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It is, perhaps, a bad analogy as I don't enjoy icecream...but many do and, the question is, are enjoyable things (any enjoyable thing (given as evil cannot create, so an existing thing must, at whatever level of 'existing' it exists at, be a good thing)) like 'sunbeams' of God ('the Sun'). Or are pleasures like 'signposts' towards God but like a signpost is made of wood and so not a literal 'reflection' of the concrete town it points towards, are they merely clues towards an unrelated object. Some hobbies/loves are frustrating as, whilst enjoyable and lovable, they don't seem to lead to an ultimate goal/telos. Do they (literally) meet completion in the 'Sun' that shone forth that joy...or do they point to an unrelated good? Does pleasure exist independantly of God (after He created it) or does it constantly 'shine' from Him? If it is the second of these, there seems something pleasingly Platoist about it. Do bannas become (through Him) more 'bannary', paintings more 'paintery', Dr Who (hey, at least for me and other fans!) more Dr Whoey, Singing more 'singery'? The sunbeams fulfilled at their eternal, indescribable source?

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closed as off-topic by Dan, Flimzy, wax eagle May 27 '14 at 19:54

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I'll bet you had fun writing that! – Steve Jan 12 '14 at 19:34
Have to admit...Yes I did! – Sehnsucht Jan 12 '14 at 19:40
Some people of certain religions/denominations seem to enjoy little things like you mention more than those of other religions so I suspect you ask a valid question. I think Jesus would have eaten an ice cream with a big smile. – gideon marx Jan 13 '14 at 11:23
I AM HIS AND HE IS MINE. Words by George W. Robinson, 1876. Heav’n above is softer blue, Earth around is sweeter green! Something lives in every hue Christless eyes have never seen; Birds with gladder songs o’erflow, flowers with deeper beauties shine, Since I know, as now I know, I am His, and He is mine. Since I know, as now I know, I am His, and He is mine. Don – rhetorician Apr 17 '14 at 3:03
@bruisedreed the scope is too broad here, that's why I agreed with the close votes. – wax eagle May 28 '14 at 12:28

4 Answers 4

People who are spiritually perceptive might consider what makes ice cream possible, or consider what makes it seem delicious. Ultimately they must consider the answer is the miracle of life itself and "life" is a testament or "signpost", as you will, to God.

But I'm afraid it borders on superstition to say enjoyable things or pleasure points people to God. Note that people would not sin unless they found it enjoyable. Plato also thought hedonism was pretty worthless.

Matthew 7:17-18 sheds more light on what things act as signposts (to use your term) or indications of God's will and existence:

17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.(NIV)

Verses 18-12 makes it clear that by fruits He is speaking of actions.

In other words in a universe dominated by a constant state of decay from the beginning those actions which result in greater order and harmony are the will of God and thereby testify of His existence. Some examples that fit this definition are: love, life, kindness, creativity, ecosystems and intelligence (among an infinite number of other things).

In fact they do prove the existence of God (act as "signposts") since these examples are things that do not follow the universally accepted scientific principle that the universe is a closed system which has been decaying from the beginning (2nd Law of Thermodynamics, Entropy).

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James 1:17 (NKJV) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

This verse shows that all good gifts come from God. I understand it to mean that all good things ultimately come from God. This leads me to believe that God actively brings joy into our lives with good things, even Himself. The prime example is when Jesus came to tell us the Gospel and to die for our sins. We can always rejoice in Him, that those of us who believe on Him for salvation will go to be with Him in Heaven.

John 3:16 (NKJV) “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

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Enjoyable things can be a double edged sword if not understood how God's system works. Because of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, THINGS or SITUATIONS whatever level of 'existing' it exists at, are now KNOWN to either be a be GOOD or BAD.

Same with pleasures KNOWING that is it GOOD to receive pleasure and BAD to receive pain. Let us pick a hobby of Model Cars for example. If we LOVE the outcome of the works which is the model car. Then since that LOVE exists the self considers it a GOOD thing so we are at risk of ANXIETY. As you pointed out hobbies/loves can be frustrating. So by eating this knowledge of good and evil we start to die for ANXIETY leads to death.

Genesis 2:17 NKJV

but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.

For pure JOY is in opposition to ANXIETY.

**Romans 8:6 NKJV

For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Galatians 5:17 NKJV

For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

For a strong motivator of the desire to eat of the fruits of good and evil is the unknown. For in not knowing their is a perceived fear, for those that do not trust God. So to then know what will be to come, to know prophecy, to make plans; Allows for a RELIEF to ANXIETY but to a cost. For the direction that the prophecy occurs if agreed upon THE CONTROL FACTOR as their is also RELINQUISHING CONTROL. Now if the desire to be in control is present then even if prophecy can extinguish the fires of anxiety "Knowing that it is Good to Have Control" becomes its own fruit, so anxiety can remain to exist "through the cure" because of perceived fear of "Not being in control". So we have been told:

1 John 2:15 NKJV

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

For ANXIETY can cause both from the "GOOD THING" and the "BAD THING". Now we perceive the experience of the "GOOD THING" as enjoyable and lovable because in the completion of the desire the ANXIETY to receive such a "THING" or "SITUATION" is no longer present. So the Absence of the ANXIETY creates the JOY.

