Lastrow, Population: 666

This blog now has the distinction of having the same number of inhabitants as the town of Monson, Maine (as of the 2000 census). That the blog is populated by posts and Monson by people is but an irrelevancy.

This often misunderstood digit makes its only appearance in Scripture here,

Here is wisdom Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six. – Revelation 13:18

I say misunderstood because many (myself formerly included) mistake it to be the number of Satan. The Apocalypse given to John begs to differ, it is actually the number of Satan’s man, the antichrist. Six is man’s number, it falls one short of the number of completeness, 7. Some say the triple 6 is a mockery of the Trinity, because three times it falls short of completeness, as each Person in the Trinity is totally complete.

This reflects the fallen state we are all born into (Augustine of Hippo dubbed it “original sin”) because of Adam’s rebellion in the Garden. As the oft-quoted statement reads,

We are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners

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Humans Playing God, Episode #412121821

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. –Hebrews 4:12

Just as a sword can be employed in the service of evil, Scripture can be misunderstood and twisted to advance evil purposes (history is littered with such examples).

Even Scripture itself shows the consequences of twisting God’s Word, in that case it led to “Humans Playing God Episode #1.  Lewis aptly tells us the consequences of this particular historical event,

And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history-money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery–the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.

Some refer to the abuses of Scripture as so-called “evidence” that religion (Christianity is the popular target) is evil and thus should be banished from the public square. The words of Augustine suffice when talking to these folk,

Never judge a philosophy by its abuse.

All this to refer to the following article,
“Canadian serial murderer wanted to rid world of ‘evil ways'”

in which a man who murdered six prostitutes and as part of his justification he cited Ephesians 5:5,

In one of the letters, Pickton offers his own interpretation of Ephesians 5:5: “You can be sure that no immoral, impure or greedy person will in-herit the kingdom of God … Don’t be fooled by whose who try to excuse these sins, for the terrible anger of God comes upon all those who disobey him.”

The fact that Paul (who wrote the letter to the Ephesians) was not telling us to take matters into our own hands either escaped Pickton’s notice or not and his actions reflect the depravity inherent in mankind.

Sadly had Mr. Pickton perused Paul’s other writings, such as Romans,

If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord.

“BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (12:18-21)

He might have realized that we are not to take matters into our own hands, even if the offenses are directed against us.

Ironically enough later on in Ephesians (6:17) Paul refers to the word of God as the “sword of the Spirit”, perhaps informing us that just as training (physical and spiritual) is required to effectively use a sword for good, the same must hold true of Scripture.

In a related note there is this story, also from Canada,
“Father killed daughter for not wearing hijab, her friends say”

Not sure where the Qur’an comes out on such matters.