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11/02/2014

Spiritual Matters and Bioethics

Halloween has come and gone, and as is typical in recent American history, it was a big deal and big business.  My town hosted a city-wide event last weekend, so a drive near the courthouse square was marked by all sorts of goblins wandering the streets (and packing the McDonald’s).

This past week’s episode of Sleepy Hollow on FOX featured police officers helping a young man who had the ailment of turning into a flesh-eating monster.  One of the officers procured organs from the local medical school in order to temporarily satiate the discharged Marine, a.k.a. man-monster (“Boy, the medical school ought to spend a little more money on security down there.”).  She delivered the organs in the classic, small, Igloo cooler  we see used by transplant teams in hospital dramas.  Of course, worldwide organ trade is not just the fantasy of TV dramas about the occult.  It is a real problem, Igloo containers and all.

One thing is for sure this Halloween, the somewhat-old adage about America is true: “We are spiritual, not religious.”

Some of these spiritual stirrings and battles not only look “medieval” but “Old Testament” as well.  The more things change, the more things stay the same:

  • Rachel and Leah and their mandrakes; Jacob and Laban and their livestock – Genesis 30.
  • The Mosaic law’s teaching concerning blood and the dead – Leviticus 17.
  • The Mosaic law’s prohibition of practices related to the offering of children in the worship of Molech – Leviticus 18:21.
  • The Mosaic law’s instruction on how you shall not do “as they do in the land of Egypt” or “as they do in the land of Canaan” regarding sexuality – Leviticus 18.
  • Of course, some practices within the church are “of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans” – 1 Corinthians 5.
  • Prophets often addressed Israel’s intermingling within paganism, particularly as it pertained to worship practices and sexual practices – Hosea 1-3.

Of course, these pagan streams of thought regarding medicine and the body continued into the New Testament and into European and American history and continue into the present day.  It is the age-old battle of the endeavors of the human heart for spirituality (paganism) against the gracious redemption of men and women by way of faith in Christ (Christianity).  And this is not only an issue of salvation, but it is also about whether or not we will be new people with new ways of thinking (2 Cor. 5:17; Romans 7, 8, 12:2).  It is this new way of thinking that is critical in moving us away from an ethic of our own self-interest to an ethic based on the goodness of God.  Otherwise, we will not be equipped to understand spiritual renewal and maturity nor have the accompanying wisdom to make decisions about deeply spiritual aspects of human life such as sexuality or reproduction.  And a religious mandate that seeks to conform us to a model of behavior does no good either.  Wisdom regarding ethics and morality comes from nothing less than a new birth, something which comes from the New Adam.

Happy Reformation Day, ghosts and goblins.  Post tenebras lux.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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