The Poison in the Sap
I am finding it hard to look out into the world from my own window, on the streets around me and not see the care-lessness of some people. It’s hard not to see the regiments of walkers and travellers in cars going to work simply to survive. That, for the most part, is what all working humans have done since we first put the hand to the plough. Among these groups, culture and diversity in society have bred groups that consume more than others and could not care less about it. Care-lessness, I believe, has a partner. It is called lawlessness. They both disregard their impact on society.
One thing that impacts modern society in ever increasing waves is debt. I have written about this before. Each of us carries some form of debt. Some live in a cycle of debt and see no problem in it. Others try desperately to rid themselves of it. Somewhere along the line, someone will pay for our debt. Financial institutions rise and fall based on it, and nations borrow too, from other nations. It seems that it is endemic among our global culture. So why should we find a problem with it? The problem with it, of course, is that it places the borrower in the power of the lender.
Proverbs 22:7 (CJB)
7 The rich rule the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.
Living from paycheque to paycheque and wondering how those debts are going to be paid, consume us in other ways. Living that way, maybe natural to many, in this credit-driven world, and I know people who do. But hidden beneath the seemingly manageable surface, dwells stress and anxiety. The thought of making the monthly payments might seem like plain sailing but in this turbulent and fragile economy, the ability to pay what is outstanding cannot be taken from granted. Sickness and redundancy for instance, can change our world overnight. In addition, we can’t turn our eyes away from the lengths to which people will go, to pay back debt, whether it is through crime or liquidating assets or indeed borrowing more debt.
Scripture tells us to pay back what we have borrowed without interest and that a lender should not charge this to the community of faith. The problem that causes evil, is the love of money and the inability to pay it back.
Romans 13:8 Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
The principle is that the lender places the borrower under their power. It comes from an institution that was established by HaSatan in the garden. It creates a slave-master relationship. The offer to be like God and to share power came at a cost that placed the human being under the power of the Serpent. Accepting what he has to offer demands at some time that he is going to call in his loan. Before we move on, we must make it clear that using and investing money is not evil. We are admonished to make interest by investing wisely, but we are also reminded not to place anyone in debt or charge interest within the house of faith.
It has been only in the last couple of years that I have noticed how much some young people have. A friend of mine has children who drive around in top of the range vehicles and they are not even in their mid-twenties. Business start-ups and banks want you to borrow so that they can make money from you, and the young entrepreneurs of today, some leaving college, already directors of companies, do not mind a jot. They have a goal and they are going to get want they want no matter what. It’s good to be bold in business and to thrive on risk. Being ruthless and single-minded shows us how personal our pursuit of success is. Of course, it has to be, because failure is not an option.
Our culture of obtaining wealth, material possessions and showing it off, consume the players of the game. But little do they know that so much can be lost in a blink of an eye. Driven by the wheels of social media, we are taken to the gates of a virtual world, a world where Pandora’s box remains open. As a paradox, this virtual world no longer remains as just dreams or imaginings. They can be accessed through devices that sync and link directly into the brain. Signals are passed so quickly through synapses, that images and actions within these imagined worlds provide altered realities in an instant.
The whisperings of the Serpent become real, and we become monarchs of our own kingdoms. We are the power and we clothe ourselves in its glory. We are designing a world that we would much rather live in because this real one – (or is it real at all?) will not suffice. Ultimately all humanity wants to be back to where it came from. Power crazed, we have decided that we can go a few steps further and leave our bodies and this terra firma and live together as a singularity in our own cosmos.
In our own kingdoms, there are no repercussions for what we do and no penalty to be paid. We can change identity or morph into any shape or form we like. This, after all, is free will; the right to choose our own lives and destinies.
Someone said that free will is inherently evil because it can choose to do good.
When I first read that, I was struck by its profundity, because of course, it is. The choice as to do whether we do good or bad things is very powerful. Having that choice comes from eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The problem for the human beings who ate from it, was that they could not discern its bitterness and consumed it with relish. To them it was sweet.
The reaction for every converted soul, should be to spit the wretched morsel out and vomit the poison within its sap, then go to the stream to drink its cleansing waters until our bellies are full, allowing the rejuvenating energy of this glorious liquid to purge us and wipe away every decaying thought that comes against the knowledge of God.
In the parable of the leaven, we find an allusion to this tiny but deadly morsel of fruit. The leaven points us directly to a substance that contests with faith.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of what we hope for and the certainty of what we do not see.
