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Friday, May 6, 2016

Love Your Enemies


Jesus—His Life and Message: The Sermon on the Mount - By Peter Amsterdam:
http://directors.tfionline.com/post/jesushis-life-and-message-sermon-moun/

(You can read about the intent for and overview of this series in this introductory article.)

We’re going to take a look now at the last of the six examples in the Sermon where Jesus gave a fuller understanding of the Law of Moses. Here He went beyond the idea that members of the kingdom of God shouldn’t retaliate and resist (as explored in the previous article), by teaching that we are to love our enemies.

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
1

Jesus paraphrased Leviticus 19:18, you shall love your neighbor, and then added the phrase and hate your enemy, which most likely summarized the way many in His day interpreted Scripture. There is no Scripture which specifically says to hate your enemy, though it can be inferred by Old Testament verses such as Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.2

There are also Old Testament passages that speak of showing kindness and goodwill toward enemies.

If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey going astray, you shall bring it back to him. If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying down under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it; you shall rescue it with him.3 If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.4 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles.5

Author D. A. Carson commented that

Some Jews took the word “neighbor” to be exclusive: we are to love only our neighbor, they thought, and therefore we are to hate our enemies. This was actually taught in some circles.6

The key lies in the matter of who is a neighbor. The word “neighbor” in the Old Testament is used generally as a term for a member of the Jewish people, the people of the covenant. All throughout the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, the word “neighbor” generally refers to fellow Jews. The full sentence Jesus paraphrased said:

You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself.7

The general Jewish thinking at the time left “non-neighbors,” basically non-Jews, outside the command to love. However, Jesus greatly expanded the understanding of who is a neighbor to include strangers and even enemies. This is made clear both in this portion of the Sermon on the Mount as well as in the parable of the Good Samaritan.8

John Stott explains that according to Jesus, our neighbor is

not necessarily a member of our own race, rank or religion. He may not even have any connection with us. He may be our enemy … Our‘neighbor’ in the vocabulary of God includes our enemy. What constitutes him our neighbor is simply that he is a fellow human being in need, whose need we know and are in a position in some measure to relieve.9

We are to love even our enemies, to do good to those who hate us, bless those who curse us, pray for those who abuse us.10 Why? Because we are God’s children, and this is how God treats people.

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.11

Speaking of humanity in general, the apostle Paul made the point that corporately, through Adam’s sin (and individually through our own sins), humanity rejected God and as such were considered His enemy, yet Scripture tells us that While we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.12 From the very beginning, God loved humanity; even though humanity was in rebellion against Him due to our sins, He loved us. As His children (sons of your Father), we should do as He does, by loving our enemies. We’re told to pray for those who persecute and abuse us. They may be cursing and damning us, wishing us harm, but our response should be to call down God’s blessing on them and let them know we wish them nothing but good.13 We are to pray for them as Jesus prayed after being severely beaten and nailed to the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”14

We are children of our Father, and therefore should imitate His love. He doesn’t discriminate. He gives the blessings of sunshine and rain not only to the just, but also to the unjust (which according to the Greek words used means those who keep the divine laws and those who don’t), the evil and good. God is inclusive when it comes to His love, and as disciples, our attitudes toward others should reflect His. Earlier in the Sermon Jesus taught to go the extra mile, to refrain from slapping back in retaliation, to give not just our tunic but our cloak when someone sues us; and here He goes a step further, saying we must love these people, to love even our enemies, to be positive in our attitude toward them. We are to behave as God behaves, to treat others as He treats them. The love He speaks of isn’t referring to a natural affection or feelings of love or emotional love, but rather the type of love which stems from the will rather than attraction or charm. This love chooses to love the undeserving. It’s a love that is shown in action, in compassion and kindness.

Jesus next puts forth two hypothetical cases.

For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?15

Loving those who love you is nothing special. Even those who were considered the lowest of the low in Jesus’ milieu, the hated tax collectors, loved their family and friends. Jesus makes the point that there is no reward for doing what is naturally commonplace.16

He then pointed out that if you greet (bid welcome and wish well to) only those of your own people (in this case fellow Jews), you are only doing what everyone does, including the Gentiles—the people who were looked down upon and considered idolaters. There is nothing exceptional about warmly greeting your own people. The implication is that more is expected of believers. We’re not only meant to love and greet those who love us or are from our own family group/neighborhood/ community/race/nationality, as this is common to all people.

