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Tuesday, December 4 2012
Seed-Bearing Plants: For Food Or For Folly?
The Creation Of "Good" Seed-Bearing Plants
The LORD created all seed-bearing grasses, plants and trees on "the third day." They were all "good."
"1:9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear [see also How Did The Flood Happen?]: and it was so. 1:10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
When humans were created on "the sixth day," the LORD [see What Does Word of God Mean To You? and Who Is The LORD?] gave them "every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed" for their food i.e. there were no seed-bearing plants that were toxic or deadly. They could eat any kind of seed-bearing plant.
"1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
The Garden of Eden had no toxic or poisonous plants because "out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food." The "forbidden fruit" wasn't poisonous - it was the means of humanity being sinless, by obeying the Command of the LORD not to take of it (see also When Freedom Crosses The Line).
"2:8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 2:9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil." (Genesis 2:8-9 KJV)
The species of the off-limits tree is not stated. It could have been any one of many kinds of fruit trees that originated in that area, such as the pomegranate (shown above; see also Pomegranates) or the fig. We know that figs were growing in the Garden because, after the humans became sinners, "they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons."
"3:1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman [see also The Birth Of The Bride], Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
The Origin Of The Weed
Adam and Eve had been given the task of maintaining the Garden ("the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it"), which did not include the endless chore of removing weeds - there were none. When they chose to be sinners however, something new began - noxious, non-food seed-bearing plants began to grow. With the beginning of sin, came the beginning of the weed: "Cursed is the ground for thy sake ... thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee." Humans would thereafter be subject to suffering from all sorts of seed-bearing plants that have no "good" purpose.
"3:17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 3:18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." (Genesis 3:17-19 KJV)
The Messiah later referred to the fall of humanity in the parable of the tares (weeds). All began "good," but Satan figuratively sowed seed-bearing weeds among the good seed-bearing plants.
"13:24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven [see also Repent, For The Kingdom Of Heaven Is At Hand] is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 13:25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 13:26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
The weeds are allowed to remain, for the present time, for the sake of not destroying what is good. The time will come however when all of the "weeds" will be rendered into smoke: "As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world."
"13:36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.
Are All Seed-Bearing Plants "Good"?
Some people claim that, for example, marijuana use is "good" because it's a seed bearing plant, and, they say, the Bible says that seed-bearing plants were all "good." But, as we read, all seed-bearing plants were good, for food, only in the time before humans became sinners. From the time that humans became sinners, many seed-bearing plants came into existence that are toxic or deadly if consumed in any way. A Biblical example of seed-bearing ("wild gourds") poisonous plants was the famous "death in the pot" in the time of Elisha. If not for a miracle done at the last minute by Elisha (see also Elisha's Miracles), "they could not eat thereof."
"4:38 And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets.
Tobacco is a seed-bearing plant (the tobacco flower "top" and seed is shown in the illustration), the leaves of which are smoked by many people. It's exactly the same as marijuana in that way (both are even referred to as the "weed"). But tobacco is a highly addictive, incapacitating, deadly plant - albeit "legal" in the eyes of man. What's the difference? Saying that marijuana is "good" simply because it's a seed bearing plant ignores the many other seed-bearing plants just like it that are deadly.
Most beverage alcohol is made from seed-bearing plants. Wine is made from grapes, which have seeds; beer is made from barley, which is a seed; whiskey is made from various grains (e.g. rye), which is seed. But abuse of alcohol, which is made from seed bearing plants, is condemned in the Bible - not because the alcohol itself is evil, but because inebriation, from anything, is evil (see also What Is Sorcery?). People who get "stoned," on anything, unless they repent, are making their character unfit for salvation:
"21:18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: 21:19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; 21:20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. 21:21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear." (Deuteronomy 21:18-21 KJV)
Use or Abuse
Apart from whether a seed-bearing plant is outright poisonous, what is it that makes a plant, that otherwise has legitimate "good" uses, into something evil, or at the very least foolish? Why would someone who uses, for example, marijuana (and just so there's no misunderstanding, I do not use marijuana or any other drugs; nor do I drink alcohol, other than a very small amount of red wine once per year at Passover), be regarded as foolish in the eyes of God for using it merely as a "recreational drug," to get inebriated like a fool, whereas using the very same plant for proven legitimate and legal medical purposes for healing of human suffering be regarded as good? The answer to that is found throughout the Bible, where things that were created good by the LORD were misused and abused into instruments of evil.
