Critical Thinking. Antidote to the Agony of Humankind
Critical Thinking in troubled times is a crucial element in finding the solution. Where should we direct our critical thinking in today’s anguished age?
Critical thinking should be a mind-tool that each of us should know how to power-up and use. Unfortunately, it’s taught less and less as we dumb-down society. It’s time to face the Agony of Humankind head-on with an antidote. God gave one to the first man and woman.
Let’s situate this fast-paced changing context in Genesis. Gen. 3:18, sorrow for the woman, 19 is sorrow and death for the man. In verse 20, the man names Eve. And along comes another major shift to clothing. Of all things. WHY?
To Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats (H3801) of skins (H5785), and clothed (H3847) them.
Here’s Strong on clothed in the verse above.
לָבַשׁ lâbash law-bash’; or לָבֵשׁ; a primitive root; properly, wrap around, i.e. (by implication) to put on a garment or clothe (oneself, or another), literally or figuratively:
KJV — (in) apparel, arm, array (self), clothe (self), come upon, put (on, upon), wear.
The average Bible reader focuses on nakedness and fig leaves. They are missing the key point. Note: figuratively referring to clothing. That’s key 3 in mastering Biblical Hebrew. At the beginning of Agony of Humankind, we discussed clothing in the context of the man’s and the woman’s nakedness. Please revise the information at the link. To summarize, dirty and clean clothing represent sinful and righteous living. That is the figurative usage of clothing.
You can do a study of this fascinating subject at UnlockBibleMeaning.com. For instance, look at all the verses which include H3847. Among others, in Leviticus, you’ll see the sumptuous garments God ordered for the Hight Priest, His spiritual representative here on Earth. That Priest prefigured Jesus Christ, Who is clothed with righteousness.
Figuratively, clothing, like nakedness, points us to a frame of mind, a way of critical thinking coupled with a way of acting. In short, behavior. God made Adam and Eve, coats (H3801). Something to envelop them, to protect and fit them.
כְּתֹנֶת kᵉthôneth keth-o’-neth; or כֻּתֹּנֶת; from an unused root meaning to cover (compare H3802 (כָּתֵף)); a shirt:
KJV — coat, garment, robe.
כָּתֵף kâthêph kaw-thafe’; from an unused root meaning to clothe; the shoulder (proper, i.e. upper end of the arm; as being the spot where the garments hang); figuratively, side-piece or lateral projection of anything:
KJV — arm, corner, shoulder(-piece), side, undersetter.
In the NT, the Apostle Paul talks about the upper clothing, “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; (Ephesians 6:14). God dressed Adam and Eve with truth and righteousness. In an extraordinary way that, unfortunately, few understand. Let’s refresh our minds about this historic moment.
In the last post, The Explanation emphasized the commencement of a new civilization, a new world order based on the clothing God gave them; this is symbolic of the knowledge in function of the new state of their minds. They’d just sinned, they were about to leave the Garden of Eden. They needed clothing for this adventure (if we can call it that).
Adam and Eve needed the know-how, the rules to be able to play and win at relationships and rulership in their NEW LOCATION, Eden.
In the Garden of Eden, God’s dwelling, God’s SPIRITUAL rules apply. In Eden, and especially beyond Eden, where Cain would go, and where we are today, different rules apply. Why? Because the Serpent is the god of this world. Please understand what I’m about to say.
God does NOT expect people, NOT devoted to His way of life, to live by the rules for the Garden of Eden! Adam and Eve sinned and hid themselves from God and His way; they represent the world population today. God has a code of ethics for those who are NOT Godly, and it is less stringent. God does NOT expect as much from worldly people as from His spiritual followers.
Use critical thinking. There’s a progression of rules for pilots flying Piper Cubs to Airbus 380s and Space shuttles. Adam and Eve were moving from a GODLY plane in the Garden to a HUMAN plane in this world. In effect, they were downgrading, moving backward. God could not and did not expect as much from them in this new world. Oh yes, God expected something, as the clothing represents, but it is not the breastplate of righteousness, indicated by Paul, that true Godly believers are to don.
Does this verse indicate their new clothing? Well, for one thing, they’re skins, from animals; this is a marked change from Genesis 1:30. In the Garden of Eden and the world at that time, before sin entered, animals were vegetarian, and there was no need to shed blood. After sin began, the rules changed. Sacrifices and hence the killing of animals were allowed. God inaugurated this by crafting clothes from skins (H5785). There’s an even more profound figurative meaning of skins in Biblical Hebrew.
עוֹר ʻôwr ore; from H5783 (עוּר); skin (as naked); by implication, hide, leather:
KJV — hide, leather, skin.
