Friday, October 30, 2009
It appears that God placed the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden to serve as a test of simple obedience.
This does not contradict what we read in the epistle of James: “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one” (Jas. 1:13).
Testing is something quite different from tempting. God tested Adam and Eve, but he did not tempt them. He put the sincerity of their faith and obedience to the test, but he did not allure them to do evil—which is the essence of temptation.
They were tempted by Satan, as well as by their own desires. James tells us, “Each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (Jas. 1:14-15).
Satan, who is called, “the tempter” (Matt. 4:3; 1 Thes. 3:5), approached Adam and Eve in the garden and appealed to their pride and their desire for autonomy, or independence from God. He said, “When you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5). The sense here is, “You will be like God in determining good and evil.” In other words, Satan was suggesting that if they ate from the forbidden tree, they could determine for themselves what was right and wrong. He was tempting them with the prospect of independence from authority of God and the rule of his word.
We are not told what kind of tree the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was. The usual representation is that it was an apple tree. But it may just as well have been a fig, or a date, or even a banana tree! In all likelihood, there was nothing exceptional in the tree itself—nothing in its appearance that would have distinguished it from the other trees. It probably was no different from the other trees of the garden except that God had said, “Don’t eat from it.” There was nothing inherently sinful about eating from the tree, but it became sinful simply because God commanded them not to eat from it.
Now, it would be a mistake to think that this was the only thing that was forbidden to Adam. It would have been unlawful for him to lie, to cheat, to steal, to murder, etc. But in his unfallen state he would have naturally seen the reasonableness for the prohibition against these things. But the command forbidding him to eat from a certain tree—a tree which was in every other respect just like all the other trees of the garden—this was an arbitrary command, and one for which he could see no inherent reason. The command to refrain from eating of it, therefore, was a test of pure obedience. In other words, would Adam obey God implicitly, without being able to understand God’s reasons, or would he follow his own judgment.
In Proverbs, Solomon says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Prov. 3:5). This is precisely what Adam and Eve failed to do. They failed to trust God implicitly. They were seduced by the suggestion of the serpent that they could be like God in determining good and evil for themselves. They were not content to live within their own creaturely limitations, but instead grasped for a prerogative that did not belong to them.
The trial they faced is not all that different from the one we face, as well. Will we humbly bow before the authority of God, who alone has the right to determine good and evil? Are we willing to live with his definitions—his judgment concerning what is right and wrong? Which is to say, will we confess that he is Lord, and we are not?
Friday, October 23, 2009
Twenty years ago this Fall, the Iron Curtain was coming down in Europe. Across the Warsaw Pact, the jailers of the Communist prison states lost their nerve, and the cell walls crumbled. Matt Welch, the editor of Reason, wonders why the anniversary is going all but unobserved: Why aren’t we making more of the biggest mass liberation in history?Well, because to celebrate it would involve recognizing it as a victory over Communism. And, after the Left’s long march through the institutions of the West, most are not willing to do that. There’s the bad totalitarianism (Nazism) and the good totalitarianism (Communism), whose apologists and, indeed, fetishists can still be found everywhere, even unto the White House.
I assume the question is a reference to what Jesus said in the 13th chapter of Luke’s Gospel when someone asked him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?”
It’s important to note that Jesus actually uses the present participle, which is more accurately translated by the NASB like this: “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” Not, “who will be saved,” but “who are being saved.” The focus is on the speaker’s contemporary situation. In other words, the person who asked him this had his own generation in mind. No doubt he noticed that relatively speaking Jesus had very few followers. The great majority of the Jewish people at the time did not regard Jesus to be the Messiah. And the one who questioned Jesus was concerned about this. Can it really be that there are just a few who are being saved?
And Jesus’ answer addresses this historical situation.
Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying “Lord, open to us,” then he will answer you, “I do not know where you come from.” Then you will begin to say, “We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets” (Lk. 13:24-26).You see here how he has the historical situation of his own day in mind. It is only those who lived in Jesus day who could say, “We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.”
