Monday, May 27, 2013


Why the Bible is important to me  #7.


In an African town Mary and I went to their supermarket. There were on the shelves the basics with few choices. Returning home and going to our local shop we were overwhelmed by the choices offered. It struck me not so much about our affluence but how limited are life’s choices to the world’s major populations.

I’m not thinking about supermarket selections. Rather it was on the opportunities to choose spiritual, moral and educational options. We in the Secular and Christian influenced Western world have the privilege of making rational decisions in the light of debate, discussion, reading and reflection. Not so in Islam. Its people are bound to do as they are told. To choose to believe in Jesus (or anyone or anything else) is a death sentence. Any system of belief that makes slaves of the mind and denies a person a choice is little moral than a penal code. Hinduism with its caste system steals a person’s right to choose. It is the creator of human ‘tools’ rather than human beings.

Regardless of living in the secular west, or under atheistic communism, Islamic repression or Hindu determinism The Almighty God can step in with Truth to consider. Such Truth offers the right to choose between eternal life with the Lord or eternal separation from God. It does not overturn the caste system but provides personal dignity which empowers a life within it. Accepting the Truth does not safeguard you against the ‘guards’ of the sharia penal system. It does liberate your heart and mind and brings peace with God and the assurance of forgiveness.

Where is such Truth found? It is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s the message of the Son of God coming to our realm to identify with us. The Gospel gives the eternal God flesh and community and proclaims such a mystery of grace and love. He created you to know Him, enjoy Him, be with Him. When untruth led people and nations astray the Lord God acted to reclaim them. How far did He go to express His grace and love? To the Cross on Calvary’s hill! How do we know this actually happened? It was proclaimed over five hundred years before the deed in Isaiah 53. On Passover day in A.D. 33 it happened. Three days later Jesus rose from the tomb as victor over sin, death and holy wrath.

Christ Jesus’ instruction to His followers was to make the news known and offer the hearers a choice. The decision a person makes has eternity in the consequences. It is a choice between a relationship with God or separation from Him. Jesus called it a decision between walking the broadway of unbelief and rejection, or choosing the narrow way, through the cross, which leads to life now and eternal.

In some countries and cultures they might rightly say how can we know the Truth which sets us free. The first requirement is to have a heart to seek the Lord God whose word is Truth. He made a promise that any who honestly seeks Him will find Him. If you can talk with a Christian and obtain a Bible you can be helped to know Jesus, who is the Way the Truth and the Life. Otherwise I believe the Lord Jesus will make Himself known to you in His own way and time.

That is another reason why I believe the Bible is so important. It has the message of Truth which leads to God and eternal acceptance. Why not call out to Him right now!

(Ray (who knows the Way, the Truth and the Life) Hawkins.

Next week – Why should we respect the aged?

Monday, May 20, 2013


The Importance of the Bible to me #6

The Dignity of Animals

Stories of animal cruelty occur often. Insensitive slaughter at abattoirs, neglect of farm animals and stupid acts of cruelty fill the various media. People rise up with concern on behalf of the voiceless animal world. Don’t you find that rather strange? Why? Well if humans are an evolutionary mistake and are expendable why not dumb (presumably) animals. Once again the bible rises up to defend the weak, vulnerable and the voiceless.

It is the Judeo–Christian Bible and Faith which upholds an animal’s dignity and right. In Genesis 1 they are included in the creative act of the Lord God. They are there at the pleasure of the Lord. Humankind was given responsibility for the animal world’s well being. Sadly greed, fear and superstition have brought many species near to or into extinction.

Consider the following statements of Scripture and ask yourself is there any other religion or Faith with such safeguards? Deuteronomy 22:4: ‘You shall not see your neighbour’s donkey or ox fallen on the road and ignore it; you shall help to lift it up.’

Deuteronomy 22:10: ‘You shall not plough with an ox and a donkey together.’ Why? They are incompatible. One carries more of the load as it is unevenly shared. It is also undignified for two distinct creatures. The Lord Jesus also used it to teach us a spiritual lesson. Be not unequally yoked as a Christian and a non Christian.

