Newsflash: The Adulteress is Dead

It has become a cliche that, if a Christian speaks of holding a woman to account for her adultery, then another Christian will chime in with the story of the adulteress who is brought before Jesus by the pharisees.[1]

but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

And with a flourish of contextless Scripture, the conversation is settled along these lines: Anyone who ignores a woman’s adultery[2] is like Jesus. Anyone who has the bad taste to bring it up is a dirty pharisee. I’d like to share with you some context; some light shining forth from the dark spaces between the lines. But before I do that, I want to clear away one bit of false yet commonly believed context.

It is often bawled by the second Christian that there obviously was a man who was caught in adultery with the woman, yet he is not brought before Jesus. This, the second Christian will say, proves that the pharisees were misogynist pigs, and, quid pro quo, wrong no matter what.

It’s more likely that the truth is that the woman was brought because no one likes to see a woman punished. If Jesus had done so it would have lowered his estimation in the eyes of the masses. Jesus was known for healing, gentleness, and forgiveness. Emotionally, the rightness or wrongness of the law is almost always beside the point to people. The crowds would have disdained it viscerally. That’s why the pharisees thought it was such a good trap: If he kills her, they could say how generous they have always been to overlook such poor creatures as this adulteress; not like that brute Jesus. If he lets her go, then they can say Jesus is not serious about God’s commands.

That leads into the second point of context: The pharisees did not believe in God’s commandments. One thing you’ll notice about the Jewish religious leaders is that–with one notable exception–they never get their hands dirty. If they believed in God’s law, and if they believed Jesus was just some backwater hillbilly with the gift of gab, then they would have stoned that woman. They didn’t. To them it was just politics; control tactics for maintaining their power and prestige. Jesus means it when He calls the pharisees and sadducees  hypocrites. Even when they wanted to get kill Jesus they had the Romans do it.

You may be wondering who was that notable exception. It was Saul of Tarsus; who presided over the stoning of Stephen, the first Christian martyr, and many more persecutions of the first Christians. Saul was a true believer who was willing to stone people. So God chose Saul to be His missionary, changed his name to Paul, and then used Paul to change the world. Paul, like the Romans, was a man of action. And like Paul, Rome was quickly converted. Their salvation makes sense. It was Romans who performed the ultimate Passover sacrifice and painted a wooden post with the Lamb’s blood; albeit in ignorance.

The third point of context is that rebuke without condemnation–without punishment–is gentle and loving. It is no favor to the sinner to allow her to go on in sin. She needed to be told that she stood in danger of the penalty of death. We all do. When we respond to a non-threatening (i.e., no punishment to follow) statement of real sin by using Scripture as an excuse, then we are bearing false witness against our neighbor. The Christian who uses John 8:1-11 to quash any pronouncement of sin becomes a stumbling block to his neighbors; both witness and the sinner. That Christians is fundamentally misunderstanding the righteous nature of Jesus, of God. Jesus did not nullify His law; his judgment of adultery. He reserved it.

Which brings us to the last brushstrokes of context: His reservation of judgment came to an end and that adulteress is dead. Our Lord does not–cannot!–reserve His judgment forever, and no one is snatched from the hand of God. He is a holy and righteous God and that woman was–like everyone else and like all of us will be–put to death. She did not get off the hook for her sins, and He Who is Without Sin will cast the killing stone at sinners; which is all of us. That’s why we need to repent and be born again; so that after that death which satisfies our righteous God’s judgment we can be raised to new life with Christ. The second Christian is wrong to say that Jesus just lets her walk away forever.

[1] This is something I’ve intended to write for some time, yet kept forgetting.

[2] It’s an observation of mine that I’ve never heard this in reverse; I’ve never heard a male adulterer defended under the rubric of John 8. That’s a curious thing, as the sort of person most likely to use John 8 as a conversation-ending rebuttal is very often the same sort of person that clings to the idea of equality of the sexes.

From the Darkness of Abraham and Sarah

One of my early intentions with this blog was to keep it aligned with the blog’s name

Psalm 87

Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
    incline your ears to the words of my mouth!
I will open my mouth in a parable;
    I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known,
    that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
    but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
    and the wonders that he has done.

by frequently writing about something that had jumped out at me from the spaces between verses in the Bible; things we can learn from the dark, but bring forth light.

Last night we watched the first two episodes of “The Bible” on Netflix. The acting, script, and directions is very good. I thought the stylizations kept with the spirit of the stories, that they were done tastefully, and they engaged my emotions.

The opening was clever, too. It’s Noah on the Ark, and he’s telling his family the creation story while they tend the animals, fix leaks, and generally fear for their lives. He explains to them why the Flood has come, but also that there is every reason to hope; that God has saved them in the Ark not only for themselves, but for a reason. They will live, and God will put them on dry land again. The Ark is temporary and life will come forth to rule the Earth again. All that is covered in five minutes of well-produced video.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that there was no sun for 40 days during the Flood, and there is a lot of darkness inside of an Ark, but light and life will come forth.

The rest of the first episode is about God establishing His covenant with Abraham–through Sarah–to give Abraham descendants as numerous as the stars. They show Lot being led astray by his wife, and Abraham’s intercessions on Lot’s part.

