Monthly Archives: July 2006
Question– What does the Bible say about suicide?
Answer– There are three incidents in the Bible that I can think of where suicide is mentioned. The first is the incident when King Saul in the Old Testament took his own life (I Samuel 31:4). The second incident is when Ahithopel, King David’s personal advisor, hung himself after attempting to overthrow David and replacing him with his son Absalom (2 Samuel 17:23). And, of course, there is Judas, the man who betrayed Jesus, who hung himself because of the torment of his conscience for betraying Jesus(Matthew 27:5).
Notice that in all three incidents mentioned above, the Bible attempts to show that the men who committed suicide were in a state of lostness. Saul was rejected by God (1 Samuel 15:26). Ahithopel was a traitor and a type of the ultimate traitor, Judas, of whom Jesus said it that it would have been better for him if he had never been born. This is not to say that there might not be more noble reasons for a person to commit suicide (for example ,a person ending his or her life to spare themselves from brutal torture or to keep themselves from revealing information that might cause the death of thousands). The Bible does not address every possible situation but simply tells us that God, as the judge of all the earth, will do what is right.
Beyond this, the Bible does in fact condemn murder (Exodus 20:13) and there is no reason to believe that this does not apply to taking one’s own life. The Bible says that “no murderer has eternal life abiding in Him.” (I John 3:15) The reason why taking a human life is such a serious crime in God’s eyes, as opposed to taking the lives of animals, is because man is created in the image of God and, therefore, has infinite value(James 3:9).
Remember that Jesus said, “What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet loses his own soul?” If you are considering suicide, remember that, according to Jesus, your soul is worth the entire world. This means that you are infinitely valuable to God as a human being. With Christ in your heart, you can have the hope not only of a changed life in the present (II Corinthians 5:17), but an eternal future in heaven as well (Revelation 21-22). Only in accepting Christ can one truly be saved from the powers of darkness. (Acts 4:12, Colossians 1:13) Remember, there is hope in Jesus Christ! (Colossians 1:27)
I am sure that most of my conservative friends are falling over in their chairs right now as they read the headline to this post. Among political conservatives, Sean Penn is a famous target to be ridiculed as a far -left panzie. I even heard John Hagee, the famous preacher on TBN, denounce him in one of his sermons. So why would I choose to praise him in this post? Here is why. Politics aside, Sean Penn is a fine individual with a heart for the world’s poor. When Hurricane Katrina hit,amidst the chaos, he took a boat and started rescuing people. I wonder if those who like to denounce him as a left-wing nutcrack on their radio shows and pulpits across the country ever did anything close to what Sean Penn did during the catastrophe of Katrina.
It is very easy to paint one large generalization about Hollywood celebrities as people who are in love with themselves and care little about the world’s poor. I myself in my book “The Angels are Watching” criticize the Hollywood culture as being overly obscessed with self-congradulation. If taken too far, however, there is a danger that we “average Joes” of society might become guilty of class prejudice, something Jesus would vehemently denounce. It is easy to take cheap shots at celebrities because they are an easy target for resentment.
Another concern I have is that we American Christians have become so polarized in our culture that we can not even see that there might be a trace of goodness in someone on the “other side” of our politics. This is clearly wrong and I highly doubt that Jesus would be making cheap insults with those who disagreed with Him on a very complex issue such as the Iraq War.
One of the characteristics of the “Hollywood Liberals” that are often despised by red state conservatives is a genuine concern for the world’s poor. I think Jesus would be quite comfortable hanging out with these types of folks. Thank you, Sean Penn for reminding us that kindness comes in all shapes,sizes, and political persuasions.
On Saturday, I took my wife rhenium to see Superman Returns, the latest edition of the blockbuster franchise. After returning to earth from his home plant, Clark Kent (AK Superman) finds that the love of his life,Lois Lane, has won a Pulitzer Prize for her publication entitled “Why the World Doesn’t Need Superman.” When Superman confronts Lois on the matter, she tells him rather bluntly, “the world doesn’t need a savior.” Of course, by the end of the movie, after Superman saves her from a sinking ship and manages to save millions of people from Lex Luthor’s evil scheme of plummeting North America into the Atlantic Ocean, Lois changes her mind and writes a new article entitled “Why the World Needs Superman.”
No offense to Lois Lane, but I rather agree with her first premise- that the world really doesn’t need Superman. Of course, this is a rather difficult conclusion to come by. After all, wouldn’t it be nice if there really was someone who could fly at a moment’s notice to rescue people from a crashing airplane or to save some helpless old woman from being robbed? Sure that would be nice, but is that what the world really needs?
No. Not really. The world doesn’t actually need Superman. After all, if a Superman like -figure is what we actually needed, don’t you think that God would have sent us a real Superman by now? The world doesn’t really need a Superman, but it really does need a savior. The savior that God sent to the world did not wear a blue cape flying around rescuing damsels in distress, but he did save us in a much deeper way. By his life and example, he taught us to love one another, even our enemies. By dying on the cross for our sins and rising again from the dead, he showed us that love is the only real path to victory. After all, what good would it do to rescue the beauty from the beast if the heart of the beast remains unchanged? Of course, the kingdom that Jesus introduced to the world will one day blossom into a new heaven and a new earth where there will be no robbers,crashing airplanes, or natural disasters. With the hope of eternal bliss in the future and a changed heart in the present, who needs Superman when God has already sent us Jesus Christ?
I’m writing this one on the fly, so here goes! How does this sound as an advertisement for Christianity: Get saved and lose weight! I imagine in our appearance-obscessed society, if Christianity were advertised like this, people would flock into the kingdom!
