Truth is Truth

"You, O LORD, will not withhold Your compassion from me; Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me." - Psalm 40:11 This is a sometimes monthly column concerning the truth of Christ Jesus and the issues that face our world as published in various newspapers and journals by Pastor Dave Seaford. You can return to the home page of the church by going to:

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Location: Redway, California, United States

Monday, October 25, 2004

On the Verge of Vengeance?

Vengeance and its anthropology in anger and pride has roots back to the beginning of recorded history. The ancients recording the first murder in human history, list the cause as anger (Gen. 4:6). You may remember the history, that Cain murdered Abel. But what were the actions that caused such intense anger that lead to one brother murdering the other, when just moments before they were seemingly together (vv 3 & 4) worshiping and bringing offerings to the Lord? These two with no deeply rooted gene pool to blame nor differing environmental conditions to suggest their polar differences, yet found themselves an eternity apart, in their feelings, actions and motives. While this begs the question for some syndrome to blame or legal maneuvering to legislate and legitimate a “cause,” it should focus our attention to the non politically correct answer (ie the truth). Scientific testing methods tell us that if we can remove the possibility of some outside source causing a particular reaction, that we can begin to isolate a legitimate (ie truthful) cause. Using this same scientific method, if one could totally eliminate all known causes but one, he could reasonably assign “cause” to a given reaction. Given the virtual lack of recessive genes and that both boys grew up knowing and communing with God Himself, neither heredity nor environment seem plausible causes for Abel’s actions being “respected by God,” and Cain’s actions resulting in murder.

Some liberal theologians suggest that this is all God’s fault. They assign the blame on God because He did not accept the offering of Cain, thus “making him” angry enough to murder. This adamic blame game does not become theologians, who’s purpose by definition, is the study of a sovereign, holy and righteous God. Does the finite dare place blame on the infinite? It would seem so.

Some actually find comfort in blaming God, because it removes the only other possible source of their anger and brutal acts…, themselves. Sir Julian Huxley one of the signers of the Humanist Manifesto once said that the reason for his atheism was not intellectual nor even scientific, but was rather that if he acknowledged God, he would be forced to do something about his sexual promiscuity. Such candor not only reveals the heart of the atheist, but may I be so bold as to say, the professing Christian who is a “practical atheist.” That is an hypocrite, who speaking one thing lives quite another. What I am not talking about here is simple momentary weakness resulting in isolated sin, but rather one who premeditatedly prescribes sin into his own lifestyle and enjoys wallowing there. Public or private, purposed sin always ends in most either blaming God or denying Him.

Note that the Bible says when Cain became angry, that his countenance fell. The word for countenance in the Greek is “panyim.” This word is use over 2100 times in the Bible, nearly always gives a confidence in something bigger than one’s self, and this passage says that this quality fell (or failed) in Cain. Clearly here Cain’s self centeredness was bred in anger and conceived in pride. By its nature pride, refused to look outside self (and his own resources) for the answer, even when God was clearly giving Cain the answer, well before his murdering, self preserving and predaceous act (v. 6). Cain’s failed actions, I believe, had more to do with his heart than his later reasoning. But clearly, the passage also suggests that a right heart yields right actions and that correct actions motivated by a true desire to honor God and live His Word, always yields God’s “acceptance” (v. 6).

Today we can either blame God or deny Him. Of course there is a third alternative. It is the alternative God gave Cain and humanists deny; “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it” (Gen. 4:7).

Put on His “countenance.” Walk worthy!