We see Abraham and Sarah age, and Sarah gives up her hope in God, as any barren wife would be tempted. They portray Sarah’s discouraged urging of Abraham to sleep with the slave Hagar; which discouraged Abraham does, and Hagar brings forth Ishmael. Years later, after a visit from God, His promise of descendants to Abraham through Sarah comes true when Isaac is born in Sarah’s dotage, and Hagar and Ishmael are sent away. I was heartbroken watching it..as well as the scene that followed. I leave that to my readers to discover.

Obviously they had to omit large chunks of Abraham and Sarah’s story to fit it into a 45 minute program. Some of the things they cut are what happens while Abraham and Sarah are traveling around. Sarah is beautiful, and twice when they enter foreign lands Abraham hands her over to be the wife of powerful men. She’s with those foreign men for days and days, but eventually is returned to Abraham with rebukes to him for not revealing Sarah was his wife!

There are many arks in the Bible, even if only two of them are called so by name: Noah’s Ark, and the Ark of the Covenant that held the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments. Another of them, if you can accept it, is Sarah. Her womb was locked up; sealed, and protected because God knew that Abraham would have those times of faithlessness. Yet His will was to use Abraham and Sarah’s seed to bear His people.

That’s mankind’s story. The very wondrous and extraordinary protection which God gives us (because we are foolish!) is taken as a curse by we faithless. We mourn His protection, and we use it as an excuse to rebel. We tell ourselves that while we know we should be faithful, we’re “just being realistic”. It’s a lie. Realistic has no meaning if we don’t even understand what is really going on, and really at stake.

Red Weddings in Canaan

Elspeth gave a party to encourage wives to be loyal to their husbands. During that, someone told a joke about loving their husband’s strength. This caused some emotional terrorists to start planting rape bombs; specifically “marital rape”. The idea of marital rape is an IED in our culture that is used to scare women into rebelling against their husbands. The impact of the charge of “marital rape” is to create a prisoner’s dilemma between a husband and wife; the exact inverse of the prescription in 1 Corinthians 7 for the husband to surrender his body to his wife’s sexuality and the wife to her husband’s.

The main bomb-maker left, but not before G.I. Evangelical Joe showed up to make the world safe from terrorists by giving into their demands.

[W]hile the Bible does not say anything directly about marital rape in the Torah, it also does not say anything about abortion, and for the same reason; they were crimes mostly unthinkable to the Hebrews.Along the same lines, few states had bans on offing people in a VW microbus until Jack Kervorkian came along. Nobody thought there was a need.

The idea that the Israelites found abortion unthinkable is to put them on an imaginary pedestal of immense proportions. These are the people who will on-again-off-again sacrifice their  live-born babies on altars of Molech and other pagan gods. While we recognize that modern abortion is precisely the same in spirit, those Israelites were literally and manifestly worshipping foreign gods; sacrificing birthed, nursing, loved infants in full knowledge of their deeds. From this faulty start of romanticizing the Israelites he continues:

But it does not follow that forcing one’s wife was acceptable. It’s simply history, which is descriptive, not prescriptive–as Michigan residents who campaigned to stop assisted suicide would tell you, no?

For a place in the Torah that indicates the Hebrew attitude towards marital rape, let’s consider Deut. 21:10-14, which describes the treatment of captive women who are sexually desired by their captors.

It was, of course, the custom of invading pagans to rape all the young women when they conquered a city–she got to be a sex slave at best, a prostitute or dead if she were not as lucky. When she was no longer attractive, she would be sold into an even more humiliating slavery unless she found someone to protect her by some miracle.

Not the Israelites–a man got to provide for a pagan woman for a month, letting her mourn and getting to know her (perhaps gaining consent to the marriage) before he married her. He could not treat her as a slave, or sell her as one, and….

….even slaves were not to be treated ruthlessly. Now if a gentile woman merits this protection, what about a woman of Israel?

See what I’m getting at here? And this is why Peter (1 Peter 3:7) and Paul (Col. 3:19) tell the largely Gentile church…..more or less how to treat their wives like the Jews had been told to do.

The first error of the commenter I just quoted is that his idea of Peter’s encouragement for husband’s to be kind (1 Peter 3:7) and Paul’s warning for husbands not to be harsh (Colossians 3:19) is to base his judgment of what is kind or harsh solely on his own preferences. He doesn’t seem to take into account that he might be a bit effeminate; as we often see among modern American Evangelicals.

What follows this paragraph is most of my responding comment. This post is already long and it’s only getting started, but if are cruisin’ for a bruisin’ you can read the whole thing here.

I don’t think you’ve read that right at all. Deuteronomy 21:10-14 says:

10 “When you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord your God gives them into your hand and you take them captive, 11 and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you desire to take her to be your wife, 12 and you bring her home to your house, she shall shave her head and pare her nails. 13 And she shall take off the clothes in which she was captured and shall remain in your house and lament her father and her mother a full month. After that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife. 14 But if you no longer delight in her, you shall let her go where she wants. But you shall not sell her for money, nor shall you treat her as a slave, since you have humiliated her.

First of all: The whole chapter of Deut. 21 (not that it was originally in chapters) is about taking responsibility for those around you, while remaining innocent yourself. The preceding verses (v. 1-9) concern how the town nearest a found murdered body is responsible for making atonement for that murder, while also proclaiming their own innocence (if they are).

