But God also created two human beings on that same day. He created them in his image, with the capacity to do such amazing things as selectively breed animals. Sometimes this breeding was purely for utilitarian purposes, but at other times for purposes that can only be described as artistic, bringing out certain features that appear beautiful.
Our family has had several dogs over the years, but I think Monty is the best. He’s a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, presently about 8 months old. He’s smart and easily trained. Monty is loving, sociable, playful, and always eager to please. But even more than that, the other day I was admiring him and the thought occurred to me: this dog is a work of art. But if that’s the case, who is the artist?
You might be tempted, as I was, to answer with God. After all, didn’t God create all the animals? If dogs are animals, then God must have created dogs too. That answer might make sense for anyone who believes what the Bible says about creation. But things are actually not that simple. Let me explain how God didn’t create dogs, yet is still ultimately responsible for their existence.
When God created “the beasts of the earth” on the sixth day, there were no Cavalier King Charles Spaniels among them. In fact, there were no Cocker Spaniels, English Springer Spaniels, or any spaniels at all. There were no German Shepherds, Labradors, or any other dog breed we’re familiar with today. When God created the land animals at the beginning, he created a pair of four-legged creatures which are the ancestors of all the dogs we know today.
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By Ewan C. Goligher — 1 year ago
Written by Ewan C. Goligher |
Tuesday, June 14, 2022
Although faithful Christians know that “to depart and be with Christ is far better”, we patiently choose to remain until our work on earth is done and our Lord calls us home. Glory awaits those who wait patiently.
I was recently taken aback to read that medical assistance-in-dying (MAID) was performed in a church in Manitoba. MAID, more properly referred to as physician-assisted suicide or voluntary euthanasia, is the act of deliberately causing the patient’s death upon their considered request. Since it was legalized in 2016, the frequency of death by MAID has grown rapidly as Canadian society becomes more aware of and accustomed to the procedure. Eligibility for MAID continues to expand; adults with disabilities are eligible to have their lives ended, even if they are not dying, and we may soon see death being offered to those struggling with mental illness and to children.
Those who are persuaded that ending the patient is an effective and appropriate intervention for serious suffering will be hard pressed to find a form of suffering for which MAID is not an appropriate consideration.
To read of MAID being performed in a church, though, seems to elevate it to a whole new level of acceptance and celebration. Family and friends were present to give their love and goodbyes. They sang a hymn together and the grandchildren sang for their grandmother one last time. Death was faced and embraced. They called it a “crossing over” ceremony, a hopeful term portent with anticipation of continued existence beyond this life.
In some ways, this all sounds very Christian, and it raises important questions for Christians who are contemplating death. If church is the place where we worship our Maker, might it not also be a good place to choose to meet our Maker? Can faithful Christians “baptize” MAID to make it an act of religious worship in the house of God? At the very least, can we accept that MAID might be permissible for some Christians, a matter of indifference and personal choice?
We cannot. Beneath a veneer of compassion and respect, and despite the sincere intentions of those involved, MAID constitutes a profound violation of human dignity and value and an affront to the high status granted to us by our Creator. It’s easy to forget this when our culture seems to wholeheartedly embrace MAID as moral progress. So must we remind ourselves of the true nature and depth of human value.
For a start, we must remind ourselves of the distinction between extrinsic and intrinsic human value. Extrinsic value derives from what you can do, whereas intrinsic value derives simply from who you are. Extrinsic value depends on your usefulness, whereas intrinsic value is unconditional. Things that we can buy or sell have extrinsic value; things with intrinsic value are priceless. With this distinction in mind, we may consider some reasons why faithful Christians and faithful churches cannot opt for MAID.
First, Christianity affirms the intrinsic value of the human person but the practice of MAID denies it.
As creatures formed in the “image and likeness of God”, we are “crowned with glory and honour” and made “ruler over the works of [God’s] hands.” Our value is so profound that God is intimately and directly aware of us and our needs (“even the hairs of your head are all numbered”) and, shockingly, He gave his only Son in order to redeem us. If love is “value in action”, then behold what love and behold what value Gods find in us! And all this love comes to us unconditionally, irrespective of our abilities. Indeed, this love comes to us in spite of our lack of usefulness to God, our failure and inability to adequately worship and glorify him. The gospel reminds us that we have deep, incalculable, inherent, and intrinsic value.
