God’s intention for us in creation (Part 4): Toughness?

I grew up on a farm. I hunted, killed and ate birds. We killed snakes on the farm. Once, when I was younger and less civilized, I was involved in a full scale war against a hive of bees living in the vent in the wall. Needless to say, that hurt! Often I deserved to get stung, other times bees were hidden under the undergrowth of the path next to the fence and they bit me out of the blue.

When you grow up in nature, you develop a kind of respect for animals and creation that (in my view) is very different from someone who admires it on the television or from a scenic viewpoint on top of the mountain. I sometimes wonder if we havent gotten a little romantic about nature?

There was danger on the farm. There was death. And pain. There were flies and bugs and mosquitoes and thorns that made your feet bleed. I liked it. It was wild, it made me feel sober. I think that there was a (male) part of me that enjoyed the rough edge because I was looking for an adventure. So I grew up thinking that when I couldnt handle the death, or the pain, or the mosquito bites, that something was wrong with me – I wasnt quite relating to the untamed wilderness ‘like a man’. I had become soft. Or thats what I thought until I met Christians.

I met Christians who said it wasnt like this before Adam and Eve sinned. The garden of Eden didnt have thorns. Lions didnt eat lambs. Some even said to me that nothing died before the Fall. It confused me. Was creation only a tame garden when Adam was created? Was there absolutely no fear of pain or injury or savage bears in the dark forest? To some, surely a loving God would only be gentle. But then, in my youth, I used to watch  those animals in the documentaries hunting their prey and think; surely God is also awesomely severe. Surely there is something of God in the lion that wouldnt work if it ate straw?

This is a deep question to me. What do you think of the “dark side” of nature? Does it attract your sense of adventure or repel your sense of civility? The answer touches at what we think God is like. The way we see the “rough and tumble” aspects of creation says something about our view of God. I am wrestling with this. I dont want to be naive about creation and only see God in it if so many things are also ruined. But I also dont want miss the awesomeness of God in the more “violent” aspects. Because sometimes I think to myself, the way Moses and the Isrealites were comfortable with slaughtering animals by the thousand would have seemed barbaric to our modern day church. Have we become soft?

How has the fall affected creation? What is of God now and what is of the devil? Perhaps if we embrace an overly feminine view of God we will only like the calm and serene and not the awesome severity and adventure that is more male. Or perhaps the purpose of some less “beautiful” things in creation i.e. like flies and maggots, are to teach us about sin and hell, not about God and heaven…

I look forward to your comments!


19 thoughts on “God’s intention for us in creation (Part 4): Toughness?

  1. I have been wrestling with similar things. Nature is so relentless and unforgiving. Life and death are separated by milliseconds. It is almost as if we, as reasoning humans, have tried to cover this reality up and make it seem more manageable. And yet, I feel that we are missing key facets of the Lord’s nature that He has put into creation to help us “see” Him more clearly. It fascinates me that Jesus constantly used pictures to aid the disciples understanding of what He was explaining in any situation.

    I found it interesting that Jesus used the valley of Gehenna to explain to the Jews what hell would be like. The valley was used as a rubbish dump for all the cities waste and so the locals could very easily relate to the maggots constant devouring, the flies that lived there by the thousands, the continuous plume of smoke that coiled up into the sky as the rubbish was burnt and the stench of rotting waste. I think that if we reflected more on nature’s “raw” side, we may be able to restore the balance in knowing our loving AND holy God.

  2. Indeed, this is a very interesting topic, and it is something I have also often wondered about.

    I can’t bring myself to believe that a lion was created to not hunt and kill. I have spoken to creationist teachers about this and their answers are weak at best.

    Something interesting that I thought about was the second tree – not the one of knowledge of good and evil – the other one. The one that made you live forever. I started to think that perhaps that tree was the reason why ‘there was no death’ before the fall (I say that as opposed to that everything was supernaturally made mortal after the fall).

    Of course nobody has the answers about lions, flies or maggots. Of one thing I am sure: out of an engineering perspective, flies and maggots definitely do glorify their designer and creator! What incredible, resilient creatures!

