If hallucinogenic drugs are bad for people why did God make them?
Today’s Feedback comes from Brenda L. from British Columbia, Canada who is wondering how to communicate to a non-believer why God would have created plants with hallucinogenic effects. In essence it is a sub-set of the over-arching question of ‘If God is a good God, why are there bad things in the world’. Fellow Canadian Calvin Smith responds …
I'm sure the marijuana plant didn't exist in the Garden but came into existence after the flood. How do I explain to a non-Christian that God didn’t intend it for its present use? or the opium from the poppy flower?
Hi Brenda, thanks for your email.
I have no problem believing that Cannabis sativa was in the Garden of Eden. Both hemp varieties and marijuana varieties are of the same genus and species, Cannabis sativa. The hemp plant is commonly cultivated for industrial uses like ointments, oils, fibre for clothing and rope, paper, construction etc. It is a very useful plant.
The terms hemp and cannabis are often used interchangeably, but have separate connotations depending on how they are used. All Cannabis sativa plants contain resinous glands called trichomes that contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the substance that gives it its psychoactive properties (it’s what gets people ‘high’).
The ‘marijuana’ cannabis plant has been selectively bred to have high amounts of THC whereas the ‘hemp’ cannabis plant usually has far less. This is like any type of selective breeding which can be used to produce tastier fruits and vegetables, crops with pest resistance or animals with more meat for food.
The breeder seeks parent plants with slightly higher amounts of whatever substance they are looking for and focuses that production, resulting in a higher yield than would normally occur. There are maximums that can be reached in any situation however and genetics is no friend of evolution.
God made a good world in the beginning with a variety of plants with a variety of health benefits and uses. But God never instructed people to breed/burn/inhale them. Of course sinful humans choose to do destructive things to themselves all of the time.
There was a change at the time of the Fall however, and alterations to the environment occurred as a direct result. Things came into being that were not expressed in creation previous to that, so all of the ‘bad things’ we see in creation today are not just the result of the misuse of what God originally created.
Also, God foresaw the Fall. Although controversial, researchers have had some success using a chemical produced by hemp (cannabidiol, or CBD, which does not cause psychoactive effects) in the treatment of seizures in those suffering from epilepsy1. And plants like the opium poppy, the source of morphine, are a blessing to those suffering painful illness in today’s fallen world. This isn’t surprising as Ezekiel 47:12 speaks of healing properties in plants.
But again, such substances can also be abused by sinful individuals and promoted negatively by those seeking to exploit people for money and other reasons.
Medical Marijuana and Epilepsy, Joseph I Sirven MD | Patricia O. Shafer RN, MN, Epilepsy Foundation, 04 2015, http://www.epilepsy.com/learn/treating-seizures-and-epilepsy/other-treatment-approaches/medical-marijuana-and-epilepsy Return to text.
Medical Marijuana and Epilepsy, Joseph I Sirven MD | Patricia O. Shafer RN, MN, Epilepsy Foundation, 04 2015, http://www.epilepsy.com/learn/treating-seizures-and-epilepsy/other-treatment-approaches/medical-marijuana-and-epilepsy
There was one tree in the Garden of Eden that was poisonous, and that was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
What was God's purpose in planting that tree? For he knew that Adam would die, should he eat the fruit of it.
The antidote was the tree of life, but God barred the way to the fruit of that tree.
Calvin Smith responds
The tree was not poisonous as everything in the original creation was 'very good'.
One of the main reasons for that tree being there (there may have been many) was as a test to see whether Adam and Eve would remain loyal to God and His commands. This in of itself was not bad, rather, it was the act of rebellion against God's instruction that brought the curse upon mankind and the creation as Adam (as the Federal head of the human race and caretaker of the creation) rebelled against God.
Some think that God should have made our first parents unable to rebel against God. But that would mean they would not truly have the capacity to love had they not been able to chose (in effect like robots programmed to obey). Similarly, it is not because my wife cannot be disloyal to me in our marriage that proves she is loyal, but rather that she chooses not to be disloyal that proves she is.
graham P., New Zealand, 10 March 2017
Great piece. As a former drug user I know its a valid question to ask. But if we swap the word 'marijuana' for the word 'wood', it becomes clear that the drug abuse is down to the abuser, not the Creator of the compounds themselves: People make clubs out of wood to kill each other. Is it God's fault, because He made the wood? Therefore to eliminate harm, God would have to have made us non-autonomous, which would invalidate the whole point of His creating us '...in His image'
Daniel M., Australia, 17 March 2017
My parents grew up in Serbia and my mother told me how the villagers would cultivate cannabis for clothing and other products. This was done for generations and no one ever smoked the plant, not because they were unaware of its effects - my mother told me how they would feel light-headed after a long day harvesting the plant - but because it was something that just wasn't done.
Mylan P., Hong Kong, 17 March 2017
Very often, biological adaptations are also things that sinful man can misuse. For example, I may not know what the poison glands on a cane toad were used for prior to the fall. But certainly after the fall, they have protected cane toads from attack by predators. However, people have also been known to use the poison for its hallucinogenic effects.
Chris N., New Zealand, 18 March 2017
God created SEEMINGLY harmful things like these compounds for his own pleasure and glory. Even if he created or allowed something definitely very evil who would we be to say otherwise. Who are we to use things in this world for evil and then blame God for their creation?
Another aspect to consider is the fall of man. Since the Fall many things in creation are harmful to us now when they weren't beforehand. God saw that everything was very good without evil in the creation week.
We can ask God to save us and deliver us from evil We can do something good to oppose it, but we shouldn't complain, ever.
Garry R., Australia, 19 March 2017
Why did God make hallucinogenic compounds.... ...for Evolutionist & most Christians to get spaced out & believe in a big bang that made big balls by billions & other spin..... Satan is deceiving the whole world... God declares in his Word 100's of times that he made the earth a "Stationary, Ice Walled, Level Pond with a Vaulted Dome above separating the waters above & below, Then set the sun, moon & stars inside that dome... Let God be true & every man a liar.... It's high time to awake chaps & throw away all "science so-called propaganda" .... Just trust Jesus :)
Calvin Smith responds
Garry, the Bible does not say God made the earth a Stationary, Ice Walled, Level Pond with a Vaulted Dome. See http://creation.com/refuting-flat-earth
Janice P., Australia, 19 March 2017
The Tree of Life was not an antidote to the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Had Adam and Eve eaten of it after learning evil, then they would have suffered evil for eternity. Death shortens a sinners days until they can be rescued from their sleep (physical death) and allowed to live in a perfect world to come. God showed great mercy and love by keeping Adam and Eve from the Tree of Life.
J. P. Z., United States, 20 March 2017
With regard to the question of God creating hallucinogenic compounds, I agree that he never suggested we should burn/inhale the plant but you can cook with it and make tea with it and get the same hallucinogenic effects...
Craig P., Australia, 20 March 2017
Very good article. This is a big issue (the issue being medicinal cannibis) in Australia and I had been pondering a 'what if', what if I was a member of Parliament and this issue was debated.
Even as a conservative I would support the use on madicinal cannibis and knowing that you cannot get stone of the stuff only highlights that the argument against it is not valid.
I would hazard a guess, those who need to buy it on the black market would be getting the gear that does make people stoned. So it only makes sense to legally supply the 'non-stoning' sanctioned cannibis.