Saturday, July 07, 2018


Some New Age types try to prooftext smoking weed from Scripture. A few quick observations:

1. I don't have a personal stake in this debate. I don't smoke or drink. I think alcoholic consumption in moderation is permissible. I think the occasional cigar (or pipe tobacco) is okay. Chain-smoking carries serious risk of lung cancer and emphysema.

2. I don't have a deeply considered position on marijuana. I think it's a prudential issue rather than a matter of intrinsic morality. As a rule, it's imprudent to use a potentially addictive substance. That's a gratuitous risk. But that's not absolute. 

3. Some people claim the anointing oil in Exod 30:23ff includes cannabis as an ingredient. However, as recent commentators like Duane Garrett and Victor Hamilton explain, the identification of the ingredients is quite doubtful at this distance. 

4. Some people claim Jesus used cannabis oil to heal the sick.  

i) To begin with, that piggybacks on the false assumption of Exod 30. 

ii) As the Gospels make abundantly clearly, dominical healings were due to Christ's divine power. In only two cases does he even use any object lesson. In every other case, it's by touch, or his word. Sometimes healing at a distance. 

5. Appeal is made to Gen 1:29 & 1 Tim 4:3-4

i) Some plants are edible to one species but inedible to another species. Some plants are toxic to humans. So Gen 1:29 and 1 Tim 4:3-4 are hardly meant to be a blanket endorsement. 

ii) Due to adaptation, hybridization, and horticulture, many plants exist today that didn't exist in the past. Young-earth creationists, old-earth creationists, and theistic evolutionists all take that position. 

That doesn't mean it's forbidden to eat fauna and flora which don't represent the first generation of God's creation. But Gen 1:29 & 1 Tim 4:3-4 can't be quoted to backdate all species. Those texts don't cover every conceivable variation–past and future–but state a general principle. 


  1. I don't have a dog in this fight either. I don't use marijuana aka cannabis. My thoughts:

    1. I'm of two minds when it comes to the legalization of cannabis. At this point, though I could be persuaded otherwise, I'd tend to say something like "people have the right to be stupid" when it comes to cannabis use. In saying "people" I'm referring to adults with intact cognitive faculties making decisions of their own free will.

    2. That's not to say I would want to give carte blanche to an adult to smoke weed all day, totally uninhibited by society's rules or mores or whatever. After all, society is social, we live with and need other people to an extent, so there should be limitations if the cannabis use harms others or too negatively disrupts society or something along those lines. For example, I don't think people who work with children should be allowed to use cannabis.

    There may be borderline cases. Such as pregnant women. Pregnant women shouldn't be using cannabis either, I don't think, but pregnant women shouldn't be drinking alcohol either, yet that's legal. I guess it goes back to the "people have a right to be stupid" thing.

    3. From a health perspective, cannabis use carries with it significant risk to brain development for those whose brains haven't fully "developed", viz. those in (say) their early 20s or younger. In this respect, if we legalize marijuana, then I think it should only be legal for those beyond a certain age. Like with alcohol.

    4. There are other adverse medical effects in cannabis use, especially in long-term cannabis use, but that likewise depends on how one ingests the cannabis. Like is it smoked, eaten, etc.

    5. Many people who argue for legalization equivocate between cannabis for recreational use and cannabis for medical use. Like they will argue for legalizing the recreational use of marijuana based on data from medicinal marijuana. However, for instance, medicinal marijuana typically contains less THC than contained in most recreational marijuana (THC is the primary pscyhoactive ingredient in cannabis).

    6. Of course, cannabis is a psychoactive drug.

    a. There are degrees to how "stoned" one can become. Degrees of intoxication, degrees of abuse, degrees of dependence.

    b. Also, if the intent of using cannabis is for entheogenic purposes (e.g. shamanic or spiritual altered states of consciousness), then from a Christian perspective this could open doors to entities and realms the Bible forbids.

    1. "For example, I don't think people who work with children should be allowed to use cannabis."

      That wasn't very clear. To clarify, I mean when they are working with children. In front of children.

      Or perhaps in any workplace. Similar to how people shouldn't be drinking alcohol at work.