What does Genesis 4:21 teach us about music?

Having finished reading the Bible yesterday, I began reading it again today and read Genesis 1-4. Genesis 4:21 is the earliest recorded instance of human musical activity on the earth:

Genesis 4:21 And his brother's name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.

What truths does this verse teach us about music?

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RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

Do you have any Scripture verses that give us an objective standard for beauty? I'm not asking for an exhaustive list, but I can't even think of one of the top of my head.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

1 Corinthians 13:4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

Kevin Miller wrote:

Do you have any Scripture verses that give us an objective standard for beauty? I'm not asking for an exhaustive list, but I can't even think of one of the top of my head.

 

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

1 Corinthians 13:4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Beauty is defined as "a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight." In regards to our discussion of music, the aesthetic senses would include hearing.

How do any of the verses you provided give an objective standard for beauty, specifically in a piece of instrumental music? After all, this is what I was asking you about. My original statement was "I can consider something to sound beautiful while another person can consider it annoying. The standards for "beauty" can be different for different people and I don't think the Bible gives us an objective standard by which to define 'beauty.' " You then said "Yes, the standards for beauty differ from person to person, but God has objective standards for beauty." I then asked, " Do you have any Scripture verses that give us an objective standard for beauty?" Our discussion was about the sound of music, so I don't see how your verses apply to our discussion.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

 

Kevin Miller wrote:

Do you have any Scripture verses that give us an objective standard for beauty? I'm not asking for an exhaustive list, but I can't even think of one of the top of my head.

 

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

1 Corinthians 13:4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

 

Beauty is defined as "a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight." In regards to our discussion of music, the aesthetic senses would include hearing.

 

How do any of the verses you provided give an objective standard for beauty, specifically in a piece of instrumental music? After all, this is what I was asking you about. My original statement was "I can consider something to sound beautiful while another person can consider it annoying. The standards for "beauty" can be different for different people and I don't think the Bible gives us an objective standard by which to define 'beauty.' " You then said "Yes, the standards for beauty differ from person to person, but God has objective standards for beauty." I then asked, " Do you have any Scripture verses that give us an objective standard for beauty?" Our discussion was about the sound of music, so I don't see how your verses apply to our discussion.

Consider in the following passage the sounds of the demoniac crying out continually:

Mark 5:2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: 4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.

We can be certain that the sounds of his cries were not beautiful sounds that communicated love, joy, peace, gentleness, or goodness to anyone who heard the sounds of those cries. Because he was a demonically possessed man who was wildly out of control, we can be certain that his crying also did not display the temperance that is the fruit of the Spirit.
 

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 Consider in the following passage the sounds of the demoniac crying out continually:

Mark 5:2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: 4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.

We can be certain that the sounds of his cries were not beautiful sounds that communicated love, joy, peace, gentleness, or goodness to anyone who heard the sounds of those cries. Because he was a demonically possessed man who was wildly out of control, we can be certain that his crying also did not display the temperance that is the fruit of the Spirit.
 

The Bible doesn't really tell us whether the cries of the demoniac were mainly words or whether they were something like shrieks and groans. I'm pretty sure they weren't music, so I doubt these verses apply to our discussion either.  I'll go with it, though. The demoniac did seem to have enough control for his words to be understandable when he cried out to Jesus in verse 7.

If we are talking about "sounds" that communicate love, joy, peace, and so on, then aren't we back to describing something subjective rather than objective? I might consider some song to be joyful that isn't joyful to you. Pharrell William's song Happy is a joyful song, not only because the lyrics speak of happiness, but because it has a bouncy, joyful beat. Is there any objective measure in the Bible as to whether we can consider the sound of a song, without the lyrics, to be joyful or not? Some people consider rock music to be out of control, thus lacking temperance. Others see the guitar riffs and drum solos to be precise, skillful displays of instrumental control.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

The Bible doesn't really tell us whether the cries of the demoniac were mainly words or whether they were something like shrieks and groans. I'm pretty sure they weren't music, so I doubt these verses apply to our discussion either.  I'll go with it, though. The demoniac did seem to have enough control for his words to be understandable when he cried out to Jesus in verse 7.

If you look at the passage carefully, the man was not in his right mind (5:15) until after Jesus had exorcised the many demons that were possessing him. By carefully following the flow of thought and connecting pronouns with their antecedents, we see that the statement in verse 7 is not the man speaking, but the demon(s) speaking (possibly through the man's mouth?).

