs? Insects, certain classes, like spiders (ugh), aren’t real big on the leafy greens, except as a place to live, so this remains another reason why we could consider A to be a possibility.

By admitting that A is a possibility, however, we run into some problems. We have already touched on this, but why would God call the creation good or very good? Further, why would God create a world at the beginning that had such imperfections? This is an important question, and I don’t mean to downgrade it to those who struggle with it, but if we really think about it in this context, this isn’t exactly a new formulation of the question. In fact, the Christian is still left with the same questions he or she had before, like the problem, or argument, from evil, suffering, free will, and their relation to responsibility. In that regard, nothing has changed. These are another subject, but should we remove A as a possibility on these grounds? No. In my opinion, it’s a poor reason to base the denial of A on. Yes, these problems need to be addressed, but independent of this question. We must beware that we don’t use this question to write off theories which could grant or imply a credibility to it. Again, this is another long topic.

Another thing that considering the possibility of (A v B) being a false dilemma lead me to think about was that although there would still need to be a point of origin, in terms of (A * B) there could be a progression of carnivorism in the world which would encompass all A, B, C, and D. Again, we have already referenced verses which imply God’s changing of animal behaviors.

If I had to or was forced to make a solid conclude the origin and progression of predation and carnivorism, this would be it:

A: This is the origins of predation and carnivorism, but the world during this time was far better than it is today. Certain predations existed among the invertebrates, sea creatures, birds, and insects, but as far as the land animals, although they were given the equipment for predation by God’s omniscience and foreknowledge, for He knew what was to happen in a brief time, the land animals’ eating habits consisted of salads being their main course, but this period was short lived. If any meat was consumed by land animals at this time, it was supplemental at best.

B: With the arrival of sin, the curse, the judgments, and consequences, the tools for predation and carnivorism went from only having the activation switch flipped into the on position to being shifted into overdrive.

C: As time passed, though many animals never lost the ability to indulge in plant material, it took a back seat to other forms of sustenance, moving from the main course to a side dish, and finally to a garnish. Eventually, the world became “full of violence” in the time of Noah. It was during this period that man may have started to eat meat, though not by God’s allowance.

D: After the flood, God authorized man to partake in the consumption of meat.

There we have it. I think this form can reconcile many of the difficulties and questions, but on a personal level, it is the issue from tooth form being addressed or answered which makes this exploration so effective. It need not be a stumbling block to the Christian, like those individuals I saw on Quora and elsewhere wondering about this subject just as I did. At this time, I suppose I would put the origin of carnivorism and predation at the creation.

Yet, as with all my thoughts and writings, I reserve the right to change my mind or have my mind changed.

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24But since you refuse to listen when I call and nobody pays attention when I stretch out my hand, 25since you disregard all my advice and do not accept my rebuke, 26I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you; I will mock when calamity overtakes you – 27when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you. 28‘Then they will call to me, but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me. 29Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord. 30Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke. 31They will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. 32For the waywardness of the simple will kill them and the complacency of fools will destroy them, 33but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.'” –Proverbs 1:24-33

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Though Proverbs contain many verses which can cause elation, there are those scary ones as well, which warn and rebuke. Some of these like verses share in telling of the potential consequences of a life of sin. This group of verses however I think we are dealing with one sort of sinner. That doesn’t mean not all sinners can reflect upon the verses of course, for they are applicable to just about anyone. Yet, going into the text, I believe there is a group of sinners which are referenced here. To coin a term, assuming it hasn’t already been coined, I will call this group of individuals, “God’s bad weather friends.” We all know the idiom concerning a, “fair weather friend,” obviously signifying that a particular individual only has a relationship with you when the atmosphere is to his or her liking. God’s bad weather friends are exactly the opposite. These folks seek a relationship with God only in times of trouble. The rest of the time they go on sinning, yet when trouble comes along they look to God for deliverance.
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I hope to explain how the Lord drew me to these conclusions. First, however, to really follow the way my thought process was guided, we need to start from the beginning of this collection of Scripture. Verse 24 says:

24But since you refuse to listen when I call and nobody pays attention when I stretch out my hand,”

Foremost, what we see is that this verse, and those following it, are not only directed to an individual, but also a group of individuals. “You,” commonly is used to target a singular individual, though it can be used for a class of people, but “nobody” specifically refers to more than one person. Not only does this suggest a plurality, but an absolute as well. “Nobody,” as a term is negated whenever there is exception.

