Why is it that two people can look at exactly the same evidence and can come to completely different conclusions about it? Even more puzzling is how two equally qualified scientific experts can look at the same data and utterly disagree about what it means. This happens many times in court cases where the prosecution will call their “expert witness” to give his or her professional opinion to verify that the defendant is guilty only to have the defence to present their “expert witness” who gives his or her professional opinion as to why the prosecution’s expert witness was wrong and to prove that defendant is innocent! This at least illustrates why it is not always the quality of the evidence that leads a person to accept or reject a claim. This especially apply to the claims that Jesus Christ made. Of the four accounts in the New Testament written about His life, three of them were written by eye-witnesses and the other one (Luke’s) was written by someone who interviewed many eye-witnesses. It is with interest that we turn to the last one to be John’s Gospel, where he describes dramatic proofs that Jesus was who He claimed to be. Yet despite these otherwise inexplicable proofs that at times thousands of people witnessed, many still wouldn’t believe. But it seems among those who did believe they all had one thing in common.
I love beautiful gardens. Although I appreciate walking through a temperate rain forest and admiring the natural flora, I especially appreciate a well-planted and maintained garden. And it seems that so does God. Throughout the Scriptures, garden language is used to describe God’s presence and blessing. This is powerfully seen in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. And even after mankind fell from innocence and was expelled from God’s garden paradise, Eden, God’s original “Creation Mandate” still summoned mankind to Edenify the earth. Ultimately, in the new heaven/earth God’s dwelling place with mankind is described as being in a garden (Rev. 22:1-5). In fact, it seems that God went to great lengths to ensure that the earth could indeed be Edenified. Because, after God had created the universe, and He focused on our extraordinary planet, He designed our planet to have the unique qualities making lush gardens possible:
God desires a man’s physical strength to be harnessed for the good and welfare of others — especially women. A man is not to use his strength for evil purposes such as for the malicious violence toward others. Therefore, while most men are physically stronger than most women, a man’s true strength is displayed when he harnesses that strength for the good of others. This requires self-discipline which is also a measure of man’s strength as evidenced by King David’s charge to his son Solomon as prepared to succeed his father (1Kings 2:2-3). As a man ages he is to learn that true strength is not merely determined by physical capacity but is also exercised by increased wisdom (Prov. 20:29). God has perfectly designed the female body and made it beautiful. It might be true that a woman is attracted to a strong man (especially one strong enough to make her feel secure), but it is definitely true that a man is attracted to a beautiful woman. And it seems that most women really appreciate a man’s admiration of her beauty. And God has also perfectly designed a woman’s body to nurture. This means that her skeletal structure is designed to support adequate muscle mass to nurture, and there are aspects to her design that make her quite distinct from a man’s body. But there is an insidious evil that seeks to particularly attack a woman and distort her appreciation for how the Creator has made her. This insidiousness is promoted in many of the recent crop of female heroines (super-heroines excepted for the moment) portrayed in Hollywood movies where a one hundred fifty three centre-metre, forty-five kilo, underwear model is seen fighting off a one hundred and ninety three centre-metre, one hundred and thirty kilo ex-Navy Seal by punching him across a room. This kind of nonsense sends a terrible message to a woman about her inadequacy to be equal to a man when it comes to physical strength.
While we live in a generation where many people view ‘religion’ as a private and personal experience that bears little relevance to the real world, the Psalmist saw his connection with God as a vital, passionate, life-enriching connection, that he needed more than the air he breathed or the water his thirst longed for. It is my pastoral mission to help those whose hearts are inclined toward God to join with the Psalmist and to pant after a deeper communion with God.