Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Is Ice Cream Consumption a Carnal Act?

As human beings, we find ourselves within the boundaries of a time and space dimension. Our physical bodies have a finite amount of time to exist measured against the movement of the earth around the sun. While knowledge is, on the one hand, understood to be a function of intellectual capacity, each individual gains a body-based composite of knowing by being alive in our physical bodies we may label in two categories:

kinesthetic knowledge --physical understandings like knowing how to ride a bicycle, wherein a person need not be able to carefully articulate the physical laws involved, nor the math of speed computation, but nonetheless "knows" the way to balance and move the vehicle forward successfully.

carnal knowledge--within Christian circles, carnal knowledge is synonymous with sin but in the fullness of definition is a bit broader.

1. pertaining to or characterized by the flesh or the body, its passions and appetites; sensual: carnal pleasures.

2. not spiritual; merely human; temporal; worldly: man of secular, rather carnal leanings. (Dictionary.com)

Is riding a bicycle carnal? It pertains to the body and is a mere human activity. (Though I have had many a bike ride wherein my sense of God's presence and my communion with Him during the physical activity was sublime.) So...biking is carnal. Biking is carnal?!

Consider the carnal pleasure of eating ice cream. (We visited a local ice cream shop here in Seattle. All organic ingredients and the spoon/bowl was compostable. I selected coffee and the product included ground coffee beans--yum!) Most of us do not place this human act--based on no nutritional need but pursued by the majority of us who enjoy ice cream simply because the taste and texture of the dessert is enjoyable--in the sin category.

Carnal acts which are sinful have a quality that goes beyond simply enjoying a pleasurable, physical act. When do we cross that line?

What do you think? (I'm using my daughter's Mac and frustrated by it!!! I have no clue why the second half of this post is showing up in a white box, nor can I figure out how to get it to stop. I think I need to rename the blog to reflect my continuing fight with technology.)


EB said...

My mac is not that bad daddy! hahaha although watching you and mom with it while you were here was quite comical. :) miss y'all already. :) Emma

postmodern redneck said...

Well, I'm a Mac user and I don't know why it did that either; maybe it's a "blogger" glitch, but mine never did that. I never have claimed to be a computer whiz, though; "semi-computer-literate" is about my speed.

My own take on the subject is that a lot of things in this life are proper for us to enjoy, but we have to be careful of excess, and our society has tended to go to excess on many things. When my parents were growing up, ice cream was a special treat for the 4th of July. Now we can have it year-round. When I was a kid, fireworks were still a special July 4th thing; in the 1970s theme parks like King's Island started having fireworks every night. The list can go on and on. Once you start to overdo, it takes more and more of the activity to satisfy: more food, fancier food, louder music, fancier cars , more bells and whistles on everything. I don't know how we can put the genie back in the bottle, though. Sometimes hardship can help us appreciate the simple pleasures, but most people have little appreciation for hardship.

ded said...

EB (and Phil), okay the problem is probably me and not the Mac. What frustrates--and it is not just Mac--is when the programmers have added all kinds of useful functions that happen automatically. It is no doubt exciting for people who have more knowledge, but really bothersome to folks like me that want/need the computer to just do the simple things it is told do and nothing more.

ded said...


Thanks for your comment. Over-indulgence is certainly the issue. And you're right, the genie is out of the bottle!!

postmodern redneck said...

We are overrun with unnecessary gadgets. I do not use most of the functions of my cell phone. I make calls on it (we no longer even have a land line), use voice mail when I miss a call, and sometimes I use the calculator and calendar functions. I still have not used the camera, I have no interest in trying to surf the Net with a tiny screen and phone keyboard, nor do I use text messages or games on it. Maybe we could say there are intellectual excesses as well as carnal ones?

craig v. said...

One key is thankfulness. When we stop enjoying life's pleasures before our gracious God (and so stop thanking Him) we have, I think, crossed the line.

ded said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ded said...

I agree, craig v. Thankfulness is the result of having one's heart in the place where we enjoy what is intended to be enjoyed without living to be fulfilled by the same.

postmodern redneck said...

Another totally different angle on this topic (maybe I got distracted over the computer issues--tool getting in the way of its own use again): It was Greek philosophy, not necessarily God, that taught that the material things were inferior. The Gnostic heresies were big on that, but the church of the 300s and after picked up a lot of it as partially-converted people flooded into the churches after Constantine legalized and his successors privileged Christianity. But God created both the material world and the unseen world, and He said it was very good at the end of creating it. It is part of the flawed human nature since sin came in that inclines us to excess. C.S. Lewis wrote about this in several places, speaking of the human tendency when finding something good, to want it again, or more of it. God even created sex; it is human beings who have made it the colossal public mess it is today in the world. So enjoy the ice cream once in a while (but avoid the "hog trough" creations at some eateries).