One of these notable exceptions in Scripture is the exception of Lot. In Genesis 18 we find the fascinating account of Abraham bartering with God over the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. In an effort to help save Sodom and Gomorrah from God’s wrath, Abraham argues with the Lord.

25Far be it from you to do such a thing – to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right? 26The Lord said, ‘If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.’ 27Then Abraham spoke up again: ‘Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?’ ‘If I find forty-five there,’ He said, ‘I will not destroy it.’

From Abraham’s questions I can’t help wonder if Abraham was trying to discover the value of a human life to God. Regardless whether or not Abraham even had that inkling, we do find out the answer. Every human life is important and holds immense value to God. The bartering and humble boldness of Abraham continues as the Lord eventually concedes that He will not destroy the city if there are ten righteous people. Of course, God couldn’t find ten righteous people, so the cities came under His righteous wrath. However, it was not the case that nobody there was righteous. A man named Lot lived in Sodom. It was for his sake that God, though He didn’t relent from His anger, but for the sake of one righteous individual, the Lord called him and his family out of the city delivering him another way.

In the study of Proverbs we have already discovered some city imagery, which I believe carries over into the verses addressed here. Right now we are hearing from the point of view of “wisdom,” which is literary personification of a concept, that is wisdom. Yet, it is much more than that. This wisdom is God, for Proverbs 2:6 says:

“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

It is God that is “wisdom,” for absolute wisdom is an attribute of God Himself.

Concerning verse 24, they refuse to listen when God calls, and do not pay attention when God stretches out his hand. What does it mean for the Lord to stretch out His hand? It can mean several things. Out of the short list I have compiled, and I do not claim to have all the possibilities written down, I noticed that a lot has to do with the position of the palm when conceptualizing the Lord’s outstretched hand.
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It can be a reference to omniscience, an offering, acceptance, judgment, compassion, help, or the means of bringing about an event, either as a blessing, or as a calamity. “Since you refuse to listen when I call,” indicates that God has offered Himself to these people first, and they have not paid attention even when the Lord outstretches His hand. In this context, I believe the Lord’s outstretched hand to have the attributes of judgment, compassion, help and a means of bringing about a calamity. Meaning the people talked about here had a “bad weather” relationship with God. They reaped just consequence and then asked the Lord for his help. The Lord in His compassion, helped the folks in their time of distress, but they immediately went back to simple lives.

The term, “since,” indicates a upcoming consequent. Proverbs gives us several reasons why this judgment is to occur. Aforementioned there is the refusal to listen to God and the fact that nobody pays attention when the Lord stretches out His hand. I myself have been guilty of this very thing. At times I will pray for something in earnest and when it is answered from God by His very hand, I have forgot about the Lord. Simply, I have forgotten to give praise and credit where it is due. Furthermore, I don’t always act the way I should when receiving deliverance or rebuke from the Lord. This is only one reason why this group of Scriptures is so convicting to me.
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In addition, to not listening and not recognizing the Lord’s outstretched hand, a couple more reasons are given as to why negative consequence will befall such people. These are because there is a complete disregard of the Lord’s advice and a non-acceptance of the Lord’s rebuke. How interesting it is that we are confronted with the term, “advice.” Many have the conception of God, that he is some omniscient arrogant deity that sits up on His thrown and just throws out commandments with a, “follow me or else,” type attitude. Though this is true to a degree, the fact is that such an unflattering view of God negates one of the most important attributes about God. That is His love and His desire to be in a relationship with every single individual that humbles themselves before Him. So while it is true the Lord has made commandments, at the same time it is also true that He desires a relationship. This is the meaning behind the term, “advice.” The Lord could have said, “Since you don’t obey me, then . . .” However, The Lord did not say such a thing, but makes His rebuke telling the objects of the Scripture that they have ignored His “advice.” When we juxtapose “command” with “advice” we find quite the striking difference. Advice suggests a deeper personal relationship. A relationship with somebody who cares about what direction the object towards which this advice is offered and is going.
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26I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you; I will mock when calamity overtakes you – 27when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you.” –Proverbs 1:26-27

To better extrapolate the meaning behind these two verses, it is necessary to jump down a bit to verse 31 and 32:

31They will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. 32For the waywardness of the simple will kill them and the complacency of fools will destroy them.”

