WikiTheology: But it’s a different culture…

Here is an explanation of WikiTheology. For similar posts, see why we have armswhy we don’t eat snowy owlswhy Hell might not be what you think, maybe Jesus just being overly dramatic, and why your stomach still growls.

Question: The culture that Jesus lived in is so different than ours. How can we know that everything he said then is culturally relevant for today?

Text where it stems from: The sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7)

Me: Are there some commands that Jesus gave to his disciples that are not relevant for us? Yes! For example, he told the disciples to not go to certain cities. He told individuals to not tell others about him. He told people to pay their taxes to Cesar. He told his disciples to meet him in Galilee. None of those things are relevant to us. But does that mean that nothing is relevant for us? I think we would all say “No. There is much that is relevant for us!”

But how do we know the difference between what is relevant to us in the 21st century and what was only relevant to those standing beside Jesus in the 1st century, or even those who were listening to Moses in the 15th century before Christ, and what is relevant for us today? This question is part of what we call Hermeneutics, or “the discipline that studies theories of interpretation” (Arthur G. Patzia and Anthony J. Petrotta, Pocket Dictionary of Biblical Studies (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002, 56).

The Bible is a collection of 66 books written over the span of more than 1500 years by 40 authors. We also recognize that this collection we “Scripture” is inspired by God, or given to us by God himself through human authors (2 Tim 3:16). We must take into account both the diversity and unity of authorship. Because of the nature of this revelation we must as well acknowledge its time-bound and timeless nature. This is distinct from other faiths such as Islam.

Given the nature of the Bible, when we come to a certain text we must come to it as though we were three different audiences. We ask ourselves, “How would I have understood this if I were the original audience?” Then we ask, “What does this reveal in a timeless way about God and mankind throughout all history?” And finally we can ask, “How does this apply to me as part of the present audience?”

[This mashup of the COMA questions and the Flow of Bible study did not originate with us. See One to One Bible Reading by Helm and also this post by Michael Patton]

You may think, but that sounds like a lot of work! Yes. Yes it is. The Bible is a big book, and if we don’t take our reading of it seriously we could arrive at the point of where we are sacrificing goats and chickens, or rejecting the whole book outright. For example, you may have heard statements such as, “If you are going to say that a certain sexual behavior is wrong, you can’t eat pork either because Leviticus says you can’t!” Given what you have read, how would you respond?

So, was the culture of Jesus different than ours? Certainly. Does this mean that nothing is relevant for us? Absolutely not. The words of Jesus, and all of Scripture as the revelation of God, are essential to our life and godliness (2 Peter 1), and although they are difficult to understand at times (2 Peter 3), they are the words of life (John 6).

Si la cultura de Jesús fue tan diferente de la nuestra ¿cómo sabemos que sus palabras son relevantes para nosotros?

¿Hay algunos mandatos que Jesús dio a sus discípulos que no son relevantes para nosotros? ¡Sí! Por ejemplo, dijo a sus discípulos no ir a algunas ciudades. Dijo a algunos no hablar de él a otros. Dijo que todos deben pagar sus impuestos al Cesar. Mandó que sus discípulos fuesen a Galilea para reunirse con él. Ninguno de estos son “relevantes” para nosotros. ¿Pero significa que no hay nada relevante para nosotros? Creo que todos de nosotros diríamos “No. Hay mucho que es relevante para nosotros.”

Pero nos lleva a otra pregunta. ¿Cómo sabemos la diferencia entre lo que es relevante para nosotros en el siglo XXI y lo que fue relevante solo para ellos de pie al lado de Jesús en el siglo I, o incluso a ellos escuchando a Moises en el siglo XV antes de Cristo? Esta pregunta es parte de lo que llamas Hermenéutica, o, “la disciplina que estudia las teorías de interpretación” (Arthur G. Patzia and Anthony J. Petrotta, Pocket Dictionary of Biblical Studies (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002, 56).

La Biblia es una colección de 66 libros escritos durante más de 1500 años por 40 autores. También sabemos que esta colección que llamamos “Las Escrituras” es inspirada por Dios, dada por Dios mismo por medio de autores humanos (2 Timoteo 3:16). Tenemos que reconocer la diversidad y la unidad de la autoría. Por causa de la naturaleza de esta revelación también tenemos que reconocer su naturaleza como eterna y, a la misma vez, temporal. Esta declaración distingue Cristianismo de muchas religiones, como Islam.