    To me, the dangerous-ness or savageness of nature is highly impressive. Not just the creatures, but the storms, the tornadoes, the waves and the earthquakes. Few things make me feel so vividly alive as being in a storm wind, or riding a huge wave, despite the danger.

    So, no: I don’t believe that God created a world for sissies. I think that, perhaps, the ‘typical’ picture that we have of Adam and Eve in a serene garden may be a bit un-founded. Who says that Adam was not an incredible rock climber? Perhaps he had adventure races with cheetahs. Who knows what he did for recreation?

    Another interesting thing to consider is: sicknesses are caused by virusses and bacteria. Both of these are creations of God. How does one understand that?

    • Hi Pieka

      This question rose its head again yesterday for me in an interesting way – I was talking to a friend who had been in a conversation with another Christian who was trying to understand their homosexual desires. My friend said that the guy felt that he was ‘born this way’, which he logically concluded must then be ‘the way God made him’. This is the jump in logic which I think holds the key – if something is seemingly by nature homosexual, or violent for that matter, does that mean God made it that way?

      The reason I ask this question is not because I necessarily desire to have lions eating straw. But the Jewish oral tradition does seem to recall various incidents from the early years of mankind that seem to suggest that something changed after the fall. What do you think it means that the ground was cursed and that the earth wouldn’t yield as originally intended? And what about that part that talks about the animals fearing mankind after the flood? I also think of how God taught Israel about land of Canaan, and how their sin somehow affected and polluted the land itself. And how Jesus connected the increasing frequency of natural disasters to the closing of the present evil age. And in Romans 8, Paul even says that creation is groaning and waiting for the kingdom of God to arrive. It seems that the Jewish expectation was that God had to redeem not only the people in this world, but the creation itself from sin. This seems to be the vision of the age to come, which to the Jewish mind of Jesus’ day as well as now was also some kind of return to the garden of Eden way of life, which is why the Lord’s healings were often linked to the Kingdom of God coming, and were sometimes even linked to demonic activity (although not always).

      So yes, I agree with you that we are sometimes dreaming of a false utopia when we imagine Adam merely smelling roses and nibbling on mint all day. But my feeling is that the biblical vision of what’s wrong with the world includes some changes in the way creation operates (at least in relation to humans and their intended dominion), which God did not intend and which He will do away with when the Kingdom comes. Otherwise what do you say to a christian who is trying to understand why their homosexual desires are displeasing to a God who created them? Surely the presence of evil spirits in the world is not just affecting us in an abstract way, but also in practical ways? These are some of my questions, although they are a bit different to the question about maggots i think…

      Lastly, I think that maybe a useful thought is that we tend to think something was either created by God, or somehow created by somebody else… My view is, God alone creates, but we steward (well or not) and Satan tries to corrupt. Maybe the question is not whether something has its source in God (because it does), but whether it is still functioning as intended or not. Many things which are sinful can often be traced back to good and natural desires gone wrong. That might change the way we perceive maggots and bacteria and homosexual feelings.

  3. A few quick thoughts – I don’t have time to write anything longer.

    1.God does show his power in nature’s violence – but I would be inclined to point to Rose’s comment above that this is to remind us that he is holy, and that he is God, and that we are sinful. Job 37-42 might be worth looking through.

    2. As far as animal death is concerned, it might interest you to know that there have been instances of vegetarian lions.
    In one case, the lion did literally live alongside sheep etc. – and the owners even tried to get it to eat meat, but couldn’t. They eventually gave up and turned it into a tourist attraction (in the USA, I think).
    A slightly less impressive case is Leah the spaghetti lioness from Italy – grew up in Italy and was fed spaghetti, tomato sauce and cheese because meat was too expensive. She was recently transferred to a lion park in SA (between 5 – 10 years old, I think), and has subsequently been taught to eat meat.
    There have been other strange examples over the years – for example, a leopard looking after a baby baboon and keeping it warm at night, instead of eating it.
    Vegetarian animals have occasionally been known to eat meat. One example being a farmer who discovered one of his cows had developed a taste for fresh chicken – his chickens… So it’s not that hard to conceive of vegetarian animals turning into meat-eating ones given a lack of plant nutrition.
    Does the Bible teach vegetarian animals? A good place to start – Gen 1:30.
    Other questions to ask – why did God give Adam and Eve animal skins to cover them? What did this mean? And why did the OT people have to kill an animal and sacrifice it to God to acknowledge their sinfulness, if animal death was the norm?
    It’s also worth looking at passages like Is 11:-9 and Is 65:25, which refer to animals and a lack of violence and bloodshed between them as a good thing. (These are tricky passages – but if you take them literally or as a picture of the New Testament church and the way in which all manner of different people are joined together in Christ, the same point applies: What would this picture mean if there was nothing wrong with animal death and suffering?)