Joking aside, there is something to be said for the idea that we who have placed our faith in Jesus Christ will one day received glorified bodies fashioned according to the pattern of Christ’s resurrected glorified body (Phillippians 3:20-21). This is part of the “hope of the gospel” that is often overlooked in Christian preaching today. Much of the modern day gospel is focused on what Jesus can do for us in this life.
I don’t know about you, but I am rather glad that I am not now what I will be in the future. Here is what the Apostle John has to say on the matter, “Beloved now are we the sons of God. Yet it has not appeared what we shall be. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.” (I John 3:3) Thank God! There are some who would say that heaven is simply an extention of who we are while we are here on earth. They say that “death is not a meanns of sanctification.” Perhaps that is true. I am sure that we do not lose our personalites and our self-awareness when we step out into the next life. But if we say that our final state of being is solely determined by our spiritual progress here on earth, we are missing out on a key aspect of the gospel, which says that one day we will be given glorified bodies that will no longer be subject to our current fleshly desires that tend to lead us toward a sinful lifestyle. As the Apostle Paul says, the great mystery of the faith is, “Christ in you the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27)
Hope that is seen is not hope. So relax. If you need to lose those extra 50 pounds and quit those addictive habits that are constantly getting you into trouble, get saved. Whether in this life or the next, it will happen one way or another.
Okay readers. It’s time for a little gut-wrenching honesty. I know my blog is called “Bible Answers for Seekers”, but when it comes down to it, I am no “Bible Answer Man.” I think a more appropriate title for me should be “Aaron the Bible I don’t know man.” Here is a short list of my “I don’t knows.” How can God know all things and yet man have free will at the same time? I don’t know. Or, better yet, does God have to know all things whether He wants to or not? Once again, I don’t know. Is the earth thousands of years old or millions? You guessed it. I don’t know. Are the flames of hell literal or figurative? That’s a good question, I’m glad you asked. The answer is I don’t know. Although I have a hunch on this one, that is for another post at another time.
If you want to know what it is like to have the heart of an evangelist and the mind of a philosopher, here it is. It’s not very pretty, but here it is. Sometimes I have goofy questions like “I wonder if my blue is the same as every one else’s blue?” Or “how can an infinite past ever arrive to the present?” (Believe it or not, I thought about these things in the first grade) And then I think to myself “Why does any of this matter when millions are dying and going to hell?” Speaking of hell, the moral philosopher in me says “How is that just? An infinite punishment for a finite crime? How can love for God be genuine when infinite suffering is the only alternative?”
And then I remember the cross. I remember the nails, the crown of thorns, the whips, the spitting, the plucking of the beard, the hunger, the thirst, the nakedness, and I remember that God suffered on the cross for me. I remember that God is love and that is all that really matters. I remember that, somehow, the answers to all of my questions are found on an instrument of wood used by the Romans 2,000 years ago to execute the worst of criminals. I remember that love is the foundation for everything. And when I think about it even more, I think to myself that maybe that is all I really need to know.
Here is a little something you probably did not want to know about me, but since I am already in the habit of revealing way too much about myself to my readers anyway, I’m going to embarrass myself even more. Okay…here goes. When I was 7 years old, I was a huge fan of Davd Hasselhoff. Of course I didn’t know his name back then, all I knew is that I really wanted to be Knight Rider. I guess that is understandable. After all, what 7 year old would not want a talking trans-am? It wasn’t till I was 24 and watching a rerun of Knight Rider that I discovered that Hasselhoff’s acting will never be up for an academy award.
But then again, who cares about acting skills when you are 7 years old? Apparently I didn’t. When I graduated from high school my parents displayed a story on a poster board that I had written in the second grade. In the story I took a magic pill and turned 21. Not only did I have hair under my arm pits (I’m not making this up. That is actually in the story) but I was Knight Rider as well. My exact words at 7 years old was -“Okay Kit-actervate turbo booster!” Notice that I spelled the word “activate” just how it sounded to me.
Believe it or not, I actually have a point to this embarrassing story. Sometimes I think to myself, what if things actually worked that way?” What if I could have taken a magic pill at 7 years old and all of the sudden skip the next 14 years, develop big muscles, and become a totally hip crime fighting machine? As ridiculous as this sounds, I think that is exactly what a lot of us try to do with God. We have this crazy notion that, somehow, God is going to turn us into superhero Christians without the process of growth in between. I don’t know about you, but now that I am 28, I am sure glad that God did not answer the request of my fanciful 7-year old imagination. I wouldn’t trade any of those 14 years that I would have rather skipped at the time, and neither would I trade the last 7 years of my life for all the treasures of the world. I think we would all do well if we could learn to enjoy where we are in life as God moves us forward to our final destination. After all, even superheroes start out in diapers.
Question- What does the Bible say about premarital sex, and if a non-virgin repents, do they become a virgin according to God?
Answer- In the Bible, premarital sex is referred to as fornication, which is a sin distinct from adultery. Since adultery is defined as either cheating on your spouse or having relations with another person’s spouse, it would make since that fornication would refer to two unmarried people having relations. Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage is honorable above all and the bed undefiled. But fornicators and adulterers, God will judge.” Also, remember that when Joseph was betrothed to Mary, although they had not had sexual relations, Mary was still considered Joseph’s wife because of the vow that they had made. (Matthew 1:18-19) As far as secondary virginity, there is nothing in the Bible that mentions whether God considers repentant non-virgins as actual virgins. However, one of the chief blessings of the new covenant is that when you place your faith in Christ, God says, “Your sins and your lawless deeds, I will remember no more.” (Hebrews 8:12) But there is a truth that is even greater than this. The Bible says, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things have passed away. Behold all things have become new.” (II Corinthians 5:17) When a person comes to Christ, not only does God see him or her as a brand new person, he or she actually becomes a brand new person. For this reason, I have no problem with the term “secondary virginity.”