Category Archives: Desire

Soul-Mates: Drawn Into the Mystery of the Other – Part 1

The Song of Solomon (in the Bible – Old Testament) expresses the joys of romance and married love between two partners. It is very erotic and sensual. “The most obvious feature of the Song of Songs is the sexually explicit nature of the material, sensitively guised in figurative language (Tom Constable).” It’s the most erotic literature in the Bible.

The majority of commentators believe that the lover is Solomon, presenting himself in the prime of life and describing his first true love (important considering that he had seven-hundred wives and three-hundred concubines). Some feel the bride was Abishag, the beautiful woman that assisted David when he was older (1 Kings 1:1-4). From what we can tell, she was not a lady of the royal courts. She was a country girl and naturally beautiful to him without a lot of cosmetics.

Knowing who is speaking is challenging in this book. There are pre-wedding flashbacks that make it hard to follow sometimes. There are dreams recorded that are interspersed throughout the song. And garden imagery is used to describe some very intimate, sensual topics. This can be confusing, but once you break the code of ancient poetry, the meaning just unlocks before you.

As noted by one author, because all the sexual references are cloaked in symbolism, a child can pick this book up and read it without offense. But a man and woman can pick it up and find a marriage manual on the most intimate part of marriage. It’s poetic, yet specific. It’s frank, yet innocent and pure.

There are four places in the Song where either the husband or wife’s features are catalogued and commented on. It usually starts at the head and works down the body.

Song of Solomon 4:1-11. This is apparently when Solomon and his bride are finally in the bridal chamber after a week of wedding festivities. She apparently is disrobing. Solomon takes his time to absorb all of her characteristics.

4:1-11 1 How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! He’s saying you’re beautiful and He says it twice for emphatic affect. This is a smart man. Your wife or girlfriend wants to know that she is beautiful to you. He told her that she was beautiful and he looked right into her eyes when he said it.

Your eyes behind your veil are doves.
Solomon starts with looking into her eyes. Freshly married and her veil still on, he sees that she has given herself to him and him alone. He connects with the eyes. The eyes of a dove are wide-eyed and beautiful. I see doves feeding at our bird feeder all the time. Their eyes are captivating. They are alive with loyalty and romance.

Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead.
Watching flocks go down this mountain, with the sun reflecting off their coats of fur is the picture here. The flowing movement of those herds and their hair as they come down the mountain with the sun reflecting on them is what Solomon is seeing (Hocking,Romantic…, 99). If you got enough of these goats Watching flocks go down this mountain, with the sun reflecting off their coats of fur is the picture here. The flowing movement of those herds and their hair as they come down the mountain with the sun reflecting on them is what Solomon is seeing (Hocking,Romantic…, 99). If you got enough of these goats moving moving down the mountain, it looked like a head of hair, waving in the breeze. As she let her curly black hair down, it cascaded over her shoulders and Solomon loved it.

We don’t have to speak the same Hebrew idioms. In fact, telling your wife or girlfriend that her hair reminds you of goats could get you in trouble today. Her hair and how she tossed it around just mesmerized Solomon, gentle, soft, flowing hair, that rested on thin shoulders – simply incredible. I thought of the country music song sung by Charlie Rich: “My baby makes me proud, Lord don’t she make me proud She never makes a scene by hanging all over me in a crowd ‘Cause people like to talk, Lord, how they love to talk But when they turn out the lights, I know she’ll be leaving with me CHORUS: And when we get behind closed doors Then she lets her hair hang down And she makes me glad I’m a man Oh no one knows what goes on behind closed doors. My, behind closed doors. VERSE: My baby makes me smile, Lord don’t she make me smile She’s never too far away or too tired to say “I want you” She’s always a lady, just like a lady should be But when they turn out the lights, she’s still a baby to me.”

I think Solomon probably grabbed several strands of this black curly hair and held it against his cheek. She must have liked it because the next verse talks about her teeth. She smiled.