    3. Bacteria and viruses: not all of these are harmful. In fact, it has been estimated that less than 1 % of them (and there are a lot!) are pathogenic. Many of them have important functions – for example, E-coli in our gut, which only causes harm when it get elsewhere; viruses are being used to target cancer cells (fairly leading current research and clinical trials going on here); and bacteria are important for soil fertility. The help balance acidity etc. They also purify water, and help with balancing atmospheric gases like nitrogen. Viruses can carry genes from their hosts – with what end? There is a level of complexity which we are only beginning to unearth. What we have found is that degenerative mutation and loss of information can turn a seemingly harmless bacteria into something nasty fairly quickly – eg the bubonic plague.

    That’s all for now…

    • Wow, Kenneth, that was some interesting points!
      But I’d like to follow up: A lion – it seems to be designed to kill. Why would God design an animal for something he didn’t intend it to do?
      Oh, and about that viruses versus cancer – be very careful there! Have you seen what happened in I am Legend? :oP

  4. I haven’t seen that – so no 😉

    I think there are a couple of points to the answer about animals and their ability to destroy and kill. Firstly, God is not limited by time, and he knows what will occur in the future. For example, Is 46:9-19 records the following: “… I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand…”
    It came as no surprise to God that Adam and Eve fell; so it is possible that God created the animals with this in mind. The Bible does not comment on how animal expertise at killing, hunting etc arose. It does, however, talk about death, disease, and suffering as consequences of sin, and notes that the whole creation is groaning under sin. Note the emphasis in the flood account of how the sin of man resulted in the death, not only of all mankind (except Noah and his family), but also every living thing on the land (bird, cattle, etc) “in whose nostrils was the breath of life.” (eg Gen 7:21)

    Secondly, there appears to have been some supernatural intervention by God at the fall – the curses on the serpent, Adam and Eve (Gen 3). People would now die; pain in childbirth would be greatly increased; the ground was cursed to bring forth thorns and thistles, and the serpent was to crawl on his belly all the days of his life. So there were definite changes – caused by God – in Man, animal and plant kingdom as a consequence of the fall. Some suggest that the skill of animals to hunt and kill may have arisen through his action here.

    Thirdly, every so often we see animals that look as though they’re designed to kill or maim, but don’t. Try looking at the teeth of the fruit bat (purely vegetarian) and you’ll have a hard time believing that the teeth are only used for fruit. Some Piranha species use their teeth for plant matter (only). The giant panda has sharp teeth and claws, which it uses mostly for bamboo (occasionally for small animals). So it is possible that some of what we see is a consequence of altered (degraded, fallen) use of capabilities that can also be used (or at least were originally used) for non-harmful activity.


    • Ken, its nice to read your points and realise how much there is to learn about creation. I have a few questions though. So does that mean that sharks are supposed to have lived off seaweed – or are they different because they are not nephesh? Something I also dont understand is the way in which people say that nothing died before the fall. Is it not possible that only human death came through sin, and not necessarily fruit flies etc as well? I mean, surely some small animals like ants died under the heat of the midday sun or when Adam walked around in the garden? I know its sounding very much like pure speculation – but I think its quite significant that some people see ‘harmful activity’ as incongruent with the way God would make things, while others see lions killing and eating prey as very much part of it (like Pieka). So my question is – do you think that there is absolutely no place for predators in original creation? I guess it hangs on how you understand what the bible says about sin bringing in death. Is there any literature on whether or not the Israelites understood it to include non-humans (in nature not blood sacrifice)? Scripture interpretation on these issues is quite interesting. For example, I remember hearing a creationist guy say once that there were no thorns before the fall – can we really get that out of Genesis 3? I’m on the fence about that one, seems a bit of a stretch…

  5. First off: I am Legend is a great movie! Unless you are easily scared, I’d definitely recommend it.

    John, it is a relief to hear another Christian asking the questions that I have, so thanks for that!