Dada la naturaleza de la Biblia, cuando leemos un texto tenemos que pensar como si fuésemos tres diferentes audiencias. Nos preguntamos, “¿Cómo lo hubiera entendido si yo hubiese sido la audiencia original?” Después, nos preguntamos, ¿Qué nos revela, en su aspecto intemporal, de Dios y la humanidad a lo largo de la historia?” Y finalmente, nos preguntamos, “¿Cómo se aplica a mi este pasaje, siendo yo como la audiencia presente?”

[Estas preguntas y “audiencias” no tienen su origin con nosotros. Puedes consultar “One to One Bible Reading” por Helm y también este blog]

Probablemente piensas, “¡Me parece mucho trabajo!” Sí. Lo es. La Biblia es un libro grande e importante, y si no lo tomamos en serio, podríamos llegar a un momento en el que sacrificaríamos cabras y gallinas, o rechazaríamos el libro por completo.

¿Has escuchado declaraciones como, “Si vas a decir que este tipo de acto sexual es malo, tampoco puedes comer jamón porque Levítico dice que no!” Según lo que has leído, ¿cómo responderías?

A ver, ¿la cultura de Jesús fue diferente que la nuestra? Claro. ¿Significa que no hay nada relevante para nosotros? De ninguna manera. Las palabras de Jesús, y de todas las Escrituras como la revelación de Dios, son esenciales para nuestra vida y piedad (2 Pedro 1), y aunque son difíciles de entender a veces (2 Pedro 3), son palabras de vida (Juan 6).

WikiTheology: Was Jesus being overly dramatic?

Here is an explanation of WikiTheology. For similar posts, see why we have armswhy we don’t eat snowy owlswhy Hell might not be what you think, and why your stomach still growls.

Friend: If Jesus knew he would rise from the dead, wasn’t he being over dramatic, or lacking in faith when he asked the Father to take the cup away?

Me: That is a tough question! Let me think about that…

Text where it stems from: Matthew 26:36ff

This question deals with one of the more perplexing issues found in Scripture and the answer is determined by how we understand Christ, or in theological studies, Christology. When understanding Jesus’ cry in the garden (or any of his other human characteristics such as his hunger, tiredness, limited knowledge of the Father’s timing, and ultimately his death) we have to take into account what we read in Philippians 2:4-11:

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

In these verses we see that Jesus was just like us because he became a human being, or “emptied himself, by taking on the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” This did not eliminate or mix with his divine nature (“the form of God”). Being the second person of the Triune God he could not give up his divine nature just like God the Father could not give up being the Father, or the Spirit the Spirit. Nor could Jesus separate himself from his divine attributes such as his omnipotence, or omniscience, and still continue to be God. However, because Jesus took on the human nature in addition to his divinity, voluntarily limiting himself to that which corresponded with his humanity, he could accomplish the loving rescue plan which the Father had given to him, which involved his own death. He could be tired and thirsty. He could be lonely. He had humbly become a man and set aside the independent control of his divine attributes which were rightfully his.

With this understanding of Jesus’ divine nature and his human nature, we now consider him in the Garden. Here he knelt, weeping. If he knew he would rise again, why the drama? As a human being, he had lived perfectly. His entire earthly life had been one of unhindered communion with God the Father. He never had any sin to disrupt their communion, nor had he ever experienced the correction of God for pursuing his own sinful desire. But this was about to change. Soon he would be hung on a tree and made to be a curse. He would bear the wrath of God for sins he had never committed. He would drink the cup of God’s justice down to the dregs. He would be cut off from the Father for the first time in his life (see Isaiah 53, Romans 8:3; Galatians 3:13; Romans 4:25).

At this point, we have to remember that we are speaking of the human nature of Jesus the Messiah. We are not speaking of his divine nature, which could not be cut off from the Father and the Spirit. The Triune God could not abandon one of the persons, but the man Christ Jesus could take our sins and carry them to his grave. There he, flesh and blood, would lie dead.

This is why he wept. This is why he was in agony. He was about to give up his life and his perfect acceptance and communion with the Father on behalf of sinners like you and I.

So from this perspective, the struggle in the garden which Jesus faced is not an evidence for a lack of faith, but rather a demonstration of his faithfulness in the midst of the most horrific fate possible, to feel the full wrath of God upon him.

This is a very brief look at a very complex issue. I highly recommend reading this book for a greater treatment!

Ware, B. The Man Christ Jesus. Crossway, 2012.

WikiTheology: What if Jesus never existed?

Here is an explanation of WikiTheology. For similar posts, see why we have armswhy we don’t eat snowy owlswhy Hell might not be what you think, and why your stomach still growls.

¿Qué pasaría si Jesús nunca existiera?

