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The devil made me do it! Part IV

Why did God send the Flood? The Bible specifies in the very next verse that: "And GOD saw that the wickedness of man [was] great in the earth, and [that] every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil continually.

And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. Gen 6:5-7.

These giants (Nephilim) were called “men” in Genesis 6:4. God was so grieved by the wickedness of men, which can refer to giants (Nephilim) as well, that God decided to destroy mankind. We know today that demons are evil spirits, and they oppress people with many negative things.

They apparently were wicked back then also, back when they had their own mortal bodies, as were all men. It was because of the wickedness of all men, giant (Nephilim) or not (though they were included in this accounting), that God chose to destroy the world. It should be noted that the wickedness of all men was the reason for the Flood, and the stated reason was not the intermixing itself.

If intermixing happened as described above, it may have to do with why God spared Noah. This ties back to the prophecy of Ezekiel 31, which describes a giant tree so tall, and with so many high branches, and boughs, that it outgrew everything else. These giants (Nephilim) are called “men” by the Bible, and so their children were all “men” also.

Their bodies would have been human, and so God considered them human. But if you were to take a snapshot picture of the spirits of all the people who looked human living on the earth at that time, and look at it, what would you see? It could be that the vast majority of the population had immortal spirits originally begat of these angels who fathered the giants (Nephilim), while only a small minority of people had the mortal human spirits which were begat originally by Adam.

Those with immortal spirits would not sleep in death, but would become what we know today as demons. Looking at the symbolism of Ezekiel 31, it seems possible that humanity was spiritually being out-bred and becoming like an endangered species, though not out-bred physically. Physically there were many who had human bodies, everyone had a human body, but spiritually only a few had human spirits begotten originally from Adam. “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

These [are] the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man [and] perfect in his generations, [and] Noah walked with God.” Genesis 6:8-9. Noah had a perfect lineage tracing back to Adam, as is recorded in Genesis. Part of why Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord was because he was a just man.

But the other reason that Noah found favor with God was because his spirit was human, and traced back to Adam. One has to wonder just how much pure humanity was left in the world by the time of Noah. God did say that “all flesh” had corrupted His way, and there was violence cause of them.

“And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth…

And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein [is] the breath of life, from under heaven; [and] every thing that [is] in the earth shall die.” Genesis 6:12-13,17. And so God sent a worldwide Flood, which destroyed all people except for Noah and his family.

“Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water” 1 Peter 3:20. We can know that Noah was “perfect in his generations” and therefore had a human spirit, seeing his lineage that traced back to Adam.

Therefore, his three sons also had human spirits, and so all of humanity that was to follow after the flood would have human spirits also. But apparently while Noah was perfect in his generations, either his wife or daughter-in-laws were not perfect in their generations.

The eight souls on the Ark were all human, including Noah’s wife and daughters-in-law. Yet the fact that humanity dropped to having 120 year life-spans several generations after the flood, and gigantism showed up in their descendents, shows that not everyone on the Ark was “perfect in their generations”. Only Noah was specified to be. Many people have thought that the change of shortened life-spans after the flood was due to atmospheric changes.

But in fact one Christian creation scientist, Dr. Carl Wieland, has theorized that the loss of longevity could have been caused by genetics. "…All positions which attempt to explain the ‘lifespan drop’ in environmental terms have another bit of data to explain, and that is the temporary persistence of longevity after the Flood. Noah was 600 at the time of the Flood, but lived another 350 years afterwards, in the post-flood atmosphere! Even in pre-Flood terms, Noah was already of moderately advanced age.

One would presume that, if the post-Flood atmosphere/environment has such devastating effects on us now, then because Noah would have been instantly exposed to these same effects, it should have cut his life short much more rapidly. Actually, only Methuselah and Jared lived longer than Noah”… “Even though the post-Flood decline is obvious, we see that eight generations after the Flood, people are still living more than twice as long as is common today.

It would seem much easier to explain the situation if the change occurred within the makeup of humans, rather than external to them. If our longevity is genetically pre-programmed, then that can explain why Noah still lived for a considerable time after the Flood, regardless of any change in radiation or atmospheric pressure. In other words, he was fulfilling his genetic potential as far as lifespan was concerned (in the absence of accidental death or disease).”… “I suggest that our ancestors simply possessed genes for greater longevity which caused this ‘genetic limit’ to human ages to be set at a higher level in the past”…

“If this suggestion has merit as the major (if not the sole) cause of greater pre-Flood ages, then the obvious question is how some of these longevity genes were lost. The human population went through a severe genetic bottleneck at the time of the Flood—only eight individuals.