It’s true that in Jesus’ day there were very few who were being saved. But it doesn’t follow from this that this is the way it’s always going to be. In fact, Jesus told a couple of parables in the 13th chapter of Matthew, which indicate that in the end there could well be far more people who are saved than are lost.
He compares the kingdom of heaven to a grain of mustard seed, which he says is the smallest of all seeds, but when it is grown, it becomes larger than all the plants of the garden and becomes a tree, which I take to mean that in Jesus’ day the kingdom was very small, but in time it would become the largest, the most pervasive, the most dominant force in the world (see Matt. 13:31-32).
He follows this up with another parable that is like it—the parable of the leaven. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened” (Matt. 13:33).
These parables should be understood as demonstrating the slow, steady growth of the kingdom of heaven over time, through history.
This agrees with the words of the prophets. Daniel is given a prophecy of successive world empires from Babylon to Rome, and he is told that in the days of the fourth kingdom or the Roman Empire, “the God of heaven [would] set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed,” one that would in time come to “fill the whole earth” (Dan. 2:31-45).
Isaiah, likewise, said that of the increase of his government and of peace there would be no end (Isa. 9:6).
David, also, in the Psalms, said, “All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you” (Ps. 22:27).
And the prophet Habakkuk said, “The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Hab. 2:14).
So although in Jesus’ day the kingdom was small, and there were relatively few who were being saved, we should not assume this to be the case throughout history. Scripture teaches us to expect the kingdom to continue to grow. Consider how far we have come already. There were 120 people in the upper room on the day of Pentecost. There are two billion people today who call themselves Christians. This is about one third of the world’s population. Certainly not all those who call themselves Christians are entirely orthodox and faithful, but it is nevertheless an amazing thing that so many today would at least claim in one way or another to be a Christian. And I don’t think we’ve seen anything yet. Judging by the statements in Scripture, I think we have every reason to believe that God will yet pour his Spirit out in such a measure, and bless the preaching of the gospel to such a degree, that we will see the triumph of the kingdom of Christ that we have never even dared to dream, so that in the end, when it’s all said and done, there will be far more who will have been saved than have been lost.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
"Yikes!" methinks to myself. "Could it really be?" And so I clicked the headline to read the story:
NEW YORK -- Journalism is at risk and American society must act to preserve it, according to a report co-authored by The Washington Post's former executive editor.Let's suppose the government steps up to the plate and bails out failing newspapers. Will there be any strings attached? Like required changes in management (think GM)? Will there be any required changes in editorial policy? Will there be regulation of content? To ask the questions is to answer them. Whenever you receive government money, you invite government control. He who pays the piper calls the tunes, as they say. There goes a free press. Newspapers will simply become the official propaganda tool of the federal government.
In a paper commissioned by the Columbia University Journalism School, the ex-Post editor, Len Downie, and Michael Schudson, a Columbia professor, argue the government, universities and nonprofit foundations should step in as newspapers suffer financially.
The authors recommend that the Internal Revenue Service or Congress ensure the tax code allows local news outlets to operate as nonprofits. Downie and Schudson also urge philanthropic organizations to support local reporting. They suggest the Federal Communications Commission establish a fund using fees from telecommunications companies or Internet providers for grants to innovative local news groups.
The article continues...
"American journalism is at a transformational moment, in which the era of dominant newspapers and influential network news divisions is rapidly giving way to one in which the gathering and distribution of news is more widely dispersed," the report begins.Some people, including yours truly, see this as a good thing. A centralized control of the flow of information is a means of brainwashing. For far too long there have been far too few means of "gathering and distributing" the news. And what means there have been have been overwhelmingly secular and liberal.
With the explosion of the internet, the official gate-keepers at the "dominant newspapers and influential network news divisions" have been bypassed, so we no longer have to be subjected to the groupthink of the mainstream media.
Besides, why is it that a failing enterprise should be propped up by the taxpayer? If a business, any business, is not producing a product that people want, shouldn't it go out of business? Why did no one think to bail out the horse and buggy industry? Couldn't they see that with the advent of the automobile, the buggy industry was doomed?