Amigo: ¿Cómo puedes estar seguro que Jesús aún existe?

Yo: Piensas que Jesús es el Papa Noel del primer siglo? (Lo siento si todavía crees que él es real!)

Amigo: Sí. Quizá alguien le inventó intencionalmente, o involuntariamente. ¿Qué pasaría si fuera una leyenda, pero se convirtió a una realidad en las mentes de la gente? ¿Cómo sabemos que Jesús era una persona real?

Es una pregunta interesante. Si alguien supone que la Biblia fuese el único registro de Jesús del primer siglo (que hasta ahora lleva como nombre – “a.C y d.C”), sería la teoría de la conspiración del…universo.

Dejando la version histórica de la Biblia, creo que todavía existe más pruebas de la existencia de Jesús que muchos otros líderes espirituales o figuras históricas.

Dos de los historiadores más conocidos quienes escribieron algo de Jesús son Tácito y Josefo. Se podría hablar también de Julio Africano citando a Thallus, Plinio el Joven, Talmud de Babilonia, Luciano de Samosata, y Mara Bar-Serapion (para ver más puedes echar un vistazo a

Tácito, un historiador romano del primer siglo, dijo algunas cosas muy negativas de Jesús y sus seguidores. Anotó que los Cristianos fueron aborrecidos por sus “abominaciones”, eran parte de una “superstición maliciosa”, cuya religión era “malvada”, y eran parte de todo lo que era “horroroso y vergonzoso”. Ahí hablaba de Cristo, de quien recibieron los Cristianos su nombre, quien fue crucificado por Poncio Pilato. Es muy improbable que un Cristiano del primer siglo falsificara un párrafo como ese para soportar una religión falsa.

El segundo es Josefo, un historiador judío, quien escribió otros datos de Cristo. Jesús era “un hombre sabio”, “un bienhechor de obras maravillosas”, “un maestro”, “el Cristo”, matado por Poncio Pilato, y que apareció a sus seguidores después de su muerte. También hablaba de Santiago, “el hermano de Jesús, quien le llamaron Cristo”.

Es complemente aceptable (y yo diría, esencial) que evalúes a Jesús y lo que enseñaba acerca de sí mismo. También puedes decidir de creer que nunca fue un Jesús histórico, pero tienes que darte cuenta que la carga de la prueba está encima de tus hombros. Estás listo a correr este riesgo?


What if Jesus never existed?

Friend: How can you be so sure that Jesus even existed?

Me: You think that Jesus might just be the first century Santa Claus? (I don’t mean to burst your bubble if you still believe he is real!)

Friend: Yes. Maybe someone invented him intentionally, or unintentionally. What if he was a legend, that just became real in people’s minds? How do we know he was a historical reality?

That is an interesting question. If someone assumes that the Bible is the only record of Jesus from the 1st century bearing his name (B.C. and a.d.), then I suppose this could be the conspiracy theory of the…universe.

Putting aside the Biblical account, I believe there is still more historical evidence than many other famous spiritual leaders or historical figures.

Two of the most common historians who refer to Jesus are Tacitus and Josephus. One could also look to Julius Africanus quoting Thallus, Pliny the Younger, The Babylonian Talmud, Lucian of Samosata, and Mara Bar-Serapion (for more see

Tacitus, a Roman historian from the 1st century, had some negative things to say about Jesus and his followers. He noted that Christians were hated for their “abominations”, were part of a “most mischievous superstition”, their religion was “evil”, they were part of everything “hideous and shameful”. In there he states that Christ, from whom they got their name, was crucified by Pontius Pilate. It is very improbably that an early Christian would forge something like this in order to prop up a false religion.

A second source is Josephus, a Jewish historian, who had other things to say about Jesus. He was a “wise man”, “doer of wonderful works”, “a teacher”, “the Christ”, killed by Pilate, and he appeared to his followers after his death. He also spoke of James, “the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ”

It is completely acceptable (and I would say, essential) for you to question Jesus and his claims. You can even choose to believe that there never was a historical Jesus, but just recognize that the burden of proof is on your shoulders. Are you ready to take that gamble?

How could you believe in a God who sends people to hell?

This is another installment of WikiTheology. For more, see here and here.

For English – see below.

¿Cómo podrías creer en un Dios que manda gente al infierno?

Amigo: Nunca podría creer en un Dios que manda gente a un lugar como el infierno.

Yo: ¿Qué significa “Infierno” para ti?

Amigo: El lugar de fuego y castigo.

Yo: ¿Y por qué no crees que un Dios no debe mandar a alguien a un lugar así?