עוּר ʻûwr oor; a primitive root; to (be) bare:
KJV — be made naked.
עָוַר ʻâvar aw-var’; a primitive root (rather denominatively from H5785 (עוֹר) through the idea of a film over the eyes); to blind:
KJV — blind, put out. See also H5895 (עַיִר).
עִוֵּר ʻivvêr iv-vare’; intensive from H5786 (עָוַר); blind (literally or figuratively):
KJV — blind (men, people).
Do you see the irony and the paradox here? God clothes them with skin (H5785), which comes from the word nakedness (H5783). Initially, they were naked; they put on fig leaves, and now God is returning them to nakedness! Critical thinking, please. This second state of nakedness is not the same as initially. BUT it does mean a type of proper HUMAN WISDOM; that is the irony. I will elaborate in just a moment. God dressed them with the PROPER WAY OF LIVING in the new world.
The paradox is this dressing in skins is equivalent to putting on BLINDNESS (H5786). All four of the Biblical Hebrew words (H5783-H5787) have the IDENTICAL Hebrew root (6th key to master Biblical Hebrew). Do you see the story this root tells? (the 7th rule). H5787 is also FIGURATIVE. God dressed Adam and Eve with spiritual BLINDNESS.
Many New Testament verses show this. “But their minds were blinded: for until this day remains the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:14). “God has given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see” (Romans 11:8), “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient (Romans 1:28).
Given their diminished mental state, which characterized Adam and Eve, and all of humankind, God gave them NEW and DIFFERENT rules based of their spiritual blindness. They received a new code of ethics based on their human wisdom.
Down through time, God has always given humankind instruction based on their needs at that time.
God clothed Adam and Eve. He gave them PHYSICAL protection. Figuratively, we see this is the instruction on how to REASON AND LEAD their lives on a PHYSICAL LEVEL in the NEW WORLD CORRECTLY.
He didn’t abandon Adam and Eve, even when they abandoned Him. God doesn’t blow us away at our first downfall or sin, or even the second or third. He continues to teach and extend His help to overcome mental trickery and manipulation. We need to continue to grow and not wither on a physical level. There is the next level, developing a spiritual mind that is related to SPIRITUAL critical thinking and God’s calling (see Further Study below)! Know WHO and WHAT are manipulating this world and us and HOW it functions. The Explanation’s goal is to elucidate the difference between the HUMAN way and GOD’s way, through GOD’S Word.
This process is all a part of how humans function. It is part of the sixth step of justice, which includes rehabilitation. Please refresh your understanding (use the links) of how sanctions and rehabilitation work hand-in-hand to work with and develop human beings. God works with us in the same way. He sanctioned Adam and Eve, but he also gave them the means to continue living with ultimate rehabilitation.
The Explanation has already shown how this world is being manipulated by Observation, Philosophy, Science, and Religion. In short, in all its Relational and Rulership endeavors! The Audit of the Universe and Humankind revealed the dire straits in which we find ourselves.
What are these COATS of SKINS?
We’re not interested in their stylishness. We want the figurative meaning. Adam and Eve, as representatives of all humanity, are about to move into a new era in Eden; this is no longer the Garden of Eden, and different rules apply. Later, Cain would be sent out of Eden and, along with him, the entirety of humanity.
The coats of skins reveal:
- Their blindness to God. And particularly, to God’s ways IN the Garden of Eden.
- On the other hand, the coats of skins represent a type of nakedness. It’s a way of life so humanity could continue living WITH sorrow (Gen. 3:16–17), but at the same time, with the benefits of a DECENT LIFE in the domains of rulership and relationships.
- The NEW coats and skins represent the new rules of life. The Bible doesn’t use the term rules. Instead, we find vocabulary like laws, commandments, judgments, and statutes.
Very importantly, when we study the WHOLE story of God’s relationship with humankind, what we find is that these rules can be modified depending on location, time, requests, and circumstances. For many, this point is difficult to understand and even more challenging to accept. We are NOT talking about situation ethics, or anyone can decide what they want to. Understanding the law of God is a sensitive subject that necessitates an open mind filled with God’s Spirit. This post cannot broach all the aspects of such a profound study. I leave that up to you and give you some starter study ideas. We will go further next week.
- Cain had commandments (Gen. 4:5–7).
- Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had the Commandments of God. (Gen. 26:5)
- At the Exodus, God officialized the Ten Commandments to the nation of Israel AND all peoples that accompanied them on departure from Egypt. This latter observation means it is for ALL people.
> God’s leaders can adapt the law to new situations. Note, they consulted with God, who gave them the solution. We’ll see more on this next week.