The automobile proved to be a far more desirable mode of transportation than a horse and buggy, much like other news outlets are proving to be far more desirable than the MSM. The only people who would have advocated for a bailout of the buggy industry would have been buggy-makers, who would have simply been trying to serve themselves. They might have tried to couch their pitch for a "buggy bailout" in high-sounding altruistic terms like saving thousands of jobs, preserving an American institution, etc., but the fact of the matter is that they were producing a product that no one wanted anymore more because other means of transportation were faster, more efficient, and easier to maintain.
Just so, the product of the MSM is a product that fewer and fewer people want. Other sources of information are proving to be more reliable, and other means of delivery (especially the internet) are proving to be more efficient than newspapers.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Yes, it is. Samuel held back the main reason for his going to Bethlehem, and thus deceived Saul. Furthermore, he did this at God’s command.
Many Christians are a bit squeamish about this. But this is not the only instance of God approving the use of deception. One need only think of the two Hebrew midwives lying to Pharaoh and being blessed by God on account of it (Ex. 1:15-21), or Rahab hiding the two Hebrew spies and lying to the men of Jericho (Josh. 2:1-7)—not to mention the fact that the spies themselves, by virtue of being spies, were practicing deception—or Ehud’s deception of Eglon (Jud. 3:15-23), or Jael’s deception of Sisera (Jud. 4:17-22), or Elisha’s deception of the Syrians (2 Ki. 6:14-20), to see that God has on many occasions approved of his people in the use of deception.
Even God himself, at times, uses deception to further his purpose. For instance, he is said to have put a “lying spirit” in the mouth of all the false prophets to entice King Ahab to fall in battle (1 Ki. 22:19-23; cf. Isa. 19:14; Ezek. 14:9; 2 Th. 2:9-12).
What are we to make of all this?
Consider an analogy. The fourth commandment prohibits work on the Sabbath. But does this mean that there are no circumstances under which it is permissible to work on the Sabbath? No. The Bible clearly allows works of necessity (Lk. 13:15; 14:5-6), works of charity (Mk. 3:1-4) and works of piety (Matt. 12:5; Jn. 7:20-23) to be performed on the Sabbath. “Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it?” (Lk. 13:15). “Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?” (Lk. 14:5-6)
Consider another analogy. In the fifth commandment, children are commanded to honor their parents (Ex. 20:12). This entails obedience (Eph. 6:1-2). But does this mean that there are no circumstances under which it is permissible for a child to disobey his parents? What if a parent should tell the child to do something which God forbids, or forbids a child to do what God commands? What should he do? He must obey God rather than his parents (Acts 5:29). The principle holds true for a wife’s submission to her husband, and the citizen’s obedience to the civil magistrate.
Consider still another analogy. The sixth commandment is, “You shall not kill.” But does this mean that there are no circumstances under which it is permissible to kill? No. The Bible clearly recognizes the moral legitimacy of killing in self-defense (Ex. 22:2), killing in capital punishment (Ex. 21:12-14), and killing in a just war (Ex. 17:8-16).
The eighth commandment prohibits stealing. But consider this situation: You’ve borrowed a neighbor’s shot-gun for a hunting trip because there was not enough time for yours to be repaired beforehand. You’ve returned from hunting, but haven’t yet had time to return the gun. Your neighbor comes over in a rage. He’s just had an argument with his wife. He says he’s so angry he could kill her. He demands his shot-gun. Should you return it? If you don’t, in effect, you’re stealing from him. But if you do return it, you’re aiding him in the murder of his wife.
Likewise, the Bible prohibits lying (Ex. 20:16; Lev. 19:13). But does this mean that there are no circumstances under which it is permissible to deceive?
The year is 1944. You live in German occupied Holland. You are hiding a Jewish family in your attic. The Nazis are going door to door in your neighborhood looking for Jews. It’s the middle of the night. There’s a loud knock on the door. It’s the S.S. They ask you if there are any Jews living in your house. What do you do? Do you tell them the truth; do you lie; or do you remain silent? If you tell them the truth you are aiding them in the murder of the Jewish family. If you remain silent, they will infer that the answer is yes, and the effect is the same as if you told them the truth. If you lie, you can spare their lives.