We do not have any evidence that this man possessed by many demons was able to speak intelligibly prior to his deliverance. His crying beforehand was not normal speech.

The sounds of his crying were not sounds that anyone in their right mind would consider to be loving, joyful, peaceful, good, temperate, etc.

Similarly, instrumental music that mimics, approximates, etc. such sounds as those of his continual crying would not meet any of the same criteria.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

Similarly, instrumental music that mimics, approximates, etc. such sounds as those of his continual crying would not meet any of the same criteria.

I suppose so, but since the Bible doesn't tell us what his crying sounded like, we have no way of knowing whether any musical instrument is capable of mimicking it. Organ music would likely be the closest that would be able to.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

Similarly, instrumental music that mimics, approximates, etc. such sounds as those of his continual crying would not meet any of the same criteria.

 

I suppose so, but since the Bible doesn't tell us what his crying sounded like, we have no way of knowing whether any musical instrument is capable of mimicking it. Organ music would likely be the closest that would be able to.

An organ would be one instrument that could be used that way, but I have little doubt that there are many others. Also, combinations of instruments have to be considered because Genesis 4:21 is not just about the playing of one instrument.

In connection with your questions about biblical revelation that pertains to the sounds of musical instruments, consider the following text:

Isaiah 14:11 Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols [a musical instrument]: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.

Both the context and the text itself indicate that both the pomp and the noise of the instruments are ungodly aspects about the life of the king of Babylon (Is. 14:4) that God judged by bringing them down to the grave. We do not need to know the specifics of what the noise of these instruments was that made it ungodly; it is clear from God's judging it that it was music that was not acceptable to God according to His standards.

Additionally, the passage transitions in 14:12 to revelation about the fall of a supernatural evil being and then continues in a way that suggests that both that being and the king of Babylon are being spoken of at various points in the rest of the passage. Based on what we know about Babylon, a strong case can be made that there were strong demonic influences on the king of Babylon. This passage, therefore, speaks at least in an indirect way to the issue of the ungodliness of instrumental music produced by people influenced by demons.

RajeshG's picture

Although Cain engaged in worship that God rejected, Scripture does not provide us with any information about false worship involving idolatry prior to the Flood. In fact, Scripture does not give us any specific information about when humans first made idols and worshiped them instead of the true God.

Considering the information that has been given to us in Genesis 4 about Jabal and Jubal both originating certain things/practices/activities, it is puzzling to me that the Spirit saw fit to give us that information instead of giving us information about when humans first made objects to use in idolatrous worship.

Jay's picture

Rajesh, are you using only the King James in your Bible studies?  Just curious.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

RajeshG's picture

Jay wrote:

Rajesh, are you using only the King James in your Bible studies?  Just curious.

No, I study regularly from several and use the original languages also.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

Although Cain engaged in worship that God rejected, Scripture does not provide us with any information about false worship involving idolatry prior to the Flood. In fact, Scripture does not give us any specific information about when humans first made idols and worshiped them instead of the true God.

Considering the information that has been given to us in Genesis 4 about Jabal and Jubal both originating certain things/practices/activities, it is puzzling to me that the Spirit saw fit to give us that information instead of giving us information about when humans first made objects to use in idolatrous worship.

The New Testament indicates that people have been making idols since the creation of the world. It's not clear exactly how long after creation it took people to start worshipping images, but Romans 1:20-23 doesn't leave room for a lot of time between creation and the worship of idols.

 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

The New Testament indicates that people have been making idols since the creation of the world. It's not clear exactly how long after creation it took people to start worshipping images, but Romans 1:20-23 doesn't leave room for a lot of time between creation and the worship of idols.

 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

Based on Romans 1:20-23, are you confident in believing that Cain was the first idolater? If not, why not?

If Cain was not the first idolater, who do you think was?

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

The New Testament indicates that people have been making idols since the creation of the world. It's not clear exactly how long after creation it took people to start worshipping images, but Romans 1:20-23 doesn't leave room for a lot of time between creation and the worship of idols.

 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

 

 

Based on Romans 1:20-23, are you confident in believing that Cain was the first idolater? If not, why not?

If Cain was not the first idolater, who do you think was?