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Although there is much contrast within this group of verses, there is also a coherence between who a man is and what consequence is to come to pass. The term fruit here is the consequent of these peoples state of heart and being. Their ways bring about a punishment which is corollary to their very behavior. “Simple,” in practical terms, refers to the indulgence of carnal desires. Such a simple man, no matter what Lynard Skynard might think, is completely wayward, for their ways suddenly shift in an effort to fulfill those carnal desires. Neither the wayward momentum of the simple, nor the stagnant ways of the complacent fool, will save them. Indeed, it will become their very downfall.

Even mockers will have their just and corollary reward. Mockers are brought up specifically just previously in Proverbs 1, Verse 22:

“How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?”

There are at least three classes of folks dealt with in our group of verses. The simple, the fool, and the mocker. As said before the simple indulges in the carnal desires. The fool is complacent and lacks knowledge, by choice, for there is a relationship between the simple and the fool. The mocker is included as well and more likely than not this has to do with a person who through behavior or by his spirit mocks God. God answers such as these in verses 26 and 27.

Yet, the Bible tells us in Ezekiel 18:32, that God takes no delight in even the punishment of the wicked. However, Proverbs specifically mentions God mocking and laughing. God also laughs which in turn can be a form of mocking. Is this God taking pleasure in the punishment of the wicked. We have somewhat of a paradox here, and when studying the Word, I love paradoxes. Why? Instead of writing them off as contradictions, the exploration of paradox gives us a deeper understanding into the Word of God and even God Himself.

Here we have a paradox between the absence of pleasure when God punishes the wicked, and His ability to mock. To settle this paradox we need to ask ourselves is it necessarily the case that mockery must be a form of pleasure. In practical applications, that is concerning human behavior, we find this not to be the case. Every mockery is not motivated by a joy. Quite the contrary, most mockery is a form of displeasure. Mockery, in human terms, seeks to lower another for a prideful purpose, as opposed to God whose motives are for just purposes. Since it is just, mockery from God seeks not to lower, but to reveal truth. God mocks the prideful, for next to God we are nothing. It is the pride He mocks. It is not directed at the punishment itself. Mockers mock due to prideful purposes, and because of that pride, God will mock the pride of the proud and bring them low. Thus, mockers too will eat the fruit of their ways. They will mock and in turn be mocked by God. For how misplaced is pride when compared with the Lord?
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There is much imagery shared here concerning storms and weather. Keeping along the lines of our current themes the storms too must signify something. Since it comes upon the sinners it must be a part of the sinners God is mentioning specifically. Simply, we find the punishment fits the crime in that the fruits of the sinner will be the very ones to befall them. So, mockery for the mockers, the simple, the carnal desires, and the fool, the lack of knowledge. Since we have all this corollary fruit, so too would the storms mention be representational of those spoken of in Proverbs. How can a storm be representational of an individual as regards sin?
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Let us take the waywardness of the simple for example. To be wayward, according to Dictionary.com, is to have turned away from what is right and proper; willful; disobedient. Swayed or prompted by caprice; capricious. Turning or changing irregularly; irregular. To be capricious is to be given to sudden unpredictable change, as one’s mind or the weather. Both these apply to the simple, in that they frequently change their mind to follow their own wayward carnal appetites and upon such the Lord will bring a storm of calamity. This storm will hit from all sides and the simple will make their plea to God for deliverance. Yet, the shifting storm is of their own doing much like their shifting desires and wills. It is this plea that will not be heard from by God. They will eat of their own just deserts. Verse 28 says:

“Then they will call to me, but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me.”

