In the News: Natural Selection

Lioness In Zoo Kills Man Who Invoked God.

Darwin:1. This Bozo: 0. Point, set, match. Darwin wins, because in this
case God’s on his side.

Okay, so this guy was just stupid, mentally unwell or had a death wish, and he wasn’t that up on the “mysterious ways” that God works in. He was obviously familiar with the story of Daniel and the lion’s den, but less familiar with a significant number of other important scriptural incidents. I’ll examine a few of them, more to examine principles than to point a scolding finger at somebody that’s now safe from being further harmed by his own poor judgment.

The most obvious (to me) being when Lucifer attempts to lure Christ into pulling an equivalent stunt (and, like this man, applying the qualifier if to his argument) by leaping off the pinnacle of the temple and couinting on God to save him. Christ unequivocally refuses, stating, “it is written again, thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” (Matt 4:7).

Let’s look at the case of Daniel again.

Daniel was cast into the Lion’s den for sticking true to his religion when Darius’ advisors set intrigues in motion to ban it (as Nebuchadnezzar’s advisors had likewise tried, to their cost, with Daniel’s three friends some years earlier)  as a means of getting Daniel out of a position of political power. He didn’t go in there to prove anything or with the intent of causing a miracle for his own gratification, he was cast in punitively. He was saved for more than one reason. His belief was one reason, and the purposes of God were another. God wasn’t through with His faithful servant’s mortal service yet.

We have plenty of instances where very faithful, believing persons died as well rather than being saved.

Stephen got stoned to death and had a major vision while it was going on, but didn’t get saved. God had other things in mind for him, and for the impact this incident would eventually have on Saul of Tarsus.

Speaking of Saul, he’s another instance of this, but a particularly interesting one. On several occasions, good old Paul (formerly known as Saul), was repeatedly miraculously saved/spared/whatever from a variety of deaths including beatings, stonings, poisonous snakebite and so on. Then, eventually in Rome, God did not spare him from Nero’s executioners. Paul writes about his own impending death, indicating, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”

A particularly fascinating (to me) incident is in the Book of Mormon, specifically in Alma chapter  14. I’m specifcially referring to the bit from verse 8 on, since the earlier part deals more with the very interesting ongoing story of Zeezrom (a figure first introduced as an antagonist in chapter 11) rather than this particular issue. Basically, a bunch of the people that believed the preachers Alma and Amulek get tossed into a burning pit while their teachers are forced to watch. Amulek (the junior partner who had earlier confounded Zeezrom), looks to the prophet Alma and suggests that the two of them should call upon God to save the innocents. Alma was inspired by the spirit that this was not the will of the Lord at this time and gives two reasons.

After that, Amulek points out that Alma and Amulek are probably next. Alma’s response:  “Be it according to the will of the Lord. But, behold, our work is not finished; therefore they burn us not” (14:13). In other words: if that’s what the Lord wants, so be it. But it’s not what He wants right now so we’ll be safe. Then the two get dragged off to prison and eventually do get delivered by miraculous means that involve God shattering the prison with an earthquake, dropping its walls on the guys that got them tossed in there. D’oh!

God saves (and chooses not to save) people for a number of reasons. He doesn’t save people that put themselves into dangerous circumstances specifically in order to force His hand. When folks try that, he leaves them to face the consequences of their own stupidity, often with predictable results.

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7 Responses to “In the News: Natural Selection”

  1. bosantibe Says:

    Indeed. Notable also is that every major religion and religious subculture currently circulating is firmly cemented enough that we mere humans who follow them are in the “on your own to find the way to heaven” stage, which means taking the miraculous for granted is especially stupid nowadays, because whatever aspect of god you’re trying to stand for probably doesn’t need you directly to spread the word of his/her truth.

  2. uhlrik Says:

    Good points, though in my belief system while it is true that God might not need my help to spread the word, I as a mortal spiritual being do need to help him do it. It’s part of personal spiritual development and an act of worship.

  3. bosantibe Says:

    Of course, but it’s probably not likely that your God will shower miracles to help you in spreading the word like gods tend to do in any kind of bible when a religion is nascent, fragile and not yet understood by a vast majority of the world. For that reason, you’re operating of your own volition with an obvious blessing but very little chance of direct intervention.

  4. uhlrik Says:

    I have actually had a considerable number of “remarkableinstances”/miracles in my life, but yeah there’s less necessity to make a big deal out of that sort of thing once the wheels are fully in motion… we tend to counsel folks not to talk about miracles and such except in special circumstances. The necessity will never go away completely so long as He has work to do, but the need to make a lot of noise about it has mostly.

  5. uhlrik Says:

    I have actually had a considerable number of “remarkableinstances”/miracles in my life, but yeah there’s less necessity to make a big deal out of that sort of thing once the wheels are fully in motion… we tend to counsel folks not to talk about miracles and such except in special circumstances. The necessity will never go away completely so long as He has work to do, but the need to make a lot of noise about it has mostly.

  6. bosantibe Says:

    Precisely so. I imagine that any earth-shaking flashbang miracles will be reserved from your life for the moment wherein you become essential to the greater plan and all of that. Until then, your experiences are yours, small gifts of a loving creator, but not the proof of life sort of instances you get from the old stories wherein the devout were saved from the rest of the world by the grace of god. Anything of that grace is going to come to you in response to your faith and likely not as a means to instill that faith in the larger world. I think miracles nowadays are focused on the individual who receives them.

    Mind you in my worldview they aren’t called that and the source isn’t even remotely similar, but the symbolism and the preternatural quality is very much alike.

  7. bosantibe Says:

    Precisely so. I imagine that any earth-shaking flashbang miracles will be reserved from your life for the moment wherein you become essential to the greater plan and all of that. Until then, your experiences are yours, small gifts of a loving creator, but not the proof of life sort of instances you get from the old stories wherein the devout were saved from the rest of the world by the grace of god. Anything of that grace is going to come to you in response to your faith and likely not as a means to instill that faith in the larger world. I think miracles nowadays are focused on the individual who receives them.

    Mind you in my worldview they aren’t called that and the source isn’t even remotely similar, but the symbolism and the preternatural quality is very much alike.

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