The section immediately after the captives (v. 15-17) talks about giving the firstborn his due regardless of a father’s favor for the son or the mother. Like the people in the city near the victim, the father does not get a choice about who is nearest himself (i.e., his firstborn): He must still honor him.

The next section (v. 18-21) is about how to deal with a rebellious son who refuses to repent by having all the men of the whole town take responsibility for killing the rebellious son and ridding their town of evil.

The last section (v. 22-23) about not leaving up a man hung on a tree. It puts the responsibility for a criminal to avoid God’s curse on the heads of the innocents and executioners near the dead criminal; who is responsible for his own death. It is also a foreshadowing of Christ’s crucifixion, and Joseph of Arimathea’s coming righteousness.

Keep that idea of imposed and imposing responsibility in mind. The context here (v. 10-14) of the taking of wives from female captives is: Accepting full responsibility even under duress, adverse conditions, mental anguish, and outside your control, and how to do that while maintaining innocence. So let’s look at v. 10-14 again.

10 “When you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord your God gives them into your hand and you take them captive, 11 and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you desire to take her to be your wife, 12 and you bring her home to your house, she shall shave her head and pare her nails. 13 And she shall take off the clothes in which she was captured and shall remain in your house and lament her father and her mother a full month.

Here’s the picture: Battle-hardened men who are sick of death, pitiless towards the enemy, unfazed by tears, away from their wives and no marital prospects from home in sight are going to be tempted to take a woman. They will justify it by

  1. That’s what the enemy would do.
  2. By rights these women ought to be dead with their kinsmen.[1]

God, being the creator and fan of marriage that He is, says:

“Ok, but slow your roll. You have a right to take a wife, but be sure you want to exercise your right because there’s no going back.

Here’s a good test to see if you really want her, or if you’re just trying satisfy some temporary urges: Bring her into your home–the home of her family’s slaughterers. This is going to upset her wildly. Take a good look at that. Also: Make sure you’re not beguiled by her beauty or ornamentation. Shave off her lovely hair, cut those pretty nails, and get rid of the snazzy clothes she was wearing and put on some of the clothes of her family’s killers. Take another good, long look at her now: bald and grungy; weeping so that she slobbers and snots all over her prisoner’s garb. Do this for a full month.

During that time, she’s probably not going to eat right; loose skin; bags under her eyes; maybe some sores from malnutrition or lying in one place for days on end. She’ll probably try to escape. That’s not going to endear her to your family. They’ll have to restrain her while she’s kicking and gouging and scratching (another good reason to get rid of those nails!) She’ll probably get wounded; a black eye; maybe a tooth knocked out. There’s a good chance she’ll try to hurt herself; even kill herself. If she does, those scars aren’t going to be pretty, and everyone will know how they got there. Some women will just go crazy, or she might lose the will to live and start soiling herself. Immense grief can do that.

But, at the end of that month, if you still want her then go ahead. Here’s how:

After that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife.

You’re going to have to go in there and take her. There is a good chance some crying may be involved when you–longtime enemy and the killer of her family–try to put yourself into her. You’re gonna have to push through that. Luckily, her nails have only been growing for a month, but if she’s not too weak from poor nutrition, injuries gained while trying to escape, etc.–there’s a good chance you’re going to have to use some force. Nevertheless, if you do you can be her husband, and sheshall be your wife. You don’t have to ask her because she’s been delivered into your hand, and you’ve made a vow.

Now, I’m serious about that vow.

14 But if you no longer delight in her, you shall let her go where she wants. But you shall not sell her for money, nor shall you treat her as a slave, since you have humiliated her.

You’re going to have to see this through for the rest of your life. She’s not a slave. She’s not a commodity. She’s not a concubine. She’s your wife; the whole bald-headed, baggy-eyed, poorly-dressed, soiled, and supremely resentful shooting’ match of a woman is one flesh with you. If that isn’t what you want, then don’t go into her. You’ve already put her through the wringer. Just let her go, man.

What we have is a set of verses that says a lot about what men should expect to forbear at times within a marriage: resentment, ugliness…generally some hard times and hard feelings. Those verses also practically prescribe what modern ears will hear as “marital rape”. It wasn’t rape, though. It was a form of wedding as set down in God’s word.

My sense is that, ultimately, the commenter is experiencing the American Problem; (I say that as a fellow American.) and specifically an American Evangelical Christian problem. Our penchant is to see the Israelites, God, and life generally through the lens of recent good-old days of American culture and history instead of looking plainly at what he called the descriptive history. (Good term, by the way.) When the Israelites are obedient, to us they resemble WWII-1950s Americans as shown in American propaganda: Tough on the bad men, winsome to the bad women, and positively permissive to the good women. That wasn’t even life in WWII-1950s American…much less bronze age Canaan.

How this American Problem manifests in the current sexual and marital culture is that guys who say the things he’s said stand aside and congratulate themselves when a man is thrown in prison for what is considered “marital rape”. Those same men will merely cluck their tongues when a wife cheats or divorces; perhaps mumbling something about praying for her while they mow her yard (paging Empathologism) during the ensuing “separation to allow for prayer and healing”. If they’re really “strong Christians” maybe they pray for that man who is being divorced to be broken, to see himself as broken, and pray for his own repentance. I think we can congratulate ourselves on that brokenness: Mission accomplished! But where’s the equality, man?