>> Five daughters of Zelophehad and their inheritance (Numbers 27:2–4, 36:5–6).
>The judgments AT THAT TIME included rules about polygamy and slavery, which society would NOT approve of today. And followers of God would do likewise; this does NOT mean God bases His judgments on society. It does mean we consider certain societal matters.
>They also included divorce, which was the opposite of what God had set up regarding marriage and which Christ confirmed (Matthew 19:8 “not so from the beginning”).
>>God allowed these practices. The question is, why? The answer is because of the “hardness of their hearts.” (Matthew 19:8)
>>These were standard practices at the time, and God accepted them WITH rules so that they were done in an orderly fashion. Hence rules associated with slavery, women, and capital punishment. These rules are for carnal-minded people, those who do NOT accept God’s ways. It is a code of ethics to live in the world in an orderly fashion.
>>Keep in mind that God did NOT accept, nor permit His people to do EVERYTHING others did. Adoring any god and Idol-worship are prime examples. All the nations had gods and idols, but God did, in no way, accept these practices.
>There is no compromise with the basics of the Ten Commandments. There are additional judgments to guide day-to-day living in a secular society.
Here is where critical thinking is capital, coupled with an understanding of God’s Word, proper counsel, and prayer for God’s guidance. We live in a rather mixed-up society.
In this short presentation of the coats of skins, the rules with which God clothes His people, The Explanation wants to bring two clear examples of MODIFICATION of judgments, depending on circumstances, that God made.
1. Total Makeover of Government.
After the Exodus, the Ruler of Israel was God Himself. At a given point, the Israelites wanted a King like all the other nations; this was not God’s intention, but He acquiesced. He told them what to expect, and they accepted, certainly not enough critical thinking on their part. God CHANGED the rules. He gave them a King and the rules for proper rulership, like reading the scriptures regularly to keep God and proper rulership in perspective (Deut. 17:19). Some people refer to this as “progressive revelation.” In the Old Testament, the more appropriate term would be “REgressive revelation.” They were ABANDONING God’s way, and God gave them worldly rules to maintain law and order in society.
1 Samuel 8:5–7
5 Behold, you (the prophet Samuel) are old, and your sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.
6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed to the LORD.
7 And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken to the voice of the people in all that they say to you: for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
God modified the laws of the leadership of the entire nation. He allowed them to have a King with a throne and all the accouterments that go along with such a government. They wanted to be like the other nations (verse 5), and God made this change with its accompanying amendments of laws. There’s an excellent reason why God allowed this, which we shall see when we understand verse Gen. 3:23, “sent forth from the Garden of Eden.”
The Israelites were not using critical thinking. They thought that having a King would avoid the problems of corruption that the prophet Samuel’s sons had. Well, there are many corrupt Kings in the history of Israel. The Israelites did not, and the world does not apply Isaiah 55:8, “For my (God’s) thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” That’s why God gave them ethics ACCORDING to THEIR ways.
2. Exodus followed by Deuteronomy.
Exodus includes laws for living in the desert, followed by Deuteronomy, laws for living in the land of Canaan. These locations are different in so many ways. In English, the name Deuteronomy means Second Law. In Hebrew, this book is called Debarim or Words. Debar is the same word used for the Ten Commandments in Exodus 34:28. We could just as easily name this fifth book, Commandments.
These commandments represent the coat of skins that a REBELLIOUS nation was to follow in order to be under the protection of God and benefit from His blessings.
In the last blog, I gave the list of how humans SOCIALIZE. The commandments cover these RELATIONSHIPS between the citizens of Israel with foreigners (strangers in biblical terms) and bordering and distant nations. They also specify the commandments for RULERSHIP of all the various aspects of public life. In Audit of Humankind, you will find the details of what this entails.
- Human Government for Personal and World Peace (4.1)
- Governance Structure, Important Role in Rulership (4.2)
- Government for the People is Also Concern for the Poor (4.3)
- Human Needs, the Basics Each Person Should Expect (4.4)
- Inner Peace for Citizens is the Real Goal of Government (4.5)
- Peace of Mind, the Tranquil Result of Good Leadership (4.6)
- Prosperity for the Nation is Prosperity for Each Citizen (4.7)
- Peace is a National & International Government Concern (4.8)
- Government, 2 Choices, Bottom Up or Top Down (4.9)
- Best Form of Government, Aiming for the Common Good (4.10)
In Deuteronomy, we find the fundamental rules for rulership in the new world into which Adam and Eve, and later, all of humankind would be thrust. Let’s put our critical thinking cap on and elaborate on the laws that lead to proper relationships, rulership, and national peace and prosperity.
