I preached this sermon this week at church. Here are the images which are referred to therein:
Today is Tuesday, July 21. In recent times, 2 videos have been made public claiming to show that Planned Parenthood intentionally harvests human organs from the babies they murder and sell them. Christians are incensed and are hoping that this will be the turning point in the effort to convince our government to stop subsidizing Planned Parenthood.
I saw a tweet which I considered most poignant after the first video was released. The person (I forget who) said when they look at the eyes of the lady in the first PP video, they expected to see something demonic, or different. But he said what was scary was that all he saw were human eyes. How apropos.
I remember reading a story about the DaVinci painting, The Last Supper. Legend has is the Leonardo painted the Christ first, and in doing so, he passed over hundreds of models until he had found a young man who had the gentle, innocent and soft features which he figured represented the sinless Son of God.
As the story goes, DaVinci, 6 years later, visited the local prison to find a satisfactory model for his representation of Judas Iscariot, the man who would betray Jesus.
For weeks, DaVinci searched for a man with a hard callous face, with a countenance marked by scars of avarice, deceit, hypocrisy, and crime; a face that would delineate a character who would betray his best friend. 1
Finally, Leonardo found a man convicted of murder. While finishing his masterpiece, the young man began to sob uncontrollably. He said to DaVinci, “Do you remember me?”
“No, I have never seen you before in my life,” Leonardo replied.
“I am the man who modeled Jesus for you so many years ago!” said the young man whose life had been destroyed by his sin.
Of course, this story is generally considered mythical, but the human lesson is clear in a twofold way. First, anyone can fall into sin and become something they did not seem to be. Secondly, I would add that we can’t judge by appearances as DaVinci thought he could.
Despite that fact, we still try. We still lock the doors when certain “types” of people are walking by our car at a stoplight. We avoid that aisle in the grocery store, or that side of the street because of some of our preconceived notions of what evil resembles. I will note that sometimes you may be acting wisely – it just depends on what criteria you base your judgement upon.
But in the technology age, with facial recognition software and the ability to generate human images using computer programming I find it not surprising that Google has an image generator, however poorly publicize it is. It is this software which is used to help police to draw images based on witness testimony.
What is neat is you can create your own new face with it. You can enter criteria such as blue eyes, blond hair, etc., but you can also enter attributes like “beautiful,” “funny,” “outgoing,” or “party pooper.”
Google has analyzed over 5 trillion images and indexed the attributes associated with the file, including the comments made concerning that file. So you post a picture of your kid on Facebook and 179 people comment “Cute!” and you have a chance that your kids’ features will be part of the “Cute” algorithm. So using what must be a severely cool algorithm, Google is able to take features from its database of images and morph them into a “face” which personifies those features. With the amount of data analyzed, and taking into account the local proxy server you are using to connect to the internet, it is reported to be accurate over 99.99% of the time in producing an image which the person requesting “completely agrees” matches the attributes requested.
So I gave it a shot. I figured let’s see what our society has labeled the face of evil. Keep in mind that hundreds of thousands of PP supporters would have attributed to abortion providers like the ones in the videos mentioned earlier qualities like “successful,” “beautiful,” or “caring” so I didn’t really expect to see their likeness. Plus, I went with “male,” which I found interesting that there is still that option, but I digress.
I am a precise kinda guy, so I entered a whole number of attributes. I figured I’d just use a list from the Bible:
1 Cor 6:9 …fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers…
Couple of quick word searches and a click and here is what was generated after only about 4 seconds. Notice the eyes and the mouth. Obviously, if you see someone like this, avoid him at all costs. Click the link then you can close the newly opened tab.
Do you get it? Again, the interpretation is twofold.
1) Our ideas of what is evil are not only irrelevant, they are foolish. Clouded by our own sinfulness, we have no ability to really identify evil. Only God’s Word really gives us a basis for that judgement.
2) I’m evil.
Yes, that’s my mug shot. That’s the face of evil. That’s the face of a murderous, raping, thieving, God-hating, disrepecter of parents, filled with covetousness and reviling. If you can’t imagine your own face with those descriptors, maybe you don’t really believe in the depravity of man? I’m not asking you if you actually committed all those acts in the flesh, but if you know your evil heart is capable because you believe Jeremiah 17:9
Because no one is good. Not one. No one is righteous, not one. (Romans 3:10-12)
But there is hope. Continuing the earlier verse of sins which keep us out of the kingdom of God is the following:
1 Cor 6:11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
Look, instead of avoiding the face of evil, why don’t you give the gospel to that person? Tell the faces of evil in your life of the repentance and faith that is found in Christ alone and trusting His sacrifice and glorious resurrection for the forgiveness of sins.
I am glad someone did that for me.
1 – Text from http://www.truthorfiction.com/lastsupper/
P.S. #SorryNotSorry: The entire story about Google Image Generator was concocted to grab your attention.
I’m having a very friendly email discussion with a friend right now. Some of the discussion has come around to me explaining why I have restrictions as to who can join me for evangelism. Here’s an excerpt I found quotable:
We are trying to make disciples of Christ. That task requires the readiness to invest in the lives of others and the knowledge and maturity to actually teach others His commands in order to lead new converts to obey all that He has commanded (Mt 28:19-20). Anyone can hold up a bullhorn and basically preach the gospel from the back of a tract. Most Christians can at least hand out a tract or share the gospel 1 on 1.
I am trying to be more biblical than that.
It’s hard work to not only follow Christ yourself, but attempt to lead others. We are called “sheep” by God for a reason.
Alright, I’ll say it. Why is prostitution illegal? I don’t understand how liberals have overlooked this.
Think about the arguments for all types of sexual
freedoms perversions out there. How does pay-as-you-go-sex fail to meet the standard? I don’t think it does.
So here is my proposal: maybe the government ought make prostitution legal then tax it and regulate it. It may have a more damaging effect on the industry that what we’re doing now anyway…
More likely I’d be wrong and the government would do like it did with abortion and subsidize prostitution rather than tax it. Either way, I can’t believe John’s everywhere aren’t striving toward this end. Most of them are in congress anyway.
(mostly tongue-in-cheek rant above)
Matthew Vines has posted a series of forty questions. I have
written up compiled a fairly brief response from Scripture.
1. Do you accept that sexual orientation is not a choice?
Who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory.
But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.
Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.
See Romans 9:20-23, Acts 3:18-19, Titus 3:5
See my answer to #1.
To some people, this may seem harsh or rude.
First of all, no sinner, including Matthew Vines, has the right to question God. I believe these questions are as inauthentic as the atheist who says to the Christian, “Show me evidence for God and I’ll believe.” Matthew is using a rhetorical device using questions to cast aspersion on God’s authority over the life of sinners by attacking God’s revelation.
Secondly, better men than I have already provided good answers for people who really want to know how to think about Matthew’s questions. My “lack of response” in no way is a judgement on these men’s excellent articles.