The phenomenon of ‘genetic drift’ is well-known to be able to account for ‘random’ selectively neutral changes in gene frequencies (including the loss or ‘extinction’ of genes from a population) which may be quite rapid. Also, loss of genes is far more likely in a small population.”… “This brief essay is meant solely as a stimulus to further thought, not as a precise model of events.

However, it would seem that an explanation along these lines would be feasible, especially if several genes contributed to such longevity. For this scenario to work Noah’s sons and their wives would have to have significant heterozygosity at the relevant gene loci. That this could well have been so is suggested by the age of Shem at death – 600, considerably less than that of his father.

‘Short-lived’ alleles of the relevant genes may always have been present, which would mean that in the pre-Flood world, there would have always been some individuals (homozygous for such alleles) living drastically less than the ages recorded for the patriarchs."

The idea is that before the flood there were people with genes for longevity, and those with genes for a shorter lifespan. The small population size which survived the flood could have resulted in the gene for longevity being lost, and the gene for a shorter lifespan coming to exclusively dominate the gene pool.

If in fact the giants (Nephilim) and their descendents had genes for 120-year life-spans, and these genes were carried on the ark by one of the human women, this would line up perfectly. Noah “was perfect in his generations” and had a human spirit, as would all his descendents, and he had genes for longevity.

But it is possible one of the women on the ark had genes for a shortened lifespan, because she, though human, was descended from a son of Adam and a daughter of the giants (Nephilim). And through such a bottleneck effect as proposed above, the shorter-lifespan genes came to dominate the population universally.

This is in contrast to the rarer and more recessive genes that cause gigantism, which seem to have cropped up in only a minority of the population after the flood. It is very important to note that because Noah had a human spirit, so did all of his sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and of their descendants.

All the people after the flood were therefore human, having human spirits that would sleep in death, and human bodies, even if those bodies had genes that were corrupted by the messenger angel insurgence before the flood.

All of the people living after the flood were human, even though eventually all people came to live no more than 120 years, and even though a minority of people after the flood developed gigantism. However, if this entire theory about how spiritual/physical reproduction and lineage works through multiplication is incorrect, then what does the Bible teach?

Then the Bible simply describes these giants (Nephilim) as being “men”, and there is no Biblical argument to be made (that I have found) which explains what the demons are and where they came from. As such, in the absence of any such Biblical argument, the only thing to assume about the giants (Nephilim) is that they were “men” in every way. And then one would have to conclude that spiritually they were no different than any other human people, despite their angel fathers.

One can only make the argument that the giants (Nephilim) became demons with Biblical backing and from Biblical argument if one accepts that the spirit of the child is multiplied from the parents, and at that, begat solely from the child’s father. But if one accepts that the spirit of the child is begat solely by the father of the child, then this also means that if the giants (Nephilim) had daughters (which the bodies of “men” can produce daughters) which a human man could have had a human-spirited child with.

Even though such a daughter of a human father and Nephilim-daughter mother would have genetic corruption producing shortened lifespan and/or gigantism, that child would be human spiritually.

And if such a female child was on the Ark, this could have led to shortened life-spans and gigantism in humanity after the flood. One cannot pick and choose which parts of the ramifications of this theory to accept, without ignoring the simple logical implications of the theory.

If the Bible teaches that we can know the giants (Nephilim) became demons, based on the spirit of the child coming from the father of the child, then by the same teaching it must be accepted that a human man could have human-spirited human children with a daughter of such giants (Nephilim). Assuming this theory about multiplication and begetting is wrong then all I could say the Bible, God-breathed Holy Scripture, teaches is:

1. The giants (Nephilim) are called “men” and must be assumed to be have been human in every way, including their spirits, and as such (had they known Christ) would have been redeemable, and could have theoretically been saved by faith in Jesus Christ like any other human.

2. The Bible does not specify where the demons came from, these evil spirits who have no physical body and are not seen in a physical form, but seem to want to get in the bodies of people and animals. It is therefore a great mystery as to when God created the demons and where they came from.

