Tag Archives: Bible Passage

Why a Crown of Thorns?

Genesis 3:16-19

Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of the wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Crown of Thorns

With all the array of punishments laid upon mankind after Adam and Eve’s original sin doesn’t it seem strange that thorns are specifically mentioned here in Genesis? Of course, nothing is random in the Bible, nothing is written without significance; and again we find that this is the case. There are several references to thorns throughout the Bible each one reminding us of original sin and the curse. A fairly comprehensive list can be found at http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/thorns/.

There are a few reasons why thorns are specifically mentioned as part of the curse on the world as a result of mankind’s original sin. Firstly, as believers in Genesis as literal history we would point out that thorns pose a problem for any Christian who does not hold to this view, that is, if the Earth took millions of years of slow and gradual processes to reach its current form then we would conclude that the thorns found in the fossil record are also millions of years old; and must have come BEFORE original sin which is obviously a big problem as you would have to reinterpret the plain reading of this text to allow for this. This is not a problem for Biblical Creationists as we believe the majority of the fossil record came about as a result of Noah’s flood which destroyed the earth as it then was. This was AFTER the original sin so we would expect to find fossil thorns in this case.

Thorns are listed throughout the Bible in a negative way or as an obstacle which is a reminder of Sin, for example, “Thorns in your sides” (Numbers 33:55 & Judges 8:7) and another well known example would be in Matthew 13:3-8 (the Parable of the Sower) some seed “fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:”. However the example most relevant is the crown of thorns that the governor’s soldiers put on Jesus head in order to mock him as the King of the Jews.
(Matthew 27:29) “And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put [it] upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!”
We don’t know if the soldiers realised the significance that they made the crown from thorns, one of the curses specifically mentioned in the Genesis account. However, we do know that it was hugely significant, it is a symbol of the original sin and all subsequent sin including our very own, a reminder to us of why Jesus went to the cross; it was to die as the perfect sacrifice for our sins so that the curse laid upon this earth can one day be removed for those that believe in him.

How to deal with testing questions

Many times we find people will try and test us. They will ask questions they think we won’t have an answer to, not looking for an answer but trying to trip us up. The Bible gives us some great advice on how to deal with this.
Proverbs 26:4 “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.”
Proverbs 26:5 “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.”
At first glance these two verses seem to conflict, but the fact that one immediately follows the other tells its own story. It’s a “don’t do this IF ‘x’ is true, but do this IF ‘y’ is true”. A simple pair of statements with precondition and different advice for different situations.
It could be read as “Don’t answer a fool because this will bring you to his level where his question is foolish to the point it doesn’t deserve an answer or an attempt to answer would cause you to look foolish, but answer a fool where not answering would mean he would believe he was right because of your (perceived) inability to answer” (lest he be wise in his own conceit).
The Life Application Study Bible commentary sums this up
“These two verses seem to contradict, but they actually are purposely demonstrating the contradiction between reason and folly. A fool remains a fool whether he is answered or not. The wise person has a choice to make depending on what he or she sees is the greatest need of the fool. Some fools don’t deserve an answer because they are clearly not in a mood to listen, and those who try to answer them will simply stoop to their level. There are other situations where common sense says to answer the fool in order to expose his or her pride and folly.”
The following webpage shows a modern day application of the teachings of these two verses.
http://wallacegsmith.wordpress.com/2008/02/26/answer-or-dont-answer-a-fool-according-to-his-online-folly/

2 Peter 3:3-6

3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

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Modern day beliefs and attitudes in the Bible

Is there reference to today’s beliefs regarding Creation in the Bible? In this passage we see reference to things that closely match the way Christians are treated today for their beliefs. “Scoffers, walking after their own lusts”, these days we would probably say that these ‘scoffers’ are ‘out for their own gain’, or ‘to justify their own deeds’ as they lead their lives however they please and scoff at or ridicule those who uphold Biblical teaching.

“Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation”

They believe that geological processes are happening today at the same rate as they always have been (known as uniformitarianism i), if this is the case rock layers, for example, would have taken a long time to build up as it’s very difficult if not impossible to ‘see’ rock layers forming today. So therefore, evolutionists, atheists and others who scoff at the Biblical account of creation assume that this must have taken eons of time to form new layers.

For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

As they believe in Uniformitarianism, they do not believe in the “the earth standing out of the water and in the water” and “the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:” (the global flood of Noah’s day) as this is a global geologic event that doesn’t fit with uniformitarianism. One word stands out for me in this verse, “Willingly”. This brings us back to verse 3 were we see the reason why people ignore the flood in order to;

“[walk] after their own lusts” (KJV) & (ASV)

“[follow] their own evil desires” (NIV)

If you wish to do your own thing and ignore God, you have to be willingly ignorant of the flood and the evidence for the flood that is all around us, in order to ignore this evidence, you have to come up with a different hypothesis as to how the earths geology came to being, that is, uniformitarianism. Which is described quite succinctly in this verse as the belief that “all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation”. This belief allows you to dismiss the thought of God and Jesus, where the scoffers are asking “Where is the promise of his coming?”, without God, people are then free to make up their own rules, live their lives as they please and “[walk] after their own lusts”

I was amazed when I first read and understood this passage as it spoke to me so clearly about people in the world today. So many will scoff at Christians and mock us for our beliefs, this passage shows us the reason that they scoff and mock us, that is, in order to continue their lives separate from God as they have to willinglyii disbelieve God otherwise they will come to realise that they are sinners and are in need of salvation.

i  The belief in uniformitarianism was started by James Hutton and popularised by Charles Lyell’s book, Principles of Geology in 1830

ii  Romans 1:20 gives a clue as to why they have to ‘willingly’ disbelieve as God is seen all around in his creation.
“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:”