That last paragraph is important because it’s true-to-form even if it’s hypothetical. It happens all the time, and much more frequently than instances of so-called “marital rape”. And the reason that frequency is important is because we can see that not only is “marital rape” a bone-headed idea in the abstract, but in the concrete…how our modern and corrupted view of marital relations actually plays out. The false idea of “marital rape” is part and parcel of a larger propaganda scheme that intends to drive wives from husbands.

[1]Notice also that her mother is dead and will be mourned alongside the dead father; who presumably was killed by the Israelites. Despite what the commenter tried to sell: Women were not spared by default. In fact there are many places where God tells the Israelites to kill everyone. God Himself wipes out everyone in Sodom; man, woman, and child. The Flood killed everyone including babies. That doesn’t mean we can kill with impunity, but it does mean that even killing itself is not always immoral. The right and the intent matters, even when considering sexuality or killing.

So A Jew and an Assyrian Walk Into a Bar

Your king went forward with his plans to cooperate with the Assyrians because it seemed like the thing to do at the time. Now that error has come to fruition, and the Assyrians have taken control over Israel and Judea.

You’re a beat-down Jewish man living in Assyrian Israel. Every day you watch the troops of you occupier march by on their majestic destriers; with their fancy clothes, thick armor, and big muscles. More than once you’ve caught your wife looking at them. Sometimes she tries to hide it, but other times she just doesn’t care if you see her or not.

Yesterday, an Assyrian soldier was carousing around town with his friends, and his robe fell open; revealing himself. That was one of those moments you caught your wife biting her lip. You wonder to yourself: Besides armor, horses, fine clothes, a big ol’ swinging dick, and an army: What’s he got that I haven’t got?

You went to the Temple and sought advice from the rabbis, but they were busy convincing a group of curious invaders that they don’t have to change anything about themselves to become children of the Israelite God. They can stay as they are, live as they have as long as they keep their idolatry to a dull roar, and YHWH will accept them. He will make them profitable as long as they bring some riches to the temple like a good Jew. You don’t have much in the way of riches, and no way to go about getting them; especially with so many martial forces entrenched around you.

Sad and envious, you wander into the market to go about your work. Everywhere you look, you can see the men and women bustling around at their chores. You notice, whenever an Assyrian saunters by, the Jewish women giggle and titter to themselves; trading gossip on which Jewess has shupted the more Assyrians in her day.

You need a drink and some solace. You walk into a tavern and grab a drink. Sitting next to you is one of the occupiers. You recognize him as one of the Assyrians that the Yentas like to talk about. He’s not one of the masterminds of the invasions; he’s just a sergeant off-duty. He offers to buy you a drink.

Surprised, you accept, and a conversation begins. You get to talking and discover that he’s got a good sense of humor, and a quick tongue. You decide he’s not a bad sort of fellow for an occupier. Perhaps he can make sense of why Jewish women are so eager for guys like himself, and he agrees to tell you.

He says that they dig the power, and all the trappings that go with it: the horses, armor, and insignias–but most importantly the attitude; just the sheer belief that because you’re Assyrian your are destined to rule. Naturally the fact that they are occupiers is a big turn-on. There’s also the strangeness that goes with being foreign because women value novelty. Not to mention the fact that Assyrians do have bigger shvantzs than Jews.

You ask him how he found all this out, and he says, “Well, by shtupping a lot of Jewish daughters. Not your daughter perhaps, but a lot of them.”

As you leave, you thank him and his people for their occupation of Israel, and for revealing the truth to you by fucking all the Jewish women they can; even if they couldn’t yet make it to your own daughter. Now–with this new secret information–you set off to be the most Assyrian-looking Jew you can manage.

A Series of Negatives on Inherent Unfairness, Part VII

The story of Creation and the Garden of Eden is well-travelled ground for the Christians (and some non-Christians) in the Manosphere. I want to discuss an aspect of it that I have never realized before last night, and have never seen discussed–though I might have just missed it. Each part is a really short bit that isn’t talked about in scripture explicitly, but is unavoidable once you see it between the lines. By unavoidable, I do not mean that I have the answer, but that it is a question that should definitely be asked.

One of the ways in which the stories of the Bible, and the parables of Jesus, are so good is because they are the field in which new treasures are always being found.

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”

This is part VI of a series in digging for what is under the surface. I was going to do several parts, but I have some things I want to say, and I need to get through this so I can build upon it. You can find the other parts here: Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart V, Part VI.

In Part VI I did a pretty comprehensive review of all the previous from Genesis 1:1 to the end of Genesis 2. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to re-read it since I’ve taken more than two weeks to finish up this last section. When you’ve finished that: prepare yourself for some very pro Game. Bear in mind: this is my educated guess based on my experiences of women.

3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

What an opener! First of all: the serpent doesn’t qualify itself. It doesn’t introduce itself. It doesn’t list its merits. It doesn’t show off. It lets her make the assumptions. It leaves it to her to qualify him. It’s her business to wonder who it is to ask. Because the serpent asks her a question though, her mind is likely divided; trying to simultaneously trying to perform several emotional and logical responses. If the serpent had asked this of Adam, Adam probably would have short-circuited the serpent’s routine by asking for the serpent’s qualifications. Men, intuitively understanding authority, would have would have cut first to wondering under what authority the serpent was operating, and not moved on until authority was established.

