This weekend I released Of Lampposts and Lions—my 20 track, 80 minute concept album based on C.S. Lewis’ books, The Chronicles of Narnia. If you’re familiar with all 7 books, I think you’ll enjoy the story being told. If not, I hope you’ll enjoy the music anyways as it’s quite a blend of genres. You can download it for donation or for free on NoiseTrade.
So I made a post a few days ago called “The Island” and basically talked about how this little piece of land Jodi and I were on was out of control with plants and bugs. I then related some things to being green while balancing it with subduing the earth and every living thing on it as God commanded humanity at the beginning of time (check out the post for more details if you’d like, because this is related).
And perhaps you know the story: Adam and Eve have a perfect life in the Garden of Eden until they eat from a tree, which was like the only thing they weren’t supposed to do. When they ate from that tree, it seems as though a new creature was unleashed on the world.
The creature of sin.
Because if you fast-forward to the next story in the Bible, you come across the story of Cain and Abel. Perhaps you know the story: one of the two brothers worships better than the other and the one who’s worse at it gets jealous and kills the other.
Well before Cain murders Abel, God confronts him rather kindly. Such kindness is interesting since you’d think if anyone would be offended it would be God. I mean, Cain’s brought Him an offering that He has “no regard for.” But God’s gentle response in Genesis 4:6-7 is:
“Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
See, God seems pretty calm about the poor offering He was just given. Almost like a, “Come on dude, you can do better than that. Don’t be mad.”
But in God’s statement you saw the analogy didn’t you? You saw how “sin is crouching at the door.” You see how it’s likened to a wild animal?
Sharks are attracted by blood. Alligators are attracted by splashing. Sin is attracted by a lifestyle of “not doing well.”
Or perhaps a better way to look at it is as though sin has been crouching and prowling around like a roaring lion after us the whole time, waiting for us to not do well so it can attack when we are weak.
Ah, but we are called to “master it” (NASB). Or as another literal translation says, we “must rule over it” (ESV). For sin is a creature, and God has charged us with the mission to rule over all living things:
God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28)
From the beginning we were called to rule over it. And now, due to Jesus’ death on the cross, we have all the more power in the Holy Spirit and the sacred blood of Jesus to fight that creature with the armor of God.
Sometimes the fight is hard, but we were made strengthened by God for the battle.
We can subdue it.
And we will.
And we are.
So insert victory pose here:
Now I’m not one to get much into government and politics and whatnot, but it was kind of interesting how this ended up working out. I was doing some homework on Romans 13 while watching Stargate SG-1 and somehow the two things connected together very well. See, Romans 13:1-8 is about government. It’s short so take a quick read:
1Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
2Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.
3For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same;
4for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.
5Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.
6For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing.
7Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.
8Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
Now don’t take this chapter out of context like so many people do. As you might notice from verses 1 and 2, governments are established by God. So some of you are wondering well then what about Hitler and rulers like him? Well that’s exactly how it gets taken out of context. The real idea behind Paul’s reasoning is found in verse 3 and 4. God is good and just and that is what the government is supposed to be as well and so it find’s itself under God’s establishment. After all, if governments weren’t keeping things good and just it would hardly be much of a government now would it?
You can see areas of uprising when governments go bad and don’t promote goodness and justice.
Rack, Shack, and Benny in the fiery furnace.
Daniel in the lion’s den.
So Paul sees it good for us to have government. It holds us back from sin while we’re here on earth. And on top of that, it’s good for our conscience as noted in verse 5. It allows us to get a burden all sorted out. Not that that means we enjoy it.
But as I was reading this I was watching this particular episode of Stargate SG-1 where Tea’lc (a man who used to be on the team with the bad dudes) went to a different planet and met the son of a man he killed long ago. Now since Tea’lc joined the team with the good dudes, he has done much good in the world, yet he was willing to play by the rules of the government on this new planet and face trial for the man he had killed. The person doing the judging was the dead man’s son.
Now ever-so-faithful Tea’lc faces the trial knowing fair well that it could end in death and even though he could escape, he waits for his judgment, seeming to hope to clear his conscience in the meantime. Even though he is now one of the most loyal and good”est” people you could ever meet, he allows the government to make atonement for his sin.
*And now for the spoilers. So don’t read ahead if you’d rather watch it for yourself.*
It ends up that Tea’lc’s testimony is really, really good. But regardless, his accuser sentences him to death and Tea’lcaccepts it. In the end he is forgiven because his accuser finally realizes that he is not the same man. Tea’lc tells the man he is and that he did kill his father, but the accuser tells him that he has changed and is no longer that man. Tea’lc is forgiven and you can imagine how good that was for his conscience.
Yeah, weird parallels. If you got some time, give the episode a watch yourself and see if you see the same things.