    Kenneth, once again you make some interesting points. Christians often teach that God knows the future. Yet, to me, there is not enough scripture that ‘directly’ supports that teaching. There are many scriptures that *imply* that, but then, there are also some scriptures that suggests the opposite.

    Sometimes scripture says things directly and I do not understand exactly why. For example: homosexuality is a sin. Even though this is in conflict with what I am inclined to believe by my own perception, I have no problem believing that it is a sin, because scripture is *clear* about it.

    However, some teachings, such as the issue of death before the fall, have at best a *weak* scriptural base: one or two verses and a specific interpretation of those verses (while other interpretations are also plausible). When I am then confronted with the magnificent lion, the deadly great white, the ruthless python or the lethal black widow, the idea of no death (at all) before the fall becomes very hard to believe. One response is to add elaborate bells and whistles to an already shaky teaching. The other is to re-examine the teaching and to maybe find that your interpretation of scripture was not right to start with.

    The difficult part is that sometimes, even though one loses confidence in your previous creed, you do not find a new belief to replace it with, and you are left on the fence.

    On the one hand that feels less secure than when you ‘had it all figured out’, but on the other hand, it seems appropriate that we, as creatures can not quite grasp everything about our creation or our God. I believe that everything that God want everyone to believe and know is in the Bible and that it is clear. God left some other things quite open-ended. Perhaps part of the reason for that is that He knows that it’s not really quite in our capacity to understand His relationship with time. Or the way that death came into this world.

  6. I’ll give a more detailed answer when I can fit it in. For now, though: a quick question for you to think about – does the Bible teach, in a *clear* verse, that women are required to take part in communion?
    (this is related to the above – believe it or not.)

  7. Is there a *clear* verse that teaches that men are required to take part in communion?
    Is there any scripture that even suggests that women are not to take part in communion?
    Why would one want to exclude women from that, or search for a reason to do so or not?

    Galatians 3:26-29 says

    “26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there ***male and female***, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

    I know this is not clearly touching on the matter at hand, but I think it’s about the most relevant verse about the your question in the entire Bible.

    I’m very intrigued to see where you are going with this… 🙂

  8. Needless to say (just to make it clear), I am convinced (biblically) that women and men are required take part in communion.

    To answer your first point – a verse that definitely requires men (at the very least) to take part in communion would be 1 Cor 11:24: “… do this in remembrance of me” – in the context of “If you love me, keep my commandments.” (or Matt 26:26-28 or the other communion-related sections)
    I say men at the least, because, so far as I know (please correct me if I am wrong, anyone), we are never *specifically* told that there were any woman present at the passover meal.
    We are also never told that they were not present, nor are we told that this commandment does not apply to women.
    If you look at the places where the congregation of the church (which must have included women – we know there were women in the church – eg Lydia in Acts 16:14) is referred to in relation to communion (eg 1 Cor 11:17-34; 1 Cor 10:16-22; Acts 2:40-47; 20:7-8) there is no command for women not to take part, and it is also clear that joining together (uniting) for communion and the hearing of God’s word was the central thing which united the whole group of believers – to one another, and “in remembrance of” Christ, to Christ. It becomes clear that there was no separation in this regard – “neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor Greek…” – unlike, for example, the position of minister/bishop, which Paul addresses and sets apart as being for men.

    The point being (to skip to the end): the Bible teaches it – implies it clearly – even though it does not state it in the exact single sentence that we might look for.

    Considering this, think about Gen 1:30 – which specifically refers to the food of animals “living creatures/souls – nephesh chayyah” – more on this in the future) being plant matter – and the way the following picture is used in Is 11 to represent something very good : (ESV)
    6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
    and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
    and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
    and a little child shall lead them.
    7 The cow and the bear shall graze;
    their young shall lie down together;
    and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
    8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
    and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
    9 They shall not hurt or destroy
    in all my holy mountain;
    for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD
    as the waters cover the sea.
    As I noted before, the interpretation of what this verse is referring to (NT church era or New Heavens and New Earth) is debated. However, regardless of what this refers to, the picture presented is one that implies that animal destroying animal (or human) is bad, since animal at peace with animal – not causing destruction – is good, and consistent with the earth being full of the knowledge of the Lord.