2 Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn, coming up from the washing. Each has its twin; not one of them is alone.

Abishag has all of her teeth! Our teeth come in pairs. She still has her pairs. She has all of her teeth. That was a big deal 3,000 years ago. It’s not so much that they’re straight as it is that they are still there for her and they’re mature. This doesn’t just suggest good hygiene; it suggests maturity as well. Solomon is not robbing the cradle! She’s past the baby teeth stage, with huge gaps that are common between teeth. A sheep that has been sheered has a pinkish white color. Guess what? She’s smiling at him and her teeth are clean and smooth. Sol loved her smile.

—To Be Continued—

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Filed under Anthropology, Beauty, Body, Christian Worldview, Dating, Daughters, Desire, Femininity, Human Being, Love, Lust, Marriage, Masculinity, Romance, Sex, Sexual Addiction, Worldview

The Existence of God (without Using a Bible)

If you were to ask me to argue for the existence of God without using a Bible, I would argue along these lines (see my other blog posts for an elaboration of these arguments).

I would argue from a position of conscience, this internal sense of right and wrong that we have written into us; this natural law of the heart that guides us in our moral decisions. And if there are moral laws there is a Moral Lawgiver.

I would argue from a position of design in nature. All that we see and experience in nature has structure built into it. It’s not a random cosmic carwreck that we see; it’s design and if there is design, there is an Intelligent Designer.

I would argue from a position of special revelation or Jesus Christ. Extra-biblical sources verify that Jesus existed during the time period and in the place that he supposedly existed found in the Bible. Furthermore, if he was the Son of God, then there is a First Cause – God the Father.

Finally, I would argue along the lines of the apologetic of human desire. Humans desire truth, beauty, honor, justice, courage, love, heroism. These longings go beyond just our senses. We can’t smell truth or touch love, yet we reach for them. We desire to be free, to discover our self-worth, to correct our immoral behavior, to piece the hurts of life into some larger picture of meaning (Mark Cosgrove). All of these desires are seen clearly in our mass production down through the ages of literature, art, music, worship, and movies, each of them featuring the innermost longings and deepest needs of human beings.

We reach out to worship something, even atheists do. How do you explain this longing for things beyond the natural, empirical realm, and our interest in blogging about them? Just like the presence of appetite presupposes the existence of food, the presence of worship and human longing presupposes that something or Someone exists who can satisfy these longings. And if there are these human desires, then we can conclude that there is a place or experience where they can be ultimately fulfilled – Heaven and a New Earth.

God exists and we don’t even need a Bible to know that this is true. But what the Bible does do for us is that it tells us His Name with specificity and invites us to know Him.

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Filed under Anthropic Principle, Anthropology, Apologetic of Desire, Atheism, Atheist, Beauty, Bible, Christian Worldview, Conscience, Desire, Existentialism, First Cause, Intelligent Design, Pleasure, Theism

Human Beings – Accidental, Coincidental, or Designed by an Intelligent Designer

Let’s say for a moment that there is a creature from another planet. And even though this creature is not a human being, he/she/it does have the ability to investigate, reason, analyze, love, appreciate beauty, and blush (By the way, these facts alone are enough to prove that we are made in the image of an Intelligent Designer. What other living creature has this ability?).

But for illustrations sake, a mechanical machine from another planet – whom we’ll call TOFU, discovers earth and finds living here, human beings. What would TOFU discover about human beings that would prove that they had to be designed by an Intelligent Designer? TOFU would discover that there is no way that the complex human system called man and woman, evolved over time to form this living human body.