In this arises another paradox for the Bible also tells us in Matthew 7:7 and Luke 11:9, “Seek, and ye shall find.” Aren’t these men seeking God by their plea? Is the Holy Word contradicting itself? Not at all. Rather than this being the case, we receive insight into the heart of such individuals. Verse 29 and 30 read:

29Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord. 30Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke.”

Such people hate knowledge, don’t fear the Lord, don’t accept his advice, nor his rebuke and being the case have not a heart for God, but a heart of self. It is only out of self-preservation that they cry out to God, not for the knowledge that they have done wrong and sinned. Nor is it for a healthy fear of the Lord. The Lord understands the human heart better than we ourselves do. Is the Lord bound to redeem those who have not heart for Him? Certainly not, though He does deliver the sinner at times to make Himself known unto them, but we should be wary of relinquishing ourselves to our basic “needs” and then begging the Lord for deliverance and forgiveness when consequence comes upon us. Such a repetition of behavior suggests a focus on self and not on the Lord.

To give scriptural evidence of this, the Book of James says in Chapter 4, Verse 3:

“Ye ask, and receive not because ye ask amiss that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”

This is an amazing verse for it shows that the Lord doesn’t answer prayer if it is to encourage sinful behaviors. The people in Proverbs sought sinful behavior and ask for deliverance from trouble in order that they may continue to indulge in their lusts.

31They will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.” —Proverbs 1:31

Scheming certainly has its bad connotation. Yet, there are blessed schemes as well. Dictionary.com defines a scheme as a plan, design, or program of action to be followed, project, an underhand plot, intrigue. A visionary or impractical project. A body or system of related doctrines, theories, etc. Any system of correlated things, parts, etc, or the manner of its arrangement. A plan, program, or policy officially adopted and followed, as by government or business, an analytical or tabular statement. God has his own Holy schemes as is made evident in the sacred doctrine, but beware the underhand schemes of man which seek to deceive, if not self, then others including our Lord, but the Lord cannot be deceived due to His infinite perfection. What people desire in sin is often the very same means unto which they will meet their ends.

32For the waywardness of the simple will kill them and the complacency of fools will destroy them, 33but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”

In addition, let us be wary of the complacency of the fool, complacency being foolish in and of itself. Being void of knowledge, wisdom, and is moreover given to sin. There are many things that bring about complacency. Drinking and drugs being two prime examples. We find that when these things are evident in life, complacency creeps into the lifestyle of the individual. Due to the dangers of idle hands we see an implicit and even explicit relationship between complacency and sin.

Despite some of the scary moments in Proverbs, there are messages of hope as well. The fact is we can choose to fear the Lord. We can choose to be non-complacent and non-foolish. We can chose not to be simple and not mock. We can repent and turn our hearts away from evil and towards the Lord. Such that do this will live in safety, be at ease, and be free of the fear of harm. Now that doesn’t mean that harm will not come to us, but in history time and time again we see those blessed men and women of the Lord who did not fear what harm was to come to them by the hands of man. Matthew 10:28 says:

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

We can be free of the fear of this harm simply by fearing the Lord. This brings ease and rest to the soul. Due to the fact that we can count on this salvation, we can live in safety, knowing our salvation is secure in the Lord our God by the blood of His Son Jesus Christ.
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“Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God.'” -Luke 9:62

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I’m sure on occasion poets look at the words of Christ and if they don’t admonish or worship Him, they must certainly salivate with envy. I half jest, but indeed Christ’s words are so beautiful they resonate throughout our lives and through all of creation. Yet, Christ came for much more than linguistical aesthetics. Christ’s words are remarkable in that, within such a phrase like this, there are found many different meanings and they hold untold riches for those who seek Him and the wisdom that is found in the Lord. This simple phrase spoken by Christ is anything but. It holds not only a warning for us, but also vast hope for the Christian in regards to their spiritual journey.