WHEN are the principles and commandments in Deuteronomy VALID.
In other words, ONLY until Christ, or beyond that timeframe?
When you are in tribulation, and all these things are come upon you, even in the latter days, if you turn to the LORD your God, and shall be obedient to his voice; For the LORD your God is a merciful God…
The latter days is a well-known phrase referring to OUR time now! Any nation can invoke God and claim this promise IF they return to the obedience of God’s way. In Deut. 31:29 Moses uses the same term, latter days, and prophesies the demise of the descendants of the Israelite nations. I do not and cannot enter the discussion of who those descendants are, but biblically and historically, they must exist.
To what obedience is Moses referring?
Remember what God told Adam, “dress (H5647 avad) and keep (H8104 shamar) the garden?” And the explanation that the spiritual meaning is worship and observe. Well, that’s precisely the vocabulary we find in Deuteronomy; this is what God is looking for in His people and nations.
You shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep (H8104 shamar) his commandments, and obey his voice and you shall serve (H5647 avad) him, and cleave to him.
In the Garden of Eden, the man and woman were with God and were to obey following the ethics God set for the Garden. Today, humankind is NOT with God, but, they are to obey following the ethics God has set for the world, which is the world of the Serpent. Those ethics are OLD Testament NOT NEW Testament ethics. Critical thinking, please.
God knows with WHOM and WHAT He’s working.
Here’s VITAL understanding. We tend to think God ONLY works with His spiritual followers. INcorrect, critical thinking reveals that God works with ALL His creation, the obedient, and the DISobedient.
Deuteronomy 12:8, 29:19, 4
You shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes.
29:19 And it come to pass, when he hears the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst:
4 Yet the LORD had not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.
The clothes God gave Adam and Eve and the nation of Israel are for spiritually BLINDED people, who are DISobedient and who do what is right in their OWN EYES. God clothes the UNconverted with RULES they CAN and SHOULD follow. That’s ALL God expects of them. Under that non-spiritual code of ethics, God will oversee His creation, as indicated by Deuteronomy.
And he (God) will love you, and bless you, and multiply you: he will also bless the fruit of your womb, and the fruit of your land, your corn, and your wine, and your oil, the increase of your kine, and the flocks of your sheep, in the land which he sware unto your fathers to give you.
Again, critical thinking. To Adam and Eve and all humanity, God said you would have sorrow in childbirth, relationships; you would eat from the sweat of your brow. Here in Deuteronomy, He says the opposite. He’ll bless the fruit of your womb and the land! There’s no contradiction. If ANYONE, any NATION applies God’s rules, He will bless them. There will be sorrow, but with that sorrow will also come blessings.
God wants His UNconverted nation to maintain a balanced spiritual and physical life. The inhabitants are to recognize Him as God and respect all their neighbors and the land, meaning all our produce and manufactured products using land resources.
Here’s a quick summary of laws and statutes (we can call them anything we want, rules, ways, ethics, it amounts to the same thing) in the two primary categories. This is very basic. There are many other references to these vast subjects, some of which we’ll see next week.
The idea here is to realize that God expects us, his nations, to follow law and order.
- 15:7–11 How to help the poor.
> 24:14 Respect of servants and poor.
> 24:19 At harvest: leaving a portion for the stranger (foreigner), fatherless, widow (23:24).
> 24:6, 10 Making loans to the poor.
- 21:10 Dating.
- 21:15 Mariage.
- 21:18 Parenting.
- 22:13 Men/women relations: adultery (verse 22), rape (25), divorce (24:1).
- 17:13 How a King should rule. His responsibilities.
- 19 Justice in the Community.
> 19:2 How to handle different types of murderers (21:1).
> 19:14 Respect of property (21:22).
> 19:15 The role of witnesses in Justice.
> 19:22 Capital punishment (a vast subject to be understood in the context of what is death).
- 24:7 Slavery (another contentious subject) to be understood in the context at that time. See the next line.
- 24:14 Employee relations; this would be the contemporary replacement of slavery.
- 24:8 Contagious diseases. Critical thinking would give us directives on how to handle Coronavirus.
- 25 Justice includes measured punishment, retribution, and rehabilitation, but there’s no talk about prison.
- 25:4 Treatment of animals (22:1–6).
You can do a detailed study to see that each judgment can be judiciously adapted and applied to contemporary cases. All aspects of life are covered here. Do NOT denigrate the laws in the Old Testament. The Apostle Paul knew them intimately and gave recommendations about their application. We’ll see more next week. But note and retain his inspired description and evaluation of these laws.