DNA
You would have to conclude that at the cellular level, you have a very complex thing called DNA. One author has shared how that human DNA contains more organized information than the Encycolopedia Britannica. The languge of life is stored within it. The organism accesses the information that it needs from DNA so it can build some of it’s critical components. The DNA stores more information in a smaller space than the most advanced supercomputer on the planet. States one author: “300 different proteins, a source of sugars, nucleotides, amino acids, and fatty acids all placed together in working order.” Each cell is like a miniature factory town, humming with power plants, automated plants, and recycling centers. The nucleus houses the cellular library, where blueprints are copied and sent to the factories. These manufacture the immense array of products needed within the cell, with the processes all regulated by enzymes that function like stopwatches to ensure that everything is perfectly timed. The outside surface of the cell is regulated with sensors, gates, pumps that regulate traffic coming in and out. It’s like a complex train system where things are so precisely timed, that no crashes happen (Behe, summarized by Nancy Pearcey). And how does evolution know where to take us as humans? Who codes the new DNA? Each cell has a specified message (specified complexity). Think about what evolution would have you to believe. A simple single cell creature… spontaneously generated from primordial soup… the cell mutated and survived a very harsh natural environment… evolved into a species that could swim… then evolved into a species that could fly… all the while surviving while scales are not feathers and feathers are not scales… and gills are not lungs and lungs are not gills… finding food… avoiding predators… and self-assembling new DNA… and reproducing these mutated changes….etc…etc… DNA. Design or accident/coincidence?

Reproduction
You would have to conclude that all the reproductive parts of the male and of the female had to arrive simultaneously together, not over millions of years. Otherwise, every significant development in the male reproductive system would have had to been matched by a female development concurrently, a very unlikely scenario. If evolution is true, the fossil record should reveal millions of intermediate sexual beings and congenital freaks. Human genitals fit snugly together and always have. Everything about the act of fertilization is reciprocal. Design or accident/coincidence?

Brain
Every body function is controlled by the brain. If you need energy, the brain tells the stomach. If you need oxygen, the brain tells the lungs. If you drop in blood pressure, the brain tells the heart to beat faster. The body is covered all over with sensory receptors. It computes millions of computations with just a walk in the park: adjusting to temperature, sensing balance via the inner ear, and taking in audio/visual aids to compute a human response. But most of the brains work happens underneath conscious awareness: a heart that beats, every breath, an eye-blink when the eye is getting dry, light waves and sound waves, every moving joint or muscle – triggers physical, hormonal, and chemical responses that are handled by the brain automatically. It lets you know if something doesn’t taste right, or smell right, or look right, so the human can be freed to pay attention to other things. The brain regulates growth, the endocrine, respiratory, gastrointestinal, circulatory, musculoskeletal, and excretory systems, all of which fit together into a wonderfully designed, interactive living being. Design or accident/coincidence?

Eye
The eye is placed at the top of the head, and gives distance vision. We can also see where we’re going and what we’re touching. Both eyes are set back inside a bony protective socket, but they protrude enough for a wider plane of sight. The eyes are spheres so they can roll around easily. They are set just enough apart to allow for depth perception. Eyebrows protect from glare. Pupils dilate. Eyelids close during sleep and are thin to allow for an awakening at dawn. They water when irritated and wash out irritants. And only humans summon tears in profoundly sad times or extremely happy times. The eye is not a survival organ or a random mutation. There are a minimum number of parts that are necessarily for it to work. Irreducible complexity is an argument made in the discussion on evolution. This concept says that the origin of complex organs must be explained. How do you account for the complexity of the human eye? Some living mechanisms are too complex to arise by the short steps required by evolution. There are many things that evolution cannot explain. Irreducibly complex organs is one of them. The eye has more than two million working parts, and can discern a candle light from miles away. Several well-matched interacting parts contribute to basic function and if one part is removed, the whole part is jeopordized and in many cases ceases to function. What good is a retina by itself? Or ocular muscles and no lens. The eye is a package. Yet Darwin would assert that the eye could not come as a package; that the eye parts each must be useful in some way by itself and performing a function in order for it to evolve in small, incremental steps. Accident or Design?

