Beer: Proof that God loves us? | Third Space
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Beer: Proof that God loves us?

Beer is a good gift of God's creation and proof that God loves us. But Jesus is even better proof.
Wed 15 Oct 2014

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Summer is coming! And summer afternoons in Australia seem purpose built for ice cold, crisp, refreshing lager. Benjamin Franklin is famously (and probably erroneously) quoted as stating that “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Do you agree? Is beer proof that God loves us?

1. Every good gift

As you scan your eye over the Genesis creation account, over and again you read ‘it is good.’ As everything comes into being, God declares it to be good. Some of God’s first words to humanity are a blessing giving every seed-bearing plant as food. Everything is good, food (including beer – made from barley and hops) is a great gift of God.

Have you ever stopped to think about the inherent goodness in the world around us? Take bacon for example. To paraphrase Homer Simpson, the by-product of that wonderful, magical animal – the pig. The chemistry of the flesh of this mystical animal is such that when it is cured, sliced and fried until just about crispy, and then tasted, it produces a most wondrous sensation: joy. You could call this the “crispy bacon” proof of God. The bacon and our taste buds have been so designed to produce this joy. (An argument that is even more persuasive if considered while actually eating bacon) The goodness of creation is there to be seen.

Now, there’s a perception that despite God declaring all things good, and making the world in such a way as to be enjoyed, that Christians and even God himself are actually anti-pleasure. We Aussies even have a name for this kind of attitude – “Wowser”.

2. God’s affirmation of the goodness of alcohol

With such a perception, we would expect the Bible to be full of prohibitions against all kinds of otherwise joyous activities from the cosmic spoil-sport. Alcohol? Surely there’s got to be some kind of heavenly embargo? You might be surprised by what it says:

• God furnishes humanity with wine that gladdens the heart.1

• Israel is instructed to make a drink offering of beer as a part of their worship of God. 2

• Jesus’ first miraculous sign is to turn washing up water into top shelf wine. 3

• Indeed Jesus got a reputation for being a glutton and a drunkard because he did eat and drink. 4

• Paul instructs his apprentice to stop drinking water and to drink wine to fix his gastro problems. 5

In short, alcohol is one of the good things of creation. God wasn’t blindsided when people began to brew beer. The ability to brew beer is a part of God’s goodness to us – even proof he loves us!

3. Corruption

BUT, we humans have the innate capacity to corrupt any and every good thing. God gave us sex, and we produced pornography, sexual slavery, and rape. God gave us food, and we produced gluttony. God gave us humour, and we made it crude. God gave us ingenuity so we might make tools of many kinds, and we make weapons and technology that can destroy lives in a single click. We humans can spoil anything and we do.

God gave us beer. And it can be wonderful. A cold, crisp, golden lager on a hot summer afternoon hitting the back of the throat is just awesome! A dark, velvety stout on a miserable winter’s day can really warm the heart. But we corrupt beer; binge drinking, intoxication are warned against in the Bible.6 Ever wondered why old pubs have tiles on the outside walls? It was so it was easy to wash off the vomit. Drunkenness is the problem of a good thing corrupted. The Bible also warns that alcohol can be a distraction from other better things.7 Alcohol has been long recognised as a factor in violence and social damage.8 But it is not alcohol itself, but the abuse and corruption of a good thing that is the problem.

4. Goodness of God & Beer

So beer is a sign of God’s goodness in creation. We can agree with the ancient Sumerians, “not to know beer is not to know joy.” We can agree with Benjamin Franklin that it’s proof of God’s love. But beer, as good as it is, pales in insignificance compared to the ultimate sign of God’s love seen in Jesus. You see we have great capacity to ruin every good thing and make a mess of our lives and we do it precisely as we reject God’s goodness to us. Despite this, God sends Jesus to reconcile us and repair us. To remove this ruining aspect of our nature. If humanity was the problem in creation, he could have just got rid of us and started again, but instead he chooses to work in and through humanity for the good of all of creation. This is God’s ultimate goodness to us, and so our ultimate good is found beyond all the good of creation and in knowing God through Jesus.

Beer: Proof that God loves us? Yes indeed! But Jesus is even better proof.9

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Footnotes:

1 Psalm 104:15

2 Numbers 28:7

3 John 2:1-11

4 Matthew 11:19 – meanwhile his cousin fasted and was the first-century equivalent of a teetotaller – and he was accused of having a demon, sometimes you can’t win with religious people.

5 1 Timothy 5:23

6 Deuteronomy 21:20, Proverbs 20:1, Ephesians 5:11 amongst others.

7 Proverbs 31:4-7 warns a ruler that alcohol can distract them from ruling and upholding justice.

8 See government campaigns like qld.gov.au/safenightout as examples.

9 Romans 5:8

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