It’s also an outstanding Neg. In one sentence it both insinuates that it is a strange phenomenon that God would prohibit her from something that might be available to others, and implies that maybe she is not good enough to eat <i>any</i> of the fruit–which would have the effect of raising a shaky sense of defensiveness.

Even the purely logical responses are divided again because she can obviously eat any fruit in the Garden except from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil–so a simple answer there. However; the prohibition against that tree would weigh heavily in her mind because the repercussions are so severe.

As a little recap and exposition, here is a list of at least some of the things probably simultaneously going through Eve’s mind:

  1. Who is this serpent?
  2. Why is it talking to me?
  3. Which fruits can I eat?
  4. Which fruit can’t I eat?
  5. Why ask such a nonsensical question?
  6. Is it nonsensical?
  7. Who can eat the prohibited fruit?
  8. Why can’t I eat the prohibited fruit?
  9. Am I good enough?
  10. What is that fruit, anyway?

All of which, leaves very little mental energy to make a good judgment about the situation as a whole. Contrary to what you may have heard: women are no better at multitasking than men. Some folks are better than others, but both sexes just trade off the finite amount of resources of the brain, like processing a queue of tasks to be done. As I said above, what the man would have done before even taking on this problem is establish the authority of the questioner. It’s a great strategy to preserve resources for the things that are really important; like work, or sex. Women tend to lack this innate prioritization process because they were purposed to help a man from a submissive position, not at the forefront of the problem.

Finally, the serpent is asking a question to which it already knows the answer; keeping it in its mental territory, and moving her out of hers. The question is fundamentally deceptive in design. On the surface the question is about eating fruit. However; the point is not to get an answer–the serpent has it already–but to use the woman’s lack of sense of the importance of authority and her hypergamous nature to specifically to rev up what PUAs call the woman’s rationalization hamster, i.e., her inability to prioritize wants and needs. It’s an intrinsically deceptive query; which we should expect if we know that the serpent is known for craftiness. It has disarmed Eve’s mind with one question, and now she’s open to suggestion.

I intended to cover a lot more verses, but the more I thought about this (and after getting some expert advice) the more I thought a study of the opening move should stand alone.

A Series of Negatives on Inherent Unfairness, Part VI

The story of Creation and the Garden of Eden is well-travelled ground for the Christians (and some non-Christians) in the Manosphere. I want to discuss an aspect of it that I have never realized before last night, and have never seen discussed–though I might have just missed it. Each part is a really short bit that isn’t talked about in scripture explicitly, but is unavoidable once you see it between the lines. By unavoidable, I do not mean that I have the answer, but that it is a question that should definitely be asked.

One of the ways in which the stories of the Bible, and the parables of Jesus, are so good is because they are the field in which new treasures are always being found.

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”

This is part VI of a series in digging for what is under the surface. I was going to do several parts, but I have some things I want to say, and I need to get through this so I can build upon it. You can find the other parts here: Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IV, Part V.

Before we move on, I need to do a quick recap of everything that’s taken place. Sure, you can just click the links and go back, but it seems better to me to keep a semblance of coherency.

There was darkness and void, and God made everything; starting with light and ending with man. This took six days. After thinking about it, particularly in the context of Unger’s excellent comment, I don’t know if it means anything other than the plain reading, but it definitely indicates God’s solitude, His holiness as the secret of secrets, and His desire to love someone. Another thing that I thought about is that it is much easier to see a light in the dark, than it is to see dark in the light. It simply doesn’t work. Dark can’t banish light, but it only works the other way around.

God has somewhat revealed Himself in three persons. The Spirit is there, moving over the waters, and His Word takes action; creating things. We also see that God withholds His judgment on whether a thing is good or not, until He has seen it. If anyone could be sure that what He is going to do is good, it should be God. Since we also know that it is His Word that is creating things, this is (the first?) instance of God complimenting the Son, in Whom He is well-pleased.

I just realized: He speaks everything into existence except man himself. Man is not from His Word. Man is the first “work” that God does with His own “hands”. The creation of man is describe in two parts. First, men and women are described being created together, and then in chapter 2 we get a fuller account, and man is made alone, in a barren landscape, as God was alone. Man, the one thing God formed HImself, is not stated to be good until he is given work to do, as God has been working. God creates the Garden of Eden (fully-formed, unlike the rest of the earth), and brings Adam, the first man, to it, to care for it. To this point, there has been an order to each aspect. God does not create light to help the plants. He creates light, and then makes things that grow in the light. There is order all the way down. In fact, when the order is described, it is a knot-work of sentences that begin with “And”; denoting that these things exists in an order, and yet side-by-side. (This is not the last time we will see this.) At no point during the explanatory process does God say, “It is good for you to do this…”, or, “It is good that animals do such…” It is simply to be taken on faith, and revelation. I compared this order to a knot of string, with a definite path, but also around and atop, and beneath each other.