Ear
The ear catches sound waves like a satellite. It converts it into electrical impulses and sends it to the brain for processing. Even as we age, the ear gets larger to offset the loss of hearing that comes with age. Inner and outer hair cells allow for fine-tuned hearing: cracks of a floorboard, a single instrument in an orchestra, and the sounds of someone breathing, and yet somehow, they tune out the blood splashing through our veins. Speech and sound would have had to evolve together in an evolutionary system. So, you would have had the simulataneous development of the vocal chords. Accident or design?

Nose
It’s really the brain that smells thousands of odors and millions of combinations. It impacts what we eat, when we make love, who just walked into the room, and when we should get out of the house. It filters dirty air and permits us to breath without having to have our mouths open. The nostrils point downward and are placed to receive aroma input, especially before ingesting. Accident or design?

Mouth
The mouth does so much: speaking, tasting, communicating, kissing. The teach allows for consuming food. The tongue allows for taste and swallowing. It also senses texture, helps create an appetite, and aids in digestion. Accident or design?

Touch
Millions of sensory receptors line the human body. Touch tells us when our clothes are too tight or the water is too cold or a blister is developing on our heel. Touch provides comfort and closeness. Many areas are ready to fire off responses when touched – they are hyper-sensitive and chemicals are released when these places are stimulated. Accident or design?

Skin
Skin protects us. It is waterproof, antibacterial, elastic, and flexible, self-repairing, washable, and self-replaces. It makes us look better too. Accident or design?

Our “from another planet – called TOFU” creature will also recognize, upon further investigation, that humans are built for something more than just survival. Humans are overbuilt for the world. We just needed a stick and drum but we have orchestras and Beethoven. And Spielberg and Mozart, and Celine Deion and Einstein and Van Gogh. They take us far beyond mere survival, beyond “competition”. They celebrate each others accomplishments and paint murals to capture beauty and use body language to convey a message. They laugh at each other and write poetry about people and things they love. They are not just trying to “survive”; they are celebrating something – something called life. They can imagine things and display morals. They have a sense of pride in their work. They love to create great scultures or simply doodlings. The coordinate colors and textures and mimic people and animals. They smile and plan for the future. They set priorities and gather food. They dance and perform, write and create. They reason and teach complex ideas. They pray and worship and reach out to a Someone. They show facial expressions and feel regret. They seek justice and long for grace. They deceive and are embarrassed when caught. They remember and hope, taste and touch, see and hear, eat and digest, hold and make love.

And if this “from another planet – TOFU” creature would read the documents of Atheistic Man and Christian Theism Man, he/she/it would theorize that…

Humans are either…
a descendent of a tiny cell of primoridal protoplasm…an arbitrary product of time and place, chance and natural forces…a grab bag of atomic particles, genetic substance…who exists on a tiny planet in a minute solar system in a corner of a meaningless universe, only slightly different from a banana or an amoeba…coming from nothing and going no where…

Or humans are…
a special creation of a good and powerful Intelligent Designer… who made them in His image…with a unique capacity to think and feel and know things…set above all other life forms…to observe all of the rest of creation…discovering how a world works…all the while, engaging this Designer in relationship… encountering His love… and changing the world for the better… and fulfilling a God-given purpose, minus the suffering eventually…on a new earth…

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Filed under Anthropic Principle, Anthropology, Atheism, Atheist, Beauty, Christian Worldview, Christianity, Desire, First Cause, Human Being, Imago Dei, Intelligent Design, Irreducible Complexity, Pleasure, Sex, Worldview

Every Human Desire (for Sex, Food, Pleasure) is Right – When Played In Proper Time and Place

It’s important to acknowledge that every human desire is right when it’s played in its proper time and within healthy parameters. It’s right to be hungry, but not be a glutton. It’s right to desire intimacy and sexual relationship, but not to consume someone for your pleasure alone. It’s right to renew and recreate, but not to be given to laziness and sloth. It’s right to love your work, but not to be a workaholic. It’s right to acquire things, but not to serve things. God has given us human desires that are right and good.

