Saturday, May 26, 2012

Enjoy Food

Sensual things (taking the word "sensual" meaning "having to do with the senses") can be used for the glory of God and enjoyed in thanksgiving to Him. Take Deuteronomy 14:22-27 for example,

“You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year. And before the LORD your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always. And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, when the LORD your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which the LORD your God chooses, to set his name there, then you shall turn it into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that the LORD your God chooses and spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household. And you shall not neglect the Levite who is within your towns, for he has no portion or inheritance with you." (Deuteronomy 14:22-27, emphasis added)
There is a certain sensuality that is condemned in Scripture, but it has to do more with wantonness, lewdness, gluttony, and the like. Basically we can use our senses for selfish reasons, forgetting to praise God for them, and then use them in a wrong idolatrous way, without self-control, etc... Basically it looks like Galatians 5:16-24 (keep in mind that the flesh and Spirit being compared here is not physicality against spirituality, but what is born of the flesh, fallen human nature, and born of the Holy Spirit, renewed human nature):

"Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." (Galatians 5:19-24)
The way we guard against selfish sensuality is by thanking and praising God for His gifts to us. Instead of solving the problem by rejecting physical pleasures, we embrace the pleasures from God in gratefulness to Him. It is then that physical pleasures will find their place, not as idols that control us, but as gifts that we enjoy with self-control and joy. And it is only this way that the enjoyment has real meaning. Else the brief enjoyment is lost and passes away and is vain. Only when we recognize temporal enjoyments as the loving gift of the eternal God are they meaningful and worthwhile in the ultimate sense and not vain.
"There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind." (Ecclesiastes 2:24-26, see also verses 1-11) 
There is more to say on what exactly is good, but we should at least agree that to deny that God has given us the physical pleasures of food and to ascribe it to the Devil is insulting to God. God is good! Let us praise God for His great gifts to us and let us never pervert them for selfish reasons.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Trust and Science

About a week ago one of my younger brothers leaned against one of our book shelves and it fell, all the books on it falling as well. But in this accident one of our old copies of Handel's Messiah opened and something fell out of it. It was a program for a performance of Messiah in New York city on July 21, 1917. It is neat to look through, but something particular that caught my eye was the ad for Nestle's Food. Here is most of the ad:
"Your baby can't grow rosy and strong if he doesn't have the right food. Nurse your baby, if you can. If you can't, wean him on 

Nestle's Food
(A complete food--not a milk modifier)

Don't give him raw cow's milk. Cow's milk needs a calf's four stomachs to digest it. "Cow's milk, as ordinarily marketed, is unfit for human consumption," says the U.S. Government.

But there is still something in cow's milk that is good for your baby, if that something is modified and purified so that it is as light, as satisfying and as pure as mother's milk itself. That is what is done for you in Nestle's Food. It comes to you reduced to a powder--in an air-tight can. You only add water--boil one minute--and it's ready with just the right amount of fats, protieds, and carbohydrates that will make a heathy baby."

I post this not really to make a statement on milk. I want to show that the people trusted the government and science very much at this time. Another ad also promotes itself by saying "Best by U.S. Gov't Test." This was near the end of the progressive era which had great optimism in man's knowledge, institutions, and government. Even though World War I damaged this optimism it continued fairly strong in the popular sphere up to the 60s and the Hippies. Then the optimism was focused elsewhere (still not in a good direction), and the centralized systems took a hit. Today, some people still have a tendency to trust the government, but a growing movement is reacting against this into an almost total distrust of government and science. 

As this ad shows, the "U.S. Government" is not infallible, and the science that made powdered milk in a air-tight can is not either, but where many people are turning isn't much better. We should look to God and His Word as our infallible authority. Not that He has given us a specific diet plan, but He has given us general priorities, and He has given us methods to find out what is good. Science does have a place in a biblical view of food, but it is under God (civil government, on the other hand, has a very small role when it comes to food choices, almost none). As Christians we should seek to learn science to understand its benefits and limitations.

People have trusted the civil government on science largely because they have employed hard working, careful scientists; their main fault being a failure to recognize their limit. For Christians to replace the civil government as those with a reputation for true science we must work hard and carefully (not believing every wind of teaching that shows up on Facebook). We must guard this reputation by recognizing our limits and always working under the sovereignty of God.

-Peter Bringe

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

New Age, Yoga, Alchemy, and Water Witching

Here is a helpful radio program by Generations Radio concerning the New Age movement and related practices, especially as related to health and medicine. This is an important topic as people are often confused what to trust when it comes to medical (and dietary) decisions.

New Age, Yoga, Alchemy, and Water Witching