Adam’s job is to tend the Garden, and in the Garden is “every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food” and also in the midst of the garden are two trees that are different from the rest. One is the Tree of Life, of which nothing else is yet said. The other is the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The fruit of this tree is not to be eaten, and from that we can reasonably deduce that its fruit bears no seeds. It does not perpetuate itself. The these two trees are named side-by-side, but not described the same (indeed, one is not described at all) so we can assume that they are related, but different.

God also rests on the seventh day–a day we still have with us. Calendars have changed, and not just names. Months, and years all had different characteristics, but there are still seven days in a week. We know this rest is not necessary for God because He does not have a body, and therefore cannot tire. He is resting with man; an instance of His desire to live truly with us.

He gives no prohibitions except to not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and states that the day he eats it, he shall surely die. Not even the Tree of Life is explicitly prohibited.

We don’t know from the text we’ve covered so far, but we know from later scripture that Satan exists, and that there has been a rebellion in Heaven, led by Lucifer, who is Satan. We also know from the book of Job that Satan is like an unethical prosecutor; trying to lure man into sin, that he might be damned. “Satan” means “Adversary”, the opposite of an advocate.

I thought about linking all of this, but you can just go to Genesis 1, and it’s all there. We’ve covered the first half of Genesis 2, also. Here’s the rest.

18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

Notice, God sees this before Adam does, and for the first time God says something is not good. His solution is to do for Adam what God did for Himself; doing for him as Adam would have done for himself, and without Adam asking. Indeed, without Adam knowing. This prefigures what Christ will say several thousands of years later: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It’s also another picture of husbandry; anticipating the needs of Adam before he is even aware. In this, we see that the Golden Rule is not just an ethic of reciprocity, but an ethic of manliness itself. To whatever extent we don’t do this, we are ungodly, and unmanly. This is important to remember since everything around us is screaming the opposite; encouraging us to forget no wrong, and never give more than we receive.

In Luke we find this verse right in the midst of a statement on how to treat our enemies, and so it also prefigures the solution to the animosities of the sexes that was to come, and is still with us.

27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

How many husbands and wives have made this same enemies complaint against each other? I would guess all of them. Yet, the solution was right there in the beginning from before there were wives. However; we should not be deceived. Not everything that is good for our enemies will feel like pleasure for either side. In fact, it is often the opposite, as our God loves paradox. Pain is the hallmark of the teacher. It is more likely that the moneychangers were thrown out for their own good, than for the good of the people they were cheating. You can’t con an honest man, and God is not mocked.

19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam[g] there was not found a helper fit for him.

This is describes two things:

  1. God is actively submitting all of creation to Adam’s will. God doesn’t name the animals, Adam does, at God’s behest and under God’s power.
  2. This procession has the effect of bringing Adam to understand that he is alone. God is with him, but God is so very beyond him. Adam would see the animals: rooster and hen, ram and ewe, bull and cow, lion and lioness, but not other man.

21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.

The same location where our Lord was pierced on the cross, after His heart broke, and He died.

22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”[i]

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Notice the genetic implications: this woman is fully him; more him than a twin would be; as a female twin would be fraternal. Also, like Adam, she is formed by God’s “hands”, and not simply spoken into existence; the only other true creation, but Adam. She is a sister, and a bride; younger in time and knowledge, almost like a daughter. She is the complete female companion. Also, she is presented to Adam, and he names her kind just as he did all the rest of creation. She, too, is under his authority.

25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

On one hand, it’s almost easy to see how they were not ashamed. First, they don’t know much. Second, they’re alone in the Garden, except for God.

I want to talk about some concepts that go back to the original idea of this series: negatives and unfairness. We can infer from the last verse that there should be shame associated with nakedness; at least, we know from our own experience that these two states of being walk together: nakedness, and shame. But God is there, so why no shame? I’d suggest that because the Garden of Eden is a God’s dwelling, and we know that God exists in holy darkness. He is the Secret of the universe, sacred and beyond. We understand that God is everywhere, but He designates this Garden as His home on earth. Later, when the tabernacle is built for the Israelites so that God may dwell with them, the inside is dark. The inside of the Ark of the Covenant is dark. The entrance to the Holy of Holies in the temple is shrouded in thick curtains, to keep the light out. To return to the text we’re reading: our clothes create darkness, and holiness. We can see that modesty itself is part and parcel of holiness.

Further, the most sacred place on a woman is hidden between her legs, and is not a protrusion, but a well. Her physical essence is predicated on the idea of modesty, and she has been constructed in such a way as to easily maintain it. That is: womanhood is primarily concerned with remaining holy. This is unlike the man whose manhood not only is a protrusion, but when he is aroused to action it becomes impossible to miss. Her arousal is hidden, yet the blood flow opens the curtains to the sanctuary, and waters flow out; easing the lover into discovery of what is so holy.

Simultaneously, we men know that the sexes are not wholly segregated. After all, woman is the sister of man, bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh. We speak vulgarly of the man’s bone penetrating the woman’s flesh, but this process is accompanied. Another bone, the rib, is having a similar effect on the man near where it left, and rightfully belongs: his heart. As surely as a man penetrates a woman, she penetrates his heart. There, she sows seeds that will bring a man to grow many things he had not before known. She is as meant to bring forth love in a holy heart, as he is meant to bring forth life in her body.

And all of this is part of a pattern of knots and whorls that has existed and progressed in a definite order, but also around, and atop, and beneath, and has been taking place in a largely dark universe created by a God who works in secret, and then reveals and pronounces the goodness of it to us.

