Child Birth Sin Offering

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Q. Why is a sin offering needed after child-birth? Atonement for what? Isn’t a birth supposed to be joyful?

A. This requirement is also from Lev 12:

Lev 12:6-7 ‘When the days of her purification are completed, for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the doorway of the tent of meeting a one year old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering. Then he shall offer it before the LORD and make atonement for her, and she shall be cleansed from the flow of her blood. This is the law for her who bears a child, whether a male or a female.

God commanded His creation to “be fruitful and multiply” 11 times:
• Adam and Eve (Gen 1:22, 28);
• Noah (Gen 8:17; 9:1, 7);
• Ishmael (Gen 17:20);
• Jacob (Gen 28:3; 35:11);
• Israelites (Lev 26:9);
• Jewish remnant (Jer 23:3);
• Mountains of Israel (Ezk 36:11).

So how come bearing children requires a sin offering? The answer has to do with the Fall of Man. When Adam and Eve sinned, Eve’s punishment was:
Gen 3:16 To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.”
Not only that, sin and death was passed to all their descendants:
Rom 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned
• Ps 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.

As a result, all are born with a sin nature. Every time a child is born, a sinner is brought into the world, needing redemption. Hence the requirement for atonement and sin offering, pointing to their need of the Savior.

The Martian

Martian 3

I watched “The Martian” on streaming TV before the New Year countdown. My wife thought it was boring and left 20 minutes into the movie. I thought it was interesting and thought-provoking. The story is a simple “Robinson Crusoe” type with one astronaut Mark Watney (played by Matt Damon) left for dead on Mars when his crew encountered a sand storm and had to abort the mission to escape. However, he survived but had no means of communicating with his team nor NASA. With limited water and food supply and four years before the next mission to Mars, he had to find means to survive until his rescue, if they come for him at all. The story appealed to me. Here’s why:

1. A positive outlook on life in the face of overwhelming challenges. Let me quote from Watney’s monologue, “If the oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the water reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the hab (his Mars habitat station) breaches, I’ll just kind of implode. If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death. … At some point, everything’s gonna go south on you and you’re going to say, this is it. This is how I end. Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work. That’s all it is. You just begin. You do the math. You solve one problem and you solve the next one, and then the next. And If you solve enough problems, you get to come home.”

I wish we Christians would learn from this attitude. Often when we encounter difficulties, we lament why is this happening to us as if God had short-changed our entitlement. We failed to learn from Paul or Peter, who knew He is testing and training us so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our bodies (2 Co 4:10):
2 Co 4:8-9 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
• 1 Pet 4:12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;

The one big difference is that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves (2 Co 4:7). And the sooner we learn this the more the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh (2 Co 4:11).

Martian Quote

2. A positive view of man made in God’s image despite our fallen state. Again let me quote, “Every human being has a basic instinct: to help each other out. If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it’s found in every culture without exception.

I am not naive enough to ignore the total depravity of man – there are people who just don’t care – but God’s image, while marred because of sin, is not completely effaced in man. That’s why Gen 9:6 “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man” still applies. That’s why we are called to “love your enemies” (Mt 5:44; Lk 6:27, 35), even those who hate and persecute us.

Martian 4

3. There is a cause bigger than yourself. Watney entrusted this message to his commander to convey to his parents if he couldn’t make it back to earth alive, “Tell them I am dying for something bigger myself, that I love doing.”

Some people would die for money, others glory and fame, or power, or pleasure. But none of these things really matter from the perspective of eternity:
Phil 3:7-8 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,

What are you living and dying for? That’s a good question to ponder as you begin 2016. I hope we all make our lives worthy. Altogether a good movie for the human spirit. I recommend it.