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"The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah," by John Martin. oil on canvas, c. 1852

Genesis Chapter 19 contains the infamous account concerning the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. These two sister cities were the epicenter for all forms of detestable vileness and evil. The Las Vegas of its day. Or possibly worse. Maybe even Detroit (Kidding). Indeed, the cities were so disgusting that the Lord decided to purge them from the face of the earth forever. However, in Sodom there lived a man named Lot. Lot lived there with His family, and God, in His grace, decided to spare Lot and his family from the destruction that was coming, due in part to Lot’s sheltering of two angels He had sent into the city, and because he was indeed the nephew of Abraham, who was greatly beloved by God. Yet, there were strict conditions. The angels told Lot and his family in Genesis 19, Chapter 17:

“Flee for your lives. Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”

Despite these pretty straight forward and urgent instructions, Lot’s wife looked back as they fled, and as the angels had warned, she was indeed turned into “a pillar of salt.” Explanations for how this could have occurred range from the natural, the miraculous, and even to ancient technology theories. Yet, the how isn’t as important as the why. Why simply by looking back did she perish and turn into a large pile of the mineral adored by horses the world over?

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Lot’s wife, who some scholars believe was named “Idis,” didn’t merely look back out of some fleeting uncontrollable curiosity, but rather she looked back on the city of Sodom with longing eyes. She saw the sinful city life she was accustomed to being razed to the ground and she felt sorrow and longing. Thus, becoming a large heap of a crystalline preservative was her fate. It is a little bit of a confounding situation, for though Lot was just, as 2 Peter tells us, one wonders why they dwelled in such a detestable place. Furthermore, by the mere fact she looked back, that alone suggests that “Idis” was indeed caught up in the sin of Sodom to some degree or fashion.

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Yet, be that as it may, this example gives us insight into one meaning behind Christ’s words, and that is, when we become a new creation in Him, we should not look back with desire to who we were before, for this can only lead to death. Why run back into the burning ruins of sin that the Lord Himself has delivered you out of according to His grace? You have been delivered, bought with a price, and the Lord has answered your prayer. Why fight the Lord and crawl back towards what would be your demise? A heart that longs for sin has no place in the Kingdom of God. Christ has granted us a reprieve that we may escape the destruction that is to come and even now it is ongoing, so on that date and time, which the Lord has set by His own authority, we may be long afar from that destruction which will cover the whole earth.

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"Sodom and Gomorrah," by Jan Brueghel The Elder

Secondly, realize that no matter where you were and what you were, your Lord has delivered you. You have been deemed worthy by grace to be covered in the blood of the Lamb, thus, again, do not turn around and regret your decisions or the bad choices of the past, for those too are forgiven. Such regrets are like a tether or lead, they may allow us to scamper about and even move forward somewhat, but essentially they still hold us firmly in place. Christ has cut these bonds from us and let not regret, nor worldly sorrow, keep you from partaking and drinking from the Cup of Life. Do not strive to place yourself back into bondage, but rather persevere. Do not tarry or grow weary, keep your eyes on Christ and the prize that is offered, for those who do, their paths will remain straight, but those whose eyes wander, so does the path of their plow, guiding them into rocky soil, danger and eventually death. May The Lord be praised that even wanderers such as myself can be set straight again by His grace and directed out of, and away from, the city of destruction.

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“I myself will set my face against him and will cut him off from his people; for by sacrificing his children to Molech, he has defiled my sanctuary and profaned my holy name.” -Leviticus 20:3

Molech was a pagan semitic god who was worshipped by the detestable act of child sacrifice. The alters were in the semblance of a bull or calf, a sacrificial animal itself, with a pit before it, or in the belly of the man made edifice. Within these pits, large fires would be built and children were tossed in as an offering to the god.

In this verse, we not only see God’s disgust in the worship of other gods, but also the abhorrent nature of human sacrifice. The Book of Judges, Chapter 11, contains the infamous account of Jephthah, who after making a vow to the Lord concerning the defeat of the Ammonites sacrificed his daughter to God. Atheists and non-believers,  like to distract Christians by citing this account, but nowhere does it say that God approved of Jephthah’s sacrifice of his only offspring. In fact, God’s displeasure could implicitly be contained in the account, for the Ammonites, whom Jephthah was fighting, were devout worshippers of Molech. Thus, it represents a veiled connection between the Judges account and God’s statement against such practices in Leviticus.