I can't be confident in saying something the Bible doesn't say. I even wrote "it's not clear exactly how long after creation it took people to start worshipping images." So I have no idea who was the first. You had said "Scripture does not provide us with any information about false worship involving idolatry prior to the Flood." I was only pointing out that Romans 1 seems to indicate a quick enough time period that idolatry likely DID happen before the flood.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

I can't be confident in saying something the Bible doesn't say. I even wrote "it's not clear exactly how long after creation it took people to start worshipping images." So I have no idea who was the first. You had said "Scripture does not provide us with any information about false worship involving idolatry prior to the Flood." I was only pointing out that Romans 1 seems to indicate a quick enough time period that idolatry likely DID happen before the flood.

Cain was the first to engage in worship that God rejected and was the first human to refuse to repent of that sin. Cain knew God personally and chose not to glorify Him, even as Romans 1:21 speaks of.

Cain was the first human to be "of the devil." Cain was the first murderer and the first liar, both of which are things that the devil is said to be the father of.

Cain was the first human to be cursed by God. Cain is the first human spoken of as building a city, which would necessitate skills and technology to work with at least some kind or kinds of building materials.

Cain's descendant, Tubalcain, is spoken of as making things with brass, an alloy:

Genesis 4:22 And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah. 

By the time of Tubalcain, humans had the knowledge to work with metals at the high temperatures needed to make alloys, which means they had the knowledge and technology at that time to make idols made of precious metals.

Given the demonic wickedness of Cain and the progressive degeneracy from Cain to Lamech (the father of Tubalcain, whose name, interestingly, has Cain's name in it), I think we have a reasonable basis to hold that idolatry was taking place at least in the generation of Jabal, Jubal, Tubalcain, and Naamah.

If Tubalcain was connected with the origination of idolatry, that might be one more reason to see his generation as the nearly universally wicked generation of the Flood that was destroyed by God because of their consummate wickedness.

If, however, there were other generations after Tubalcain, we can be confident that there was idolatry in the generation of the Flood by comparing Genesis 6:5 with Romans 1:21, as follows:

Genesis 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Romans 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
 

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

By the time of Tubalcain, humans had the knowledge to work with metals at the high temperatures needed to make alloys, which means they had the knowledge and technology at that time to make idols made of precious metals.

Given the demonic wickedness of Cain and the progressive degeneracy from Cain to Lamech (the father of Tubalcain, whose name, interestingly, has Cain's name in it), I think we have a reasonable basis to hold that idolatry was taking place at least in the generation of Jabal, Jubal, Tubalcain, and Naamah.

I agree. This is a logical assumption and we have a reasonable basis to hold it. Yet I personally would still hesitate to confidently state "this is what the Bible teaches" since I am working with an assumption here. I know you teach classes, so I'm curious if you were to teach this particular tidbit, would you teach it as a personal assumption you hold or would you teach it as "what the Bible teaches"?

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

I agree. This is a logical assumption and we have a reasonable basis to hold it. Yet I personally would still hesitate to confidently state "this is what the Bible teaches" since I am working with an assumption here. I know you teach classes, so I'm curious if you were to teach this particular tidbit, would you teach it as a personal assumption you hold or would you teach it as "what the Bible teaches"?

No, this is not a logical assumption. An assumption is when you take something for granted without providing evidence or argumentation. I have provided extensive contextual and theological bases for this inference.

Concerning the difference between assumption and inference, I found this article helpful and encourage you to consider it carefully: https://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/distinguishing-between-inferences...

If I were teaching on this point, I would say the same thing: we have a reasonable basis for holding this position.

Also, I said that we can confidently hold that by the time of the generation of the Flood humans were idolatrous.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

If we are talking about "sounds" that communicate love, joy, peace, and so on, then aren't we back to describing something subjective rather than objective? I might consider some song to be joyful that isn't joyful to you. . . . Is there any objective measure in the Bible as to whether we can consider the sound of a song, without the lyrics, to be joyful or not?

Here's a comparison to consider concerning a biblical standard for aesthetic beauty using an instrument:

Psalm 150:5 Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.

1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

Psalm 150:5 commands the use of cymbals. First Corinthians 13:1 also speaks of the use of a cymbal, but because loveless speech is likened to that use of the cymbal, we understand that the sounds spoken of in this verse that the tinkling cymbal (or the sounding brass) makes are not aesthetically beautiful sounds and would not be musical sounds that manifest the love that is the fruit of the Spirit.