Sometimes obedience to one of God’s commandments involves us in an apparent disobedience to another. And when this is the case our duty is obedience to the weightier commandment of the law (cf. Matt. 23:23). This is the case in the illustration of a person hiding Jews in Nazi occupied Holland. To tell the truth in such circumstances involves a person as an accomplice in the violation of a weightier commandment than that against lying—it involves him as an accomplice to murder. Indeed, it is not a violation of a command of God against lying to lie in order to save the lives of the innocent.
Here’s the key: truth must be told to everyone who has a right to know the truth. But not everyone has a right to know the truth. If someone wishes to make an illicit use of the truth, deception is a legitimate option. R. J. Rushdoony writes,
Man has an obligation to speak truthfully in all normal circumstances, but he cannot permit evil men to steal, murder, or rape by his truth-telling...Truth-telling under such circumstances is not a virtue but moral cowardice. (Rushdoony, Institutes of Biblical Law, p. 548)Charles Hodge wrote,
...it is generally admitted that in criminal falsehoods there must be not only the enunciation or signification of what is false, and an intention to deceive, but also a violation of some obligation. If there may be any combination of circumstances under which a man is not bound to speak the truth, those to whom the declaration or signification is made have no right to expect him to do so. (Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, Vol. 3, p. 441)Earlier I said, “Sometimes obedience to one of God’s commandments involves us in an apparent disobedience to another.” The operative word here is “apparent.”
Again Charles Hodge writes,
“...the question [is not] whether it is ever right to lie; but rather what constitutes a lie...[T]here must be an intention to deceive when we are expected and bound to speak the truth. That is, there are circumstances in which a man is not bound to speak the truth, and therefore there are cases in which speaking or intimating what is not true is not a lie.” (Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, Vol. 3, pp. 442-443, emphasis added)Theologians sometimes refer to this as a “holy pretence,” or a dolus bonus (good deceit), or even a “lie of necessity.”
I should add that it is never right for a Christian to escape persecution, even martyrdom, by lying and denying the Lord (Matt. 10:31-32, 38-39).
This teaching is liable to misunderstanding and misapplication as a means to justify all kinds of unholy falsehoods for personal advantage. Nevertheless, for those who do find themselves in a position where a “holy pretence” is necessary, their conscience need not be troubled.
Let this be clearly understood: I am not advocating the idea of situational ethics where there is no Law of God to guide our behavior and ethical decision-making. No. The Christian is to submit himself to the authority of God’s law. But there are times when we are confronted by an apparent conflict between obedience to one or another of God’s commands. In these circumstances we must obey the weightier commandment.
In the cases in which God used deception to further his purpose (1 Ki. 22:19-23 [par. 2 Ch. 18:18-22]; Isa. 19:14; Ezek. 14:9; 2 Th. 2:9-12), he was using it as a just punishment of those “who refused to love the truth and so be saved...but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” This was, in essence, the application of lex talionis, the law of retribution: “an eye for an eye...” The wicked loved not what was true, and so in retribution God gave them over to what was false.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
While you're checking out the two part interview. I'll be buying the book.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Despite a massive campaign involving the United Nations and most of the world’s industrialized nations and establishment media, the globe is not warming but in fact may actually be cooling, according to new research detailed by the BBC." (more)
Saturday, October 10, 2009
There are actually quite a few passages that of Scripture that speak of God hating the wicked, and these passages often cause his people to feel a bit squeamish because they don’t seem to fit our understanding of a loving God.
This is largely because our idea of love tends to be derived more from 19th century Romanticism than from the Bible. Therefore, the language of Scripture often proves troublesome for modern Christians. However, if our understanding of God doesn’t allow us to use the language of Scripture, then our understanding of God must change. Scripture always speaks truly and we are required to bring our thinking into line with it.
The passage you refer to says,
You are not a God who delights in wickedness;
evil may not dwell with you.