In the introduction to the six “you have heard it said … but I say unto you …” examples, Jesus said:

For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.17

Here He is making the point that we shouldn’t pride ourselves because we measure up to what everyone else in the world does by loving our own. He’s saying that as members of the kingdom we are to do more than what is naturally done, to go beyond the norm. We are to imitate God by manifesting His love to everyone, including those who hate us and persecute us.

Jesus then ended with:

You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.18

The meaning of “perfect” as used here isn’t moral perfection. John Stott explains:

Both the hunger for righteousness and the prayer for forgiveness, being continuous, are clear indications that Jesus did not expect his followers to become morally perfect in this life. The context shows the ‘perfection’ he means relates to love, that perfect love of God which is shown even to those who do not return it. Indeed, the scholars tell us that the Aramaic word which Jesus may well have used meant ‘all-embracing.’19

Authors Stassen and Gushee wrote:

Those who want to make the Sermon on the Mount into impossible high ideals interpret the summary verse, 5:48, as demanding moral perfection… They assume that “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” meant moral perfection…. Rather the word here means complete or all-inclusive, in the sense of love that includes even enemies. This is the point that Jesus has been emphasizing in this teaching: the love of God’s grace that includes the complete circle of humankind, with enemies in it as well, by contrast with tax collectors and Gentiles, who love only their friends… So we are not to think of Jesus as teaching impossible moral ideals, or idealistic moral perfection, but practical deeds of love towards enemies, including prayer for them.20

The direction to “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” picks up on the earlier point of imitating God. A believer’s lifestyle, along with the principles behind it, is meant to be different from the norm. It derives its direction and inspiration from the character of God rather than from the social norms of society. In giving the six examples (and throughout the rest of the Sermon on the Mount), Jesus teaches looking beyond simple obedience to the rules and restrictions of the Law to better understand the mind and character of the Father, and to reflect His character as best we can. It echoes the repeated direction given in the Old Testament:

You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.21

Like the Father, our treatment of others shouldn’t be determined by who they are or their treatment of us. God loves people and bestows His love on them even though they don’t believe in Him—even if they hate Him. He doesn’t respond in kind. Instead, He loves them because He is love. We too are called to move beyond reacting to others based on our personal feelings about them or how they treat us or what they say. Instead we are to be governed by God’s love, to love as He does. When we do, we reflect His love toward them.

The command to love others is not necessarily a command to like them. Liking someone depends on a lot of different factors, such as compatibility, temperament, and more. Lloyd-Jones explains:

What God commands is that we should love a man and treat him as if we do like him. Love is much more than feeling or sentiment. Love in the New Testament is very practical.—‘For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.’ Love is active. If, therefore, we find we do not like certain people, we need not be worried by that, so long as we are treating them as if we did like them. That is loving.22

Scripture speaks of hating evil:

O you who love the LORD, hate evil!23 The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil.24 Do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the LORD.25

Because God by nature is absolutely holy, He hates evil. His anger and hatred of evil is expressed as His wrath in Scripture. It is clear throughout Scripture that in the life to come, those who have been evil and have rejected the gift of a personal relationship with God made possible through the sacrifice of His Son will face judgment.

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him.26 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.27

God loves every human being, even though they sin against Him. He offers them the means of salvation from His wrath against their sin, but many reject it, and they face judgment in the life to come. When we are called to love our enemies, it’s a call to love them as God loves them, to desire good for them, to pray that they will come to know Him so they can spend eternity with Him. God hates their evil (and ours as well), but He loves them as individuals. He will nevertheless judge them for their evil, because that is just and right. Thus, while we should love the individuals as God loves them, it doesn’t mean we accept or embrace what they do and who they become, or never speak against or take a stance against their wrongdoing or ungodly actions. It is right to hate evil; as Paul says, “hate what is evil, cling to what is good,”28 and there is such a thing as righteous anger against evil. But such anger is hatred for the evil deeds; it’s hating what God hates. It’s not a personal hatred; it has no personal malice, vindictiveness, or spite.

Jesus’ call to love our enemies is His call for us to live as members of His kingdom by letting our light shine before others, by exhibiting a righteousness that exceeds that of the Pharisees, by doing our best to reflect the nature and character of God, our Father in heaven.

Note

Unless otherwise indicated, all scriptures are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

General Bibliography

Bailey, Kenneth E. Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2008.

Biven, David. New Light on the Difficult Words of Jesus. Holland: En-Gedi Resource Center, 2007.