We can conclude that producing such sounds with the cymbals would not be the divinely acceptable sounds of the uses of the cymbals that are commanded in Psalm 150:5 to use to praise God.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

 

Kevin Miller wrote:

I agree. This is a logical assumption and we have a reasonable basis to hold it. Yet I personally would still hesitate to confidently state "this is what the Bible teaches" since I am working with an assumption here. I know you teach classes, so I'm curious if you were to teach this particular tidbit, would you teach it as a personal assumption you hold or would you teach it as "what the Bible teaches"?

No, this is not a logical assumption. An assumption is when you take something for granted without providing evidence or argumentation. I have provided extensive contextual and theological bases for this inference.

Concerning the difference between assumption and inference, I found this article helpful and encourage you to consider it carefully: https://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/distinguishing-between-inferences...

Thanks for the link. I should have used the word "inference" instead of "assumption." The change of wording doesn't really change my point, however. According to the link, both inferences and assumptions can be wrong. So I'll simply repeat my previous sentence with the change of one word.  I personally would still hesitate to confidently state "this is what the Bible teaches" since I am working with an inference here. 

I've noticed that some of the inferences you've made on this thread are based on your assumption about the meaning of certain verses. For example, from 1 John 3:12, you've mentioned Cain being "of the devil.". You are assuming that "of the devil" means influenced by the devil. It could simply mean "of the same mindset of the devil." You would then likely point out John 8:44 where the devil is said to be a murderer from the beginning. However, the verse doesn't tell us who he murdered, so the idea that it is referring to Cain is an assumption. You don't really have any evidence to back up that the devil was behind the murders Cain committed, so the idea is an assumption. John 3:12 even says that Cain murdered Abel "because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous." The verse simply doesn't tell us that the devil influenced Cain to murder.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

I've noticed that some of the inferences you've made on this thread are based on your assumption about the meaning of certain verses. For example, from 1 John 3:12, you've mentioned Cain being "of the devil.". You are assuming that "of the devil" means influenced by the devil. It could simply mean "of the same mindset of the devil." You would then likely point out John 8:44 where the devil is said to be a murderer from the beginning. However, the verse doesn't tell us who he murdered, so the idea that it is referring to Cain is an assumption. You don't really have any evidence to back up that the devil was behind the murders Cain committed, so the idea is an assumption. John 3:12 even says that Cain murdered Abel "because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous." The verse simply doesn't tell us that the devil influenced Cain to murder.

To say that "of the devil" in 1 John 3:12 means "of the same mindset of the devil" does not work in the context of the verse.  Earlier, John writes:

1 John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

The Son of God was not manifested just to destroy people's having the same mindset of sinning that the devil had from the beginning. The devil did not just have a mindset of sinning from the beginning; he has actually sinned from the beginning. 

Moreover, the Son of God was manifested to do much more than just deliver people from a demonic mindset--He was manifested to bring all the works of the devil to an end, including his energizing all unbelievers to disobey God (Eph. 2:2-3).

The devil deceived Eve to transgress against God. God judged the serpent by declaring that the woman's Seed would crush the head of the serpent's seed. In the very next chapter, we see an unbeliever, Cain, who murdered a righteous believer, Abel. To not connect Genesis 3 with Genesis 4 by saying that Cain was simply of the mindset of the devil is an interpretation of the passage that does not account for the flow of thought in the preceding context.

To hold that view, you would have to believe that whereas the devil directly attacked Eve, he did not influence Cain at all but rather Cain somehow mysteriously acted out of the sinfulness of his own heart. If that view commends itself to you, you have to explain how and why the devil chose not to attack or energize Cain at all to sin but attacked Eve to sin before Cain and has energized all unbelievers except for Cain to sin against God.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

To say that "of the devil" in 1 John 3:12 means "of the same mindset of the devil" does not work in the context of the verse.  Earlier, John writes:

1 John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

The Son of God was not manifested just to destroy people's having the same mindset of sinning that the devil had from the beginning. The devil did not just have a mindset of sinning from the beginning; he has actually sinned from the beginning. 