    If the violence of animals was not a consequence of the fall, and it was always that way, then animal destroying animal would be “very good”, and this portrait to describe the healthy (good) influence of an overwhelming knowledge of the Lord would completely lose its meaning…

    Now compare this with Rom 8, which talks about how the whole creation – not just humans – is groaning under the effects of the fall and curse: (ESV)
    19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope
    21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (ESV)

    More later tomorrow or Thurs when I can get back to it again

  9. Hmmm. Well, now that I actually read Genesis 1:30, I must say: it seems that scripture does explicitly state animals did not eat anything other than plants at first. Does this mean that they also did not die of old age or sickness or when lightning struck them or when they fell of a cliff? Does this mean we had sharks and killer wales eating sea weed?
    Wow. Many questions can be raised.
    And the crazy thing is also that all natural eco systems require both predators and parasites in order to stay balanced. How did this work if animals only ate plants?
    Also: how did it happen that animals made the transition?
    My head hurts.

  10. I’ve been thinking about the lions eating grass, great whites eating seaweed etc. and I wondered the following: God is omniscient and wise and His thoughts are much higher than ours. Therefore, He often warns us about what is coming i.e. the Old Testament points continuously to the coming of the Messiah, Jesus. We also know from Scripture that God always knew that Jesus would need to come here to live, to die and rise again. He knew that and planned for it from the very beginning. Therefore, could we not say that God also designed lions to have the necessary hardware to eat meat, which He knew they would need to do at some stage? Thus, He first ordained that they eat plants as Genesis says but He also provided them with the means to kill and eat meat because He could see it coming in the bigger scheme of things (just as He could see the necessity of Jesus’ life and death here on Earth). Was just wondering 🙂

  11. Just a quick comment – Rose, I think your comment about God knowing what was to come in terms of the fall is an important one. I did mention this in passing in an earlier comment.
    One example of God’s knowledge of the events in the history of earth is Rev 13:8, which mentions in passing that the people of God had their names written in the Book of Life – Before the foundation of the world.
    I’d also point out that you cannot prophecy the future accurately (which God did at many times and in many ways) unless you have complete control over it.
    More over the weekend when I can get some time to write (and think)…

  12. Yes, many questions can be raised.
    Let me start with this point:
    As we know the world NOW, we may not be able to conceive of any way in which these would not form a part of everyday life.
    Yet I would suggest that might be just how significantly the fall has affected both our thinking and the universe. We should be careful not to limit the potential consequences of the fall. We should not forget how serious sin is.

    How did animals make the transition – I don’t know, and so far as I know we aren’t told in the Bible.
    I twould tentatively suggest that there are only two probable (maybe a combination) answers. Either it was an instantaneous change wrought by God in Gen 3, or it was gradual change and decay as a consequence of the fall in Gen 3. Hence the fact that from time to time we do actually come across vegetarian ‘carnivores’ now.
    Something to keep in mind when other questions come to mind: we don’t know to what extent the universe and earth in particular changed as a consequence of the fall.
    We also do not know all the limitations (in terms of our thinking, understanding, good judgement, wisdom etc) we have now which may not have existed before the fall.

    Some suggestions I would make to your points above:
    Would animals (or people for that matter) have fallen over cliffs before the fall?
    Usually, that type of accident can be attributed to error or mistake, haste, over-confidence in ability, lack of good judgement etc. Would these have been problematic before the fall?