Amigo: Porque Dios es amor, ¿no?

Yo: Creo que es una pregunta importante, y estás tocando un tema sensible de la fe del Cristianismo. La Biblia dice que Dios es amor. Entonces ¿cómo podría un Dios amante mandar a la gente a un castigo como la Biblia describe? Y tampoco el infierno no es una idea que podamos ignorar. De hecho, la persona que mas hablaba del infierno era quizás Jesús.

Podemos ver el tema desde dos puntos de vista. Primero, hay peligro en atribuir a Dios sólo un atributo dominante. Dios es amor. Verdad (Primero de Juan 4:8). Pero Dios también es justo. Y que pasaría si cambiamos tu oración a decir, “Nunca podría creer en un Dios quien ignoraba arbitrariamente los crímenes horrorosos de los asesinos y dictadores.” Podría ser Dios un Dios de amor si viera a las víctimas del holocausto y genocidio étnica y dijera, “Lo siento, pero soy amor y debo dar a tus perseguidores un pase”? Me parece que las víctimas verán el “amor” de Dios como deficiente. La mayoría de nosotros probablamente podemos afirmar que los que cometen crímenes horrorosos deben recibir algo como castigo si hay un Dios perfecto. El problema surge cuando empezamos a catalogar que pecados son horrorosos. Cada pecado es cometido contra un Dios infinito y merece un castigo máximo. Los que somos honestos en cuanto a nuestra depravación, esta idea nos da un poco de temor. La solución por los que reconocen su estado como rebeldes pecaminosos ante el Dios justo se encuentra en la expiación substituto – Jesús cargando nuestros pecados y pagando su precio infinito con su vida perfecta. Y en cambio por nuestra muerte, nos da su vida. Hay expiación por los delitos (justicia) y un substituto para quienes necesitaran una eternidad para pagar el precio de nuestros pecados (amor). Pero esta discusión es para otro día. Regresando al tema, el amor de Dios no puede negar su justicia. Su amor y su justicia son inseparables.

El segundo punto de vista es el del individuo en el infierno. Es más hipotético. ¿Cómo sabes que la persona quisiera estar en el opuesto, el cielo? Una idea común, pero equivocada, es que Dios no está en el infierno. Esta idea es falsa. Dios está omnipresente – en todos los lugares en todos los tiempos. Y, es por causa de su presencia que el infierno es tan horrible para los rebeldes. En este lugar de tormenta, los rebeldes están expuestos a la santidad ilimitada de Dios. Se siente el calor del sol, a una distancia de 5 centímetros. ¿Á donde podrían huir?

Me preguntas, “Pero, seguramente alguien en el infierno escogería el cielo si tuviera la oportunidad, ¿verdad?” Estás seguro? ¿Piensas que alguien quien se oponga completamente contra la persona y autoridad de Dios habría querido vivir en su presencia en el cielo? Sería mejor que el infierno? Lo que mantiene el cielo a ser el cielo, y lo que mantiene el infierno a ser el infierno es la misma persona – Dios. Hipotéticamente, podrían ocupar el mismo sitio, solo cambia la orientación del individuo. *(El Apocalipsis dice que el infierno es un lugar literal y está tirado al Lago de Fuego.)

Quizá has leído o visto el Señor de los Anillos. Imagínate los orcos, una creación sucia de Sauron. Fueron sacados de las piedras. Son horrorosos. Odian a todo lo que hace la Tierra Media hermosa. Ahora, imagínate Rivendel, el hogar de los Elfos. Todo es refrescante, claro, fino, real. Luz sin límites. Claridad ardiente. Pureza ilimitada.

Ahora, pon un orco en Rivendel. ¿Cómo será para él? ¿Cómo describiría su tiempo allí?

Quizá estas pensando, “Perdona. No somos como los orcos.” Estás seguro? Si tú y yo somos honestos de lo que está adentro de nosotros, ¿A quién nos parecemos más? Si tuviéramos todo el poder en el mundo, o riqueza ilimitada, o ninguna consecuencia, o cuando nadie nos está mirando, ¿Qué haríamos?

¿Estás seguro?

El punto es eso: el cielo no sería el cielo sin la presencia inmediata de Dios. El infierno no será el infierno sin la presencia inmediata de Dios. En un sentido, en el infierno Dios está dando al rebelde lo que quiere, una razón para maldecir Dios y hacer todo a su manera. El único problema es, después de maldecirle, no tiene la oportunidad de morir.


How could you believe in a God who sends people to hell?

Friend: I could never believe in a God who sends people to a place like hell.