Deuteronomy 19:19: ‘You shall keep my statutes. You shall not let your animals breed with a different kind.’ Breeding within the species is permitted, not outside it. I imagine this is to preserve the uniqueness of the species and prohibit grotesque caricatures of God’s creatures.

Within the framework of the Ten Commandments and its law of the Sabbath is an interesting comment, at least from an animal’s view. ‘The seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work – you, your son or your daughter, or your male or female slave, or your ox or your donkey, or any other of your livestock …(so that they) may rest as well as you.’ Deuteronomy 5:14.

What is the basis for our view of an animal’s dignity? God the Creator’s creative act and His Law for their welfare. Perhaps the most significant act to confront a godless world’s view of animals centres on a donkey. It is how Jesus used it to take Him into Jerusalem as the Prince of Peace. Other passages also reveal the donkey in favourable lights. Surely there is a message about animals and their welfare inherent in this. Maybe this is a significant reason behind many animal liberationists attempt to protect these creatures. Would I be correct in saying that all of these, consciously or unconsciously, have picked up the biblical ethos?

Those who say the Bible is out of date, irrelevant, know not what they say. It is important for a wholesome, vibrant and God pleasing outlook on life and the treatment of others. In Psalm 148 in a poem of praise to God guess who are also given their voice to do this? Of course! ‘Wild animals and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds.’ Will your voice be heard with theirs?

Ray (an animal lover) Hawkins

Next week. The bible is important to me as it points to a choice of destinies. See you then.

Monday, May 13, 2013


The Importance of the Bible to me #5

Human Dignity Begins Here

Even to a casual observer there are some–things so different in Christian influenced countries than non–Christian countries. We who are privileged to live in Christian countries take so much for granted and fail to appreciate our heritage.  Yes we are far from perfect. Yes Church attendances are falling. However the Christian influence is strong and lingers.
Mary,Ray and Zambian family

Look at Islamic, Buddhist and Hindu countries and their treatment of women, the outcaste, and the inequality before the Law of non country citizens. That is naming but a few instances. What has made the difference between West and East? The teaching, preaching, living and motivation aroused by the Judeo–Christian Scriptures.

Let’s look at a couple of directions for a safe, sound and satisfying society. In Leviticus 19 are some very fundamental yet imperative words from Yahweh. ‘You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind.’ (verse 14) Why make this a big deal? The deaf cannot hear you and the blind cannot see your actions.  What is at stake? Human dignity and personal integrity! Why bother? If you believe in evolution all are merely matter in motion. No dignity there. If you accept Islam, Buddhism or Hinduism with their Karma then such afflicted people deserved their condition.

The Judeo–Christian view is human life is due in the beginning to a creative act of God.
Genesis also stresses this uniqueness stems from Adam being made in the likeness of God. Again the example of Jesus in His treatment of the blind, the deaf, the outcaste motivates a caring concern. In Australia there is being introduced a Disability Insurance scheme.  True Australia is fast drifting out of being a vibrant Christian country. However its values are heavily influenced by its Biblical Heritage.  People from other religious persuasions want to enjoy our heritage and yet pervert it with their own religious law. Are they unable or unwilling to see the contrast between Christian and non–Christian belief systems and behaviour?

However not speaking ill of the deaf or putting stumbling blocks before the blind is more than a nice religious ideal. It is the command of the Lord God of Creation and Glory. Therefore you can see it does matter what you believe even in such a seemingly small social issue as treating the deaf and the blind. An unbiased look back over history will reveal men and women leaving home and security to serve the welfare of others in distant countries. Why? Because they had a sense of God’s call on their lives, the example of Jesus, the need of suffering humanity and the motivating authority of the Bible.

That is just another reason why the Bible is so important ― to me. What about you?
Next week’ The Bible and Animal Welfare.’

Monday, May 6, 2013

Mystery and Meaning in Marriage

The Importance of the Bible to me #5.

I'd like to share with you where the mystery and meaning of Marriage originated. Because of so called 'equality of marriage for same sex couples (and possible other implications) it is important to understand what undergirds the relationship betrween a man and a woman in matrimony.

The Symbolism of Marriage

Our wedding day, Toowoomba

Read Genesis 2:18-24.