After Proclaiming the Opposite, Medical Pros Quietly Admit Mutilating Trans Kids Doesn’t Fix DepressionBy Jason Rantz — 1 year ago
This study promotes the irreversible genital mutilation of impressionable children and suggests that it might alleviate their depression. Media coverage of this study could influence parents to seek out these procedures for their children, and it convinces medical professionals to keep their concerns private. This sets up patients for possible failure, prevents honest inquiry into what the data says, and can unduly influence laws under debate. The inaccurate press release has real-world consequences.
Amid contentious debates over gender identity, the University of Washington Medicine, or UW Medicine, proudly and eagerly alerted the press of a study in mid-March indicating that transgender teen patients saw rates of depression “plummet” because of so-called “gender-affirming care.”
The study earned nationwide praise. As Texas and Idaho were debating bans on allowing children to receive cross-sex hormones, this was the perfect research to show the heartlessness of conservative lawmakers and pundits who declared puberty blockers and surgical intervention as a dangerous and potentially irreversible gamble.
Most dramatically, after tracking the mental health of 104 transgender-identifying patients aged 13 to 20 for a year at Seattle Children’s Hospital, “gender-affirming care was associated with a 60% reduction in depression and a 73% drop in harmful or suicidal thoughts among the participants.”
But the study didn’t actually say what was initially claimed. Some voices now accuse the researchers of purposefully misinterpreting data to promote the irreversible.
UW Medicine’s communications department seemingly unintentionally misinterpreted the study. But their unwillingness to proactively correct the record was part of a concerted effort to downplay their errors because they had already received positive press, according to emails I uncovered through a public disclosure request.
The original press release was sent on March 11 and claimed that “gender-affirming care for transgender and nonbinary adolescents caused rates of depression to plummet.”
By April 8, UW Medicine communications staff dramatically changed the claims.
Independent journalist Jesse Singal started posing questions about the study to UW Communications staff, and one of the study’s authors, who agreed to speak on background, confirmed that some of the data the researchers presented, along with their claims, did not add up.
“Among the kids who went on hormones, there isn’t genuine statistical improvement here from baseline to the final wave of data collection,” Singal wrote on his Substack. “At baseline, 59% of the treatment-naive kids experienced moderate to severe depression. Twelve months later, 56% of the kids on GAM [gender-affirming medicine] experienced moderate to severe depression. At baseline, 45% of the treatment-naive kids experienced self-harm or suicidal thoughts. Twelve months later, 37% of the kids on GAM did.”
In other words, there was no statistically significant improvement. At best, the authors could argue that wrong-sex hormones and trans surgeries did not make these children’s depression worse than it already was.
Laura East, Department of Epidemiology spokeswoman, emailed colleagues that Singal posted “some pretty concerning claims.” However, she wrote that UW Medicine should not respond.
By David Strain — 12 months ago
In the faithful preaching of the Word by those God has sent, sinners not only hear of Christ; they hear Christ Himself calling to them in the voice of His gospel. In the Second Helvetic Confession of Faith, Heinrich Bullinger, the Swiss Reformer and contemporary of John Calvin, sums up Paul’s point eloquently and shows us why preaching—more than small-group or private Bible study—ought to be the focus of our expectations for Christian growth and blessing.
Blessed lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.” So reads the collect for the second Sunday in Advent in the 1662 edition of the Book of Common Prayer. It is a justly famous prayer, the language of which often still appears in evangelical prayers from across the denominational spectrum without our always recognizing its source.
The particular phrase that has come to ring in the memory of many is the request that God would enable us to “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” the Scriptures. It articulates a deeply biblical concern for the centrality of the Word—the instinctive desire for the Bible to “stick” in our minds and hearts and bear fruit in our lives, which is a mark of all authentic Christian spirituality. “Like newborn infants,” all Christians must “long for . . . pure spiritual milk,” that by it we may “grow up into salvation” (1 Peter 2:2). This Spirit-wrought instinct propels us into the private study of Holy Scripture. If texts that extol the Scriptures, such as Psalm 19:10–11, are to be taken seriously, a Christian life that does not make diligent, regular study of the Bible—alone and in small groups—is like a miner who foolishly neglects rich seams of ore where “much fine gold” can be found. It is to live a Christian life unsweetened by the Word and promise of God that is “sweeter . . . than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.” It is to ignore the warning signs posted for His servants in Scripture all along the dangerous paths of life by our gracious Lord. And how can we ever hope to obtain that “great reward” that comes from keeping God’s Word when we do not know and love what it says? So to the degree that we are Bible people, in large measure to that same degree we will be holy people, faith-filled people, patient people, and happy people.