Me: What do you mean by hell?

Friend: The place with fire and punishment.

Me: And why do you think that a God shouldn’t send someone to a place like that?

Friend: Isn’t God love?

Me: I think you have brought up an important question, and you are touching on one of the very tender nerves of the Christian faith. The Bible does say that God is love. So how could a loving God send people to a punishment like the one the Bible describes? And Hell isn’t an idea we can just ignore. In fact, the one who probably spoke about hell most often was Jesus himself.

Here are two angles from which to address this topic. First, there is a danger in only ascribing to God one dominate attribute. God is love. True (1 John 4:8). But God is also just. What if we flipped your statement to say, “I could never believe in a God who just arbitrarily ignores the horrendous crimes of mass murderers and vicious dictators.” Would God be truly loving if he looked at the victims of the holocaust and ethnic genocide and said, “Sorry about that, but I am love and have to give your abusers a pass”? It seems like the abused would view God’s love as unsatisfactory given their situation. Most would probably agree that those who commit horrendous crimes should receive some kind of punishment from a perfect God. However, the problem arises when we begin to label which sins are horrendous. All sins are committed against an infinite God and therefore deserve a maximum sentence. That makes most of us who are honest about our depravity a little nervous. The solution for those who truly recognize their plight as sinful rebels before a completely just God is found in substitutionary atonement – Jesus taking upon himself our utter sinfulness and paying the infinite price with his perfect life. Then in exchange for our death, he gives us his life. There is both atonement for the offense (justice) and a substitution for those who would need an eternity to pay it off (love). But that discussion is for another day. Returning to the topic, God’s love does not negate his justice. It is what completes it.

The second angle from which to view this issue is from the point of view of the individual in Hell. This is more hypothetical. What makes you so sure that he would want to be in the other alternative, Heaven? The commonly promoted idea that God is not in Hell is rubbish. God is omnipresent – all places at all times. It is actually his presence that makes Hell so painful. In this place of judgment, the rebels of creation are exposed to the unrestricted holiness of God. They are now feeling the heat of the sun, from a distance of three inches. But if not there,

where could they go from his presence?

Where could they hide their face?

If they ascend to heaven, he is there!

If they make their bed in Sheol, he is there!

If they take the wings of the morning

and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

or say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,

and the light about me be night,”

even the darkness is not dark to him;

the night is bright as the day,

for darkness is as light with him.

Well, surely, anyone who was in hell would choose to be in heaven if they had the chance, right? Are you sure? Do you think someone who is absolutely and completely opposed to the person and authority of God would want to experience his presence in Heaven? And would it be any better than Hell? What makes Heaven Heaven, and what makes Hell Hell is the same person – God. Hypothetically speaking, they could occupy the exact same place, it is just the individual who changes.* (Revelation says that Hell is a literal place and it is thrown into the Lake of Fire.)

Perhaps you have read or watched the Lord of the Rings Trilogy at some point. Imagine the Orcs, the filthy creation of Sauron? They are pulled from the rocks. They are horrendous. And they hate all that makes Middle Earth beautiful.

Now imagine Rivendell. This is the home of the Elves. Everything is fresh, clear, sharp, real. Unfettered light. Burning clarity. Unrestricted purity.

Now, take an Orc and put him in Rivendell. What would that be like for him? How would he describe his time there?

Now maybe you are thinking, “Wait! But we aren’t like the Orcs.” Are we not? If you and I are honest with what is truly inside of us, who do we most resemble? What if we had all the power in the world, or unrestricted wealth, or no consequences, or just no one watching, what would we do?

Are you so sure?

The point is this. Heaven would not be heaven without God’s immediate presence. Hell would not be hell without God’s immediate presence. In one sense, in Hell God is only giving the rebel what he wants, a reason to curse God and do everything his own way. The only problem is, he doesn’t get the opportunity to do so and then die.


WikiTheology – Should we protect animals in danger of extinction?

Here are links for a background of what is “WikiTheology” and another question.

Should we protect animals in danger of extinction?

Your question is an excellent one given the amount of harm we have done to the world over the years. The problem stems from the fact that we have thought incorrectly about the question, not that we haven’t asked the question. We have not asked what the Creator wants.

The answer depends completely on what you think about the origins of the universe. If you believe that everything came from nothing, over a long period of time, and with a little luck, how are we different from any other animal? We would be considered the product of the same evolutionary process. And that evolutionary process teaches us that the strong survive and the weak die. So, if we say, “We believe, as humans, we are intelligent animals and for this reason we should protect other not-as-intelligent animals,” where is the logic in your answer? Don’t you think that we are going against the current which has brought us to be the strongest? If you believe that we have been created by evolution, the purpose of life is to survive. Nothing more. And in surviving, if there is an animal that makes it more difficult, or makes it more uncomfortable, why would you want to save it?