Other teachings are out there which conclude that the demons came from the giants (Nephilim) but these teachings are based upon extra-biblical texts, and not the Bible. But the above two points are the only things that can be found in the Bible, or argued from the Bible, unless this theory about the spirit of the child being multiplied and begat by the spirit of the father, etc. is accepted as correct.

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Botswana to Become a Vaccinated Nation: Pandemic Anxiety Over?

30th March 2021

OSCAR MOTSUMI

This is a question that should seriously exercise the mind of every Botswana citizen and every science researcher, every health worker and every political leader political.

The Covid-19 currently defines our lives and poses a direct threat to every aspect and every part of national safety, security and general well-being. This disease has become a normative part of human life throughout the world.

The first part of the struggle against the murderous depredation of this disease was to protect personal life through restrictive health injunctions and protocols; the worst possibly being human isolation and masks that hid our sorrows and lamentations through thin veils. We suffered that humiliation with grace and I believe as a nation we did a great job.

Now the vaccines are here, ushering us into the second phase of this war against the plague; and we are asking ourselves, is this science-driven fight against Covid-19 spell the end of pandemic anxiety? Is the health nightmare coming to an end? What happy lives lie ahead? Is this the time for celebration or caution? As the Non State Actors, we have being struggling with these questions for months.

We have published our thoughts and feelings, and our research reviews and thorough reading of both the local and international impacts of this rampaging viral invasion in local newspapers and social media platforms.

More significantly, we have successfully organised workshops about the impact of the pandemic on society and the economy and the last workshop invited a panel of health experts, professionals, and public administers to advance this social dialogue as part of our commitment to the tripartite engagement we enjoy working with Government of Botswana, Civil Society and Development partners. These workshops are virtual and open to all Batswana, foreign diplomatic missions based in Gaborone, UN agencies located in Gaborone and international academic researchers and professional health experts and specialists.

The mark of Covid-19 on our nation is a painful one, a tragedy shared by the entire human race, but still a contextually painful experience. Our response is fraught with grave difficulties; limited resources, limited time, and the urgency to not only save lives but also avert economic ruin and a bleak future for all who survive. Several vaccines are already in the  market.

Parts of the world are already doing the best they can to trunk the pestilential march of this disease by rolling out mass-vaccinations campaigns that promise to evict this health menace and nightmare from their public lives. Botswana, like much of Africa, is still up in the disreputable, and, unenviable, preventative social melee of masked interactions, metered distances, contactless commerce.

We remain very much at the mercy of a marauding virus that daily runs amuck with earth shattering implications for the economy and human lives. And the battle against both infections and transmissions is proving to be difficult, in terms of finance, institutional capacities and resource mobilization. How are we prepared as government, and as citizens, to embrace the impending mass-vaccinations? What are the chances of us  succeeding at this last-ditch effort to defeat the virus? What are the most pressing obstacles?

Does the work of vaccines spell an end to the pandemic anxieties?

Our panellists addressed the current state of mass-vaccination preparedness at the Botswana national level. What resources are available? What are the financial, institutional and administrative operational challenges (costs and supply chains, delivery, distribution, administering the vaccine on time, surveillance and security of vaccines?) What is being done to overcome them, or what can be done to overcome them? What do public assessments of preparedness tell us at the local community levels? How strong is the political will and direction? How long can we expect the whole exercise to last? At what point should we start seeing tangible results of the mass-vaccination campaign?

They also addressed the challenges of the anticipated emerging Vaccinated Society. How to fight the myths of vaccines and the superstitions about histories of human immunizations? What exactly is being done to grow robust local confidence in the science of vaccinations and the vaccines themselves? More significantly, how to square these campaigns vis-vis personal rights, moral/religious obligations?

What messages are being sent out in these regards and how are Batswana responding? What about issues of justice and equality? Will we get the necessary vaccines to everyone who wants them? What is being done to ensure no deserving person is left behind?

They also addressed issues of health data. To accomplish this mass-vaccination campaign and do everything right we need accurate and complete data. Poor data already makes it very hard to just cope with the disease. What is being done to improve data for the mass-vaccination campaign? How is this data being collected, aggregated and prepared for real life situation/applications throughout Botswana in the coming campaign?

We know in America, for example, general reporting and treatment of health data at the beginning of vaccinations was so poor, so chaotic and so scattered mainstream newspapers like The Atlantic, Washington Post and the New York Times had to step in, working very closely with civil society organizations, to rescue the situation. What data-related issues are still problematic in Botswana?