Leaven is not this type of matter at all. It is the substance that comes from the dust around the earth in which the line is drawn. HaSatan might be able to promise us the world but ultimately the line that leads to eternal life cannot be crossed. Eating the fruit has come at a price, bringing to humanity a malaise hidden within the greatest delusion of all time. We cannot be what God has not intended His image to be.
But our belief that we can be who we want to be despite this cosmic rule of creation, does not negate the fact that man through free will and choice, will try to be re-designer of himself.
Man has built for himself, a mirrored reality to which he holds the key. Once having investigated the image before him in this mirror of decision, his dilemma becomes shall he enter into a world he thinks he will prefer or remain in a world he dislikes as much as himself. Never knowing what is on the other side, never knowing whether this world will accept him either, is the risk he takes.
In the Genesis narrative, man saw that having eaten the fruit, he had become corrupt. The integrity of God’s seed inside his earthen body was now replaced by the serpent seed. Man became cunning and began to map out his own life and future. God was close but kept His distance. His focus, having lost his status among creation, was to gain it back in whatever way possible. His design to return back to his genesis was complex because God was complex. Pride would be the ruling attribute.
In the current time, society has accepted our nakedness or fallen state as part of our humanity and therefore we need no longer be ashamed of it. We need not change if we are happy in our form. ‘God loves us just as we are,’ is the mantra in Christianity. If He does, then why does He place before every believer a programme of change? Why can we not in our present form enter the kingdom of heaven just as we are?
We occupy a realm that God will enter only for a moment. For Him to stay longer and for us to dwell within, means that our makeup must transcend the physical realm. But hey, who needs all this, when we can be our own masters? Being such is a clever pipe dream. Ultimately the effects of the opiate that courses through our minds eventually fade, waking us to our sorry reality; we have sinned against God and no other!
How much higher will God allow us to reach? Thousands of years on from the genesis of our world, we explore the ways in which we can change. I doubt that even a hundred years ago people were so obsessed with how we should look. The obsession of body conformity that consumes so many today has made many people depressed and a lot of people rich. Image makers and re-makers tell us that we can feel better and look better if only we would allow them to sell us their notions and potions.
Scientific development has become the tool skilfully deployed by the adversary of God. We can change ourselves through machines and design ourselves to live longer and healthier and to enhance attributes or create attributes of choice. The new alternate human is about to step forward.
In the meantime, we can pursue a myriad of alternatives that will suffice, keep us occupied and help us to create the awareness of others who are on similar journeys. Our visual appearance is our identifier. We can offend, defend or pretend. But somewhere along the line, it will provoke a response, good or bad. We can create alternative animated selves in avatars, or remodel our features to look like animals or copies of celebrities. But in this attempt to be individual and unique, we fail by ultimately being neither of these, because we join the merry strain of thousands of others who are lost in their virtual worlds too, all pursuing their versions of happiness.
The message of happiness and joy and the peace that comes from the pursuit of Christ and the knowledge of God is also an alternate journey for some. But in our tolerant world, such a pursuit cannot be accepted by many. Believers in Christ must accept the pursuits of others who do not want to reflect his image and persona. Believers have become anomalous in society.
To the unbeliever, Christianity or any belief that looks to the idea that we were made by a superior being of extreme intellect and knowledge is a crime and must be punished by ridicule and persecution for believing any such thing.
The law that punishes this crime, is corrupt even to the extent that it cannot judge itself. The law has become lawless and criminality is, therefore, the fruit of its corruption. We are failing to remedy this malady within society. We give the role to the lawless in our own governments, law courts and law officers to sort out and fail to see that we are all responsible when it comes to eating the forbidden fruit if we believe we have freedom of choice. My stance is that freedom is a gift that comes to us at a great price and should be used to do what is right, not what we want and change what is wrong.
Jesus spoke of the leaven that spoils the whole bunch. The secret in this statement is not what He is saying, but in what He is not saying. What the parable says to us is – ‘though what is inside the pot be good, a little of what is bad spoils the whole of its contents.’
But what Jesus is not saying is,’ though what is inside the pot be bad, a little of what is good makes the whole lot better.’
The statement is profound because we are being shown how powerful evil is. Just look at how a single germ or virus in the body can make the whole body sick. Sometimes, the part that is infected needs to be cut off to make the body healthy again.
Think about this: the kingdom of heaven was affected because of an act of pride. God chose to throw out the perpetrator and whoever wished to follow him. The matter has not been resolved, dear reader. God is coming again to judge His house. What a sobering message for the Church.