Perhaps a person could say that their life is better if we allow a certain species to exist, like the bee for example, but only for a single person, and not for everyone. All of humanity could never decide what is correct for everyone, because the strong have the right to survive, and not the others.

But those who think that there is a Creator have other reasons to protect animals. Before we look at two of those reasons, I would like to clarify what it means “to protect.” A believer in God does not protect animals in the same way as a Buddhist might protect animals. We do not believe that we are equal with animals, nor that animals house the souls of other individuals. The Bible tells us that as humans we are the only creatures to be created in the image of God. Animals do not have souls, and cannot have a personal relationship with God, but as humans we can. For this reason God commanded that we are not to murder other humans. There is a difference in value between animals and humans, and it is a value which God has placed on us and which we cannot change. Those who confuse animals for humans do harm to both the animal and other humans. If we think that the creation is god, we have lost the ability to live according to reason.

And now for two of the reasons why we ought to protect animal species:

  1. We were created by God in order to have dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:28), by which God means that we “cultivate it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). It is our privilege to exercise dominion over the earth, and we cannot refuse the responsibilities that come with it. But there are times that we have to kill certain animals to feed humans or other animals, or to protect a herd or another species. Because we have a different value and we have wisdom, we can do so intelligently and correctly (we can also do so in a manner which is very harmful, as we have seen over the years).
  2. There is another reason to protect different species of animals. Animals were created by God and demonstrate his creativity. By means of his creation we can understand something about God, namely his eternal power and his divine nature (Romans 1:20). This means that if we do not protect well, and allow a species to become extinct (or we do not pursue the opportunity to discover more species), we lose a creation of our God, and another view into his incredible intelligence.

Those who believe in the God of the Bible have a responsibility to protect the various species of animals because as humans we are different. God has created us with the ability and the wisdom to do so for his glory. I thank God for those who are working to protect the various species of animals in our world.

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¿Debemos proteger a los animales en peligro de extinción?

La pregunta es una pregunta importante, porque en los últimos años hemos visto el daño que hemos hecho en el mundo durante los siglos que no nos hacíamos esta pregunta. Eso no es decir que nadie ha pensado en lo que debemos hacer con los animales, pero que no hemos pensado tanto en lo que el Creador quiere.

La respuesta acerca de los animales en peligro depende completamente de lo que piensas de los orígenes del universo. Si piensas que todo lo que es vino de la nada, durante mucho tiempo, y un poco de suerte, ¿cómo somos diferentes de los animales? ¿No somos el producto de la misma evolución? ¿Y que nos enseña la evolución? Nos enseña que los fuertes sobreviven y los débiles mueren. Entonces, si decimos “Creemos que nosotros, como humanos, somos los animales mas inteligentes y por esta razón debemos proteger a los animales no tan inteligente como nosotros” ¿de dónde viene la razón de tu respuesta? ¿No piensas que estamos yendo contra la corriente que nos ha llevado a ser los más poderosos? Si crees que la evolución nos ha creado, el propósito de la vida es sobrevivir. Nada más. Y si necesitas sobrevivir, y hay un animal que lo hace más difícil, o te hace incómodo, ¿por qué los querrías salvar?

Quizá una persona pudiera decir que su vida sería mejor si dejara vivir una especie de animal, como la abeja por ejemplo, pero solamente para una persona, y no a otra. Toda la humanidad nunca podría decir que fuera correcto para todos, porque los fuertes tienen el derecho de vivir, y no los otros.

Pero los que piensan que hay un creador tienen otras razones para cuidar a los animales. Antes de hablar de dos de estas razones, me gustaría clarificar que significa “proteger.” Un creyente en Dios no protege a los animales de la misma manera que los Budistas. No creemos que somos iguales que los animales, ni que los animales tienen las almas de otras personas. La Biblia nos dice que los humanos son los únicos que fueron creados en la imagen de Dios. Los animales no tienen almas, y no pueden tener una relación personal con Dios, pero los humanos sí. Por eso Dios mandó que no matemos a los otros humanos. Hay un valor diferente entre los animales y los humanos, y es un valor que Dios ha puesto y que no podemos cambiar. Los que confunden los animales con los humanos le hacen daño al animal y a los otros humanos. Si pensamos que la creación es Dios, perdemos la habilidad a vivir razonadamente.