Moreover, the Son of God was manifested to do much more than just deliver people from a demonic mindset--He was manifested to bring all the works of the devil to an end, including his energizing all unbelievers to disobey God (Eph. 2:2-3).

The devil deceived Eve to transgress against God. God judged the serpent by declaring that the woman's Seed would crush the head of the serpent's seed. In the very next chapter, we see an unbeliever, Cain, who murdered a righteous believer, Abel. To not connect Genesis 3 with Genesis 4 by saying that Cain was simply of the mindset of the devil is an interpretation of the passage that does not account for the flow of thought in the preceding context.

To hold that view, you would have to believe that whereas the devil directly attacked Eve, he did not influence Cain at all but rather Cain somehow mysteriously acted out of the sinfulness of his own heart. If that view commends itself to you, you have to explain how and why the devil chose not to attack or energize Cain at all to sin but attacked Eve to sin before Cain and has energized all unbelievers except for Cain to sin against God.

The mindset I was referring to is rebellion against God, which of course includes sinning for both people and the devil, so I'm not really sure what you're point of objection is. Are you trying to make some sort of "the devil made me do it" excuse for sinfulness by assigning the energy behind sin to the devil instead of recognizing that we are responsible for our own sin? We each have our own mindset of rebellion against God which makes us responsible for our own sin.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

The mindset I was referring to is rebellion against God, which of course includes sinning for both people and the devil, so I'm not really sure what you're point of objection is. Are you trying to make some sort of "the devil made me do it" excuse for sinfulness by assigning the energy behind sin to the devil instead of recognizing that we are responsible for our own sin? We each have our own mindset of rebellion against God which makes us responsible for our own sin.

No, I am not making any kind of "the devil made me do it" excuse for sinfulness. God is the One who repeatedly tell us that people were influenced by the devil to sin against Him. When the serpent deceived Eve, both the serpent and Eve were punished.

When David sinned by numbering the people, God punished him and his people greatly. The Bible, also, however, tells us that Satan moved David's heart to sin in that way.:

1 Chronicles 21:1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.

The same is true for Ahab, Judas, Ananias . . .

When God reveals in Ephesians 2:2-3 that the devil energizes all the children of disobedience, He intends us to understand the demonic role in their disobeying God. That does not mean that they are not responsible; God is going to hold both them and the devil responsible.

When Cain murdered Abel, his doing so under demonic influence did not mean he was not responsible for his sin. 

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

Taking into account all that has been considered about Jubal, what can we say about this key question: Were any of the musical styles/genres of Jubal pleasing to God?

That's an easy one. There is no way to know, since we have no record of the styles or genres which Jubal played.

For example, if Jubal had played a lullaby to a child, we have no reason to think that that lullaby would have been displeasing to God. Is God only pleased by lullabies written by believers, but He gets displeased by lullabies written by unbelievers? I personally think God would be pleased with lullabies even if written by unbelievers. Granted, we don't know that Jubal played lullabies, but we also don't know that he didn't. As I said, without a record of which styles and genres he played, we simply can't say it any of them were pleasing to God. We don't know.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

That's an easy one. There is no way to know, since we have no record of the styles or genres which Jubal played.

For example, if Jubal had played a lullaby to a child, we have no reason to think that that lullaby would have been displeasing to God. Is God only pleased by lullabies written by believers, but He gets displeased by lullabies written by unbelievers? I personally think God would be pleased with lullabies even if written by unbelievers. Granted, we don't know that Jubal played lullabies, but we also don't know that he didn't. As I said, without a record of which styles and genres he played, we simply can't say it any of them were pleasing to God. We don't know.

As you well know, the same melodies can be played in many different styles/genres of music. In any case, suppose we had a record of what styles/genres he played. Keeping in mind that his styles/genres may have been entirely different from anything that we know, how would having that info help us to know whether God was pleased with any of his music?

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

As you well know, the same melodies can be played in many different styles/genres of music. In any case, suppose we had a record of what styles/genres he played. Keeping in mind that his styles/genres may have been entirely different from anything that we know, how would having that info help us to know whether God was pleased with any of his music?

You were the one who asked the question, "Were any of the musical styles/genres of Jubal pleasing to God?" If knowing WHAT the styles were does NOT help us, then we would have absolutely no way of knowing whether ANY of his styles or genre were pleasing. The only other option is to say that ALL music produced by an unbeliever is displeasing to God. I don't accept that notion, so I believe some music produced by unbelievers CAN be pleasing to God. Rajesh, do you believe that a lullaby produced by an unbeliever is displeasing to God?