"Jephthah," by John Everett Millais. oil on canvas, c. 1867

Human sacrifice wasn’t a rare practice and every continent and almost every indigenous people seems to have engaged in it at one time or another, from the civilizations of Central America, to even the Native Americans. Yet, again, verses like this one, and those like it, show that God does not desire such offerings. Why did God include it in His word then? The account was provided to show the importance of oaths to the Lord (See my note on Matthew 5:37, “On Promises and Vows”).

Abraham, in Genesis Chapter 22, was commanded by God to sacrifice his son Isaac, which Abraham being a man of faith and obedience, was prepared to carry out. Yet, at the last minute an angel called from heaven and instructed him not to lay a hand on the boy. In verse 13 we find that a ram was caught by its horns in a thicket, provided by God, to take the place of Abraham’s son.

"The Sacrifice of Isaac," by Domenichino. oil on canvas, c. 1627-1628

The correlation between this account of Abraham and what was later to occur with Jesus Christ is apparent. As the ram was caught by its horns in a thicket, likewise Christ had a thicket of thorns placed upon His head, piercing deep into His flesh, as His eventual crucifixion approached. Though Christ was human, He was not a mere human, and He was provided by God, from the beginning, to take our place, to endure the punishment, and to pay the just wages for our sin, just as the ram had replaced Isaac. In short, we deserve to be nailed upon that cross, but Christ paid for sin in full on our account that salvation might be credited to us by faith and through grace.

May Christ be forever praised. Amen.


“Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.'” -Genesis 1:26 


Honestly, the topic of the triune God, which I write about a little more extensively in my note on Romans 1:4, “On a Few Notes Concerning The Triune God,” is perhaps, intellectually and spiritually speaking, one of my favorite subjects to explore. Though it can at times present many challenges, primarily due to the fact we try to put God in terms we can understand, namely physical ones, it can also give us a insight into the perfection that is and was required for the fulfillment of the scriptures to take place as they have and will in the near future.

Though Genesis suggests the Trinity in several places, this verse, on a personal level is one of my favorites. I think it has something to do with the importance of the verse being hidden in plain sight. One, while reading the scriptures might just skip over this without realizing its importance. I have read the creation account more than once and it took me a couple reads to see it. Remember, God is also with us when we study His word, so perhaps He choose for whatever reason to conceal it from me for a time. When we search for a Godly wisdom, only the Lord knows the best way to build it from the foundation up, so He may conceal things from us for a season in order that when it is revealed we may have a fuller understanding.

The Lord in Genesis 1:26 says,”Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.” Realize God isn’t saying, “I will make man in My likeness,” but emphasizes a plurality which suggests multiple entities. He even repeats the plural pronoun, “our,” adding even more emphasis. This is the Triune God, which is known as the Holy Trinity. In addition to creating man as an abstract representation of Himself, the Lord also included those invisible qualities like His power, creativity, and dominion. Indeed, man is sovereign over the beasts of the earth, and the earth itself, because God instilled in us that sovereignty, which is His, and that we share in, from birth.


I have mentioned it before, but for those who have issues with the Trinity concept, realize that we are created in the likeness of God, and we have a mind, body, and soul, three in one, just as the Lord has the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Again, three in one. The Trinity is explicitly manifest in our being adding credibility to the creation account and the fact we were made in the Lord’s image.


“And who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.” -Romans 1:4


When one embarks on discourse with another “Christian,” it is not uncommon to come to some disagreement concerning the divinity of Christ. The prominent confusion rests in the union between the three separate supposed parts as one, the Father, Son and Spirit. We have physical laws all around us, like Pauli’s Exclusion Principle, which states that two forms of matter cannot occupy the same space at the same time. In addition, there are metaphysical laws like the law of identity, which when combined with physical laws, such as the Exclusion Principle, are assumed, by some, to prove the absurdity of such a claim as the complete union of what is known as the Holy Trinity. Though the Trinity isn’t an explicit doctrine in the bible, the Triune God is an implicit theme throughout the scriptures.


Does this concept, like some believe, necessarily lead to an absurdity though? It would if, and only if, God were a physical being bound by physical laws. However, if this were the case, He would not be God at all, for something, namely physicality, would transcend Him.