Ahora, dos de las razones porque debemos proteger a los animales:

  1. Fuimos creados por Dios para dominar a la tierra (Génesis 1:28), que significa para Dios “cultivar y cuidar” (Génesis 2:15). Es nuestro privilegio ejercer dominio sobre la tierra, y no podemos dejar nuestra responsabilidad. Pero hay veces que tenemos que matar a los animales para alimentar a humanos u otros animales, o también para proteger la manada o otra especie. Porque tenemos un valor y sabiduría diferente, podemos hacerlo correctamente (también podemos hacerlo de una manera muy dañosa, como hemos visto durante los últimos años).
  2. También hay otra razón para cuidar a las especies. Los animales fueron creados por Dios y muestran su creatividad. Por medio de su creación podemos entender algo de Dios, su eterno poder y su naturaleza divina (Romanos 1:20). Significa que si no cuidamos bien y dejamos que muera otra especia (o si no perseguimos la oportunidad de descubrir más especies), perdemos una creación de nuestro Dios y otra muestra de su inteligencia.

Los que creen en el Dios de la Biblia tienen la responsabilidad de proteger a las especies de animales porque como humanos somos diferentes. Dios nos ha creado con la habilidad y la sabiduría para hacerlo por su gloria. Doy gracias a Dios por los que están trabajando para cuidar a las especies de animales en nuestro mundo.

Why did God create man as he did and not differently?

Friend: “When you imagine a robot, what do you imagine?”

Me: “Metal arms, legs, etc.”

Friend: “Something sort of human then? But why? Why not something different? My question is, if there is a Creator, why did that God create man as he did and not differently?”

That is a good question. The Bible doesn’t exactly tell us why God created us with two ears and not three, two eyes and not one, or even one mouth and not two.

It does tell us that we are made in his image, but that is not necessarily how he looks, since we know that God is spirit.

One could also say, “It is the best way,” which is true. God knows how to create an eye, and he made ours because it was a good idea. But he also made the eye of the spider, which is very different from our own. Both sets of eyes were made by a perfect God. He knew what he was doing, and he had the liberty to be creative with his designs. But I believe there is another part to the answer that can help us with the main question.

I have an idea, and it is mostly just an idea (and I can vaguely remember reading something about it from someone way smarter than I). It also answers only part of the question.

Do you know how Jesus called himself the Good Shepherd (John 10), and John the Baptist called him the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29)?

Do you think that Jesus thought, “Sheep are a good picture of humans who stray, I am going to call myself a Shepherd so my hearers will have a better understanding of myself”? Or, “Sheep are innocent animals and used as sacrifices, so I will take this image on myself”?

If God instituted the sacrificial system with lambs, don’t you think that He would have planned on picturing Jesus’ sacrifice before having engraining in his people the idea of sacrificial lambs? The book of Revelation states that the “Lamb [was] slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev 13:8). The Jesus/Lamb picture was not an afterthought. In other words, he was preparing his people for Jesus by giving them 1500 years of sacrificing meek animals in order that they could clearly understand what Jesus was going to do on the cross.

God created sheep so they could be a future metaphor for Jesus.

Now back to the question about why we have fingers.

The Bible is full of anthropomorphisms,

  • “The eyes of the LORD”
  • “The arm of the LORD”
  • “The LORD heard their cries”
  • Etc.

I think that the Creator knew that his position as a transcendent God would be beyond our comprehension, so he wanted to make it clear to us.

If an artisan wants to communicate a truth to his child he could do so in a couple different ways. He could take an object and relate the truth to it, or he could take the truth and make an object to image it.

With the Creator, I think he chose the second. He wanted us to understand his omnipresence, so he gave us eyes and said that he sees everything. He wanted us to understand his strength, so he gave us arms and said that his are powerful.

But he didn’t stop there. This Creator God, apart from whom nothing was made that was made (John 1:3), took on flesh and became one of his created order (Phil 2). Jesus Christ humbled himself in order to die for us.

I think that is part of the answer to why we look the way we look…and not like an octopus.


¿Por qué creó Dios el ser humano como lo hizo, y no con un aspecto diferente?

“Cuando imaginas un robot, en que piensas?

“Pues, brazos de metal, piernas, etc.”

“Algo semejante a un ser humano, no? Pero, ¿Por qué? ¿Por qué no algo diferente? Mi pregunta es, “Si haya un Creador, ¿Por qué este Creador creó el ser humano como lo hizo, y no con un aspecto diferente?”

La pregunta es buena. La Biblia no dice directamente porque nos creó con dos orejas, y no tres, o una boca y no dos.

