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The Bible makes some references to drinking wine; is drinking wine a sin to a Christian? I love the Lord and tend to have a glass of wine every now and then, but a friend of mine says I can't minister or be a good example if I continue to drink. However, Paul tells Timothy, “No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.” (1 Timothy 5:23 NKJV)
I am not looking for an excuse but need an answer as far as the responsibilities when sharing the Word of God and being an example.
Dear Seeking Answers,
In 1Tim 5:23, Paul had to reassure Timothy that it was okay to use alcohol medicinally even though Timothy obviously had an aversion to ever touching alcohol. 1 Tim 5:23 actually serves as a warning against non-medicinal alcohol use instead of an encouragement to drink recreationally.
God never specifically condemns drinking wine, but He does condemn ‘strong drink’ (Pr 20:1), drinking parties (1 Pet 4:3), and drunkenness (Rom 13:13). Almost all alcohol that is consumed today would fall into the category of ‘strong drink’ because our alcoholic beverages are artificially fermented to increase their alcoholic content (unlike the wine of Jesus’ day – read “That’s Just Grape” for further details on the wine Jesus drank). We would all do well to heed the words of Pr 23:31-32 and avoid alcohol as much as is possible.
Does the Bible say anything that disproves the theory of aliens on Earth?
The Scriptures don’t say anything directly about aliens, but they do say several things that make sentient life on other planets highly unlikely.
- God made mankind in His image (Gen 1:26). That is where we get our free will, reason, emotion, conscience, etc. The whole point of alien life is that there is a species of life among the stars that is equal to mankind. God says that man has no equal.
- In the creation story found in Genesis chapter one, Earth seems to be the central focus of the story. The stars, heavenly bodies, etc. are given only a brisk overview. The implication is that Earth is the center of all organic life; it is the central purpose of the creation. It would be odd for God to leave out the part where He made other life sustaining planets with other sentient beings.
- Jesus came to die for mankind (1 Cor 15:3) and the people of this world (Jhn 3:16). If there were aliens that had intelligence, souls, and freewill like humanity, wouldn’t God care equally for their souls? If aliens do exist… it seems that they have been left out of the blessing of forgiveness in Christ.
None of these reasons explicitly deny the existence of alien life; it just makes the chances very, very improbable. Perhaps someday we will find some plants, fungus, or bacteria on another planet, but we doubt we will ever find E.T.
Can Christians play the lottery?
Dear Feeling Lucky,
The Bible never specifically mentions the lottery as a sin, but it doesn’t have to be specifically mentioned to be wrong. There are a great many things surrounding gambling that are sinful. Consider that:
1. Gambling focuses around money and greed. God warns us clearly about being fixated with money (1 Tim 6:10, Heb 13:5). God wants us to be satisfied with our income (Eccl 5:10). Contentment is a major component of spiritual maturity (1 Tim 6:6).
2. Gambling is used as a means to gain money without working for it. God finds pleasure in people working for their livelihood (2 Thess 3:10-12, Pr 10:4).
3. Gambling wastes money because, ultimately, the house does always win. God expects us to be good stewards (1 Cor 4:2) and save for the future (Pr 6:6-8).
4. Gambling and the places where gambling occurs are often associated with other sinful things. There is a reason Las Vegas is called “Sin City”. That industry is not one that a christian should be supporting (2 Cor 6:16-17).
Gambling is addictive. We can only have one master (Lk 16:13).
I teach high school agriculture, and as part of an Animal Science class, we have been discussing animal rights vs. welfare. I had a student pose a question, and I wasn't sure how to answer. The question is: is PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) a christian organization or atheist? This was inspired by referencing animals being used for sacrifice and also being told which animals are clean/unclean, etc. The Bible does show use of animals, and I was curious as well what stand a christian should have toward an organization such as PETA. I hope this makes sense.
Dear PETA Pondering,
PETA is definitely not a Christian organization. PETA believes that animals deserve the same level of care and respect as humans. Though humans have the responsibility to keep and protect the Earth (Gen 2:15), we are also given dominion over it (Gen 1:28). Animals and humans may share some similarities between their physical bodies – but humans have eternal souls. The key verse to understanding this topic is Eccl 3:21. Human spirits are made in the image of God (Gen 1:26), unlike animals. When people die, our souls go to God and await the Judgment (Heb 9:27). When animals die, they simply cease to exist.
The difference between humans and animals can only be appreciated through God’s Word. Without the insight that the Bible gives us into the Creation, we would never know that there is a difference in value between a human and a cow. Human life has value above and beyond animal life because God says so. Without God’s Word, we’d never know.
The Bible says that certain angels sinned against God and were cast down and reserved for judgment (1 Pet 2:4). Aren’t we being judged as well? If you believe in past lives, don't you think we were those angels, and we are being judged?
Dear Past Lives,
The Bible makes it clear that we only have one life; reincarnation doesn’t happen. Heb 9:27 says that we are appointed to die once, and then we face the judgment. Each human is given one life to live. The angels that are reserved for judgment are the angels that serve and work with the devil (Matt 25:41).