Matthew 11:12 NKJV

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.

For the fruits of LOVE, PEACE, and JOY are given in the kingdom. So your question:

Do they (literally) meet completion in the 'Sun' that shone forth that joy...or do they point to an unrelated good? Not literally the 'Sun' but in the Kingdom yes that is where the they meet in completion to the desire. And Yes also that it points to an unrelated good, for the "CHOSEN PATH" path to the Kingdom is not through the "FULFILLMENT of ANXIETY RELEASING ACTIVITIES" but through "FAITH"

The Holy Attitude is in opposition with anxiety. No matter how you attempt to reduce your "Anxiety" whether it be by vitamins, prescription medicines, over the counter drugs, illegal drugs, alcohol, partying, legal or illegal sex, orgies, strip clubs, homosexuality, adultery, legal or illegal pornography, bestiality, necrophilia, power struggles, rivalry, hostile fits of rage, dissension from authority, joining a clique, slandering others, satisfying the desire for objects of adoration, wanting what others have (even stuff at the store), pride over what you have, soft things of adoration, stealing to obtain possessions, wanting in general and not being satisfied, cheating others out of money, killing people, abortion, sacrificing children to false gods, or lying to get your way, you will in now way enter into peace. [1]

All of these forms of "Relief" only satisfy the result of Denial. Yet the cure for denial is "Faith" for those that believe do not suffer the symptoms of denial. All this is proven by the stages of grief, and the polarization of faith and anxiety.

Here is logic, if the cure for anxiety is of a thing, when the thing is not present then anxiety because the cure is not present can still occur. Therefore the only cure for anxiety must be with us always. As is the truth in the teachings that the Jesus gave us. For I am in reality and the truth is in me (ref: John 14:11).

Does pleasure exist independently of God (after He created it) or does it constantly 'shine' from Him? It would be easier to restate as: Pleasure exists AS God creates it AND does constantly 'shine' from Him.

About Platonism I apologize for I know little about this.

Do bananas become (through Him) more 'bannary', paintings more 'paintery', Dr Who (hey, at least for me and other fans!) more Dr Whoey, Singing more 'singery'? I personally feel that I enjoy a banana a lot more while at peace, then when I am freaked out, so from my opinion I say Yes.

The sunbeams fulfilled at their eternal, indescribable source? The source has been described, yet the "sunbeams" if that is what you want to call them do indeed come from the source.

[1] (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-21, Revelation 22:15)

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Yes - both.

  • As a sunbeam, an (enjoyed) ice-cream attests the truth of:

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. - 1 Timothy 6:17 ESV (Emphasis added)

Also cf. James 1:17 (quoted in Jonathon's answer), Romans 8:32 & Philippians 4:19. It is certainly possible, permissible and expected to take pleasure in the good things that God provides us. It is also certainly possible (though contrary to the expressed will of God) that we do this without acknowledging the source of them - a sunbeam can be enjoyed with one's back to the sun & a child can enjoy an ice-cream without the knowledge of how it's made or what from; However the scripture emphasizes the temporary nature of such pleasures and that attempting to disconnect them from their source is not only sinful, but counter-productive to their enjoyment - cf. Hebrews 11:25. If we hide from the sun, we will miss out on sunbeams & if we determinedly avoid/deny the sources for our ice-cream, we can say good-bye to that too.

  • As a signpost:

A deeply enjoyable pleasure inspires gratitude towards its source. If we are sufficiently reflective, the sign points us past the immediate dispenser, past the manufacturers and distributors, past the varying natural sources of constituent ingredients to the true source: the Creator and Provider of all good things. The first part of the scripture quoted above exhorts the rich to look past any pleasure they find in the temporal security of their wealth and acknowledge their true benefactor.

A further thought on this (and the whole ground of your question seems to lead naturally to this consideration) is based on the argument from desire (popularised by CS Lewis):

  • If we have previously enjoyed ice-cream and we susequently experience a desire to enjoy it again, this desire is a sure reminder to us that there is such a thing even if it is not immediately in view.

  • Other desires we have (such as for air, warmth, food, water etc.) do not demand of us reflection of whether their object exists (our experience overwhelming informs us that they do), but if we are in lack, our thought is only on how the desire can be satisfied, not whether it can.

  • These observations inform us of the reasonable nature of the major premise of the argument from desire: "All innate human desires have objects that exist."

  • It is the case that in the experience of many people (most? all??) there exists a desire for an object greater than themselves - "for they know not what" - whose object cannot be identified in this world and must therefore belong to another (By your nom-de-net of Sehnsucht, you are surely familiar with this concept). Many do not grasp the implications of this - they struggle to read the language of the signpost, however the Spirit whispers to them of its awe full signifance, and should they see other clearer signs, their heart is primed to solve the mystery.

As a logical argument, this is hardly a lay-down misere, but rather a more suggestive pointer (sign!) from the ground of human experience.

In summary, although both are valid, the signpost nature of a pleasure is superior to it's enjoyment-provoking nature as, if followed to the ultimate conclusion, it leads to the Source of all pleasures and the One True, Eternal Pleasure.

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