The tradition of alcohol since ancient times and as a society we still have not learned that it is not good for you!

Last time we looked at the abuse of alcohol; and we learned that it causes a lot of harm in the world.  Today we will continue to Look at Bavincks ideas on alcohol and what he can teach us.

We are still on sensual sins but now we start to look at strong drink.  In the same way as in the picture from the 19th century we start from a single drink of alcohol (page 121) and we start to go through the various steps.  At each step we start to lose something of ourselves.  

The Israelites certainly knew how to drink. Bavincks evidence comes from;

        11Woe to those who rise early in the morning that they may pursue strong drink,
Who stay up late in the evening that wine may inflame them! Isaiah 5:11


 22  Woe to those who are heroes in drinking wine
And valiant men in mixing strong drink, Isaiah 5:22

Strong drink  (shekar)שכר ) in Israel was usually made of ‘roses, fruit, honey and thistles'(page 121).  Although this drink was not as strong as modern drinks, one could still get seriously drunk from it.

Bavinck says; ‘It dulls the consciesness, both at the time and afterwards:  It removes the most noble leement – namely, the human is us.  It is an attack on, a destruction of the image of God, because self-consciousness is the trademark of humanity (page 121, Bavincks ethics )’.

He then shares these Biblical references with us;

1  Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler,
And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise. Proverbs 20:1


 29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has contentions? Who has complaining?
Who has wounds without cause?
Who has redness of eyes?
30 Those who linger long over wine,
Those who go to taste mixed wine.
31 Do not look on the wine when it is red,
When it sparkles in the cup,
When it goes down smoothly;
32 At the last it bites like a serpent
And stings like a viper.
33 Your eyes will see strange things
And your mind will utter perverse things.
34 And you will be like one who lies down in the middle of the sea,
Or like one who lies down on the top of a mast.
35 “They struck me, but I did not become ill;
They beat me, but I did not know it.
When shall I awake?
I will seek another drink.” Proverbs 23:29-35


 4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
It is not for kings to drink wine,
Or for rulers to desire strong drink, Proverbs 31:4


 13 Let us  behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. Romans 13:13


 11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 1 Corinthians 5:11


 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:21


 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, Ephesians 5:18


 8  Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued,  or addicted to much wine  or fond of sordid gain, 1 Timothy 3:8


 3 For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. 1 Peter 4:3

 I think we get the message about alcohol in the Bible.  He then continues to say that ‘in our day’ of these ‘sins of the belly’ have become a lot worse.  He continues talking about strong drink, alcoholism and opium.  He fixes opium on the Chinese and the Japanese, but I would add that the superpowers of the day used it as a way of inflicting damage on these countries so that it was easier to conquer. 

He finishes this section off about food and strong drink the sins of the belly.  

Although I kind of agree with Herman Bavinck about alcohol, I don’t think he went far enough.  Alcohol takes on many shapes and forms and moves into the real lives of the homeless.  If you talk to a lot of homeless why they take alcohol, the answer is simple; to stay warm.  The very thing that they take to stay warm is also the thing that is killing them literally, poisoning them slowly.  Who is guilty here?  We are all guilty because there should not be any homeless people in Western societies especially when it is cold.  I think the bigger sin is with those who hold the power and can cause change for the better but instead they are penny pinchers and make themselves even richer at the expense of the most vulnerable in society.

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