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The first human solution applied by Adam and Eve was to dress themselves in fig leaves. God immediately came along and dressed them in clothes. Why?
I received two conflicting viewpoints on the COVID-19 pandemic this past week. One said, “Coronavirus is a seasonal virus that causes symptoms and there are treatments and there is no need for lockdown, no need for masks, and above all no need for fear.” The other recounted, “Despite all the information about proper mask wearing, distancing, etc. people just seem to be too cavalier in their approach. Many of the ones not hospitalized don’t follow their isolation or quarantine if a contact according to the protocols they’re given. The consequence is that we’re seeing human behavior that has increased the spread of the virus.”
Which one is right? I wanted to reply to both these people who are close friends. I didn’t want to rustle any feathers, not take sides but give honest answers. Propose solid ideas that make sense, that hold up under scrutiny. What to do?
Well, over the last few weeks I’ve been writing about Practical Bible Wisdom. How to apply it in this answer? The Explanation isn’t some political or religious lobby trying to get followers or some police chief or pastor getting up on a pedestal telling people this is the finality of what you’ve got to do to make the problem go away. It just doesn’t work like that.
After much thought and prayer, it came down to fig leaves and Proverbs. Now, there’s a mixture for you. The link? Well, I already developed this subject in the seventh book of The Explanation series, Agony of Humankind and the Antidote. It could carry the sub-title Fig leaves and Proverbs. Let’s see why.
God clothed Adam and Eve, for two reasons I’ll mention here. First, fig leaves have a rather limited life span once removed from the plant. Second, God wanted to clothe them with not only something more permanent but also more solid and sound. The clothes were fitting (pun intended) and a long-term solution to the problem they’d caused. You can’t tailor fig-leaves and anyway, they’re a short-term stopgap measure, at best.
Both messages I received deal with fig leaves. In French we have a lovely word, rafistolage. Rather difficult to translate. When I have such a task, I generally head over to Linguee. They give the translation, but much more. They render genuine conversations where speakers use these words in sentences. Here’s what displayed. I’m inserting the whole context because there’s a pattern beyond the translation that emerges. Figure it out.
As a matter of fact, the scotch tape is starting to show. This entire process has been so flawed that…
For these reasons, they consider that tinkering with the current system would not be the right solution and that a root cause should be dealt with.
It patches things up, without doing anything to deal with the main problems and remove the main causes of the torment these animals undergo.
A make do, buy some time agreement in 1999, was an opportunity to move forward, but no. What did we get?
We have seen other pieces of legislation proposed in the House of Commons that we subsequently had to go in and fix because they were inadequate.
It isn’t broken just to the point where it needs tinkering; it needs a serious, long, hard look at what corner we’ve backed ourselves into that does not allow us to have openings.
We believe the government needs to rethink and redesign the entire system rather than tinkering at the margins.
This entails merely patching and reacting to problems instead of preventing them.
It is broken, and mere tinkering will not fix it.
We have a few problems, and we are tinkering.
What’s the point of talking about a systemic crisis in the food system, when all you can really do is tinker at its margins?
We cannot tinker with a system as large as drug addiction and just play with decriminalization of marijuana or drug impaired driving.
I think it would be better for us to rethink what we’re doing with families in terms of the Divorce Act and to consider, first of all, an initial statement that it’s recognized that the system is very much out of whack and that the change will come about, so that then we can work on it in a more positive way, rather than trying to just change a few things here and there.
Fig leaves represent tinkering and patching-up, possibly the best translations of rafistolage. Our society sits around discussing what other fig leaves we can apply to the fig leaves we’re already wearing, hoping to repair our tattered and mangy garments.
I had you read quite a number of texts with rafistolage. They come mainly from members of the Canadian Parliament, where English and French are the two official languages. These are statements made by Congresspeople concerning major issues of government affecting citizens individually and the country as a whole. Parliamentarians realize that they are dealing with fig leaves, they know you can’t mend them. They’re saying, you’ve got to get back to basics and look at how we’ve dressed up society.
Let’s look at solid, well-tailored clothes that protect us from the environment and don’t abuse the ground or animals. Clothing that doesn’t irritate our skin, that conscientious people have manufactured with taste and craftmanship for which they’ve received a fair wage.
