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Sadness & Suffering: Melancholy and the Folly of Paradise Engineering

Video from Ted-Ed

"If you are a living, breathing human being, chances are you have felt sad at least a few times in your life. But what exactly is melancholy, and what (if anything) should we do about it? Courtney Stephens details our still-evolving understanding of sadness -- and even makes a case for its usefulness. Lesson by Courtney Stephens, animation by Sharon Colman Graham." from video introduction.

Sadness (or Melancholy) is an emotion that is critical to our humanity. God designed our souls, our consciousness to react or be sad for a variety of reasons. We can be sad from a circumstance, and experience or a chemical imbalance in our brains.

Common belief is that sorrow comes from God and that it is his intent to make us sad sometimes. If we look at scripture it is never God's intent to bring sorrow upon man. There is not one verse in the Bible that explicitly declares that God brings sorrow to us, but the Bible is so full of scripture of God bringing and restoring our joy.

Jeremiah 31:13 says, "Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them and give them gladness for sorrow." God is not the bringer of sorrow but rather the bringer of joy once sorrow conquers our hearts.

Modern psychology has labeled our sadness as a number of conditions that are all chemically related or induced by emotional states that trigger chemicals. There has therefore been an attempt to remove sadness and suffering from our brains and our existence. This is the age-old idea that eliminating both of these will give us “Paradise “once more. Now you don’t have to be a historian or an intellect to understand that mankind’s attempt at this have been disastrous failures. The Tower of Babel in Genesis illustrates this quit well and there are no doubt indications of this in the world right before the Great Flood. Dictators throughout history often had ideas of utopia (based on depraved and evil ideologies), then of course we have Communism, Fascism, etc. and don’t forget the Eugenics of the Nazis.

So briefly we do not know exactly what causes sadness is or exactly how it works. But our understanding has evolved through our God-given science to find out among other things our sadness can include chemical problems in our brains. Keep in mind the futility that infiltrated the world after the Fall, the Original Sin, accounts for the cause.

The intellectual ideas for utopia never end, but on a strictly personal level who among us does not want our suffering both mental and physical to be eliminated or at least slow down?

The author of sorrow is the Satan (Lucifer). While God's desire is for us to experience joy and happiness as a result of holiness and reliance upon His will, the enemy wants to replace God's Word with lies that promise satisfaction in things that only give temporary happiness.

So, in times of hardships and trials, the choice is actually ours to approach Christ and be lead into the presence of the Comforter or to remain in the sorrow of our sin. God is sovereign, but He is also loving and desires for us to approach him and his rejoicing on our terms. The person of the Holy Spirit is active in your life. His level of activity as your counselor depends for the most part on your relationship with Christ. Do your pray, confess your sins daily and then actually repent of them? Theses things are critical to your spiritual and emotional wellbeing in this brief life. We here in America have been greatly blessed with freedom to worship and resources to read the Bible and study God’s holy Word.

Sadness is often either the direct or indirect result of sin. King David is an example in scripture of how we often feel that God has abandoned us in our times of sadness. We blame our sadness on those people who reject and oppose us. “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?” Psalm 13:32. Not all sadness is caused by sins we commit sometimes it’s just the reality of living in a sin-cursed world with other fallen creatures. Job as an example experienced great sorrow and sadness but through no fault of his own. His wealth, family, everything was all taken from him at one time, leaving him on an ash heap covered in boils and sores Job 1–3.

I don’t know about you, but I experience sadness everyday for various reasons. I have a chemical imbalance from Cancer treatments (shut down Pituitary Gland) that are permanent, and I must take medications to help me cope. And I have sadness over my sins and decisions I have made in the pass. But remember also that God forgets our sins once confessed. There may still be consequences but he forgets them.

2 Corinthians 5:19,

For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.

Video from The School of Life

"The word 'melancholy' puts its finger on a particular species of sadness, which isn't an illness or even a problem: it's part of being human." from video introduction.

Once again, we as fallen, sinful beings attempt to do repeatedly what got us in this mess to begin with – WE WANT TO BE GOD! We wish to eliminate suffering in all its forms, to eliminate sadness, among other things.

Philippians 4:4 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice.

“Rejoice in the Lord always” are two quite different things. God never tells us simply to rejoice no matter what is happening in our lives, he tells us to rejoice in him no matter what. And you don’t need to feel guilty for wanting certain parts of your life to change and get better. This only becomes an issue when your desires for better circumstances become more important than your desire for the Lord.

Yet in the midst of our sadness and suffering we can through prayer, fellowship and understanding acquire wisdom to live life better and to God’s glory.

Have you heard of “Paradise Engineering”?

"Homo sapiens, the first truly free species, is about to decommission natural selection, the force that made us.... Soon we must look deep within ourselves and decide what we wish to become."

Edward O. Wilson Consilience, The Unity of Knowledge

Paradise Engineering (definition)

If he were alive today, how could Jonathan be changed? The spearhead of David Pearce’s international campaign, launched in 1995, is what he styles “paradise-engineering”, a staggeringly ambitious global project which aims “to abolish the biological substrates of suffering…in all sentient life.” For the project does not stop at human beings. In David’s BNW, the more vicious carnivores of the animal kingdom - members of the cat family, for instance - would be genetically reprogrammed to socialize with mice and gazelles or else humanely phased out of the bio-system. One’s immediate reaction is to scoff at this, call it ridiculous, irreverent or impossible, but no, he says, not only is the concept simple, but technically feasible and morally urgent:

“At present, life on earth is controlled by self-replicating DNA. Selfish genes ensure that cruelty, pain, malaise are endemic to the living world. Yet all traditional religions, all social and economic ideologies, and all political parties, are alike in one respect. They ignore the biochemical roots of our ill-being. So the noisy trivia of party-politics distract us from what needs to be done. Fortunately, the old Darwinian order, driven by blind natural selection acting on random genetic mutations, is destined to pass into evolutionary history.”

David goes on to declare that third-millennium bioscience has provided us with the skill and insight necessary to “rewrite the vertebrate genome, redesign the global ecosystem and deliver genetically pre-programmed well-being.” From the article below.

Read the article: The Plains of Heaven An Introduction to Paradise Engineering

Only in our arrogance and sin do we falsely hope to eliminate sin, suffering and sadness by human effort.

No greater suffering (including sadness and depression) has ever been experienced by any human than by Jesus, a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” - Isaiah 53:3. Our Lord’s life was a series of sorrows, from the cradle to the cross. Because of the Original Sin and the curse on all mankind and the earth God therefore uses our adversity, sadness and suffering to make us more like Christ -Romans 8:29; Hebrews 12:10). Christ knows sadness more deeply than any of us ever can. Our lives among sinful humanity in this world will never be perfect, we know and understand that God is faithful and that when Christ returns, our sorrow/sadness will be replaced with rejoicing -Isaiah 35:10. While we tarry, we use our sorrow to glorify God -1 Peter 1:6-7- and rest in the Lord God Almighty’s love and mercy.

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