A Series of Negatives on Inherent Unfairness, Part V

The story of Creation and the Garden of Eden is well-travelled ground for the Christians (and some non-Christians) in the Manosphere. I want to discuss an aspect of it that I have never realized before last night, and have never seen discussed–though I might have just missed it. Each part is a really short bit that isn’t talked about in scripture explicitly, but is unavoidable once you see it between the lines. By unavoidable, I do not mean that I have the answer, but that it is a question that should definitely be asked.

One of the ways in which the stories of the Bible, and the parables of Jesus, are so good is because they are the field in which new treasures are always being found.

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”

This is part V of a series in digging for what is under the surface. I was going to do several parts, but I have some things I want to say, and I need to get through this so I can build upon it. You can find the other parts here: Part IPart IIPart III, Part IV.

Picking up where we left off:

These are the generations
of the heavens and the earth when they were created,
in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.

When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.

Adam knew what the earth looked like outside the Garden of Eden. He knew that it was still desolate. It’s also another view of the provider and protector role–the husband role–that God plays in the life of mankind, even men. He prepares a dwelling for the object of His love, and  brings him to it. He doesn’t build it with Adam. He presents it to Adam; as if to say: “You know the life you had before, but I have much better in store for you.”

And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

This is the first mention of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Of course, all trees and plants were mentioned inclusively in chapter 1, in the description of the third day.

10 A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers.11 The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land ofHavilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. 14 And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

Notice the symbolism that the whole area, perhaps the whole earth, is watered from within the Garden of Eden. Yes, water springs up from the ground to water plants in the same way that all of creation testifies to God’s existence, and goodness. But the water literally pours from the mouth of Eden; as if it is the source of all good things, where God dwells with man.

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.

Man was to work in God’s home–right from the beginning. Adam wasn’t to lounge around all day eating grapes, but to garden and farm, really. Of course God created and gave the home, but it is important that man tend it. It’s one of his purposes. It’s manly housework.

It should also be obvious that famous “curse” in chapter 3 that man works if false. He was working from the beginning, but in perfection, as he was told. As. He. Was. Told.

16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden,17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Why is it even there? Why is there a tree there that has the power to cause death? We know from chapter 1 that God made every seed-bearing tree:

11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.”

and that seed-bearing trees are made to eat. All of them.

29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.

So what is this tree doing here? We have to deduce that this tree bears no seeds, since it is not good for eating. What does that signify? Why does God give no instruction on the Tree of Life? Can man eat of it, or not?

It’s interesting that the forebear to the instrument of Christ’s death was created on the third day. He could have been killed by rocks, or a sword, or hanged, or any number of things, but he was nailed to what is decidedly a very strange, but obvious tree; a tree that bore fruit that was good to eat (the Bread of Life), and yet had no seed (children). It is like the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and mentioned with it, but not it. What is left? The Tree of Life. I’ve never read that anywhere that I know of–it just struck me as I was writing. And as I wrote the previous sentences, it dawned on me that Christ returns on the third day after this sign of the third day–which would make it, significantly, the sixth day, the day man is made.

When I discover symbolism like this, I don’t always know what to make of it: imaginings, or insight? It reminds me of the danger of speaking in tongues*, so take it in that spirit and use your own judgment. Surely other theologians have spoken on this? I don’t read many theologians; any theologians, really.

And where are the angels? And Lucifer? If you told me that Satan had went before God, and demanded that God allow him to test Adam, God might let him. He might say Satan may test him, but it may not touch Adam or his wife. Just like Job.

That’s pure speculation, not even symbolism, but it seems reasonable to me.

*With which I have always had a hard time. I’ve never heard it that I know of.

A Series of Negatives on Inherent Unfairness, Part IV

The story of Creation and the Garden of Eden is well-travelled ground for the Christians (and some non-Christians) in the Manosphere. I want to discuss an aspect of it that I have never realized before last night, and have never seen discussed–though I might have just missed it. Each part is a really short bit that isn’t talked about in scripture explicitly, but is unavoidable once you see it between the lines. By unavoidable, I do not mean that I have the answer, but that it is a question that should definitely be asked.

One of the ways in which the stories of the Bible, and the parables of Jesus, are so good is because they are the field in which new treasures are always being found.

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”

This is part IV of a series in digging for what is under the surface. I was going to do several parts, but I have some things I want to say, and I need to get through this so I can build upon it. You can find the other parts here: Part IPart II, Part III.

Before I start Genesis chapter 2, I want to point out that in Chapter 1, God never says that anything is evil, or not good. This is one of those negatives of the picture to which we should pay attention. God is not on a manic spree saying everything He does is good simply because He did it. He is working deliberately, and when the work is finished, then He assesses it. It is then that He pronounces it good.

I need to be very careful here, but it seems to me that something happened before the appearance of man; something God does not approve of (in the sense that He would proclaim it good) happens. At some point Lucifer rejects God’s authority, and becomes evil, he becomes the Devil–the Adversary, or Prosecutor; and Satan, the Deceiver. We know from the story of Job that Lucifer comes before the Lord and accuses man of sinfulness–which God allows! Regardless, God does not take the time to say, “This is not good”, or “This is evil.” In other words: He does not go around bemoaning bad things that happen, or pointing out faults (though He will later).

