Does God like to look at trees?
I think he does! Genesis 2:9 says, "The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil."
That single verse reminds us of two things: God created pleasure, and we're often tempted to chase pleasure "out of bounds." (I bet Adam and Eve had some regrets about their encounter with "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.")
Below, Philip Yancey reflects on how we can enjoy God's good gifts to the fullest. I've added a little quiz question, hoping you find it helpful. [This is an excerpt from Philip Yancey's Grace Notes: Daily Readings with Philip Yancey (eBook).] -Adam Forrest, Zondervan
Great Good + Grave Danger
Why is sex fun? Why is eating fun? Why are there colors? ...
Where did pleasure come from? That seems to me a huge question — the philosophical equivalent, for atheists, to the problem of pain for Christians. Don't atheists and secular humanists have an equal obligation to explain the origin of pleasure in a world of randomness and meaninglessness? ...
Pleasure is at once a great good and a grave danger. If we start chasing pleasure as an end in itself, along the way we may lose sight of the One who gave us such good gifts as sexual drive, taste buds, and the capacity to appreciate beauty. As Ecclesiastes tells it, a wholesale devotion to pleasure will, paradoxically, lead to a state of utter despair.
The Christian's Choice
We can set about enjoying pleasure to the fullest, which means enjoying it in the way the Creator intended.
Somehow Christians have gotten a reputation as anti-pleasure, and this despite the fact that they believe pleasure was an invention of the Creator himself. We Christians have a choice. We can present ourselves as uptight bores who sacrificially forfeit half the fun of life by limiting our indulgence in sex, food, and other sensual pleasures. Or we can set about enjoying pleasure to the fullest, which means enjoying it in the way the Creator intended.
Not everyone will accept the Christian philosophy of pleasure as a gift best enjoyed within the bounds of the Creator's intent. Some skeptics will scoff at any insistence on moderation. For these skeptics, I have a few simple questions. Why is eating fun? Why are there colors? I'm still waiting for a good explanation that does not include the word God.
Q: Think of your favorite pastime. How do you know when you're enjoying that pleasure within bounds of God's intent?
In other words, whose opinions do you listen to? You may find this helpful: Rank these authorities from 1 to 4 (1 = most authoritative, 4 = least authoritative).
___ I listen to my conscience
___ I look to the most commonly accepted opinion
___ I look to the opinions of certain people I trust
___ I look to what the Bible says
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