I like what C. S. Lewis said. He said that there are no wrong and right keys on a piano. Every key is right when it’s played in the proper harmony and time. Then Lewis makes this application. There are no wrong physical desires. Every desire is God-given and it is beautiful when played or fulfilled at the proper time (Mere Christianity). The goal is not necessarily to resist pleasure and desires; it is to play them in their proper time (Storms, Pleasures… 9).

God made you with certain human desires embedded in your nature. He made you to desire food, to work for things, to belong to a family, to own and steward possessions, to have close, intimate relationships, to experience the emotions of love and happiness. In fact, He wants you to enjoy food, relationships, your work, your things, your family, your life, your recreation, your sexuality. God loves it when you have a great time. He doesn’t get ticked off when you really enjoy doing something that you have a desire to do. But you must play these “desire-notes” at their proper time and with a proper duration in order to make something harmonious of your life. In theology, we talk about sin being a distortion and a perversion of the good. God has provided you with boundaries to help you know how to play these “piano keys of desire.”

God’s boundaries on our desires are not there to repress us but to show forth the true glory of being a fully alive human being. God doesn’t hem us in to repress us or to keep something good from you; it is to preserve the glory in each of us by fulfilling our God-given desires in their proper time and place. God invites us into wholeness when He tells us how to fulfill our desires in and through Him.

God says…

“I want you to have sex because it’s good, but here are some guidelines on where and when to play that note. Otherwise, this gift is going to become distorted and perverted. The intimacy you seek will not be found unless you use this gift the way I have prescribed.” We want to play this note in all the wrong places at all the wrong times in all the wrong ways. In doing so, we cheapen it, hollow it out, and it becomes so much less of a gift.

“I want you to enjoy great meals, but here are some guidelines on where and when to play that note. Otherwise, you compromise your health and your body.” We want to use food for comfort, not for health. We are a society driven by our hunger and cravings. Paul said in one place that “Your god is your belly.” (Philippians 3:19; Romans 16:18). You are a slave to your drives and appetites.

“I want you to rest and re-energize, but here are some guidelines on where and when to play that note. Otherwise, you spend your life doing nothing, squandering opportunities to make a true difference.” We want to use all of our time to serve our own agenda, but when it comes to God and making an eternal difference, we embrace passivity. Jesus worked hard, but at times he would separate himself from the crowds so as to reenergize for his work. Jesus said to his disciples “Come apart for a while lest you come apart (Mark 6:31).”

“I want you to know the joy of loving and being loved. Here’s how to do that. Otherwise, if you demand that people love you on your terms, you’ll be all about anger and revenge.” We want others to bow to us and meet our needs and make us happy. If they don’t, look out, because anger and revenge will become our life mantra. We’ll worry, grumble, complain, and get bitter. The Proverb writer said “Pride goes before a fall (Proverbs 16:18).” Paul taught to be angry and sin not (Ephesians 4:26) and not to seek revenge.

“I want you to have things, but here is how I want you to view them.” We want to have more than others and our god is all that we can acquire. God told the rich man who built bigger and better barns to the neglect of his own soul “You fool (Luke 12:20).” Jesus said “Seek first my kingdom (Matthew 6:33).”

We intentionally fulfill our desires in our own selfish way, sabotaging and undermining the way things are suppose to be. Our core problem says St. Augustine is that “the human heart, ignoring God, turns in on itself, tries to lift itself, wants to please itself, and ends up debasing itself.” By his own admission, St. Augustine had taken a mistress, fathered a child out of wedlock, and indulged in every fleshly passion. Augustine also said the only reason you think a baby is good is that he hasn’t got power enough to show you whose boss. He said if a baby had the strength when he emerged from his mother’s womb, he would seize the mother by the throat and demand his milk. It’s in our nature to set out to meet our own needs in our own way from an early age.