The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;
you hate all evil doers (Ps. 5:4-5).
And David goes on to say,
You destroy those who speak lies;
the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man (Ps. 5:6)
In Psalm 11:5, he says,
The Lord tests the righteous,And then there is Psalm 95:10, "For forty years I loathed that generation."
but his soul hates the wicked.
And in Hosea 9:15 God says of Israel,
Every evil of theirs is in Gilgal;Furthermore, Scripture often commends God’s people for hating the wicked. In Psalm 15, for example, David asks,
there I began to hate them
Because of their wickedness of their deeds
I will drive them out of my house.
I will love them no more;
all their princes are rebels
O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?And in answer to his own question, he says (among other things), the one “in whose eyes a vile person is despised” (Ps. 15:1, 4a).
Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
There are several other passages to the same effect.
I hate the assembly of evildoers,
and I will not sit with the wicked (Ps. 26:5)
I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols (Ps. 31:6)
I hate the double-minded (Ps. 119:113)
Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
I hate them with complete hatred;
I count them my enemies (Ps. 139:21-22)
In addition, consider the Psalms of imprecation, that is, the Psalms in which the Psalmist calls upon God to destroy the wicked (e.g. Ps. 5:9-10; 7:6, 9; 9:19-20; 10:2, 15; 12:3; 17:13; 28:4-5; 31:17-18; 35:1-8; 40:14-15; 55:12-15; 56:7; 58:6-11; 59:5; 59:10-15; 68:1-2; 69:22-28; 70:2-3; 71:13; 79:6-7, 10, 12; 83:9-18; 94:1-2; 104:35; 109:6-20, 29; 129:5-7; 137:8-9; 139:19-22; 140:9-11). As you can see, there are not just a few isolated passages.
How are we to reconcile these things with the love of God, and with the command he gives us to love even our enemies (Matt. 5:44)? First, we have to understand that we often have too superficial a definition of the meaning of love and hate. Both words have a range of meaning and take on different nuances according to the context. Just think of the different ways in which the word “love” is used.
When I say that I love my wife, I am speaking about a romantic love, a kind of love I do not have for any other person. When I say that I love my neighbor, I am speaking about a general good will that I am to have toward others (even my enemies). When I say that I love my friend, I am speaking about a love I have for someone because we share common interests and he has an agreeable personality. When I say I love chocolate, I am speaking of a fondness for a particular sensation chocolate produces on my taste-buds. When I say I love basketball, I am speaking of the enjoyment I derive from the sport. And when I say I love God, I am speaking of a deep-seated affection of my soul for him. These are many, very different, kinds of love.
The same kind of variation in meaning is true with the word “hate.” It can be used to indicate anything from mild dislike to revulsion or disgust to having an unjust and malicious intent toward someone. For example, I might say, “I hate it when I have a flat tire.” Or, “I hate liver.” Or, “I hate white people.” Or again, “I hate John.” In each case, something quite different is meant. When I say, “I hate it when I have a flat tire,” I’m saying I’m irritated by its inconvenience. When I say, “I hate liver,” I mean it’s disagreeable to my palate. If I say, “I hate white people” (or blacks, or Hispanics, or Chinese, etc.), I mean I have a prejudice against them. If I say, “I hate John”…well…you don’t know what I mean unless you inquire as to why I hate John. Am I disgusted with John’s behavior? Is John a pervert or a mass murderer whose actions are revolting? Or is John really a rather nice guy whom I envy because he happens to be successful, and I’m not? There are many different ways in which the word hate is used.
When the Bible speaks of God hating the wicked it does not mean that God forms an unjust and malicious intention toward them. But it does mean that he finds them revolting. He takes no pleasure in them, as he does in the righteous. God’s love of the righteous is the delight he takes in them. Their lives are pleasing to Him. Not so the wicked. He finds their way of life disgusting. He is angry with them (Ps. 7:11; Jn. 3:36; Rom. 1:18), and in his holy wrath, he will punish them. This is not the result of malice, but of justice. Two very different things. God has a love of good will toward everyone, but a love of delight, only toward the righteous. His good will is expressed toward the evil and the good by sending sunshine and rain upon them both (Matt. 5:45), and by accepting everyone who comes to him trusting in Christ and repenting of their sins, no matter how vile they have been previously.