To be specific, what kind of Covid-19 data is being taken now to ready the whole country for an effective and efficient mass-vaccination program?

Batswana must be made aware that the  end part of vaccination will just mark the beginning of a long journey to health recovery and national redemption; that in many ways Covid-19 vaccination is just another step toward the many efforts in abeyance to fight this health pandemic, the road ahead is still long and painful.

For this purpose, and to highlight the significance of this observation we tasked our panellists with  the arduous imperative of  analysing the impact of mass-vaccination on society and the economy alongside the pressing issues of post-Covid-19 national health surveillance and rehabilitation programs.

Research suggests the aftermath of Covid-19 vaccination is going to be just as difficult and uncertain world as the present reality in many ways, and that caution should prevail over celebration, at least for a long time. The disease itself is projected to linger around for some time after all these mass-vaccination campaigns unless an effort is made to vaccinate everyone to the last reported case, every nation succeeds beyond herd immunity, and cure is found for Covid-19 disease. Many people are going to continue in need of medications, psychological and psychiatric services and therapy.

Is Botswana ready for this long holdout? If not, what path should we take going into the future? The Second concern is , are we going to have a single, trusted national agency charged with the  mandate to set standards for our national health data system, now that we know how real bad pandemics can be, and the value of data in quickly responding to them and mitigating impact? Finally, what is being done to curate a short history of this pandemic? A national museum of health and medicine or a Public Health Institute  in Botswana is overdue.

If we are to create strong sets of data policies and data quality standards for fighting future health pandemics it is critical that they find ideological and moral foundations in the artistic imagery and photography of the present human experience…context is essential to fighting such diseases, and to be prepared we must learn from every tragic health incident.

Our panellists answered most of these questions with distinguished intellectual clarity. We wish Batswana to join us in our second Mass-vaccination workshop.

*Oscar Motsumi: Email:oscar.motsumi@gmail.com

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The women you see in the news matter. Here’s why

9th March 2021
Jane Godia

Jane Godia

Today is International Women’s Day – it’s a moment to think about how much better our news diet could be if inequities were eliminated. In 1995, when the curtains fell in one of the largest meetings that have ever brought women together to discuss women in development, it was noted that women and media remain key to development.

Twenty-six years later, the relevant “Article J” of the Beijing Platform for Action, remains unfulfilled. Its two strategic objectives with regard to Women and Media have not been met. They are
Increase the participation and access of women to expression and decision-making in and through the media and new technologies of communication

Promote a balanced and non-stereotyped portrayal of women in the media.

Today, as we mark International Women’s Day, it’s an indictment on both media owners and civil society that women remain on the periphery of news-making. They cannot claim equal space in either the structures of newsrooms or in the content produced, be that as sources of news or as the subjects of reports. Indeed, the latest figures from WAN-IFRA’s Women in News Programme show just one in five voices in news belong to women*, be they as sources, as the author or as the main character of the news report.

Some progress was evident several years back, with stand-out women being named as chief executive officers, editors in chief, managing editors and executive editors. But these gains appear short lived in most media organisations. Excitement has turned to frustration as one-step forward has been replaced with three steps backwards. In Africa, the problem is acute. The decision-making tables of media organisations remain deprived of women and where there are women, they are surrounded by men.

Few women have followed in the footsteps of Esther Kamweru, the first woman managing editor in Kenya, and indeed sub-Saharan Africa. Today’s standout women editors include Pamela Makotsi-Sittoni (Nation Media Group, Kenya), Barbara Kaija (New Vision, Uganda), Mary Mbewe (Daily Nation, Zambia), Margaret Vuchiri (The Monitor, Uganda), Joyce Shebe (Clouds, Tanzania), Tryphinah Dongwana (Weekend Post, Botswana), Joyce Mhaville (Independent Television -ITV, Tanzania) and Tuma Abdallah (Standard Newspapers,Tanzania). But they remain an exception.

The lack of balance between women and men at the table of decision making has a rollback effect on the content that is produced. A table dominated by men typically makes decisions that benefit men.

So today, International Women’s Day is a grim reminder that things are not rosy in the news business. Achieving gender balance in news and in the structure of media organisations remains a challenge. Unmet, it sees more than half of the population in our countries suffer the consequences of bias, discrimination and sexism.