RajeshG's picture

Matthew 7:11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? 

Jesus said that evil people know how to give good gifts to their children. Applying that truth to music indicates that evil people can produce a lullaby that God would say is a good gift to children.

 

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:
 

To say that "of the devil" in 1 John 3:12 means "of the same mindset of the devil" does not work in the context of the verse.  Earlier, John writes:

1 John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

The Son of God was not manifested just to destroy people's having the same mindset of sinning that the devil had from the beginning. The devil did not just have a mindset of sinning from the beginning; he has actually sinned from the beginning. 

Moreover, the Son of God was manifested to do much more than just deliver people from a demonic mindset--He was manifested to bring all the works of the devil to an end, including his energizing all unbelievers to disobey God (Eph. 2:2-3).

The devil deceived Eve to transgress against God. God judged the serpent by declaring that the woman's Seed would crush the head of the serpent's seed. In the very next chapter, we see an unbeliever, Cain, who murdered a righteous believer, Abel. To not connect Genesis 3 with Genesis 4 by saying that Cain was simply of the mindset of the devil is an interpretation of the passage that does not account for the flow of thought in the preceding context.

To hold that view, you would have to believe that whereas the devil directly attacked Eve, he did not influence Cain at all but rather Cain somehow mysteriously acted out of the sinfulness of his own heart. If that view commends itself to you, you have to explain how and why the devil chose not to attack or energize Cain at all to sin but attacked Eve to sin before Cain and has energized all unbelievers except for Cain to sin against God.

Rajesh, I'd like you to clarify something regarding your use of the word "energize" as being synonymous with "influence." I don't see them as synonymous, so I need you to give me some Biblical support for why you do.

I do think Satan has influenced every unbeliever since Adam. 2 Cor. 4:4 tells us that Satan blinds the minds of unbelievers. Satan also tempts both believers and unbelievers. The blindness that Satan imposes gives Satan a great deal of control over all unbelievers. They simply cannot recognize righteous choices and Satan tempts them with a plethora of unrighteous choices, so they are always going to choose to sin. They are still responsible for their sin, of course, but this influence from Satan is one that is experienced by all people, even by believers until they come to faith. This means they all unbelievers are "of the devil" since 1 John 3:8 states "He that committeth sin is of the devil."

You seem to be equating "of the devil" with an energizing force that goes well beyond blinding and tempting. In the first post of the second page of this thread, you said, "Cain was of the devil (1 John 3:12), and the devil influenced/energized him to kill Abel (cf. John 8:44, where the devil is said to be a murderer from the beginning)." I don't really think John 8:44 tells us that Satan "energized" Cain. For starters, the verse doesn't even say that Cain's murder was the thing that made Satan a murderer from the beginning. After all, 1 John 3:15 tells us "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer." If hating one's brother makes one a murderer, then certainly hating God, as Satan does, would make Satan a murderer from the beginning. Cain was following the same pattern of rebellion that Satan had. The verse doesn't say that Satan "energized" Cain to commit the murder.

You used Ephesians 2:2-3 to reference the devil "energizing all unbelievers to disobey God." Those verses describe Satan as "the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient." How is Satan at work in them? I understand this to be his role in blinding and tempting. How do you get energizing out of this?

When I think of demons energizing people, I think in terms of demon possession. Is that the kind of energizing you think happened to all of Cain's line? What other kind of demonic energizing is there in Scripture?

I wasn't sure of this was the kind of energizing you meant, but then when we talked about sounds produced by demonically influenced people, you pointed out the demoiac in Mark 5. You said "We can be certain that the sounds of his cries were not beautiful sounds that communicated love, joy, peace, gentleness, or goodness to anyone who heard the sounds of those cries. Because he was a demonically possessed man who was wildly out of control, we can be certain that his crying also did not display the temperance that is the fruit of the Spirit."

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

Rajesh, I'd like you to clarify something regarding your use of the word "energize" as being synonymous with "influence." I don't see them as synonymous, so I need you to give me some Biblical support for why you do.