Bock, Darrell L. Jesus According to Scripture. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002.

Bock, Darrell L. Luke Volume 1: 1:1–9:50. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1994.

Bock, Darrell L. Luke Volume 2: 9:51–24:53. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1996.

Brown, Raymond E. The Birth of the Messiah. New York: Doubleday, 1993.

Brown, Raymond E. The Death of the Messiah. 2 vols. New York: Doubleday, 1994.

Carson, D. A. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and His Confrontation with the World.Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1987.

Charlesworth, James H., ed. Jesus’ Jewishness, Exploring the Place of Jesus Within Early Judaism. New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997.

Chilton, Bruce, and Craig A. Evans, eds. Authenticating the Activities of Jesus.Boston: Koninklijke Brill, 1999.

Edersheim, Alfred. The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. Updated Edition. Hendrickson Publishers, 1993.

Elwell, Walter A., ed. Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1988.

Elwell, Walter A., and Robert W. Yarbrough. Encountering the New Testament.Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005.

Evans, Craig A. World Biblical Commentary: Mark 8:27–16:20. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2000.

Evans, Craig A., and N. T. Wright. Jesus, the Final Days: What Really Happened.Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2009.

Flusser, David. Jesus. Jerusalem: The Magnes Press, 1998.

Flusser, David, and R. Steven Notely. The Sage from Galilee: Rediscovering Jesus’Genius. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2007.

France, R. T. The Gospel of Matthew. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2007.

Gnilka, Joachim. Jesus of Nazareth: Message and History. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1997.

Green, Joel B. The Gospel of Luke. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1997.

Green, Joel B., and Scot McKnight, eds. Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels.Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1992.

Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology, An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Grand Rapids: InterVarsity Press, 2000.

Guelich, Robert A. World Biblical Commentary: Mark 1–8:26. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1989.

Jeremias, Joachim. The Eucharistic Words of Jesus. Philadelphia: Trinity Press International, 1990.

Jeremias, Joachim. Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1996.

Jeremias, Joachim. Jesus and the Message of the New Testament. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2002.

Jeremias, Joachim. New Testament Theology. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1971.

Keener, Craig S. The Gospel of John: A Commentary, Volume 1. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003.

Keener, Craig S. The Gospel of John: A Commentary, Volume 2. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003.

Keener, Craig S. The Gospel of Matthew: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2009.

Lewis, Gordon R., and Bruce A. Demarest. Integrative Theology. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996.

Lloyd-Jones, D. Martyn. Studies in the Sermon on the Mount. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1976.

Manson, T. W. The Sayings of Jesus. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1957.

Manson, T. W. The Teaching of Jesus. Cambridge: University Press, 1967.

McKnight, Scot. Sermon on the Mount. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013.

Michaels, J. Ramsey. The Gospel of John. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2010.

Milne, Bruce. The Message of John. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1993.

Morris, Leon. The Gospel According to Matthew. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1992.

Ott, Ludwig. Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma. Rockford: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1960.

Pentecost, J. Dwight. The Words & Works of Jesus Christ. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981.

Sanders, E. P. Jesus and Judaism. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985.

Sheen, Fulton J. Life of Christ. New York: Doubleday, 1958.

Spangler, Ann, and Lois Tverberg. Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009.

Stassen, Glen H., and David P. Gushee. Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2003.

Stein, Robert H. Jesus the Messiah. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1996.

Stein, Robert H. The Method and Message of Jesus’ Teachings, Revised Edition.Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1994.

Stott, John R. W. The Message of the Sermon on the Mount. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1978.

Talbert, Charles H. Reading the Sermon on the Mount. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004.

Williams, J. Rodman. Renewal Theology: Systematic Theology from a Charismatic Perspective. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996.

Witherington III, Ben. The Christology of Jesus. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1990.

Witherington III, Ben. The Gospel of Mark: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2001.

Wood, D. R. W., I. H. Marshall, A. R. Millard, J. I. Packer, and D. J. Wiseman, eds.New Bible Dictionary. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1996.

Wright, N. T. After You Believe. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2010.

Wright, N. T. Jesus and the Victory of God. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996.

Wright, N. T. Matthew for Everyone, Part 1. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004.

Wright, N. T. The Resurrection of the Son of God. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003.

Yancey, Philip. The Jesus I Never Knew. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995.

Young, Brad H. Jesus the Jewish Theologian. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1995.