    To what extent might our climate and geography have become more dangerous as a consequence of a universe in the bondage of sin and decay? For example, would lightning have existed? Would there have been volcanoes, landslides, earthquakes, tornadoes, meteors, floods, sinkholes, tidal-waves, pathogenic bacteria, and general catastrophe and disorder etc? (especially bearing in mind that God now uses these to remind us that he is powerful and holy, and that we are fallen and mortal – eg the Flood)

    I would suggest that the balance problem of ecosystems now is a consequence of the breeding of animals where there are already too many, and death of other animals – or a lack of food due to drought, overgrazing etc.
    Yet (at a simplistic level) if rabbits didn’t breed like – well, rabbits 😉 – then there wouldn’t be an overpopulation problem of rabbits. It they desisted when they reached a level where the ecosystem could not support any more, there wouldn’t be a need for carnivores to keep them in check and prevent them from eating the food that other animals need to survive.
    Again, I would suggest that we should be careful not to limit the potential effects of the fall. We do not know in what ways God may have limited the way in which he originally upheld creation and kept it from decay.
    Hope that helps for now
    Cheers 🙂

  13. Yea Kenny, I think you sum it up well when you say “as far as I know, we aren’t told in the Bible”.

    Interesting sideline: in Genesis, it is never announced, that the animals, who supposedly only ate plants at the start, will start eating meat, fruit, seeds and honey (see Genesis 9). So the ‘change’ is never formalised to man? At least, not in scripture… This, once again, leads me to question my approach to seeking truth in the Bible. Perhaps I’m still expecting (too much) to find facts there, rather than searching for truth. I know that’s a very open-ended statement, but I expect that I’ll need to spend some hours/days reflecting on this before I really know what it is that is bothering me and what I’ll do to change it.

    As for your other ‘theories’, Ken: you ask taxing questions and provide possible, but seemingly improbable, answers. I don’t mean this in an offensive way, but I would refrain from mentioning those theories to people who do not believe that Bible is God’s word. Reason being: theories that are in conflict with scripture really do seem more plausible than these.

    However, if we are to believe in the truth of those facts that *are* mentioned in Genesis, your theories might just be the best that we have and I agree with you that we should not underestimate how narrow our thinking might have become consequent to the Fall.

    But all in all, I would say that we agree that, with many of the taxing questions about the toughness we see in creation, the fact is: we just don’t know.

  14. God’s nature, his work in history, the atonement accomplished on the cross etc – all are facts (truth) that the Bible uses to teach us.
    I’m not sure if I fully understood your comment above, but I think the answer that applies in this case is that the Bible does not have an exhaustive answer to every single question on every single topic imagineable. There are some areas where it is silent or tells us little.
    It’s primary purpose (which it achieves through factual truth, statements about God, his nature, work and attributes as shown in history etc) is to declare God and his Will to us, and to lead people to him.

    *Plausible* can have rather varied meanings:
    I suppose that most people would take plausible to mean something that we as people are capable of reasoning out, knowing / understanding by our own ability, particularly *with reference to what we know and understand from our observation of the natural, everyday course of events in the world around us*.

    However, if you’re talking about an all-powerful God who can do all he wills, plausible can change it’s meaning.
    An unbeliever will say that the resurrection is implausible because *we don’t see things like that happening today and it’s against the natural course of events.*
    But the fact that we don’t see it or understand it by our own wisdom doesn’t influence the *possibility* of the event occurring, provided there is a necessary cause.
    We do not understand – in terms of human reasoning and natural understanding alone – how Christ rose from the dead, or performed the miracles he did. The Bible simply tells us that the events occured, without giving an explanation – at a mechanistic level – as to how.
    Yet the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is God the Son, and that God is the all-powerful Creator and can do all he wills, makes this perfectly plausible to a Christian. There is no reason why it is not possible, if he is the Creator of all.

    Have a good day 🙂

  15. So can I try and pull the boat back on course. Do you think God intends for us to be tough in some way because of the creation that we are living in? I mean, Jesus wasn’t a pansy, and God definitely has a tough side because of sin entering into the world. And Moses and all those OT guys dealt with all the blood and slaughter and gore in righteous ways didn’t they? Let’s not even TALK about all the war in the bible, or whether we should go to war as believers (are we touhg enough to?). I have met Christians who are even too soft to go camping or pick up a slug. So really now, whether or not heaven has steak for us to eat is less relevant than how we should reflect God’s nature fully (including bravery and backbone) now in this age of death and disease. It would be a very interesting theological study to bring together the revelation of God as violent – especially in the context of a (maybe?) violence-less creation. Perhaps we could see God’s glory in His wrath as well? But lets get back to the practical issue at hand – what’s toughness got to do with being Christian, and how should we interact with and learn from the tough elements of the world around us?

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