I point you to this article to show that Proverbs IS ONE FOUNDATION on which we can BUILD life. It is a BASIS for the GENERAL POPULATION.
As you read these anti-fig leaves Proverbs, ask yourself the question, why is this written by a father addressing them to his son? Why not to his daughter? Why not the mother to her son or daughter? The answer to this question is basic knowledge our society has forgotten.
Who is responsible for most violence and sex crimes? Men or women? Here’s an image with statistics for men and women in prison in the USA. UK figures reveal the same massive divergence, 77.400 men vs. 3.400 women. I’d dare say we’d find similar proportions around the world. Men and women are not equal, men are much more difficult to guide in the right direction.
Who is better equipped to guide an adolescent toward a right way of life? Father or mother? This answer should be self-evident. It is in NO way intended to put the mother down. To the contrary, mother is an ESSENTIAL role. Many single mothers have done EXCELLENT parenting, raising well-behaved, exceptional children. But when it comes to physical strength, no normal woman can control an adolescent physically. IF the boy has not ALREADY learned to RESPECT and HONOR his mother by the time he becomes a teenager, it could very well be a lost cause.
Yes, I’m generalizing, but that’s the state of affairs. When boys respect their mothers, they’ll respect their sisters AND other women as well. These concepts go hand-in-hand. And it all starts with the presence of loving and FIRM guidance from the father. That’s why a father authors Proverbs for his son.
1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;
2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;
3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;
4 To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.
5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain to wise counsels:
6 To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.
7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
8 My son, hear the instruction of your father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:
9 For they shall be an ornament of grace to your head, and chains about your neck.
10 My son, if sinners entice you, consent you not.
These ten verses reveal the FOUNDATION for BUILDING society. These principles apply worldwide. God removed the fig leaves and tailor-made clothing for Adam and Eve. Down through history humans worldwide have TAKEN OFF and DISCARDED God’s clothing and fashioned their own fig leaves. In the 21st century fig leaves are still in fashion. On the other hand, God has continuously made well fitted, lasting rules available. So much so, that the pattern is the most widespread best-selling book in the world, the Bible. We buy it, read it, don’t understand the pattern, and go and do our own thing… with fig leaves! God gave Adam and Eve clothes they could wear permanently. They represent all of humankind.
Realize what this means. They are those that rejected God’s rules, His way of life. We’d call them UNconverted people(s). This is the world population that has NOT partaken of the Tree of Life. Remember, God shooed them out of the Garden of Eden so they would not eat of this life-giving Tree. BUT, and this is all-important, God gave them RULES to govern their UNconverted lives. These Proverbs remind us of those basis rules. Anything else is putting on fig leaves. Read verses 25-33 to see the result of not applying this basic information individually and collectively.
What do we have in these first ten verses of Proverbs?
- A father instructing his son
- A mother who knows the law
- The origin of instruction and law is the fear/respect of the LORD
- A son who listens to his father and mother
- Wisdom is in the hearing of this teaching
- Fools despise this instruction
- This wisdom will crown your head and save your neck
- Real justice is in this wisdom
You can add more points and much more wisdom to each of the above Biblical truths. I want to dwell on two events that relate to a couple of the principles here.
What if Earth were Unique
France 5, a national, more educational TV channel presented an amazing 90 minute program recently entitled What if Earth were Unique (Et si la Terre était unique?), produced by Laurent Lichtenstein. For the time-being I believe it’s only available in French but I do hope someone will dub it into English, and why not, other languages. Here is the short introduction, a must read. In the context of this blog post I ask you, what do you think? Does this have anything to do with fig leaves and fitted clothing? Does this link with any of God’s principles in the first verses of Proverbs?
What are the chances of one day discovering, somewhere in the universe, an ecosystem similar to ours? A planet on which the living would have taken forms as complex and diverse as those on Earth. Astronomers, biochemists and biologists take a trip to the heart of the solar system, discovering the incredible combination of circumstances that have allowed life to develop on Earth for nearly 4 billion years. Our ecosystem is the result of a dizzying series of hazards and catastrophes which should have destroyed life but which ultimately were beneficial to it. By scanning the sky for answers, researchers have discovered new worlds, distant planets, but none of them resemble Earth.