The business of ignoring the other half of the population can no longer be treated as normal. It’s time that media leaders grasp the challenge, not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it also makes a whole lot of business sense: start covering women, give them space and a voice in news-making and propel them to all levels of decision making within your organisation.

We can no longer afford to imagine that it’s only men who make and sell the news and bring in the shillings to fund the media business. Women too are worthy newsmakers. In all of our societies, there are women holding decision making positions and who are now experts in once male-only domains such as engineers, doctors, scientists and researchers.

They can be deliberately picked out to share their perspectives and expertise and bring balance to the profile of experts quoted on our news pages. Media is the prism through which society sees itself and women are an untapped audience. So, as we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us embrace diversity, which yields better news content and business products, and in so doing eliminate sexism. We know that actions and attitudes that discriminate against people based on their gender is bad for business.

As media, the challenge is ours. We need to consciously embrace and reach the commitments made 26 years ago when the Beijing Platform for Action was signed globally. As the news consuming public, you have a role to play too. Hold your news organization to account and make sure they deliver balanced news that reflects the voices of all of society.

Jane Godia is a gender development and media expert who serves as the Africa Director of Women in News programme.  
WOMEN IN NEWS is WAN-IFRA’s ground-breaking programme to increase women’s leadership and voices in the news. It does so by equipping women journalists and editors with the skills, strategies, and support networks to take on greater leadership positions within their media. www.womeninnews.org

Jane Godia, Director, Africa, Women in News

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Why is the media so afraid to talk about sexual harassment?

9th March 2021

MELANIE WALKER

The eve of International Women’s Day presents an opportunity for us to think about gender equality and the long and often frustrating march toward societies that are truly equal.

As media, we are uniquely placed to drive forward this reflection and discussion. But while focusing on the challenges of gender in society, we owe it to our staff and the communities we serve to also take a hard look at the obstacles within our own organisations.

I’m talking specifically about the scourge of sexual harassment. It’s likely to have happened in your newsroom. It has likely happened to a member of your team. It happens to all genders but is disproportionately directed at women. It happens in every industry, regardless of country, culture or context. This is because sexual harassment is driven by power, not sex. Wherever you have imbalances in power, you have individuals who are at risk of sexual harassment, and those who abuse this power.

I’ve been sexually harassed. The many journalists and editors, friends and family members who I have spoken to over the years on this subject have also been harassed. Yet it is still hard for leaders to recognize that this could be happening within their newsrooms and boardrooms. Why does it continue to be such a taboo?

Counting the cost of sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is, simply put, bad for business. It can harm your corporate reputation. It is a drain on the productivity of staff and managers. Maintaining and building trust in your brand is an absolute imperative for media organisations globally. If and when a case gets out of control or is badly handled – this can directly impact your bottom line.

It is for this reason that WAN-IFRA Women in News has put eliminating sexual harassment as a top priority in our work around gender equality in the media sector. This might seem at odds with the current climate where social interactions are fewer and remote work scenarios are in place in many newsrooms and businesses. But one only needs to tune into the news to know that the abuse of power, manifested as verbal, physical or online harassment, is alive and well.

Preliminary results from an ongoing Women in News research study into the issue of sexual harassment polling hundreds of journalists in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia indicate that more than 1 in 3 women media professionals have been physically harassed, and just under 50% have been verbally harassed. Just over 15% of men in African newsrooms reported being physically harassed, and slightly less than 1 in 4 reports being verbally harassed. The numbers for male media professionals in Southeast Asia are slightly higher than a quarter on both forms of harassment.

The first step in confronting sexual harassment is to talk about it. We need to strip away the stigma and discomfort around having open conversations about what sexual harassment is and isn’t. Media managers, it is entirely in your power to create dynamics in your own teams that are free from sexual harassment.

Publishers and CEOs, you set the organisational culture in your media company.

By being vocal in recognising that it happens everywhere, and communicating to your employees that you will not tolerate sexual harassment of any kind, you send a powerful message to your teams, and publicly. With these actions, you will help us overcome the legacy of silence around this topic, and in doing so take an important first step to create media environments that truly embrace equality.

Melanie Walker is Executive Director of Media Development of the World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA). She is a creator of Women in News, WAN-IFRA’s ground-breaking programme to increase women’s leadership and voices in the news. It does so by equipping women journalists and editors with the skills, strategies, and support networks to take on greater leadership positions within their media. www.womeninnews.org

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