St. Anselm of Canterbury, in his famous Ontological Argument, provided, in my mind, the best philosophical, “secular definition” of God, when he said God was, “that-than-which-a-greater-cannot-be-thought.” Therefore, if God is bound by physicality, then He would be, “that-than-which-a-greater-can-be-thought,” explicitly contradicting who God is and must be. This being the case, it shows us, that a being that is not bound by physicality can be three-in-one without reaching any necessary absurdity.

St. Anselm had set out to prove by his Ontological Argument the existence of God by using the mere conception of God alone. He said:

“Even the fool, then, is forced to agree that something-than-which-nothing-greater-can-be-thought exists in the mind, since he understand this when he hears it, and whatever is understood is in the mind. An surely that-than-which-a-greater-cannot-be-thought cannot exist in the mind alone. For if it exists solely in the mind, it can be thought to exist in reality also, which is greater. If then that-than-which-a-greater-cannot-be-thought exists in the mind alone, this same that-than-which-a-greater-cannot-be-thought is that-than-which-a-greater-can-be-thought. But this is obviously impossible. Therefore there is absolutely no doubt that something-than-which-a-greater-cannot-be-thought exists both in the mind and reality. And certainly this being so truly exists that it cannot be even thought not to exist.”

I myself happen to have some reservations about St. Anselm’s theory, though it certainly does have its uses when trying to approach God using the mind. Yet, I feel St. Anselm’s argument to be a little too esoteric to convince the non-believer, though this is a rarity, someone coming to the Lord using the mind alone. I find other arguments such as the Cosmological Argument, from St. Thomas Aquinas and Samuel Clarke, and the Teleological Argument by William Paley, to be more convincing concerning God’s existence. In addition to the previous two arguments I mentioned, if one was to conjoin them with “Pascal’s Wager,” by Blaise Pascal, it provides a great argument, not only for the existence of God, but also for the existence of faith.

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Many philosophers have tried to disprove St. Anselm, but the argument is incredibly steadfast, which may suggest its overall credibility. One of these concerns if the particular “greater” can be used with existence, and that existence truly is a great making quality. Regardless, it is respected by both those of faith and also atheists. Even the atheist philosopher William L. Rowe conceded:

“If (my critique) is correct, Anselm’s argument fails as a proof of the existence of God. This is not to say, however, that the argument is not a work of genius. Perhaps no other argument in the history of thought has raised so many basic philosophical questions and stimulated so much hard thought. Even if it fails as a proof of the existence of God, it will remain as one of the high achievements of the human intellect.”

Romans 1:4 alone contains many references to the Trinity. These include, “Spirit,” “Son,” “God,” “Jesus Christ,” and “Lord.” The phrase, “through the Spirit of holiness,” is especially profound because it does not refer to some state of being or of mind on Christ’s part, but rather the Spirit itself, due to its capitalization. According to the verse, it was by this Spirit, who is declared to have immense power, which proclaimed Christ to be the Son of God. There are numerous reasons why the Trinity must be, but I will save those for another time.

In Genesis, the Bible gives us a large clue concerning the Lord’s triune nature. In fact, some of these occur right in the creation story itself. Though there are more than a couple examples I could mention, there is one, in my mind, that stands out above the rest when contemplating the Trinity. This may be an important thing to remember for those who struggle with the concept of the Trinity.


Genesis 1:26 (See my note, “On an Early Representation of The Trinity”) tells us we were created in the image and likeness of God. Thus, we are an abstract representation of the Lord’s being. Every one of us has a mind, a body, and a soul, yet we are individuals. Three in one. Given that God is “that-than-which-nothing-greater-can-be-thought,” are we to suppose He doesn’t transcend our being? This very same verse in Genesis indicates the existence of the Trinity by saying, “Let us make man in our image.” The words, “us,” and, “our,” indicate a plurality before the creation of man, suggesting that the Holy Trinity is indeed true.

It’s amazing but some of the best evidence concerning the trinity, or our triune Lord, is not so far away where we need to seek high and low for it. We don’t need to over analyze scriptures or seek out and search obscure places, rather, it is immediately seen and resides directly within each and every one of us.

"The Creation of Man," by Luca Giordano. fresco, c. 1684-1686

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