Be Good to Yourself

We continue, this week, to look at The Way to Happiness, a booklet and now a movie, which points us to the ultimate goal of personal peace and affluence.

At first glance, this mission certainly seems commendable. There’s something missing however – God. While the publishers claim that this booklet contains “the formula for happier living for the individual – and for all mankind,” the formula intentionally excludes God. “The Way to Happiness was specifically written as a non-religious work,” states the website. They don’t want to offend people, it seems. Nor will they with this booklet, full of what its authors call “practical wisdom.” Just a look at the chapter titles confirms the non-controversial and non-confrontational nature of the “formula.”

  1. Take care of
  2. Be temperate.
  3. Don’t be promiscuous.
  4. Love and help children.
  5. Honor and help your parents.
  6. Set a good example.
  7. Seek to live.
  8. Do not murder.
  9. Don’t do anything illegal.
  10. Support a government designed and run for all the people.
  11. Do not harm a person of goodwill.
  12. Safeguard and improve your environment.
  13. Do not steal.
  14. Be worthy of trust.
  15. Fulfill your obligations.
  16. Be in industrious.
  17. Be competent.
  18. Respect the religious beliefs of others.
  19. Try Not to Do Things to Others That You Would Not Like Them to Do to You.
  20. Try not to do things to others that you would not like them to do to you.
  21. Try to treat others as you would want them to treat you.
  22. Flourish and prosper.

I can’t help but notice that #1 starts out with #1. Take care of #1, yourself; look out for #1.

Most of that sounds pretty good, though, and nice. Some of it, it can be argued, is even Biblical. The problem is that it’s wrong. While following this formula may lead to better relations with other individuals and maybe even between nations, it cannot lead to eternal happiness. There is, however, a document which proclaims, authoritatively, how to end up happy. It’s called the Covenant of Grace. Long ago, God promised that He would be our God and we would be His people. This promise was to be “eternal.” It has never been abrogated.

For more information on the Biblical principle, see Genesis 17:1-8 and Hebrews 9:15.

What do you think about TWTH and the Bible? Are they compatible? Do they lead to the same place? Do all roads lead to heaven?

Keeping it Green

Who is responsible for maintaining God’s good creation? Why, we are friends.

thGenesis 1:26-28 reads this way:

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Mankind is to rule over the earth; he is to subdue the earth. Man has bee given dominion over the creation.

The first part of this command (the “Be Fruitful” part) is certainly being taken care of nicely. The world’s population, as of mid-October, was estimated to be more than 7,000,000,000. 

Subduing the earth involves much more. We have been placed in charge of the earth as stewards. The earth does not belong to us; it is the Lord’s, including everything in it. Psalm 24:1 states “The earth is the Lord‘s and the fullness thereof the world and those who dwell therein.”  So, for us, it’s not a matter of ownership, but of management. We are to care for the earth and use it for our own needs.

Gen. 2:15 tells us, “ The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”  There you have it. This is the cultural mandate and mankind’s job description in a nutshell. Work it and take care of it. Then verses 16-17 add  “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Mankind was to enjoy the fruit of the earth and of his labors, but he was not to sin against God. Work. Take care of the earth, enjoy what it provides. That’s dominion.