From all that has been said, it is clear to see how God can be said to love sinners in one sense, but hate them in another.
Some people attempt to express it like this, “God hates the sin but loves the sinner.” But this doesn’t quite do. It seems to suggest that sin has an existence independent of the sinner, as if God abstracts the sin from the sinner. But it is not sin as such that is punished; it is sinners. They are punished in their own persons. It is with them that he is angry, not with sin as an abstract concept.
Another way of saying it is, that considered as a man God loves the sinner; but considered as a sinner, God hates him. Man is the work God’s own hands, and as such God loves him (is benevolent toward him); but God hates what man has made of himself. We should be careful to add, however, that this does not preclude God from freely offering and generously granting every sinner who repents abundant mercy in the forgiveness of sins.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Is it just me who's having trouble following the argument?
Saturday, October 3, 2009
I was surprised to learn that Greenspan had written a 1966 article "Gold and Economic Freedom" in Ayn Rand's objectivist newspaper. In it, he gave a brilliant defense of the gold standard.
Paul goes on to give transcripts of several conversations he had with Greenspan that make for interesting reading, especially in light of Greenspan's former sound principles. Paul concludes the chapter by saying,
In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value. If there were, the government would have to make its holding illegal, as was done in the case of gold. [This is a reference to FDR's confiscation of gold and the outlawing of ownership of gold in 1933]. If everyone decided, for example, to convert all his bank deposits as silver or copper or any other good and thereafter decline to accept checks as payments for goods, band deposits would lose their purchasing power and government-credited bank credit would be worthless as claims on goods. The financial policy of the welfare state requires that there be no way for the owners of wealth to protect themselves.
This is the shabby secret of the welfare statists' tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights. If one grasps this, one has no difficulty in understanding the statists' antagonism toward the gold standard (p. 81)
History will show that Greenspan, during his years as Fed chairman (1987-2006), planted all the seeds of the financial calamity that erupted in 2007 and 2008. For the same reason a disease cannot be cured by more of the germ that caused it, the inflation and debt accumulation of the Obama years will not inflate our way out of it. This depression will likely last and last. If the depression lasts a decade or more, its length cannot be blamed solely on Greenspan. That blame will be placed on the current Federal Reserve Board, Congress, the President, the Treasury, but above all on Keynesian economic policy, the same philosophy that gave us the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Later he came across the proponents of the Austrian school of economics. Of course, he mentions Ludwig von Mises, F. A. Hayek, Murray N. Rothbard, and Hans F. Sennholz, as formative influences. He had the most personal interaction with Rothbard.
In was an event that occurred on August 15, 1971 that led him to enter the political fray. That was when President Nixon "announced the U.S. government would default on its pledge to deliver gold to any foreign government holding U.S. dollars at the rate of one ounce of gold for each $35."
The consequence is that we have a monetary system that is not tied to the value of gold at all. There is no hard metal backing our currency. As a result, through various devices, the supply of money can be inflated at will, which of course devalues the dollar and impoverishes all of us. The government benefits. Monied interests who are in the know benefit. But ordinary people, middle class and poor people, are ripped off.
O Prophet! Lo! We have made lawful unto thee thy wives unto whom thou hast paid their dowries, and those whom thy right hand possesseth of those whom Allah hath given thee as spoils of war, and the daughters of thine uncle on the father's side and the daughters of thine aunt's on the father's side, and the daughters of thine uncles on the mother's side and the daughters of thine aunts on the mother's side who emigrated with thee, and a believing woman if she give herself unto the Prophet and the Prophet desire to ask her in marriage--a privilege for thee only, not for the (rest of) believers--We are aware of that which We enjoined upon them concerning their wives and those whom their right hands possess--that thou mayest be free from blame, for Allah is Forgiving, Merciful (33:50)It appears that being a prophet has its privileges!