Pero, la Biblia habla que nos creó a su imagen, pero “su imagen” no significa necesariamente fisicamente, porque Dios es un espíritu.

Se podría decir, “Nos creó perfectamente.” Es la verdad. Dios sabe como construir un ojo, y lo hizo para nosotros porque es una buena idea. Pero, Dios también creó el ojo de la araña, que es muy diferente del nuestro. Y todavía el ojo de la araña fue creado por el Dios perfecto. Entonces, supo lo que hacía, y también tiene la libertad de ser creativo con sus diseños. Pero, creo que hay otra parte de la respuesta que puede ayudarnos con la pregunta principal.

Tengo una idea, aunque solamente es una idea, y nada más. Y solamente responde a parte de la pregunta.

¿Sabes que Jesús se llamó a si mismo el Buen Pastor (Juan 10), y Juan el Bautista le llamó “ el Cordero de Dios, que quita el pecado del mundo (Juan 1:29)”?

¿Piensas lo que Jesús pensó, “Las ovejas son animales sencillos y son un buen ejemplo de humanos que se pierden porque quieren seguir su propia senda. Voy a llamarme, ‘Pastor’ para que mis oyentes sepan mas de como soy”? O, ¿“Las ovejas son animales inocentes y usados como sacrificios, pues, usaré esta imagen para mostrar mi sacrificio”?

Si Dios inició el sistema de sacrificios de ovejas, ¿No piensas que hubiera planeado la representación del sacrificio de Jesús antes de enseñar a su pueblo la idea de un sacrificio? En el Apocalipsis dice que “el Cordero fue sacrificado desde la creación del mundo” (Apoc 13:8). La representación de Jesús como Oveja fue algo planificado, Dios estaba preparando su gente durante 1500 años de sacrificios de animales de mansedumbre para que pudieran entender claramente lo que Jesús iba a hacer en la cruz.

Dios creó las ovejas para que pudieran ser una metáfora de Jesús.

Ahora, la pregunta principal de por qué tenemos dedos.

La Biblia está llena de imágenes antropomórficas,

  • “Los ojos del SEÑOR”
  • “El brazo del SEÑOR”
  • “El SEÑOR escuchó las quejas de su pueblo”
  • Etc.

Creo que el Creador entendió su posición como el Dios transcendente y que en nuestro entendimiento no tenemos la capacidad de comprenderlo. El nos creó para tener una relación con el, entonces quería ayudarnos a entenderle.

Si un artesano quiere comunicar una verdad a su hijo, podría hacerlo de diferentes maneras. Podría usar un objeto y asociar la verdad al objeto, o pensar en la verdad y hacer un nuevo objeto para explicar o demostrar la verdad.

Creo que el Creador escogió la segunda opción. Quería que entendiéramos su omnipresencia, entonces nos dio ojos y nos dijo, “Yo veo todo.” Quería que entendiéramos su fuerza, entonces nos dio brazos y nos dijo, “Los míos son poderosos.”

Pero no lo deja allí. Este Dios Creador, “Por medio de él todas las cosas fueron creadas; sin él, nada de lo creado llegó a existir” (Juan 1:3), “se rebajó voluntariamente, tomando la naturaleza de siervo y haciéndose semejante a los seres humanos” (Filipenses 2:7). Jesucristo se humilló a ser parte de la orden de su creación. El se humilló para morir por nosotros.

Creo que nos explica un poco porque tenemos el aspecto que tenemos…y no como pulpos.


One of the things that I love about living in a different culture is the exposure to new friends and different ideas. I am energized by sitting down and discussing two opposing viewpoints. Over the past few months I have been compiling a list of questions that have arisen during conversations with various friends here in Spain. Some of those are as follows:

  • What if Jesus is just a helpful liar, giving people a false hope so they live better?
  • Why do bad things happen to good people?
  • What if religion is just a filler for the one human constant – uncertainty?
  • Didn’t God just force Judas to betray Jesus?
  • Should humans have a responsibility in protecting animals from extinction?
  • If God knew that the first people were going to sin, why did he give them a choice
  • If God is clearly known through creation, why don’t people realize it?
  • What is the difference between an animal and a human?
  • And many more


What I would like to do is periodically take some time to write out my response to the question as I would probably say it in the discussion. I am tagging this as “WikiTheology” because I am not going to be writing research papers, but giving a popular level response. That means no footnotes (or few!), no research beyond what I have already done, and more in a conversational tone.

I will also be trying to post them in Spanish.

On Monday I will be giving my WikiTheology answer to: Why did God create man as he did and not differently?