and God said it is good…the holy intended purpose of POT

I have been reluctant to write this post given how divisive this issues is among Christians but after reflecting for over 6 months and given the changes in politics recently, I thought now is as good a time as any to write on my theological perceptive on POT.   It is not my intent to discuss the social aspect of drug use nor the financial impact to healthcare or how marijuana will affect the “children”.  I leave that stuff up to the politicians to decide as they are much better at pulling on heart strings than I am.  My goal is to look at the theological perspective on the matter only.  My personal beliefs, or experiences will most obviously play a roll in this discussion but I will try my best to be fair and balanced (more than Fox News who interviewed me on this subject but cut me because I was too fair and balanced – true story).

Over the past three years, I have spent a good deal of time trying to understand marijuana and where it fits into God’s economy.  I have been vocal on the issue and have talked with everyone from law enforcement officials to medical professionals with mixed results as to the answers.  Surprisingly, it was difficult to find anyone who is actually against medical marijuana.  Most were against it socially but medically, it seems that the answer was an overwhelming “yes”.  The conversation usually turned from the intellectual acceptance of medical marijuana to the application of MMJ in the laws.  Many were “for” medical marijuana but against how the laws are written and how easy it is to legally abuse.    This is my own position.  I see tremendous benefit to pot but the abuse is so in-your-face that it’s laughable.  The process in Colorado is simple.  You go to the “doctor” who only works for cash and has an office in a backroom somewhere.  You get an exam and seldom are turned away from a “prescription”.  Once you’ve paid your money to the state you then go to a “pharmacy” and talk to your “pharmacist” who has his hat on sideways and a Bob Marley shirt on.  You order your “medication” by street name and pay black market prices.  If you are lucky enough to have a “caregiver” (who by the way must also be disabled and have a medical marijuana card – so your caregiver must also need care) he or she can grow a certain amount of pot on your behalf.  They give you a half an ounce or so for free and sell the rest to the back market.  Here is Fort Collins we have a epidemic of twenty year old kids with Crohn’s Disease who need Pot to maintain!  In fact, half the population of Colorado has Chron’s Disease – it must be the high altitude!  The system is ridiculously laughable and though I have no issue with the total legalization of marijuana, the system as it is is spitting in the face of the rule of law and that I have a problem with.

Sadly, many Christians have not given a ton of thought to the theological issues regarding marijuana and instead react with emotion to the word POT.  I don’t blame them, my generation was bombarded with anti-drug commercials since the late seventies and “Reefer Madness” had been instilled upon us from a young age.  This goes to show the power of media, propaganda and generational Inculturation.  This inculturation is so powerful that Christians are willing to forego honest theological thought because this issue has always been “bad” and no more needs to be said about it.  I set out to interview pastors on this issue and not a single one would talk with me “on the record”.  Off the record, you’d be surprised at the positive response to marijuana for medical use.

One of the main points I must address is this concept of badness and goodness.  Can an object be bad?  Is a statue of Buddha a bad thing or is it just a statue?  I would assert that idolatry is not the statue’s fault but the fault of the person worshiping the statue.  Minus the spiritual significance, Buddha is just a fat smiling statue.  In the same breath, is marijuana bad or are those abusing it the bad, cursed, rebellious ones?  Do we really blame the object for people abusing it?  To me that seems absurd.

What does God have to say about marijuana?  Interestingly the topic never comes up.  The Bible does not in any way speak of pot specifically and there is no direct prohibition on it nor do any of the arguments or historical revisionist claims that “Jesus used marijuana” hold water.  However, God did do something that give credence to marijuana. He created and He said He created “everything good”.  How could an omniscient God have created all things knowing the future and still utter the words “it is good”?  Certainly how you interpret these words depends on your Christian worldview.  Some would argue that God intended everything to be good but gave man freewill and we screwed it up.  Others would say that God knew that we would sin and still uttered these words because He is glorified in our sin as much as in our obedience (that’s what I believe), but one thing we both agree upon is that God created with holy intended purpose. Regardless of the internal debate over the sovereignty of God (Arminianism versus Calvinism)  Pot was, most definitely created and if you hold to a Christian worldview, God was the one who created it.  So what was or is God’s holy intended purpose for marijuana?  I believe this is the crux of the debate.  If God created it, why?  Simply put, if we contrast marijuana to other well know drugs that are abused, I think it becomes clear as to it’s purpose.  Opium, for instance, is abused as heroin and opium and yet it provides us with a great deal of our prescription pain medications like Vicodin, morphine and codeine.  Cocaine provides us with anesthetics that we need for surgery (anything that ends in “aine” is a derivative of cocaine) .   Both of these drugs were created by God and abused, yet they are still legal and used for good all the time.  Alcohol is the most abused drug on the planet yet the bible says it was created to gladden the hearts of men.  So though alcohol is definitely abused, God still created it and created it for a particular purpose and though alcohol is the scourge of society easily leading to the largest number of crimes in America, few can make a biblical case of abolitionism.   It seems to me we have three possible reasons for the creation of marijuana.  It was either created for medical purposes, social purposes or both.  It is not a possibly that is was created for no good reason.  Even the worst possible creature on the planet, the mosquito was created for good – food for birds, bats, and other small creatures.  It wasn’t created just to be a pest to humans!

What doesn’t follow from my argument thus far is that just because pot was created for good that we are inclined to use it.  It is entirely possible that due to the curse we are prohibited from it’s use.  However, this would be the first prohibition of its kind given that the prohibition is not clearly spelled out in scripture.  We, for instance, are sexual beings, but God specifically spelled out any prohibitions on sexuality (i.e. homosexuality, fornication, adultery, etc.).  God places prohibitions on being a drunkard, getting hammered in church, and idolizing wine.  He never prohibits us from drinking nor does He call alcohol bad. He simply limits us from doing certain things knowing how proficient we are to abuse.  Marijuana, on the other hand seems to have special status with no holy intended purpose and yet no direct prohibition from use.  This seems odd at best.

It seems to me that those arguing against me will have to argue from the negative position making claims like, God created it to tempt us or it was made to give us rope.  These assertions seem to be deficient given that God doesn’t tempt and Satan can’t create and why put THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) in an item used for making textiles?  It seems to me that at minimum God create marijuana for medical uses if not for social uses as well.  You be the judge on that.

Understand that God does prohibit us from breaking the law so in my mind, the social use (at least) of marijuana is prohibited for Christians no matter what your theological perspective on the issue may be.  My arguments for the medical use largely depend on the federal government’s enforcement of the laws.  They have, in the past, not enforced the federal laws against marijuana in states with legal medical marijuana laws or decriminalization, however our current administration (Obama) seems to have changed his mind on this and is now starting to crack down.  I think this muddies the water a bit regarding the medical use of marijuana as well.  That said the law aside, I see no prohibition – biblically speaking.

At minimum, I think it would be good for everyone to give some thought to this issue and reflect on why marijuana exists.  It is certainly up to you and the Holy Spirit to change your opinions, but if I can do anything, I hope that I’ve made you think.


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