Footnotes:

1 Matthew 5:43–48.
2 Psalm 139:21–22.
3 Exodus 23:4–5.
4 Proverbs 25:21.
5 Proverbs 24:17.
6 Carson, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, 55–56.
7 Leviticus 19:18.
8 Luke 10:29–37. See The Parable of the Good Samaritan in The Stories Jesus Told.
9 Stott, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, 118.
10 Luke 6:27–28.
11 Matthew 5:44–45.
12 Romans 5:10.
13 Stott, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, 118.
14 Luke 23:34.
15 Matthew 5:46–47.
16 Morris, The Gospel According to Matthew, 132.
17 Matthew 5:20.
18 Matthew 5:48.
19 Stott, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, 122.
20 Stassen and Gushee, Kingdom Ethics, 141.
21 Leviticus 19:2; 11:45; 20:26.
22 Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 272.
23 Psalm 97:10.
24 Proverbs 8:13.
25 Zechariah 8:17.
26 John 3:36 NIV.
27 John 5:28–29.
28 Romans 12:9 NIV.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

O buldogue de Darwin — Thomas H. Huxley

http://creation.mobi/darwins-bulldog-thomas-h-huxley-portuguese
por russell Grigg
traduzido por Xavier Silva
wikipedia.org

Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin tinha pouco tempo para as polémicas científicas, teológicas e morais suscitadas pela publicação da sua “Origem das Espécies” em 1859. O mesmo não se pode dizer de Thomas Henry Huxley (1825–1895), que se lançou na refrega, chegando mesmo a alcunhar-se de “buldogue de Darwin”.1

Darwin chamava-lhe “o meu bom e simpático agente para a propagação do Evangelho — isto é, o Evangelho do diabo”.2

Foi Huxley, não Darwin, que arrebatou e escandalizou o público na década de 1860 falando dos nossos antepassados símios e dos homens das cavernas. Londres revelava-se — desde os cardeais a Karl Marx — fascinada e atormentada pelas suas aulas brilhantes. “Operários barbudos com bolhas nas mãos afluíam às suas palestras sobre a nossa ancestralidade. Ele atraía o tipo de multidões que atualmente estão reservadas aos evangelistas ou às estrelas rock.”3

“Das suas provocações surgiu … a nova fé do Ocidente — o agnosticismo (ele cunhou a palavra).”3
Juventude e autoeducação


wikipedia.org

Thomas H. Huxley


Thomas nasceu na vila de Ealing, perto de Londres, em 1825, o sétimo dos oito filhos de Huxley. Negligenciado pelo pai, cresceu na pobreza, apenas com dois anos de escolaridade formal. Vivendo na miséria industrial da década de 1840, em que a igreja era um luxo dos ricos, Thomas procurou a redenção através da autoeducação.

Aos 12 anos leu a Teoria da Terra de James Hutton e teve o seu primeiro encontro com a geologia antibíblica. Leitor ávido de história, ciência e filosofia, ensinou-se a si próprio quase tudo o que sabia até entrar para a escola de medicina do Hospital de Charing Cross.4Apresentou-se à 1.ª Parte do exame para o bacharelato em Medicina na Universidade de Londres, ganhando a medalha de ouro de anatomia e fisiologia, mas não compareceu à 2.ª Parte.5

Trabalhou depois como assistente do cirurgião (“colega do cirurgião”) a bordo do HMS Rattlesnake, numa viagem de estudo do oceano do sul (1846–1850). Embora Huxley não tivesse nenhum grau universitário formal,6 a publicação dos resultados da investigação sobre a estrutura de vários invertebrados marinhos obtidos nesta viagem garantiu-lhe a aceitação futura pela comunidade científica britânica.7 Em 1851, aos 25 anos, foi eleito Fellow da Royal Society (F.R.S.), que também lhe atribuiu a Medalha Real em 1852, um ano antes de Charles Darwin receber a mesma distinção.
Huxley e Darwin

Em novembro de 1859, Darwin publicou a Origem das Espécies. Vinha a adiar a publicação há cerca de vinte anos, “receando a execração como ateu”, mas tinha sido espicaçado para agir devido a uma carta que recebera no ano anterior de Alfred Russel Wallace, na qual Wallace tinha abordado a mesma ideia da “sobrevivência dos mais fortes” de Darwin.8