2 Corinthians 3:7
But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:
Death is involved, punishment, and even capital punishment, are necessary elements of Justice to maintain law and order. Paul states, the law, the covenant, is GLORIOUS. I don’t want to get into a long explanation, but many will focus on the end of this verse, which glory was to be done away. YES, done away for repentant believers in Christ, those in the Church to whom Paul is writing. A small minority. BUT, the key is this GLORIOUS ANTIDOTE, which should’ve brought peace and prosperity to Israel, is in EFFECT for ALL other people worldwide at this time. Here’s the implication.
God did not give this glorious code of ethics for Israel’s sake. It was for the WHOLE WORLD. Meditate on the following passage. Generally overlooked, but a key to understanding God and how He works with the UNconverted, around the world. Israel was to be a BEACON nation. The LIGHT shining in the dark, projecting GOD’S RIGHTEOUS statutes, judgments, and law (see verse 8 below). Israel and ALL nations can and should recognize GOD as THE God and His code of ethics as the one leading to peace and prosperity.
5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do so in the land whither you go to possess it.
6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.
7 For what nation is there so great, who has God so nigh to them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?
8 And what nation is there so great, that has statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?
9 Only take heed to yourself, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life: but teach them your sons, and your sons’ sons;
ONLY IF and ONLY WHEN a nation is ready to accept these conditions of the OLD Covenant, granted, adjusted for MODERN living, will God intervene to bless that nation. Study the examples of Jonah sent to Nineveh (Book of Jonah) or King Josiah (2 Kings 22–23). God did NOT ask for their conversion under terms of the NEW Testament. Even Nineveh, which was NOT an Israelite nation, benefited from the blessings of the Glory of the Old Covenant.
Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden Tree. They warranted DEATH. But, always keep in mind, God wants LIFE to prevail, “Say to them, As I live, says the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn you, turn you from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? (Ezekiel 33:11). It was valid for Israel and Nineveh and is so for ANY nation TODAY. Turning from evil ways means turning to God’s glorious ways, as exposed in Deuteronomy. The Old Testament points to ISRAEL (the descendants), NATIONS, and individuals in THIS PRESENT WORLD. The New points to INDIVIDUALS who are IN this WORLD but who are NOT a PART of this world (John 17:14–16). The latter is a tiny group, the flock of God’s sheep.
The antidote will be hard to swallow.
Our problem today is we’re like the frog in hot water. You know the story of the pot of heating water and two frogs. The pot is heated up gently. One frog is immediately put in the cold water and ADAPTS to the gentle rise in temperature. The increase in temperature is so moderate that the frog has time to adjust. When the water reaches a certain temperature, the second frog is thrown in the pot. It either jumps out or explodes. It can’t handle the abrupt temperature change.
That is humankind’s situation; this is precisely our Western civilization, with its sad state of technology, which runs society, our failing morality, and minds filled more and more with trash. In the name of liberty, we have allowed the temperature to rise, and we’ve adapted to the hot water, not realizing we’re close to boiling point. We’re tolerant of trash on all sides of society. The whole kit and caboodle is on the verge. It’s like a volcano, continuing to boil below the surface but ready to explode. Will it, or won’t it?
Only critical thinking, by national leaders, based on a realization of Who our God is and what He wants us to do, can a nation turn around. Will there be such rulership, meditation and courage to take action?
This article is an excerpt from chapter 5.2 of the book Agony of Humankind.
Many misunderstand the meaning of God’s calling in the Bible. Throughout the Old and New Testaments, God never forces people into His way. Yes, He makes His way known, He witnesses, but He does not force-feed His way of life either physically or spiritually on anyone. God calls and gives people a CHOICE as to whether they accept or reject that calling. God is not on a crusade to convert people to His type of critical thinking and acting.
It is a vast subject for your study. God does call some people spectacularly (Saul, who became Paul). He can impose His will on His servants (Jonah). But, God is NOT working SPIRITUALLY with the masses today. Read the verses below to see the principles.
John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
1 Corinthians 1:26 For you see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
A wise man once said, Teach you me, what I do not know.
Let’s get started with The Explanation.
- Inventory of the Universe
- Audit of the Universe
- Audit of Humankind
- Origin of the Universe (Commentary on Genesis 1)
- Origin of Humankind (Commentary on Genesis 1:26–2:7)
- Origin of Woman (Commentary on Genesis 2:8–25)
- Agony of Humankind (Commentary on Genesis 3)
You can read all the books of The Explanation series online. Buy the books at your favorite store. Sam blogs weekly at TheExplanation.com The Explanation masters Biblical Hebrew to help you unlock more in-depth Bible meaning. Free tools to read and study the Bible online.