I do think Satan has influenced every unbeliever since Adam. 2 Cor. 4:4 tells us that Satan blinds the minds of unbelievers. Satan also tempts both believers and unbelievers. The blindness that Satan imposes gives Satan a great deal of control over all unbelievers. They simply cannot recognize righteous choices and Satan tempts them with a plethora of unrighteous choices, so they are always going to choose to sin. They are still responsible for their sin, of course, but this influence from Satan is one that is experienced by all people, even by believers until they come to faith. This means they all unbelievers are "of the devil" since 1 John 3:8 states "He that committeth sin is of the devil."

You seem to be equating "of the devil" with an energizing force that goes well beyond blinding and tempting. In the first post of the second page of this thread, you said, "Cain was of the devil (1 John 3:12), and the devil influenced/energized him to kill Abel (cf. John 8:44, where the devil is said to be a murderer from the beginning)." I don't really think John 8:44 tells us that Satan "energized" Cain. For starters, the verse doesn't even say that Cain's murder was the thing that made Satan a murderer from the beginning. After all, 1 John 3:15 tells us "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer." If hating one's brother makes one a murderer, then certainly hating God, as Satan does, would make Satan a murderer from the beginning. Cain was following the same pattern of rebellion that Satan had. The verse doesn't say that Satan "energized" Cain to commit the murder.

You used Ephesians 2:2-3 to reference the devil "energizing all unbelievers to disobey God." Those verses describe Satan as "the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient." How is Satan at work in them? I understand this to be his role in blinding and tempting. How do you get energizing out of this?

When I think of demons energizing people, I think in terms of demon possession. Is that the kind of energizing you think happened to all of Cain's line? What other kind of demonic energizing is there in Scripture?

I wasn't sure of this was the kind of energizing you meant, but then when we talked about sounds produced by demonically influenced people, you pointed out the demoiac in Mark 5. You said "We can be certain that the sounds of his cries were not beautiful sounds that communicated love, joy, peace, gentleness, or goodness to anyone who heard the sounds of those cries. Because he was a demonically possessed man who was wildly out of control, we can be certain that his crying also did not display the temperance that is the fruit of the Spirit."

 

Because the Scripture does not lay out everything in neat terms in one passage, we are left to systematize the information that Scripture provides in many places through its use of many terms for various types of demonic activity against humans.

Understanding the available info by seeing it as a continuum of demonic influence may be a helpful approach.

At one end would be Jesus in whom the devil had nothing (John 14:30), but the devil still was able to tempt Him. At the other end would be those who were/are demon-possessed. All other people will fall somewhere in between the two ends.

The concept of the devil's energizing all unbelievers comes from the Greek verb energew that is rendered as "worketh" in Eph. 2:2.

Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

BGT Ephesians 2:2 ἐν αἷς ποτε περιεπατήσατε κατὰ τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, κατὰ τὸν ἄρχοντα τῆς ἐξουσίας τοῦ ἀέρος, τοῦ πνεύματος τοῦ νῦν ἐνεργοῦντος ἐν τοῖς υἱοῖς τῆς ἀπειθείας·

I do not think that Satan’s blinding the minds of unbelievers is the same thing as his energizing their disobedience. The blinding prevents them from seeing the light provided by the gospel and keeps them from believing. It has to do with preventing them from understanding propositional truth or removing spiritual truth from their hearts that was provided to them but they did not understand it (Matt. 13:19).

Even though Satan blinds the minds of all unbelievers concerning their believing the gospel, he is not able to prevent all of them from knowing what is right and what is wrong concerning their actions.

Although the devil blinds the minds of all unbelievers and energizes them in their disobedience, he exerts additional influences upon some people based in part on their own sinful actions.

Cain rejected direct, personal ministry from God (Gen. 4:6-7), which is not something that any unbeliever does today. God warned Cain that he was in spiritual danger, but Cain refused to repent. By not dealing with his anger properly and through his rejection of personal, direct divine ministry to him, Cain gave the devil a place to operate in his life (cf. Eph. 4:26-27) in a way that the devil does not influence all unbelievers.

When the devil or some other demon possesses a person, that person experiences the highest level of demonic influence. Scripture plainly makes known that possession is something that only happens to certain people.

There is much Scripture that I need to study further on this subject because this is not a study that I have done in depth before. Based on what I have studied to date, I do not believe that Cain was "of the devil" simply means that he was an unbeliever who engaged in a rebellious act of murdering his brother.

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