            Moses must have heard it wrong. Either that, or God was playing a trick on him. In the Genesis reading it says Adam gave ‘birth’, as it were, through ‘surgery’ to Eve. We know birth is the prerogative of the woman. Moses knew it also. Why then would he write down what seems to be an absurd statement? More than that, it has become an integral part of Scripture?
            The problem is compounded, if possible, by the Apostle Paul. “Man did not come from woman, but woman from man” (1 Corinthians 11:8). He stresses this again in 1Timothy 2:13: “Adam was formed first, then Eve.”
            We know these men were not fools. They were not trying to be funny either. The Bible is a serious book promoting important issues with eternal consequences. Why then would this biologically impossible explanation of Adam giving birth, through surgery, to Eve be stated – twice and implied once?
            Why? Because the Lord God was making a prophetic statement as well as a romantic one concerning marriage. He was also elevating and protecting the idea and the ideal which underpins the marriage.
             Because people do not believe, or understand, or bother to find out what Moses and Paul meant, its meaning has been lost. Probably it isn’t the people's fault but that of the priests and ministers. Such ignorance lies behind the ease of living together without commitment and the leaving each other without regret.          
             The symbolism of marriage is designed by the Triune God, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, to point to something awesome. Adam is used also as a type or shadow of Jesus who is called the second Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45). The first Adam had his bride taken out of his side. When Jesus, the second Adam, died on the cross His side was pierced. This was a physical act used by the Lord God to give birth to the Church. The significance of this is also traced back to Eden. For when Adam saw Eve he recognized the fact that she was bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. In their sexual union they completed the God intended oneness once again.
            When the Lord Jesus gave birth to the Church her DNA came from Him.  The Church isn’t bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh. She is spirit of His Spirit and eternal by His eternity. By faith we believe the Church is betrothed to the Creator and Lord. According to Revelation 19:7-8, there is a set day when all of Creation will witness a true marriage made in Heaven: “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready! Fine linen, bright and clean, was given to her to wear.” The Church’s garment is said to represent the righteous acts of those who constitute the Church.
            Herein dwells the mystery of marriage. Read the wonderful description of Christ’s love for the Church; Ephesians 5:25-27: ‘Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, so as to present the church to himself in splendour, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind – yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish.’
            Without this Biblical understanding the only significance marriage has is according to the decrees of the country in which a couple ‘tie the knot’. Unbelief and rejection of God’s word robs the ceremony of its mystery. It has no foundation on which to exist. It has no future to which it points. It offers no sound reason for faithfulness within marriage. This was a problem with which Corinthian converts out of paganism has. Robbed of its spiritual significance there isn’t any surprise in the way society has downgraded this beautiful ceremony and testimony (1 Corinthians 6:12-20).
            For Christians Jesus is the supreme teacher and authority. What He said goes! The religious leaders of His day tried to snare Him in a doctrinal issue about divorce. Jesus simply pointed them to the Genesis account. “Haven’t you read, he replied, that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said, for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one” (Matthew 19:4-6).
            In this statement Jesus adds another beautiful dimension to the significance of marriage. What was He referring to when He said the two become one? The account of God bringing Eve from out of the side of Adam and then becoming one again in the embrace of love! Within this framework can be found the reason why the Scriptures stress the importance of marriage from a Christian framework. Here is the Biblical reason why same sex marriage isn’t Christian. There can be no ‘one flesh’ principle. There isn’t any mystery surrounding such a relationship which points to a higher reality. Same sex relationships cannot fulfil the mandate to bear children (Genesis 1:28.)
            Before there were any Denominations the apostles urged Christians only to marry a Christian. Why? Not for biological or racial reasons. It was because of the spiritual understanding of what marriage was all about. Every time a Christian marriage takes place there is a witness given to the World. It speaks about what God did in the Garden of Eden, what will happen in the future, and the awesome implications of two becoming one. It also stresses the Gospel story of the cross and the spiritual reality to which it points. This is true for all believers, married or single.
This is a chapter with some added material from my devotional book ‘From Eden with Love.’ It is available from Christian bookshops or by contacting me at

You can see my other books on