According to some present day medical research, marijuana may be useful to some people with certain genuine medical conditions. A quote from the "Medical cannabis" article in Wikipedia, December 3 2012:
"Medical cannabis refers to the parts of the herb cannabis used as a physician-recommended form of medicine or herbal therapy, or to synthetic forms of specific cannabinoids such as THC as a physician-recommended form of medicine. The Cannabis plant has a long history of use as medicine, with historical evidence dating back to 2737 BCE. Cannabis is one of the 50 "fundamental" herbs of traditional Chinese medicine, and is prescribed for a broad range of indications."
The opium poppy is a seed-bearing plant that, depending on whether it is used or abused, has destroyed the lives of a great number of people through heroin addiction, or relieved the pain and suffering of a great many other people through morphine and other pain-relieving drugs derived from the same plant. Is the plant itself "good" or "evil"? There's no way to tell until someone uses, or abuses, it. Another quote from Wikipedia, the "Papaver somniferum" article on December 3 2012:
"Opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, is the species of plant from which opium and poppy seeds are derived. Opium is the source of many narcotics, including morphine (and its derivative heroin), thebaine, codeine, papaverine, and noscapine. The Latin botanical name means the "sleep-bringing poppy", referring to the sedative properties of some of these opiates.
Even in the yet-future, some seed-bearing plants will be used, not for destroying health, or just to "get high," but for healing. And where will that happen? At the restoration of the Garden of Eden in the Kingdom of God (see The Church: Mission Accomplished).
"21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Fact Finder: How is this physical life a matter of knowing how to choose which "light" to grow toward?
This Day In History, December 4
771: Charlemagne became the sole emperor of the Franks after the death of his brother Carloman (listen also to our Sermon Constantine's Papacy).
963: Holy Roman Emperor Otto deposed Pope John XII for dishonorable conduct and for plotting an armed conspiracy. Leo VIII succeeded as pope (see The Holy Roman Empire, Emperors and Popes and The Struggle For The Papacy).
1154: Nicholas Breakspear became the only Englishman to be crowned pope. He reigned as Adrian IV.
1489: The Battle of Baza between the Spanish army and the Moors.
1563: The Council of Trent ended after 18 years.
1674: French Jesuit missionary Jacques Marquette constructed the first building of a mission in the wilderness area of Lake Michigan. Today the place is known as Chicago.
1791: The Observer, of Britain, the oldest Sunday newspaper in the world, was first published.
1809: The International Bible Society was founded. It has since distributed the Bible to over 150 countries in the world.
1829: Britain abolished the practice of "suttee" in India, in which the widow burned herself to death on her husband's funeral pyre.
1914: At the beginning of the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), the German Navy formed the first military seaplane force. It began operations from Zeebrugge, Belgium.
1918: The Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was proclaimed. It became known as Yugoslavia.
1952: The Great Smog of London began when vast amounts of coal smoke emitted from homes and factories, along with gasoline and diesel vehicle exhaust, combined with a unique cold fog from the Atlantic. The "smog" (the original and first use of the word smog - smoke and fog) killed thousands of people over that winter.
1981: Ronald Reagan officially (i.e. publicly admitted) authorized the CIA to conduct spy operations in the U.S. itself (millions of naive people were apparently oblivious to the reality that the CIA was already doing so, just as it had been right from the moment that it was created).
1991: Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) ceased operation due to bankruptcy.