Embora Darwin tivesse o cuidado de não o dizer, a Origem significava em última análise que o homem não tinha sido criado, mas era simplesmente um símio desenvolvido. “Mas sem a promessa do Céu ou o medo do Inferno, por que é que devemos viver uma vida íntegra?”9 Darwin tivera esperança de evitar toda essa polémica. O mesmo não se pode dizer de Huxley, que antes escrevera a um colega: “Afinal, é tão respeitável ser um macaco modificado como poeira modificada”.10 Assim, Darwin precisava de um defensor tanto quanto Huxley precisava de uma causa, e não faltou muito para que Darwin se referisse a Huxley como o seu “apoiante mais caloroso e mais importante”,11 e “o meu bom e admirável agente para a promulgação de heresias condenáveis”.12

Huxley subscreveu de forma exuberante o naturalismo da evolução, embora, surpreendentemente, não o respetivo mecanismo. Discordou de Darwin sobre o ritmo da evolução. Por exemplo, Darwin excluiu toda a saltação ou “saltos”, fazendo com que Huxley lhe escrevesse: “Sobrecarregou-se com uma dificuldade desnecessária ao adotar’tão abertamente o princípio Natura non facit saltum [a natureza não dá saltos].”13 Huxley também discordava "da analogia entre a seleção artificial e a seleção natural, do hibridismo e da hipótese de pangénese de Darwin, ou seja, que o desenvolvimento de características de um dos pais passaria para os seus descendentes.”14

No entanto, toda esta ambivalência de Huxley não impediu a sua promoção fanática e agressiva da teoria de Darwin. Tal como comenta o professor de direito Phillip Johnson: “A fé no naturalismo evolutivo é o que une as diferentes fações de evolucionistas, não o acordo sobre quaisquer propostas científicas concretas.”15

O que motivou Huxley? A historiadora Prof.ª Gertrude Himmelfarb escreve: “Huxley foi o grande vingador. Furioso com o estatuto inferior dos cientistas em comparação com os clérigos, ele aguardava o momento em que pudesse pôr o calcanhar “nas suas bocas e ro-o-o-odá-lo no seu interior”. A “Origem” deu-lhe essa oportunidade.”16
Huxley e o evangelho

Huxley, embora não crente, estava totalmente familiarizado com o Evangelho e tinha pouca paciência para com os cristãos que transigiam a sua posição apoiando a crença antibíblica do naturalismo evolutivo. Escreveu:
“Tenho bastante dificuldade em compreender como é que alguém possa, por um momento, duvidar que a teologia cristã tem de resistir ou cair com a fidelidade histórica das Escrituras judaicas. A própria conceção do Messias, ou Cristo, está inextricavelmente interligada à história judaica; a identificação de Jesus de Nazaré com esse Messias assenta na interpretação de passagens das Escrituras hebraicas que não’têm valor de prova a não ser que possuam o caracter histórico que lhes está atribuído. Se a aliança com Abraão não foi feita; se a circuncisão e os sacrifícios não foram ordenados por Javé; se as ‘dez palavras’ não foram escritas pela mão de Deus nas’tábuas de pedra; se Abraão é mais ou menos um herói mítico, como Teseu; a história do Dilúvio uma ficção; a da Queda uma lenda; e a da criação o sonho de um vidente; se todas estas narrativas definitivas e detalhadas de acontecimentos aparentemente reais não’têm mais valor como história do que as histórias do período régio de Roma — o que dizer da doutrina messiânica, que é enunciada de uma forma muito menos clara? E o que dizer da autoridade dos escritores dos livros do Novo Testamento, que, com esta teoria, não só aceitaram simplesmente ficções vagas por verdades sólidas, mas também construíram as próprias bases do dogma cristão sobre areias movediças lendárias?”17

Huxley acrescentou que “a Universalidade do Dilúvio é reconhecida, não simplesmente como uma parte da história, mas como uma consequência necessária de alguns dos seus pormenores”.18 E em seguida, relativamente às tentativas dos teólogos de dizerem que o Dilúvio foi apenas um acontecimento local, escreveu: “Uma criança consegue ver o disparate dessa afirmação.” 19

Prosseguiu:

“Quando Jesus disse, como de uma matéria de facto, que ‘veio o Dilúvio e os destruiu a todos’, ele acreditava que o Dilúvio tinha efetivamente acontecido ou não? Parece-me que, como a narrativa refere a mulher de Noé e as mulheres dos filhos, existe uma boa garantia das escrituras para a afirmação de que os antediluvianos casaram e foram dados em casamento; e eu pensaria que a afirmação de que comiam e bebiam seria admitida pelo crente mais firme na verdade literal da história. Além disso, atrevo-me a perguntar que tipo de valor, como ilustração dos métodos de Deus para lidar com o pecado, tem um relato de um acontecimento que nunca sucedeu? Se nenhum Dilúvio varreu as pessoas descuidadas, em que é que o aviso de dilúvio vale mais do que o grito de ‘Lobo’ quando não há nenhum lobo? Se a permanência de três dias de Jonas dentro da baleia não for uma ‘realidade admitida’, como é que pode ‘garantir a crença’ na ‘ressurreição futura’? … Suponhamos que um orador conservador avisa os seus ouvintes para estarem atentos a grandes mudanças políticas e sociais, não vão eles acabar, como em França, sob o domínio de um Robespierre; o que acontece, não só ao seu argumento mas também à sua veracidade, se ele, pessoalmente, não acreditar que Robespierre existiu e que fez as coisas que lhe são atribuídas?”20

Relativamente a Mateus 19:5 [“Não tendes lido que o Criador os fez desde o princípio homem e mulher, e que ordenou: Por isso deixará o homem pai e mãe, e unir-se-á a sua mulher; e serão os dois uma só carne?”], Huxley escreveu:
“Se a autoridade divina não é aqui reivindicada para o vigésimo quarto verso do segundo capítulo de Génesis, qual é o valor da linguagem? E uma vez mais, pergunto, se pudermos tratar de forma leviana a história da Queda como um ’tipo’ ou ‘alegoria’, o que sucede à base da teologia paulina?”21

E relativamente a 1 Coríntios 15:21–22 [“Porque, assim como por um homem veio a morte, também por um homem veio a ressurreição dos mortos. Pois como em ADão todos morrem, do mesmo modo em Cristo todos serão vivificados.”], Huxley escreveu:
“Se se considerar que ADão não é mais real como personagem do que Prometeus, e se a história da Queda não passa de um ‘tipo’ instrutivo, comparável ao mito profundo de Prometeus, qual é o valor da dialética de Paulo?”

Resumindo a posição dos teólogos que comprometeram as palavras da Bíblia, Huxley observou que “a posição que eles assumiram é desesperadamente insustentável”.
A morte de Darwin e a Abadia

Quando Darwin morreu, foi principalmente devido aos esforços de Huxley que ele foi sepultado, não na sua cidade natal de Downe, mas na Abadia de Westminster. Huxley e os seus amigos ateus coagiram o cónego Farrar da Abadia de Westminster, enquanto outros tentaram obter apoio na Câmara dos Comuns. Assim, o clero liberal, tão desprezado por Huxley pela sua disponibilidade para fazer compromissos, deu aos restos do agnóstico Darwin reconhecimento espiritual na Abadia.

Huxley faleceu 13 anos mais tarde. Houve quem sugerisse um funeral de estado na Abadia, mas, diga-se a seu favor, “Huxley tinha antecipado e afastado essa ideia”.22 Em vez disso, teve um funeral simples na sua vila, com a presença de alguns dos seus amigos científicos e ateus. Um deles deu a sua opinião auspiciosa de que a frase “quem não crer será condenado” — está reservada para as pessoas comuns; não se aplica aos Membros da Real Sociedade”.23
Qual é, atualmente, a relevância da vida de Huxley para nós?

Em 1981, a Academia Nacional de Ciências [EUA] resolveu que “a religião e a ciência são domínios separados e mutuamente exclusivos do pensamento humano cuja apresentação no mesmo contexto conduz a uma má compreensão tanto da teoria científica como da crença religiosa".15 O professor de direito Phillip Johnson comenta: “A vida de Thomas Huxley é a melhor resposta a este disparate. Na realidade, os cientistas (tal como as outras pessoas) estão obcecados com a questão de Deus e a ideia do naturalismo evolutivo é impedir o Pé Divino, e as pessoas que se aglomeram atrás dele, de entrarem para dentro da porta.”1

Consequence, Consequences and More Consequences!