Sin (life apart from God) has penetrated and taken up residence in the inner sanctuary of our hearts, twisting, fracturing, distorting, and corrupting. Rather than opening up our hearts to the One who can make them new, we run to the sins we love, blinded to the truth and chained to the illusion that I am god and I can live my life and fulfill my desires the way I want to. We hide behind the sins we love – the things that give us pleasure, totally oblivious to what it is doing to us in the bigger scheme of things. The problem is not that people pursue pleasure. The problem is that they rebelliously and foolishly refuse to find pleasure in the one place where it may be genuinely found.

I encourage you to feel your God-given desires and fulfill them in ways that God has prescribed. His boundaries around our desires has a way of actually intensifying our desires and making their fulfillment even more sublime.

Do you want to enjoy great sex? Then use your sexuality in a way that God has prescribed; don’t give this part of yourself to just anyone or any pleasure-option. If you build in constraints around your sexuality, it becomes more meaningful.

Do you want to really enjoy food and eating great meals? Then make sure that eating is enjoyed to sustain you rather than just entertain you when you’re bored.

Do you want to experience pleasure? Then find a greater pleasure.

The Hedonistic Paradox states that in order to find true pleasure, one must have a greater pleasure (hedonism means pleasure and a paradox is truth standing on its head to get our attention). This simply means that if we make anything the sole source of our pleasure (except God), then we will never be satisfied. Stated positively: All the things that you think will bring you the pleasure you seek can actually bring a measure of genuine joy when you are not looking to these pleasures to be your everything. When we make another human being, food, sex, achievement, etc… our greatest pleasure, it is sure to let you down. But when you have a Greater Pleasure that you give your life too, then these other ancillary pleasures can actually be seen and enjoyed for what they were intended to be.

God wants to be your “Greater Pleasure”. It’s in Him that we have all of our human desires intensified; and that we find our “smaller pleasures” perfectly fulfilled in the “larger pleasure” of connection and intimacy with God. So if you want to know true pleasure, find a Greater Pleasure; otherwise, you’ll never be satisfied. And having found this Greater Pleasure, play your God-given desires in their proper time, with the right duration and frequency, and you are sure to create a life of beautiful music.

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Filed under Atheism, Atheist, Christian Worldview, Desire, Food, Hedonistic Paradox, Pleasure, Sex

Homesick At Home

Earth

Earth

God has placed a homing device deeply embedded inside your heart that longs for home. There’s a restlessness that we feel. Paul called it a “groaning” for the time and place when our questions will be answered, we will no longer be alone, and we will be released to live up to our fullest potential as redeemed human-beings without the results of the Fall. By blessing us with a deep dissatisfaction, God holds our attention. God gives us many pleasant inns to stay in, but does not want us to mistake them for home. It would be a tragedy to be satisfied prematurely, to settle for earth only as it presently is and simply live for the now. We’re not happy here. Why? Because we’re not supposed to be. This is the first step toward honest spirituality. The confession that I can’t quite get the life I want sets you up for the life you need. This longing for happiness and home leads us to so many places: geographical places, vocational places, relational places. But even the best of them, leave us longing for something more. Our longings leave us restless because the place they are looking to find rest is not here. It’s OK to hurt and feel sad and feel unmet longings. We can deny “homesickness at home”; we can cover it over with busyness and pleasures, but we cannot get rid of it. C.S. Lewis said, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not mean the universe is a fraud…earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing (The Quotable Lewis).”

Earth is crammed with heaven, but what we experience in this world is merely a scent of a flower we have not found; the echo of a tune that we have not heard; news from a country we have not visited. This life is full of mere remnants left over from the Fall. Every joy on earth is an inkling, a whisper of greater joy. Think of the most awesome, thrilling thing you can do and it is but an echo of a greater pleasure to come, a fallen remnant of what once was. The best parts of the old world are sneak previews of the one to come. Homesick at home.

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