Deadly Familiarity

Several days a week find me commuting a little over 70 miles. Once in a while a take an alternate route that takes me through open range land. You know you’re in open range land when you’re driving down a road, usually a Farm-to-Market road, and you suddenly cross cattle guards and the fences disappear. This type of driving demands your attention so toss the phone in the seat beside you. Why? Because livestock has just as much right to the roadway as you do and a 1,200 lb. piece of beef will destroy you and your vehicle.

So I noticed a few months ago when the little beefs were just learning to walk/run that when I approached they appeared to briefly think for a nanosecond or two and would then bolt off in whichever direction they happened to be facing at the time. Of course, sometimes that direction would send them bolting in front of the 3-ton truck I was expected to keep under control.

Obviously, one of the safest things for me to do was to slow down when I approached them. A few months ago the sight of one of our bovine friends would bring me to a crawl of about 30 mph. Not so much today. Today, I continued past them at a nice 50-60 mph, depending on their proximity to the roadway.

One of the things that occurred to me today was how their mommas would never panic. Momma cows always looked at the approaching vehicle and then went back to munching on grass. Why did that occur to me? Because, today, most of the calves (when do they stop being calves?) did the same thing. They’ve gone from panicked rushing in whatever direction, to dashing away from the road, to taking a few steps away from the road. I expect that soon enough they will, like their mothers, look up and not react at all.

This occurs even though the 6,000+ tons of steel still pose a mortal threat to my little bovine friends, despite being familiar.

When I was thinking about that, I couldn’t help but wonder, how often do we as individual believers or the church do that? How many issues have we accepted culture’s changing norms as okay? How often do we not fear what we should due to our familiarity with the threat it poses?

Culturally, where are we? Do we accept things that could kill us spiritually simply due to their familiarity?

Wait. What? Things I Didn’t Know About the Bible

I was raised in church. I’ve often joked with folks that in the church of my youth, the pastor had to push his way through the our family to get the doors unlocked. That experience formed me and gave me some connections that have lasted my lifetime.

We changed our church affiliation when I was 13.  The involvement didn’t change at all. I did the Monday evening visitation where we’d go and knock on neighborhood doors to talk to folks about Christ. I sat in Sunday School. I sat in Sunday Morning Services. I sat in Wednesday evening services. I was taught all the standard things that I assume almost every other Western Evangelical was taught.

I don’t remember anything being taught to me about the sons of God taking daughters of men as wives. I was not taught that chapter 6 in Genesis records an episode where a divinely established order was violated and resulted in the birth of part-spirit being, part-human giants (nephilim).  I wasn’t taught anything about the divine/spiritual realm other than about Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and Satan. I was certainly never taught anything that included “other gods” in any meaningful way.


For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.

Psalm 95:3

But without other gods, if they are nothing and non-existent, what is this verse saying? Is it saying the LORD is a great King above made up beings? Above nothing? Further, what do we do when the god Dagon 1 is referred to in the same manner, with the same word,  as the LORD 2?

Along with this what was left out, there were things I was warned away from. To me, apocrypha might as well have meant anathema. I came to the conclusion that these books were deceptive and had no value. They weren’t scripture, and were therefore useless. They were to be avoided and I obeyed. I remained willfully and intentionally ignorant of their content.

Maybe we should treat them like bible commentaries or Christian books written today. That was my moment. Wait. What?

That’s what started my latest journey in understanding. I’d noticed that some quotes in the New Testament didn’t have the little letter and the note referencing the scripture that was being quoted. Many did. I use my references and always try to check them. Once in a while, you find new testament writers quoting a work that existed outside of scripture. Jude:14-15 for example.

I was a bit stunned to find that some were quotes from the Book of Enoch. You know, one of those books to avoid. I ended up stumbling across this guy, Dr, Michael Heiser 3 and some of his teachings. The understanding his teachings give has helped the Bible make much more sense to me. I’d challenge you to listen to some of what he teaches.

This is longer than I intended so I’ll end it now with a summary of what he says to relieve any ideas he may be heretical:

  • The Book of Enoch is not, and should not, ever be part of the Canon;
  • God, our LORD, is a unique being and there is no other being like him;
  • God is the creator of everything, including other divine beings;
  • Jesus Christ is/was/will be God and is the sole pathway to salvation.

Notes:

  1. 1 Samuel 5:7
  2. Exodus 3:18
  3. https://drmsh.com/