The program presented and explained the dizzying series of hazards and catastrophes which should have destroyed life but which ultimately support life. Extraordinary photography and filming. Eye-opening and revealing facts. It is impossible to get into the details of how Earth would NOT be habitable without the moon being HOW it is and WHERE it is. Scientists have come up with an idea about its presence; read this article on the Giant-Impact Hypothesis.
In Origin of the Universe, The Explanation devoted a chapter to Big Bang and Stephen Hawking’s ideas. In a video at that link, he discusses the innumerable amount of IMperfections necessary to assemble a perfect life-giving and life-supporting Earth. How many hazards does it take for critical thinking to realize that MAYBE there’s some other origin to something as complex as Earth? And we can add Life itself.
The Bible book of Proverbs is NOT addressed to spiritually converted people. Solomon addressed to a son who represents all of humankind. That might be a lot to digest. Please think about it. The instruction about the incredible combination of circumstances and the dizzying series of hazards and catastrophes should be a wake-up call to the realization that there might be some Higher Power (Proverbs 1:7). Humankind has taken off God’s clothing and dressed itself with fig leaves.
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God has shewed it to them.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
Samuel Paty, teacher in France, decapitated
We had the most unfortunate of incidents last week here in France. An 18-year-old radical Islamist decapitated a 47-year-old teacher, Samuel Paty. I do want to dwell on that aspect and the polemic surrounding freedom of speech and caricatures. It is another subject that merits a lot of soul-searching to separate fig leaves from tailored clothing.
The Minister of education, Jean-Michel Blanquer is launching a major political debate (Grenelle de l’éducation) that is supposed to put teachers more “at the center of society”. Certainly, teachers and schooling have a considerable role to play in the development of young minds. But here’s the key, Proverbs says the preponderant, primary role falls to the parents! This is a massive subject that we cannot detail here but a child starting in school must ARRIVE with a SOLID MORAL, ETHICAL education. That education is during the formative years of a child when their characters and personality are in a formation, building stage.
It is much easier to construct rather than DEstructure and REstructure. Grow, tutor and prune a plant in the first years and it will yield fruit for many years to come. Likewise, with children.
Parents are the center of society. The books of Proverbs is a father teaching his son. It is the mother knowing the law and participating 100% with the father in this education. That’s parenting. It’s not a teacher’s role to REeducate a child in ethical behavior. Enough said, you get the idea. It is up to the parents to clothe their child appropriately. That means no fig leaves. Here are some articles from Audit of Humankind in the section How Humankind Socializes that do more in-depth about the central role of parents in child-education.
- Family – The Cornerstone of Human Society (3.7)
- Parenting, Father & Mother have Essential Complementary Roles (3.8)
Get rid of the fig leaves. Put on well-tailored clothes. When we get back to teaching what a father and a mother’s role are and helping parents not just have babies but bring them up, we will be on our way to solving this issue. The question is, can we make such a societal u-turn?
I hesitate to include the concluding section of scripture to closeout this post. It is very strong and direct to the point. These are words of practical Bible wisdom for the 21st century. “Wisdom cries without; she utters her voice in the streets:” (Proverbs 1:20). These are not the words of Sam Kneller. The end of Proverbs shows we can’t blame anyone but ourselves when our tattered fig leaves disintegrate and we’re standing there naked with no ground to grow linen, and no animals for skins. It’s a choice we have to make, individually and collectively.
22 How long, you simple ones, will ye love simplicity (fig leaves)? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge (Godly-fitted clothing)?
23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit to you, I will make known my words (clothing) to you.
24 Because I have called, and you refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;
25 But you have set at nought all my counsel (clothing), and would none of my reproof:
26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear comes;
27 When your fear comes as desolation, and your destruction comes as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish come upon you.
28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:
29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:
30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.
31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way (fig leaves), and be filled with their own devices (fig leaves).
32 For the turning away (fig leaves) of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity (fig leaves) of fools shall destroy them.
33 But whoso hearkens to me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.
Frayed and ripped jeans are in style, is that symptomatic? So many individuals and so many nations are wearing dried-up dilapidated fig leaves. Can we stop tinkering and build on a solid foundation? Are our own decisions going to destroy us, or will we choose practical Bible wisdom for our safety and quiet?
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