By Dennis Edwards:

The Bible from its very first pages is a history of consequences. The decisions we make, the behavior we exhibit, have consequences. Adam and Eve paid the consequences for their decision in the Garden of Eden, and mankind continues to suffer as a result of those consequences. Ancient man also paid consequences for his decisions and behavior. The Bible tells us

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart.[1] The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.[2]

God therefore decided to

bring a Flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and everything that is in the earth shall die.
[3]

As a result of that worldwide Flood we find massive fossil graveyards all around the world. Fossils formed in sedimentary rock laid down by flood waters all around globe are a testimony to the consequences of man’s refusal to acknowledge God in his understanding. Peter tells us,

For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the Word of God the heavens were of old … whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water perished.[4]

Modern man has all but removed the idea of a great worldwide Flood from his understanding, because he does not want to believe in consequences. From the time of James Hutton in 1780’s, to his disciple Charles Lyle in the 1830’s, science has tried to eliminate the idea of a world-wide Flood from geology and has accepted “millions of years.” Why? Because modern man wants to be “free” to live a life without moral restraints. Peter says earlier in the same chapter,

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the Last Days scoffers, walking after their own lusts
.[5]

Aldous Huxley, the grandson of Thomas Huxley, who was called “Darwin’s Bulldog” for his avid defense of Darwin’s theory, candidly admitted the following,


I had motives for not wanting the world to have meaning, consequently assumed it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world (and this is what evolution really teaches) is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics; he is also concerned to prove there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do (moral liberty is the goal, to be free from religion’s confines). For myself, as no doubt for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain political and economic system and liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom.[6]

Paul, much like Peter, said the following:

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.[7]

Wikipedia defines “itching ears” in the following way:

Itching ears is a term used in the Bible to describe individuals who seek out messages and doctrines that condones their own lifestyle, as opposed to adhering to the teachings of the Apostles.
[8]

Man wants a world without consequences, so he can do what he wants. But the Bible teaches from the very first book that life has consequences. Rather than follow God, man accepts the theory of evolution, the modern origin’s fable, because he does not want God in his conscience. Believing in evolution frees man from religion’s moral constraints, so he can live his life to the full, or so he thinks. But Paul warns,

And with all deceivableness and unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned (or in this case condemned or judged) who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
[9]

So we see Aldous Huxley’s honest confession confirms what was spoken by the Apostles. Because we do not want to follow God’s loving voice, but rather our own selfish desires, we reject God’s restraints and do as we will.


After the Flood the next important event is the dividing into different language groups at the Tower of Babel. Mankind refused to follow God’s suggestion and scatter throughout the earth. Instead men began their own building project. They constructed a skyscraper and formed their own religion. As consequences for not doing as the Lord suggested, God divides the languages and scatters mankind to the four corners of the earth.[10]

A few generations later around 2,000 BC, because of his good decisions and behavior, God blesses Abraham. God says,

For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which He has spoken of him.[11]

It was not just because Abraham believed, but because his beliefs caused him to be just and make righteous judgments. God decides to reveal to him the judgment that will be wrecked upon Sodom and Gomorrah as a consequence of the decisions and behavior of its population. And the Lord said,

Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto Me: and if not, I will know.[12]

Then Abraham has his famous discussion with the Lord, where he says,

Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
[13]

Abraham argues that it would be unjust for God to condemn the innocent with the guilty and so asks God to withhold his judgment if he can find 50 righteous people within the city. God agrees. Abraham persists until he has God agree not to condemn the city if there are but ten righteous people.[14]

Lot, Abraham’s nephew, has been living in Sodom as a judge. He is warned by the angels to flee before the destruction comes. Lot goes and pleas with his married daughters and sons-in-law to forsake the city and live. But they won’t listen to him, and he barely escapes by the persistence of the angels with his two younger daughters and wife. The wife also seemed to have a hard time leaving Sodom and all its luxuries and looks back during its destruction which the angels had specifically commanded them not to do. As a consequence she is turned into a pillar of salt.[15]

But Abraham chooses God. He chooses to do justice and judgment. He chooses doing right above material riches. Therefore, God enters into a relationship with him. Thus begins the history of the descendants of Abraham. It’s a beautiful history which is told in the book of Genesis in the Bible.

Notes

[1] Genesis 6:5-6
[2] Genesis 6:11
[3] Genesis 6:17
[4] 2Peter 3:5-6
[5] 2Peter 3:3
[6] https://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=680&topic=94 (accessed 03/2016)
[7] 2Timothy 4:3-4
[8] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Itching_ears (accessed 03/2016)
[9] 2Thessalonians 2:10-12
[10] Genesis 11:1-9
[11] Genesis 18:19
[12] Genesis 18:21-22
[13] Genesis 18:25
[14] Genesis 18:26-33
[15] Genesis 19:12-26

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