Which brings up a question: If God wants us to do right, and does not want us to do wrong, why does God allow the existence of Satan in the first place?

Which brings up another question: What is Satan doing while God is creating the universe, light, day, the Earth, plants, and animals?

I’ll come back to this in another post.

The first three verses of Genesis 2 are strangely placed to me, because they are clearly linked to the process of creation that is in chapter 1.

2 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

Why does God rest? Is He tired? If so, in what sense? God “hath not a body like man”, so he can’t be physically tired. He’s also omnipotent.

I think this is the first example of God, the father and husband of mankind, condescending to man. God could just tell man to rest every so often, but He has expressed Himself so far as a god of action. His way is to be with us, not just give direction. He seldom speaks, and when He does it is to praise. When He gives direction it is a positive, and it is an exhortation to be like Him:

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.”

God has already been fruitful. He has multiplied everything. He has filled the earth, and subdued it. He has dominion over all things, and nothing He has made is forbidden Him. So, when God rests, this is him living in understanding with the weaker vessel; treating us as heirs with Him of the grace of life from the beginning of time. Where else do we see this?

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

It’s not a matter of being “right”, or  “good”, or “fair” for God to rest. It is a necessity for man to rest, and because God wants to be with man, He rests with us. When we don’t rest, we are expressing multiple things:

  • We know what we need better than God.
  • We are insulting Him by working when He rests (as if we are the stronger)
  • Worst of all: We are spurning his affections.

A very common thing to see in the household of a “Good Christian Woman”–in addition to the monstrously painful sin of a wife denying her husband fleshly pleasures–is the less painful but still utterly rebellious and dysfunctional charade of industry. It often occurs when a man asks his wife to recline with him, and she insists that she doesn’t have time for him because she’s too busy cleaning the house.

Who would say cleaning the house is unimportant? To ask the question is to miss the point.

A Series of Negatives on Inherent Unfairness, Part III

The story of Creation and the Garden of Eden is well-travelled ground for the Christians (and some non-Christians) in the Manosphere. I want to discuss an aspect of it that I have never realized before last night, and have never seen discussed–though I might have just missed it. Each part is a really short bit that isn’t talked about in scripture explicitly, but is unavoidable once you see it between the lines. By unavoidable, I do not mean that I have the answer, but that it is a question that should definitely be asked.

One of the ways in which the stories of the Bible, and the parables of Jesus, are so good is because they are the field in which new treasures are always being found.

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”

This is part III of a series in digging for what is under the surface. I was going to do several parts, but I have some things I want to say, and I need to get through this so I can build upon it. You can find the other parts here: Part I, Part II

I have to do a quick review for my own sake, so I might as well post it here. In Genesis chapter 1 we have God, alone, and without anyone to prompt Him but Himself, He sets about creating a world. It is dark. He creates light, night and day, atmosphere, oceans, stars, land, plants, sea-life, birds, and the animals. After each one is made–and never before–He says “It is good.”

He makes man in His/Their own image, and does not say they are good until they are given a job. The very thing that is most like Him, is good only in that it has submission to His order and purposes; authority over the everything that was created; respect for the process of order itself.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Notice that almost every sentence beings with “And”. It’s a continuation of ideas. Man, being finite, can only hear or see one thing at a time–like a string–, but the conjunction “And” shows us this is a continuous revelation; each part tied up not only after the other, but alongside it. We read it as a string of text, but it’s actually a knot of authority, responsibility, and respect. You can’t have one without the other.

What is being described? It’s picture of the family. Though, we don’t see it directly; we experience it in the reverse, as the negative of the picture of family. We feel the pain of absence and disorder. What we experience is the shape of the hole where authority, responsibility, and respect should be.

  • We suffer for the lack of authority from fathers in provisioning and leading their families.
  • We suffer the lack of responsibility from mothers to continue in their marriages, and in child-rearing.
  • We suffer the lack of respect from our children for what authority and responsibility have provided them; which is life itself.

This phenomenon is not limited to the immediate family (profiting when we accept the whole knot of authority, responsibility, and respect, or suffering when we reject it); it also happens on an internal level, inside us. It is true in the extended family, as well. It affects our churches, our governments, and even our businesses. This knot of authority, responsibility, and respect that began long before us and our families, continues through us, and goes on into infinity at the consummation of mankind with Christ. This knot is what ties us all together, and to God.

The second thing that really strikes me is that good-ness–or fair-ness–is not the reason for us to be stewards of God’s creation, to manage the animals, or to eat. We are given no reason but His desire.

In other words: to ask the question of something so basic as, “What right do I have to manage the animals?” (which is easily answered, given man’s easy ability to corral, raise, or destroy them), is to miss the point, or the mark.

The definition of “sin” is: “to be outside”, or “to be without”. Sin means “to miss the point”. Sin separates us from God not because we don’t see things the way He does, or because we have made Him mad, but because we have cut ourselves out of the knot of authority, responsibility, and respect. We have resorted to judging for ourselves what is good. Even God does not judge the goodness of a thing until He has seen it–even if He made it! We are trying to create our own knot with an extraordinarily tiny amount of finite string.

What happens when we cut a section of string out of a knot? Given enough time: the whole thing unravels.